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breakfast of new laid eggs and toast floated in butter, because his coffee was not half strong enough!—that wondering what people can mean by serving up round of beef when they have no mustard! --and a third cursing like a trooper, though finest rock-fish or sheep's-head be smoking on the table-because there is no walnut pickle or ketchup! He for his part, happily engaged in a pleasant train of thinking or conversation, never attended to such trifles, but dined heartily on whatever was set before him. In short, there is no greater kindness that a young man can do himself than to learn the art of feasting on fish, flesh, or fowl, as they come, without ever troubling his head about any other sauce than what the rich hand of nature has given: let him but bring to these dishes that good appetite which always springs from exercise and cheerfulness, and he will be an epicure indeed.
He would often repeat in the company of young people, the following anecdote which he had picked up some where or other in his extensive reading "A wealthy citizen of Athens, who had nearly ruined his constitution by gluttony and sloth, was advised by Hippocrates to visit a certain medicinal spring in Sparta; not that Hippocrates believed that spring to be better than some nearer home; but exercise was the objecté. “Visit the springs of Sparta," said the great physician. As the young debauchee, pale and bloated,'travelled among the simple and hardy Spartans, he called one day at the house of a countryman on the road to get something to eat. A young woman was just serving up dinner-a nice barn-door fowl boiled with a piece of fat bacon. “You have got rather it plain dinner there madam,” growled the Athenian. "L'es, sir," replied the young woman blushing, “hut my husband will be here directly and he always brings the sauce with him." Presently the young husband stepped in, and after welcoming his guest, invited him to dinner. “I can't dream of dining, sir, wiihout sauce," said the Athenian, “and your wife promised you would bring it.” “O, sir, my wife is a wit,” cried the Spartan; "she only meant the good appetite which I always bring with me from the barn, where I have been threshing."
And here I beg leave to wind up this chapter with the following beautiful lines from Dryden, which I trust my young reader will commit to memory:--They may save him many a sick stomach and headache, besides many a good dollar in doctor's fees.
“The first physicians by debauch were made;
BEN continued with his father assisting him in his humble toils till his twelfth year, and had he possessed a mind less active might have remained a candle-maker all the days of his life. But born to diffuse a light beyond that of tallow or spermaceti, he could never reconcile himself to this inferior employment, and in spite of his wishes to conceal it froin his father, discontent would still lower on his brow, and the half suppressed sigh steal in secret from his bosom. With equal grief his father beheld the deep-seated disquietude of his son. He loved all his children; but he loved this young one above all the rest. Ben was the child of his old age. The smile that dimpled his tender cheeks reminded him of his mother when he first saw her lovely in the rosy freshness of youth. And then his intellect was so far beyond his years; his questions so shrewd; so strong in reasoning; and so witty in remark, that his father would often forget his violin of nights for the higher pleasure of holding an argument with him. This was a great trial to his sisters, who would often intreat their mother to make Ben hold his tongue, that their father might take down his fiddle, and play and sing hymns with them: for they took after him in his passion for music, and sung divinely. No wonder that such a child should be dear to such a father. Indeed old Josias' affection for Ben was so intimately interwoven with every fibre of his heart, that he could not bear the idea of separation from him; and various were the stratagems which he employed to keep this dear child at home. One while, to fright'en his youthful fancy from the sea, for that was the old man's dread, he would paint the horrors of the watery world, where the maddening billows, lashed into mountains by the storm, would list the trembling ship to the skies; then hurl her down, headlong plunging into the yawning gulphs, never to rise again. At another time he would describe the wearisomeness of beating the gloomy wave for joyless months, pent up in a small ship with no prospects but barren sea and skies-no smells but tar and bilge water-no society but men of uncultivated minds, and their constant conversation nothing but ribaldry and oaths. And then again he would take him to visit the masons, coopers, joiners, and other mechanics at work: in hopes that his genius might be caught, and a stop put to his passion for wandering. But greatly to his sorrow, none of these things held out the attractions that his son seemed to want. His visits among these tradesmen were not, however, without their advantage. He caught from them, as he somewhere says, such in insight into mechanic arts and the use of tools, as enabled him afterwards when there was no artist at hand, to make for himself suitable machines for the illustration of his philosophical experiments.
But it was not long before this obstinate dislike of Ben's to all ordinary pursuits was found out; it was found out by his mother. “Bless me," said she one night to her husband, as he lay sleepless and sighing on his son's account, "why do we make ourselves so unhappy about Ben for fear he should go to sea! let him but go to school, and I'll engage we hear no more about his running to sea. Don't you see the child is never happy but when he has a book in his hand? Other boys when they get a little money never think of any thing better to lay it out on than their backs or their bellies; but he, poor fellow, the moment that he gets a shilling, runs and gives it for a book; and then you know, there is no getting him to his meals until he has read it through, and told us all about it."
Good old Josias listened very devoutly to his wife, while she uttered this oration on his youngest son. Then with looks as of a heart suddenly relieved from a heavy burden, and his eyes lifted to heaven, he fervently exclaimed—“O that my son, even my little son Benja. min, may live before God, and that the days of his usefulness and glory may be many!"
How far the effectúal fervent prayer of this righteous father found acceptance in heaven, the reader will find perhaps by the time he has gone through our little book,
Ben taken from school, turns his own teacher-History
of the books which he first read—Is bound to the printing trade.
AT a learned table in Paris, where Dr. Franklin happened to dine, it was asked by the Abbé Raynal, What description of man most deserves pity?
Some mentioned one character, and some another. When it came to Franklin's turn, he replied, I lonesome man in a rainy day, who does not know how to read.
As every thing is interesting that relates to one who made such a figure in the world, it may gratify our readers to be told what were the books that first regaled the youthful appetite of the great Dr. Franklin. The state of literature in Boston at that time, being like himself, only in its infancy, it is not to be supposed that Ben had any very great choice of books. Books, however, there always were in Boston.* Among these was Bunyan's Voyages, which appears to have been the first he ever read, and of which he speaks with great pleasure. But there is reason to fear that Bunyan did him no good: for, as it was the reading of the life of Alexander
* You never find presbyterians without books,
the Great that first set Charles the Twelfth in such å fever to be running over the world killing every body he met; so, in all probability, it was Bunyan's Voyages that fired Ben's fancy with that passion for travelling, which gave his father so much uneasiness. Having read over old Bunyan so often as to have him almost by heart, Ben added a little boot, and made a swap of him for Burton's Historical Miscellanies. This, consisting of forty or fifty volumes, held him a good long tug: for he had no time to read but on Sundays, and early in the morniny or late at night. After this he fell upon his father's library. This being made up principally of old puritanical divinity, would to most boys have appeared like the pillars of Hercules to travellers of old-a bound not to be passed. But so keen was Ben's appetite for any thing in the shape of a book, that he fell upon it with his usual voracity, and soon devoured every thing in it, especially of the lighter sort. Seeing a little bundle of something crammed away very snugly upon an upper shelf, his curiosity led him to take it down: and lo! what should it be but “Plutarch's Lives.” Ben was a stranger to the work; but the title alone was enough for him; he instantly gave it one reading; and then a second, and a third, and so on until he had almost comunitted it to memory; and to his dying day he never mentioned the name of Plutarch without acknowledging how much of pleasure and profit he had derived from that divine old writer. And there was another book, by Defoe, a small affair, entitled “An Essay on Projects,” to which he pays the very high compliment of saying, that "from it he received impressions which influenced some of the principul events of his life.”
Happy now to find that books had the charm to keep his darling boy at home, and thinking that if he were put into a printing office he would be sure to get books enough, his father determined to make a printer of him, though he already had a son in that business. Exactly to his wishes, that son, whose name was James, had just returned from London with a new press and types. Accordingly without loss of time, Ben, now in his twelfth year, was bound apprentice to him. By the indentures Ben was to serve his brother till twenty-one, i. e. nine full years, without receiving one penny of wages, save