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As to his servants, it was none of bis care in the least what they did, if they minded his business; and as to idleness, he took pretty good cure to prevent that, by finding them constant employment in bis warehouses, and about his business; and as to either their morals or religion, be count it none of his business, except at any time some gross indecency came in his way, which obliged him to find fault, and then bis displeasure respected the neglect or obstruction of his business, or some complaints or gnea siness in the neighbourhood, rather than any thing of re ligion.
It appears by the story in hand, that two young lads, much about the same age, and pretty near the same time, came apprentices to these two men. The youths were very different in their behaviour, though otherwise agreeable to one another. Their conduct was, as in such cases it will be, suitable to the fainilies of their parents, with whom they had been educated: the one a sober, well inclined, serious lad, that had been brought up by religious parents, well instructed, and formed early to desire the best things; the other a loose, profligate, profane boy, perfectly wild, that had been taught nothing, and desired to learn nothing but bis trade, given to swearing, lying, and ill words, but of good capacity enough to learn if he had been taught in time, so that he was merely lost for want of early instruction.
The sober religious lad was unhappily put apprentice to the rich shopkeeper, who regarded no religion but his trade,--and the wild profane boy was put apprentice to the religious tradesman, the clothier, and, being neighbours, the boys became acquainted, it seems. Although there was very little suitableness between the manner of the young men's education, yet their age, neighbourhood, and opportunity of conversation concurring, and other circumstances perhaps in their temper, or in the time of their coming to their masters, making them more agreeable to one another than ordinary, they became companions, and contracted an
intimate friendship, the consequence of which will appear in the following dialogues,
THE FIRST DIALOGUE.
After, as it is noted, the two youths had contracted an intimacy, so that it was grown up to a kind of affection between them, they agreed, in the first place to call themselves brothers, and then, that every evening, when their shops were shut up, and their business over, they would spend any time they had to spare always together, either at their master's door, or walking, or as their liberty would permit; and, as may be supposed to be pretty usual in those cases, it was not the last of the questions they asked one another at these meetings, how they liked their masters, their employments, their usage, and the like. In these discourses, it fell out that they wanted no grievances to complain of on both sides, for that neither of them, though they had both gone so far as to be bound, liked their circumstances; but it seemed, that the greatest of their dislike was at their masters, and the respective management of their families, rather than at any thing in the trades they carried on, which they otherwise liked well enough.
Says Will, who lived with the old clothier, I'll tell you plainly, brother Tom, I am quite tired out with my master. I can't imagine what my father meant when he picked out such a man for me. I'm sure my father is none of those kind of people himself. Why, our house is a monastery, instead of a shop, or a work-house.
A monastery, Will! says the other, what do you mean by that? Don't we hear your people and your servants about their business every day? They gon't dress cloth az comb wool, in the monasteries.
Why no, brother, says Will, it is not a monastery so I don't mean that: but we have such a world of ceremonies and religious doings among us, it is enough to weary a body off their legs. I'm sure I shall never endure it long.
Tom. Perhaps you are sooner tired with these religious doings, brother, that you speak of, than you would be with other things. Is not that it, brother Will? Speak honestly.
Will. Nay, I do not know much about it, I confess. It don't signify much, I suppose, but to torment us.
Tom. Nor do you mind it much, I suppose, when you are at it, brother, do you?
Will. No, indeed, not I. I take care to get a good sleep all the while, if I can.
Tom. Fie upon you, Will.
Will. Aye, their prayers. Why, they pray for themselves, not for me, do they?
Tom. No doubt they pray for you too.
Tom. Nay, there I think you are wrong, brother Will. Should we not be glad to have any body pray for us? I remember at church there are bills sent in for the ministers to pray for folks; they would not put up bills to be prayed for, if it was of no signification.
Will. Aye, that's when they are sick, brother; but what's that to me? I am well enough, and it is but when they desire it. Now I never desired them to pray
me ; what need they trouble their heads about me in their prayers ?
Tom. Well, but, brother, you say they pray for themselves-why should you be against that?
Will. Not I; but then they may do it by themselves, can't they? What need they keep us up at nigbt, and raise us up in the morning? Can't they let us alone? We
work hard enough all day, they ought to let us sleep at night, sure.
Tom. Why do they take up so long time at it?
Will. Aye, I think it is long for us that work hard at our business all day. Here we are haled out of our beds every morning by six o'clock, to come to prayers, before we open the shop, or go into the work-house; and at night we are kept up, I know not how long, to read and go to prayers, when we might be all a-bed and asleep. I tell you it is a mere monastery, I cannot endure it.
Tom. Well, but, brother, I remember one thing by the bye. It seems this can't be much trouble to you; for you acknowledge you sleep all the while, if you can, so that you do not lose so much of your rest.
Will. Aye, that's true, but that can't be always. Besides, every now and then they catch me at it, and then there is such a noise with them. Then there is our master's son, he is such a religious monkey, he is always jogging a body, that I can't get a good sleep for him. But this is not all, brother, we have abundance of strange doings of this kind besides going to prayers.
Tom. But hark you, brother Will, about calling you up in the morning, let me hear that again; you say your master calls you up by six o'clock in the morning to come to prayers.
Will. Yes; and that is I say, just as they do in the monasteries. I know it is so, for I had a cousin that was a nun, and made her escape out of the nunnery, and she is turned Protestant; and she used to tell me they were obliged to rise at such hours in the night to go to prayers, I wonder my master don't do so too. I don't question but in a little time he will, and we shall be all monks instead of clotbiers.
Tom. But, brother Will, you must do your master jus-, tice now; for, if I mistake not, you wrong him very much by your own account, as I was going to say.
Will. How, brother? I don't wrong him at all.
Tom. Why, you suppose of bim he takes the time be spends in those religious things out of your sleep, or out of the time when you ought to be in bed; and you think it an injury to you, because you work hard. Pray what time do your hired journeymen come to work in the morning.
Will. At six o'clock.
Tom. Well, and do they exactly go to work by six o'clock.
Will. At six o'clock.
Tom. Yes, brother ; but then you say your master does not call you up
till six, and then he goes to prayers ; now, if he did not go to prayers, he would go to work, and you could not expect but to be at work, who are his appren. tice, as well as the journeymen ; so that the time be spends at prayers he takes out of your working time, and not out of your sleeping time; and the loss is his own, not your’s. I think there you do your master wrong, brother.
Will. What care l whose time it is? I wonder what need there is for making such a pother, 1 am as tired as a dog with it. I warrant they don't do so at your house.
Tom. Our house, Will! No, indeed, we are not troubled with it. I never heard a chapter read, or a word spoke of prayer, since I came into the house ; and that's as much my uneasiness, as this is your's.
Will. You are very happy, brother; I wish I had been in such a place.
Tom. I cannot be of your mind, brother; what makes you talk so wickedly?
Will. What do you mean by wickedly? I say you are happy that you are not tormented as I am.
Tom. Aye, Will; but at the same time all this that torments you is, that your master calls you up in the morning, and keeps you up at night to do your duty, and what you ought to love, I mean to go to prayers, and the like.