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Franklin's first visit to Philadelphia.




where he obtained it, he went directly to the baker's, to satisfy his hunger, as he had often done before, with a meal of dry bread. He first inquired for biscuits, expecting to find such as he had been accustomed to eat in Boston; but as the Philadelphia bakers did not make them, he asked the baker for three-pence worth of bread in any

form. “He accordingly gave me,

says Franklin, “ three great puffy rolls. I was surprised at the quantity, but took it, and, having no room in my pockets, walked off with a roll under each arm, and eating the other. Thus I went up Market street as far as Fourth street, passing by the door of Mr. Read, my future wife's father; when she, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward and ridiculous appearance.

Then I turned and went down Chestnut street and part of Walnut street, eating my roll all the way and coming round, found myself again at Market street wharf, near the boat I came in, to which I went for a draught of the river water; and being filled with one of my rolls, gave the other two to a woman and her child that came down the river in the boat with us, and were waiting to go further."

Having done this act of kindness--an act, which, if measured, as it ought to be, by his own personal circumstances at the time, should not be regarded merely as testimony of the unreflecting sympathy of youth, but as an earnest of that deliberate bounty of disposition, which distinguished him through life-and having been himself refreshed by his bread and water, he set forth again, and walking up the same street, he now found it thronged with neat well-dressed people, all going one way. “I joined them,” says he, "and thereby was led into the great Meeting-House of the Quakers, near the market. I sat down among them, and, after looking round awhile and hearing nothing said, being very drowsy through labor and the want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep, and continued so till the meeting broke up, when some one was kind enough to rouse me. This, therefore, was the first house I was in, or slept in,

in Philadelphia."

Leaving the Meeting-House, he bent his steps toward the river again, reading faces as he went (not from impertinence, as will be seen), till he met a young man, a Quaker, whose countenance was so pleasing that he accosted him, requesting, as a stranger, to be informed where he could find lodging. The reply of the young man justified the favorable impression made by his countenance; for it manifested that considerate and honest regard for the welfare of the youthful stranger, which, though really a duty, is of a class not often performed, nor even remembered; but which showed that this young Quaker comprehended and recognised, on this occasion at least, his obligation as a neighbor, in that wide and generous sense, in which it is inculcated in the beautiful parable of The Good Samaritan. They were near a tavern with the sign of The Three Mariners, to which the young man pointed, saying, in answer to the inquiry,

Here is a house where they receive strangers, but it is not a reputable one ; if thou wilt walk with me, I will show thee a better one”_and then conducted him to The Crooked Billet. There Benjamin took dinner, and while thus engaged he there again perceived, from the manner in which he was questioned, that he was “suspected of being a runaway.” When he had finished his meal he asked for a bed, and being taken to one, he threw himself upon it, without waiting to undress, and slept till called to supper; after which, he “ went to bed again very early, and slept very soundly till next morning."

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Having now, by abundant rest and food, recovered from the fatigue of his toilsome journey from New York, though his chest containing his better clothes had not yet arrived, he dressed himself as neatly as circumstances would permit, and went forth to call upon Andrew Bradford, the printer.

Mr. Bradford was in his printing-office, where Benjamin, to his surprise, also found with him his father, Mr. William Bradford, who, coming from New York on horseback, had reached Philadelphia before him. The old gentleman instantly recognised Benjamin and introduced him to his son, who received him very civilly, and gave him a breakfast, but did not then need another journeyman, having recently hired one. He informed him, however, that there was another printer in the place, by the name of Keimer, who had lately opened a printing-office, and who might perhaps employ him; but kindly added that if he should not be wanted there, he was welcome to lodge at his own house, and he would give him something to do, from time to time, till he could procure fuller employment.

The elder Bradford obligingly went to Keimer's with Benjamin, and on finding him in his shop, said,

Neighbor, I have brought to see you a young man of your business; perhaps you may want such a one." Upon this, Keimer, after asking a few questions and putting into his hand a composing-stick, to see how he worked, told him that just then he had nothing for him to do, but would employ him soon. Keimer had never seen the elder Bradford before, and supposing him to be a resident of the town favorably disposed toward him, conversed freely with him about his own affairs ; and having, unguardedly, dropped a hint that he expected, shortly, to be enabled to secure to himself most of the printing business of the place, the crafty father,

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