“‘When my parents sent me a basket of fruit, I indulged in it freely; but I did not care for it unless the carriage was paid, which was not always the case. Thus 1s. 9d. for my food and 1s. 6d. for my lodging, and 9½d. for my fuel and light, left me 5s. 11½d. for other purposes. At the end of the eight weeks I have specified, I was in possession of above £2. It took me nearly this sum to purchase a straw paillasse, blankets, sheets, and pillows second-hand. I persevered for another year on this diet, and found myself in possession of about £12. As I had some respectable acquaintance in the town, I resolved on spending this sum in furniture, in order that I might have a decent room into which to ask my visitors. Taking a lesson from the poet Goldsmith, I had ‘a bed by night—a chest of drawers by day,’ so that my apartment, alternately sitting-room and bedroom, was suitable for lady visitors. I often invited the lady you see sitting opposite to you, to take tea on Sunday with me and then go to church. She was my own age exactly, and was the prey of a cruel stepmother; she was, in fact, a sort of Cinderella in a large family. Her stepmother aimed at marrying p. 77her to a widower of forty-five, with seven children; but this my young girl of eighteen objected to. Her father at first sanctioned our engagement; but when a suitor in a good position came forward for his daughter, he forbade me the house, and made her walk daily with the gentleman whom we nick-named ‘number forty-five.’ I resolved to marry her as soon as I could furnish two more rooms and had laid in a good stock of clothes.

“‘My young lady studied my vegetarian books, and determined not to eat any meat at home. All the family laughed at her, but she was sufficiently resolute to withstand ridicule.

“‘She told her father that, he having once sanctioned her engagement to me, she must be bound to me, and could not accept anyone else. Her father remonstrated with her, but it was of no use. At the end of the two years, when I had just passed my twentieth birthday, I called on her father and said, ‘I have now three rooms well furnished, and am able to keep your daughter; I want you to fix a day for my marrying her.’ He pressed my hand warmly, and said, ‘Well, I will, and give you my blessing into the bargain.’ He was a good-hearted man at bottom, but too much ruled by his wife. He gave my wife a good large outfit and a purse of £10, and her stepmother even gave her £2, and her brothers and sisters bought her a family Bible, and one of them wrote in it, ‘At the end of ten days their countenances did appear fairer and fatter of flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat—Daniel i. 15.’

“The old gentleman laughed very much when he told me this, and said that the vegetarianism of Daniel had been the text of many a sermon which he had preached to his children, who, profiting by so good an example, were all vegetarians.

“But to resume. ‘I found myself married and very happy, but with 10s. a-week only. We laid out our money as follows: We paid 3s. 6d. for three rooms, 1s. for fuel and light, 3s. 6d. for food, and had 2s. for other contingencies. Our food consisted of—Bean stew three times a-week; potatoe pie twice a-week; puddings without eggs twice a-week; carrots, turnips, or some green vegetable daily. Our breakfast was porridge, either of corn or oatmeal. We ate bread with it, thus insuring mastication, and rendering butter, milk, tea, coffee, or cocoa unnecessary. We sometimes took tea in the evening, but oftener cold water. We formed p. 78the acquaintance of a fruit-merchant, who, though laughing at our vegetarianism, often sent us baskets of fruit. I was married in December, and in the following November my wife had a son. In a few days the wife of the head of the firm paid us a visit, and the next day I was informed that my salary was to be raised to 18s. a-week. I was before this in great difficulty what to do, as I did not much like my wife being the sole nurse of her child. Before this she had attended to all our wants. I now took an Irish servant girl, who was willing to be a vegetarian and receive 6d. a-week in wages for the first year.

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“‘I was in possession, at the end of my second year of married life, of £10 sterling. I will now tell you how I invested it. ‘Our firm’ was both speculative and manufacturing, and employed some 100 workmen, who purchased the tools they required at rather high prices in the town. Ascertaining that the tools might be had cheaper at Birmingham and Sheffield, I went myself and laid in a small stock, which I sold within a week to the workmen at 18 per cent. profit, but still full 10 per cent. under what they were in the habit of paying. Being offered a month’s credit, I received a consignment of tools from Birmingham and Sheffield. At the end of a year I found myself in possession of £150, which I had made by the sale of these tools to our own hands. My wife kept my books, and this little business necessitated the hiring of another room. But in other respects this great increase of income did not induce us to enlarge our expenses.

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“‘A foreman lost his hand through an accident, and was incapacitated for work; I made him my traveller, to call at other workshops and sell tools to workmen.

“‘The firms at Birmingham and Sheffield had confidence in me. I obtained credit more largely. I engaged a warehouse and a clerk. At the end of my fourth year of marriage I was in possession of £1,500 by the sale of these tools. I now thought of a bold project, since I was a capitalist. I went to the head of our firm, and I said, ‘My wife is carrying on a business which seems likely to produce us £1,500 a-year clear profit; I have no wish to leave your service, but I shall certainly do so, unless my salary is raised to £250 a-year.’ This sum being agreed on, I was contented for the present.

p. 79“‘We now kept two servants, and lived in two floors over our warehouse, and had two children.

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“‘I had been married about six years, and had three children,’ continued the old vegetarian, ‘when my warehouse and all my furniture were totally destroyed by fire; fortunately they were insured for about £5,000. As this was another crisis in my career, I went to ‘the firm,’ and said, ‘I now know about as much of my business as I can learn, and have a large connection. I am offered credit if I will embark my capital—£8,000—to open a business in opposition to yours. But I do not want to do this if you will only give me a liberal salary. I want £450 a-year, and I will carry on my business in tools in my leisure hours as before.’ My terms were accepted; I was assigned a separate office, and five clerks were at my command. Every letter to me was now addressed Esquire; formerly I was only Mr., at least to the firm. I got my family arms engraved on a seal. I began to dress better. I kept three maid-servants and a page, and lived in a house out of the town—a road-side villa, with vegetable garden—bringing my expenses within the £450 a-year; reserving the profits of my business for the increase of my capital.

“‘The heads of the firm—two brothers—paid a visit to Ireland, and, coming back, a terrific storm arose; they were washed off the deck of the steamer and drowned, leaving in the firm only the junior, the son of the elder brother, a young man of twenty years of age. As his capacity was moderate, and his habits not very regular, the trustees of the two deceased partners, of their own accord, proposed that I should receive £750 per annum, take the entire charge of the business, and stay an hour longer than hitherto. But after six months, finding that I lost rather than gained by the arrangement, as it encroached on the time I had hitherto devoted to my private business, I plainly told the trustees that I must be taken into partnership, or I would abandon the concern and establish a rival business, which might very seriously damage theirs. They proposed that I should be partner for life, with £1,500 a-year as a first charge on the profits of the business, but should have no right to leave any part of it to my family, but should have two-thirds of the profits as surviving partner in case of the death of the present head of the firm without children. A deed was executed to embrace these provisions, and I bound p. 80myself not to enter into any other business which would aim to rival that of the firm. On this I took a superior house, kept a horse and open carriage, two gardeners, and otherwise lived at the rate of about £1,200 a-year. My wife now retired entirely from business, which she had seen after for about the half of three days in the week.

“‘About four years after this, to my sorrow, but at the same time pecuniary advantage, the young man, my senior partner, died, after a few days’ illness, from pleurisy, brought on by bathing. His constitution was mainly built up on beer, beef, and tobacco. I, a vegetarian, was never ill after bathing. This young man was a martyr to the abuse of stimulants, who his foolish doctor encouraged in their use. I have made my will, and none of my children shall inherit a penny if they are not at the time of my death vegetarians and total abstainers.

“‘We had been so absorbed in business since we were married, that we had not for ten years taken a sea-side holiday; so in the summer of 1846 we determined on a yacht voyage to last two months, from May 1st till July 1st, round the coast of Ireland. We hired a yacht of fourteen tons, four men, and a boy. My wife and three eldest children and self went on board at Liverpool, and we had a most enjoyable sail until we reached the north-west coast of Ireland. We landed and explored many rocky bays, and I collected many beautiful sea-birds’ eggs, and shot many of the more uncommon of the sea-fowl, of which I have at present a trophy of stuffed birds, nine feet long, in my hall.

“‘Wishing to see the wildest part of the Irish coast, we sailed for the Arran Isles, and, landing there, spent some days in examining the curious stones for which these islands are famous. Some fishermen there spoke of an isolated rock in the sea, about a quarter of a mile long, very high, with a cavern in it, as the haunt of myriads of sea-fowl, some of species found nowhere else in the same abundance. With one of these fishermen as our pilot we reached the spot. There was a heavy swell round this island-rook, and we had great difficulty in landing. We determined to anchor the yacht about half a mile off, and proceed to the island in the boat with two of our men. Thinking we might like to spend the day there, we took with us two bags of rice, a basket of oranges, some loaves of bread, some peas and beans for soup, p. 81and utensils and wood for cooking. In order to afford a seat for the children, a tin chest from the cabin, full of a variety of provisions, was put in the boat’s stern, and we embarked, my wife expressing a regret that the provisions had not been emptied out lest they should make the boat too heavy. With great difficulty we managed to run the boat into a chasm about twenty feet wide and one hundred feet long in the cliff, which was high and very precipitous. This chasm formed a miniature harbour, where the boat could lie without any danger of being swamped, in deep water close to the cliff, against which it was moored to a projecting rock, as to an artificial quay. It was a considerable scramble to get out of the boat and up the cliff; we just managed it, and landing our provisions, one of our men made a fire and acted as cook, while we wandered over the island, and explored the cave. It was, in fact, a sort of twin cavern, two branches having one entrance; that on the right-hand side was about 150 feet deep, and was not tenanted, as it had no exit; that on the left hand was a tunnel of even greater length, and about forty feet high; it was the nesting-place of many sea-birds; cormorants, puffins, guillemots, razorbills, several species of seagulls, the arctic tern and gannet very abundant, and a few pairs of the shearwater; of some sort we took a good many eggs. We packed baskets with at least 100 dozen. I did not shoot, as I did not like disturbing the birds, they were so tame, being but little accustomed to the visits of man. There were some goats on the island, which we conjectured had swum ashore from a shipwrecked vessel.

“‘This plateau, which was the highest part of the island, was reached by a path ascending about 200 feet. It was a beautiful emerald meadow, bounded by almost precipitous cliffs, which my eldest boy and I climbed up, but my wife declined the ascent. At about five we sat down to our dinner of pea-soup, boiled cabbage, bread, haricot beans, batter-pudding, and fruit.

“‘We were seated in the entrance of the cave, when suddenly a storm sprang up. The wind was so violent, that though we sadly wished it, we did not deem it prudent to get into our boat to rejoin the yacht. One of the sailors went on a high part of the island to observe, and soon informed us that the yacht had apparently dragged its anchor, and was fast disappearing.