'No, no, my dear', says he, 'there's your sister ——, I'll go and talk with her; and your uncle ——, I'll send for him, and the rest. I'll warrant you, when we are all together, we will find ways and means to keep four poor little creatures from beggary and starving, or else it would be very hard; we are none of us in so bad circumstances but we are able to spare a mite for the fatherless. Don't shut up your bowels of compassion against your own flesh and blood. Could you hear these poor innocent children cry at your door for hunger, and give them no bread?'
'Prithee, what need they cry at our door?' says she. 'Tis the business of the parish to provide for them; they shan't cry at our door. If they do, I'll give them nothing.' 'Won't you?' says he; 'but I will. Remember that dreadful Scripture is directly against us. Prov. xxi. 13; Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.'
Well, well', says she, 'you must do what you will, because you pretend to be master; but if I had my will I would send them where they ought to be sent: I would send them from whence they came.'
Then the poor woman put in, and said, 'But, madam, that is sending them to starve indeed, for the parish has no obligation to take care of 'em, and so they will lie and perish in the street.'
’Or be sent back again', says the husband, 'to our parish in a cripple-cart, by the justice's warrant, and so expose us and all the relations to the last degree among our neighbours, and among those who know the good old gentleman their grandfather, who lived and flourished in this parish so many years, and was so well beloved among all people, and deserved it so well.'
'I don't value that one farthing, not I' says the wife; 'I'll keep none of them.'
Well, my dear', says her husband, 'but I value it, for I won't have such a blot lie upon the family, and upon your children; he was a worthy, ancient, and good man, and his name is respected among all his neighbours; it will be a reproach to you, that are his daughter, and to our children, that are his grandchildren, that we should let your brother's children perish, or come to be a charge to the public, in the very place where your family once flourished. Come, say no more; I will see what can be done.'
Upon this he sends and gathers all the relations together at a tavern hard by, and sent for the four little children, that they might see them; and they all, at first word, agreed to have them taken care of, and, because his wife was so furious that she would not suffer one of them to be kept at home, they agreed to keep them all together for a while; so they committed them to the poor woman that had managed the affair for them, and entered into obligations to one another to supply the needful sums for their maintenance; and, not to have one separated from the rest, they sent for the youngest from the parish where it was taken in, and had them all brought up together.
It would take up too long a part of this story to give a particular account with what a charitable tenderness this good person, who was but an uncle-in-law to them, managed that affair: how careful he was of them; went constantly to see them, and to see that they were well provided for, clothed, put to school, and, at last, put out in the world for their advantage; but it is enough to say he acted more like a father to them than