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Supper of Sawdust-Pudding and Water.

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A REMARKABLE SUPPER.

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to sup with him, that evening, and to bring with them the other persons alluded to. When the appointed hour came, bringing his guests with it, he received them courteously, and again listened, with undisturbed temper, to their well-meant remonstrances. On repairing to the supper-table, great was their surprise at finding on it only two coarse Indian puddings, made of unbolted meal called “sawdust,” to eat, and a stout jug of water, to drink. They civilly suppressed their surprise as well as they could, while their host, with laudable self-possession, helped them bountifully to pudding, and with a relishing air partook freely of it himself; hospitably pressing them, the while, to follow his example. This they politely strove to do; but the effort was unavailing; the pudding would not go down. After enjoying, for a reasonable time, the struggle between the politeness of his guests and their disgust at the pudding, Franklin rose, and with a smile and a bow that served for underscoring, spoke to them these significant words :“My friends, he who can live on sawdust-pudding and water, as I can, is not dependent on any man's patronage.”

160

LIFE OF BENJAMIN

FRANKLIN.

CHAPTER XV.

IS MADE PUBLIC PRINTER — AN ERROR CORRECTED DISSOLVES PARTNERSHIP REAL FRIENDS

CONTINUES RISING —PAPER MONEY.

WHILE Franklin was thus industriously employed, extending his business by the neatness and despatch with which he executed his work, and resolutely maintaining his own independence and the legitimate freedom of the press, his neighbor Bradford, though his private custom was gradually diminishing, still continued printer for the public authorities of the province. But his work was always done in a slovenly manner; and having about this time, sent from his office an address of the colonial assembly to the governor, more carelessly done and more crowded with blunders than usual, Franklin reprinted it with particular neatness and accuracy, and caused a copy of it to be laid before each member of the assembly. The difference between the two editions was so palpable and great, that it could not fail to strike the most heedless; and the members were so much pleased with the reprint, that they gave the whole of the public printing, by a strong vote, to Franklin & Meredith, for the year then commencing.

This vote of the assembly was, of course, very gratifying as well as advantageous to Franklin (for Meredith's habitual intemperance had rendered him more of a burden than a benefit to their business), and it was an additional gratification to know that, among the friends who

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VERNON'S MONEY PAID.

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had brought it to pass, was Mr. Hamilton, the eminent lawyer, to whom, as heretofore related, Franklin had rendered such valuable service, in London, by putting him on his guard against the plots of Riddlesden and Keith; and who took the occasion of this annual vote for a public printer, as he did every fair occasion that subsequently occurred, to repay that service with his active and efficient friendship.

The error, which had so long been a cause of anxiety and mortification to Franklin into which, as will be remembered, he had been unwarily led by too much confidence in his early companion Collins — the error of lending to that misguided youth the money collected for Mr. Vernon, now at length produced the consequence foreboded, the amount being applied for, before he was in a condition to pay it. Much, however, as his self-esteem was wounded by not being able to pay over the money on demand, he had the moral firmness to do the next best thing in his power, by dealing frankly and truly with Vernon; not adding to his own humiliation and self-reproach by any weak attempt to misrepresent the matter, or to prevaricate. “ Mr. Vernon,” says Franklin, “about this time put me in mind of the debt I owed him; but he did not press me. I wrote to him an ingenuous letter of acknowledgment, craving his forbearance a little longer, which he allowed me.

As soon as I was able, I paid the principal with the interest and many thanks; so, that erratum was in some degree corrected.”

It will be recollected that Franklin was expressly authorized to keep the money till it should be called for ; and it nowhere appears that any earlier call than the one now mentioned, was ever made by Vernon; so that in reality, all the delay, in this affair, that could be justly complained of, or could be considered wrongful in the eye of the law, was that which took place subsequently

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