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you now1; and so let's hear all about why you left off coming to the Red Lion, and how was it that, just about that time, you began to look so smart and genteel, just as if any body had left you an Estate.
Will. Why, as to that, Ralph, I like to have my clothes whole and decent, and that's partly the reason why I left off the Red Lion; for Richard Sober once told me that the Lion would tear all my clothes off my back ;^—but I did not mind what he said. He spoke the truth, however, for sure enough I was presently all in rags.
Ralph. Aye, I remember the time when you look'd just as mean and ragged as I do now.
Will. Yes, Ralph, I see the Red Lion has been tearing you sadly. But I was going to tell you all about myself.
Ralph. Well that's what I want to hear.
Will. Well, you know; when I was a boy, I went to the charity school, and they always took us to church on a Sunday; and so it came, in a manner, natural to me, after that, to go to church, for all I led, in other ways, such a wicked life. And so, you see, one Sunday morning, I heard the minister reading about the Prodigal Son, that spent all he had in riotous living. I had often read about that at school, but, to my shame be it spoken, I took little or no notice, as to the meaning of it. But, when thegentleman read it, it came into my mind, that I was just like that prodigal. Well but, said I to myself, when the prodigal came to himself and repented, and was resolute in his endeavours to leave off his bad courses, he came to his father and found mercy; —and so may I! Well, as I was walking slowly home across the field by myself, and thinkiug about what I had heard, I saw, b.y the road side, a nest of ants on a hillock, very busy indeed, and so I stop'd a bit to look at 'em. Whilst I was observing 'em, a verse that I had learn't at school, came right across my mind; it was this," Go to the ant thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise." Well, said I, that rerse hits me hard; and these poor little creeping things condemn me, for they know better how to take care of themselves than I do. Here are they moiling and toiling all summer, to lay by something against winter; and I, like a fool, never think of saving a penny against a rainy day—I mean against old age or sickness, when I cannot work. And so, with that, Ralph, I made a resolution in my own mind;—and, from that day to this, I have never sat down in an alehouse.
Ralph. Well, but how did you get so rich all on a sudden.
Will. Why, you know, I us'd to spend Three or Four Shillings a week, and sometimes more, at the Red Lion. I earn'd about Ten—and so, thought I to myself, as I was single, and had no family to do for, I might just as well lay by a few shillings, as throw them away, like a fool, as I had done. And so, you see, I soon got together a few comfortable things to wear; I gave my old rags to a beggar man, and 1 have ever since been able to go about quite tight and tidy.
Ralph. Aye, I see that plain enough; and they tell me, besides, that you are quite a rich man.
Will. Nay, no great riches neither; I have, however, sure enough got between Eighty and Ninety Pounds of my own; and this 1 call a nice little thing for a young man of five and twenty, to begin the world with, ajid marry, and settle.
Ralph. Why aye, man, I call it an estate.
Will. Well it's such an estate as any man may have, if he goes the right way to work.
Ralph. I wish I could learn that way!
Will. Why did'nt I tell you the way? 1 just saved Four Shillings a week instead of spending it, —that's all. I began when I was eighteen years old, and now, as I told you, I am just five and twenty.
Ralph. Well, and that's just seven years. Bat will Four Shillings a week come to all thai money in seven years?
Will. Why, to be sure, if I had kept it in my box, it would only have come to about Seventy Pounds, but I put it out to Interest in the Saving Bank, and that's the way I made it grow so fast; besides if it had been in my box, I should have been apt to have fiugei'd it rather too often, or somebody else might have finger'd it for me.
Ralph. Aye, that's sure enough; but just tell me what you mean by a Saving Bank.
Will. Why, you see, a Saving Bank means a Bank to put a poor man's money in, if he should have sense enough to save afew shillings a week. I, for my part, was determined to save four, and so you see what I have made of it.
Ralph. You need say no more Will; I see how it is, and I must and will have a touch at the Saving . Bank. But 1 suppose 1 must leave off the Red Lion first.
Will. Why aye! if you put your money down your throat, you can't put it into the Saving Bank too, you know.
Ralph. No that's certain; and 1 only wish 1 had thought of that seven years ago; for I see, in that time, I have swallowed down between eighty and ninety pounds.
Will. It's quite true Ralph. Ralph. But they shan't catch me after that game again in a hurry.—But I say, Will, I shan't be able to lay by so much as four shillings a week. I shall want some clothes directly, for I long to go neat and tidy again; I can't bear to see my old rags, alongside of your nice, whole, warm jacket.
Will. Weil then if you can't put by four shillings at first, begin with three, or two, or one.
Ralph. What may I put in so little as one shilling at a time 1 s Will. Yes, as little as sixpence if you please.
Ralph. Well but now, William, can you tell me how much I should bave in five years, if so be I put in two shillings a week I
Will. Why yes, I can tell you to a farthing, because 1 have got the paper all about it in my pocket. Let me see! two shillings a week in five years comes to just Twenty-tight Pounds, Three Shillings, and Three-pence.
Ralph. Well that's a pretty sum. .
Will. Aye indeed is it. " ....; -.>.
Ralph. What would a Shilling a week come to in seven years 1
Will. Just Twenty Pounds, Ten Shillings, and Eight-pence. :.;
Ralph. Well then I suppose I may put in any thing I can save, little or much; and I may put it in just when I please, and take it out just when I please; or I may take a part of it out, if I please, just to buy me a new coat, or a pig, or to pay my half-year's rent -;
Will. Aye, that's exactly the way of it; and you cannot be wronged of a halfpenny; for the money goes into the Bank of England, and I look upon't the money is pretty safe and snug there,—eh boy!
Ralph. Yes, that's the hest of security, to be sure; but then if the money is in the Bank of England, how can they give me mine out just when I want it?
WilL Why, you see, the Gentleman Treasurer, as they call him, keeps a little by him, to pay you your money if you should want it; but if you want to draw out much at one time, you must tell the gentleman a little while before hand,—that's all.
Ralph. Well, but now suppose this Gentleman Treasurer should have his house robbed, or lose the money, or, if he should break, what am I to da then?
WilL Why, Ralph, suppose that it should happen, you oan't be hurt then; for all the great, rich, gentlemen about have bound themselves to be trustees, to see after these things; and they'll take care and see that you are not wronged if they know it, I'll warrant you.
Ralph. Why, what do these great gentlemen get by binding themselves in that fashion?
Will. Get! why nothing at all, only the pleasure of helping their poor neighbours, and shewing them the way to be almost gentlemen too. When I first began, there was only a Saving Bank here and there; but now there's one in almost every town in the kingdom.
Ralph. Well that's a fine thing; and a poor man, 1 see, may do himself good if he please; I see it all as clear as day-light. But I say William, just tell us, before we part, whether it's true, what the neighbours say, that you are just going to be married to Mary Manage. I heard that you two had alwaysja liking for one another, but they said that she would not have you, because you had taken to drinking.
Will. Why she did say so sure enough, Ralph, but that's some seven years ago; times are altered now, and so she has altered her mind; and, between ourselves, I expect that we shall come together before it's long. s
Ralph. And they say she's got a good bit of money too, some Fifty or Sixty Pounds of her own.
Will. Why, they say true enough for once, Ralph.
Ralph. Well but how did she come by it all? I should'nt wonder if she'd been at the Saving Bank too.
Will. Aye, you've exactly hit it Ralph, she has been putting into the Saving Bank for this eight or nine years. Poor dear! when she first went to live with my Lady Allworthy, she was but quite a little thing, and so had'nt much wages; so she could only