Imagini ale paginilor
[ocr errors]

knew not the getting of; They think it is day, and will never be night; that a little to be spent out of so much is not worth minding. 'A child and a fool,' as poor Richard says, 'imagine twenty shillings and twenty years can never be spent; but, always taking out of the meal-tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom; then, as poor Dick says, 'When the well is dry, they know the worth of water.' But this they might have known before, if they had taken his advice: if you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some; For he that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing;' and indeed so does he that lends to such people, when he goes to get it again. Poor Dick farther advises, and


Fond pride in dress is sure a very curse;
Ere fancy you consult-consult your purse.'

[ocr errors]

"And again, Pride is as loud a beggar as Want, and a great deal more saucy.' When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more that your appearance may be all

of a piece; but Dick says,


[ocr errors][merged small]

to suppress the first desire, than to satisfy all that follow it. And that it is as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as the frog to swell in order to equal the ox.

• Great estates may venture more,

'But little boats should keep near shore.'

[ocr errors]

"It is, however, a folly soon punished For pride that dines on vanity sups on contempt,' as poor Richard says. And in another place, Pride breakfasted with Plenty, dined with Poverty, and supped with infamy.' And after all, of what use is the pride of appearance, for which so much is risked, so much is suffered? It cannot promote health, or ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person, it creates envy, it hastens misfortunes


'What is a butterfly? at best
"He's but a caterpillar drest;

The gaudy fop's bis picture just.'

"But what madness must it be to run in debt for these superfluities! We are offered, by the terms of this sale, six months, credit; and that perhaps has induced some of us to attend it because we cannot spare the ready

money, and hope now to be fine without it. But ah! think what you do when you run in debt; you give to another power over your liberty. If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor; you will be in fear when you speak to him; you will make poor, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose your veracity, and sink into base downright lying; for, as poor Richard says, The second vice is lying, the the first is running into debt.' And again, to the same purpose, Lying rides upon Debt's back.' Whereas, a free-born Englishman ought not to be ashamed or afraid to see or speak to any man living. But poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue;' It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright,' as poor Richard says. What would you think of that prince, or that government, who would issue an edict forbidding you to dress like a gentleman or gentlewoman, on pain of impri


sonment or servitude? Would you not say, that you are free, and have a right to dress as you please, and that such an edict would be a

[ocr errors]

breach of your privileges, and such a govern, ment tyrannical? and yet you are about to put yourselves under that tyranny, when you run into debt for such dress! Your creditor has authority at his pleasure to deprive you. of your liberty, by confining you in a jail for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you should not be able to pay him. When you have got your bargain you may, perhaps, think little of payment; but 'Creditors,' as poor Dick tells us, 'have better memories than debtors,' and, in another place he says, ' Creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times.' The day comes round before you are aware, and the demand is made before you are prepared to satisfy it. Or if you bear your debt in mind, the term which at first seemed so long, will, as it lessens, appear extremely short. Time will seem to have added wings to his heels as well as his shoulders. Those have a short Lent,' says poor Richard, who owe money to be paid at Easter.' Then since,' as he says, 'the borrower is a slave to the lender, and the debtor to the creditor,' disdain the chain: preserve your freedom, and maintain your independency; be industrious and free, be frugal and free. At present, perhaps, you may think yourself in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a little extravagance without inJury; but,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

، For age and want save while you may s

'No morning sun lasts a whole day.'

As poor Richard says.-Gain may be temporary and uncertain, but ever while you live, expense is constant and certain; and, it is

[ocr errors]

easier to build two chimneys, than to keep one in fuel,' as poor Richard says; So rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt.'

Get what you can, and what's got fairly hold; 'Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold.'

As poor Richard says. And when you have got the philosopher's stone, surely you will no longer complain of bad times, or the difficulty of paying taxes.

[ocr errors]

"This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom; but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry, frugality, and prudence, though excellent things, for they may be all blasted without the blessing of heaven, and therefore ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that seem at present to want it, but comfort and help them. Remember Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.

"And now to conclude, Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other, and scarcely in that; for it is true, we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct,' as poor Richard says: however remember this: They that will not be counselled cannot be helped,' as poor Richard says; and farther, That if you will not hear reason, she will surely rap your knuckles."

Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The people heard it, and approved the doctrine; but immediately practised the contrary, just as if it had been a common sermon; for the sale commenced and they began to buy extravagantly, notwithstanding all his cautions, and their own fear of taxes.-I found the good old man had thoroughly studied my almanacs,

« ÎnapoiContinuă »