BOOK XII. CONTAINING THE SAME INDIVIDUAL TIME WITH THE FORMER.
4. Chapter iv. The adventure of a beggar-man.
The adventure of a beggar-man.
Just as Partridge had uttered that good and pious doctrine, with which
the last chapter concluded, they arrived at another cross-way, when a
lame fellow in rags asked them for alms; upon which Partridge gave him
a severe rebuke, saying, "Every parish ought to keep their own poor."
Jones then fell a-laughing, and asked Partridge, "if he was not
ashamed, with so much charity in his mouth, to have no charity in his
heart. Your religion," says he, "serves you only for an excuse for
your faults, but is no incentive to your virtue. Can any man who is
really a Christian abstain from relieving one of his brethren in such
a miserable condition?" And at the same time, putting his hand in his
pocket, he gave the poor object a shilling.
"Master," cries the fellow, after thanking him, "I have a curious
thing here in my pocket, which I found about two miles off, if your
worship will please to buy it. I should not venture to pull it out to
every one; but, as you are so good a gentleman, and so kind to the
poor, you won't suspect a man of being a thief only because he is
poor." He then pulled out a little gilt pocket-book, and delivered it
into the hands of Jones.
Jones presently opened it, and (guess, reader, what he felt) saw in
the first page the words Sophia Western, written by her own fair hand.
He no sooner read the name than he prest it close to his lips; nor
could he avoid falling into some very frantic raptures,
notwithstanding his company; but, perhaps, these very raptures made
him forget he was not alone.
While Jones was kissing and mumbling the book, as if he had an
excellent brown buttered crust in his mouth or as if he had really
been a book-worm, or an author who had nothing to eat but his own
works, a piece of paper fell from its leaves to the ground, which
Partridge took up, and delivered to Jones, who presently perceived it
to be a bank-bill. It was, indeed, the very bill which Western had
given his daughter the night before her departure; and a Jew would
have jumped to purchase it at five shillings less than L100.