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one Dr. Brown." While taking some refreshment, Brown, says Franklin, “entered into conversation with me, and finding I had read a little, became very obliging and friendly; and our acquaintance continued all the rest of his life.”
Franklin conjectured that this Mr. Brown had been an itinerant quack doctor ; " for there was no town in England, nor any country of Europe, of which he could not give a very particular account." He speaks of him as an ingenious man, of some attainments in literature; but adds," he was an infidel, and wickedly undertook, some years after, to turn the Bible into doggrel verse, as Cotton had formerly done with Virgil. By this means he set many facts in a ridiculous light, and might have done mischief with weak minds, if his work had been published; but it never was."
Benjamin stayed that night at Brown's, and the next morning, which was Saturday, proceeded to Burlington, which, however, he did not reach, till a little after the regular boats for Philadelphia had gone. While passing through the town, he had stopped a moment at the door of an elderly woman, who sold gingerbread, of which he had purchased a little to comfort him on his expected passage to Philadelphia ; and now, upon learning that no boat was likely to leave Burlington for that city, sooner than the next Tuesday, he turned back from the river-side to the house of the gingerbread woman, whose look he thought had been kindly, to acquaint her with his disappointment, and ask her advice. On hearing his statement, she very hospitably offered to lodge him, till he could find a passage.
To this, leg-weary as he was, he gladly assented; and as they talked together, the good woman, learning that he was a printer, proposed, in her ignorance of what would be needed for the purpose, that he should set up his business in Bur
lington. She further manifested her kindness by giving him a nice dinner of ox-cheek, "accepting only a pot of ale in return."
To the youth of seventeen, weary, lonely, far from home for the first time in his life, with a dim and uncertain prospect before him, the kindness of that poor woman must have given unwonted efficacy to the refreshing virtues of the ox-cheek and the ale ; for “ better is a dinner of herbs, where love is, than a stalled OX,
and hatred therewith.” It was a pleasant stage in his wet and dreary journey ; and he was expecting, not discontentedly, to remain with the hospitable gingerbread-woman till Tuesday, when, as the day was closing and he was walking by the side of the river, he saw a boat coming down on its way to Philadelphia, with several persons on board, and with them he obtained a passage.
There was no wind, and it was necessary to row. About midnight, having seen nothing ahead betokening their approach to the city, some of the company, fearing they had passed it in the dark, would row no further; and as none of them knew precisely where they were, they turned into a creek, landed near an old fence, of the rails of which they made a fire that chill October night, and like Paul and his companions at Melita, they “wished for day.” When the day came, one of the company recognised the place as Cooper's creek, a short distance above Philadelphia ; whereupon, embarking and pulling out a little from the cover of the high banks of the creek, the city became visible, and they reached it about 9 o'clock, landing at the Market street wharf.
PROCURES EMPLOYMENT IN PHILADELPHIA.
The personal condition of our hero, on his arrival at Philadelphia, and the appearance he made as he took his first walk in the streets of that city, derive so much interest from the lustre of his subsequent position in that community, and present so strong a contrast therewith, that his own description of himself, at that time, is here copied; and a vivid and graphic one it is :
“I was," says he, “in my working-dress, my best clothes coming round by sea. I was dirty from my being so long in the boat. My pockets were stuffed out with shirts and stockings, and I knew no one, nor where to look for lodging. Fatigued with walking, rowing, and the want of sleep, I was very hungry; and my whole stock of cash consisted of a single dollar, and about a shilling in copper coin, which I gave to the boatmen for my passage.
At first they refused it, on account of my having rowed; but I insisted on their taking it. Man is sometimes more generous when he has little money, than when he has plenty; perhaps to prevent his being thought to have but little.”
Having thus satisfied his self-esteem by paying for his
passage, he walked into the city. Near Market street he met a boy with bread, and learning from him