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both; and in truth, the want of shoes and stockings had made both unnecessary, for Harley had destined six pence for him before. The beggar, on receiving it, poured forth blessings without number; and, with a sort of smile on his countenance, said to Harley, « that if he wanted to have his » fortune told » - Harley turned his eye briskly on the beggar: it was an unpromising look for the subject of a prediction, and silenced the prophet immediately. « I would » much rather learn , said Harley , what it » is in your power to tell me: your trade » must be an entertaining one : sit down on » this stone , and let me know something » of your profession; I have often thought > of turning fortune-teller for a week or » two myself.
» Master , replied the beggar , I like your » frankness much : God knows I had the » humour of plain-dealing in me from a > child , but there is no doing with it in » this world ; we must live as we can, and » lying is, as you call it, my profession : » but I was in some sort forced to the trade, » for I dealt once in telling truth.
» I was a labourer , Sir , and gained as » much as to make me live: I never laid by
» indeed; for I was reckoned a piece of a
wag , and your wags , I take it, are sel» dom rich, Mr. Harley. So, said Harley , » you seem to know me. Ay, there are few » folks in the country that I don't know >> something of: how should I tell fortunes » else ? True ; but to go on with your story : » you were a labourer , you say , and a wag; * your industry , I suppose , you left with » your old trade ; but your humour you » preserve to be of use to
your new. » What signifies sadness , Sir ? a man ► grows lean on't : but I was brought to » my idleness by degrees ; first I could not » work, and it went against my stomach to so work ever after. I was seized with a jail » fever at the time of the assizes being in » the county where I lived ; for I was >> always curious to get acquainted with the » felons, because they are commonly fel» lows of much mirth and little thought ,
qualities I had ever an esteem for. In the
height of this fever, Mr. Harley , the house > where I lay took fire, and burnt to the >> ground : I was carried out in that condi» tion, and lay all the rest of my illness in » a barn. I got the better of my disease, » however, but I was so weak that I spit
» blood whenever I attempted to work. I » had no relation living that I knew of, » and I never kept a friend above a week, » when I was able to joke ; I seldom re>> mained above six months in a parish, so » that I might have died before I had found » a settlement in any : thus I was forced to » beg my bread, and a sorry trade I found » it , Mr. Harley; I told all my misfortunes > truly, but they were seldom believed: » and the few who gave me a half-penny as » they passed, did it with a shake of the » head, and an injunction not to trouble » them with a long story. In short , I found > that people don't care to give alms with» out some security for their money; a » wooden leg or a withered arm is a sort of
draught upon heaven for those who chuse » to have their money placed to account » there; so I changed my plan , and, in» stead of telling my own misfortunes , be» gan to prophesy happiness to others. This » I found by much the better way : folks » will always listen when the tale is their » own; and of many who say they do not
believe in fortune-telling, I have known » few on who.n it had not a very sensible » effect. I pick up the names of their acs quaintance; annours and little squabbles » are easily gleaned among servants and » neighbours; and indeed people themselves >> are the best intelligencers in the world » for our purpose : they dare not puzzle » us for their own sakes, for every one is » anxious to hear what they wish to be» lieve ; and they who repeat it to laugh » at it when they have done , are generally » more serious than their hearers are apt to >> imagine. With a tolerable good memory, > and some share of cunning, with the help » of walking a - nights over heaths and
church-yards , with this, and shewing » the tricks of that there dog , whom I stole » from the serjeant of a marching regiment, » and ( by the way he can steal too upon » occasion ) I make shist to pick up a li» velihood. My trade , indeed , is none of » the honestest; yet people are not much » cheated neither , who give a few half» pence for a prospect of happiness, which » I have heard some persons say is all a » man can arrive at in this world.-- But I » must bid you 'good day , Sir ; for I have » three miles to walk before noon
to in» form some boarding-school young ladies , >> whether their husbands are to be peers
» of the realm , or captains in the army: a » question which I promised to answer » them by that time. »
Harley had drawn a shilling from his pocket; but Virtue bade him consider on whom he was going to bestow it. -- Virtue held back his arm: but a milder form, younger sister of Virtue's , not so severe as Virtue , nor so serious as Pity, smiled upon him : his fingers lost their compression; -nor did Virtue offer to catch the money as it fell. It had no sooner reached the ground than the watchful cur (a trick he had been taught ) snapped it up; ard , contrary to the most approved method of stewardship, de livered it immediately into the hands of his master.
THE MAN OF FEELING.
A VISIT TO BEDLA M.
Of those things called Sights in London, which every stranger is supposed desirous to see , Bedlam is one. To that place, therefore an acquaintance of Harley's, after having accompanied him to several other