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The apples are extremely welcome and do bravely to eat after our salt pork; the minced pies are not yet come to hand, but I suppose we shall find them among the things expected up from Bethlehem on Tuesday; the capillaire is excellent, but none of us having taken cold as yet, we have only tasted it.
As to our lodging, 'tis on deal feather-beds, in warm blankets, and much more comfortable than when we lodged at our inn the first night after we left home; for the woman being about to put very damp sheets on the bed, we desired her to air them first; half an hour afterward she told us the bod was ready and the sheets well aired. I got into bed, but jumped out immediately, finding them as cold as death and partly frozen. She had aired them indeed, but it was out upon the hedge. I was forced to wrap myself up in my great-coat and woolen trousers. Everything else about the bed was shockingly dirty.
As I hope in a little time to be with you and my family and chat things over, I now only add that I am, dear Debby, Your affectionate husband,
TO MISS HUBBARD.*
PHILADELPHIA, 23d February, 1756. I OONDOLE with you. We have lost a most dear and valuable relation. But it is the will of God and nature
* This letter was occasioned by the death of Dr. Franklin's brother, Mr. John Franklin.
that these mortal bodies be laid aside when the soul is to enter into real life. This is rather an embryo state, a preparation for living. A man is not completely born until he be dead. Why, then, should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals, a new member added to their happy society ?
We are spirits. That bodies should be lent us while they can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, or in doing good to our fellow-creatures, is a kind and benevolent act of God. When they become unfit for these purposes and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of an aid become an incumbrance, and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolent that a way is provided by which we may get rid of them. Death is that way. We ourselves, in some cases, prudently choose a partial death. A mangled, painful limb which cannot be restored we willingly cut off, He who plucks out a tooth parts with it freely, since the pain goes with it; and he who quits the whole body parts at once with all pains and possibilities of pains and diseases which it was liable to or capable of making him suffer.
Our friend and we were invited abroad on a party of pleasure which is to last forever. His chair was ready first and he is gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together, and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow and know where to find him? Adieu,
TO MRS. JANE MEOOM.
NEW YORK, 19th April, 1757. DEAR SISTER: I wrote a few lines to you yesterday, but omitted to answer yours relating to sister Dousi. As having their own way is one of the greatest com forts of life to old people, I think their friends should endeavor to accommodate them in that as well as in anything else. When they have long lived in a house it becomes natural to them; they are almost as closely connected with it as the tortoise with his shell; they die if you tear them out of it; old folks and old trees, if you remove them, 'tis ten to one that you kill them; so let our good old sister be no more importuned on that head. We are growing old fast ourselves and shall expect the same kind of indulgences ; if we give them we shall have a right to receive them in our turn.
And as to her few fine things, I think she is in the right not to sell them, and for the reason she gives, that they will fetch but little; when that little is spent they would be of no further use to her; but perhaps the expectation of possessing them at her death may make that person tender and careful of her and helpful to her to the amount of ten times their value. If so they are put to the best use they possibly can be.
I hope you visit sister as often as your affairs will permit and afford her what assistance and comfort you can in her present situation. Old age, infirmities, and poverty, joined, are afflictions enough. The neglect and slights of friends and near relations should never be added. People in her circumstances are apt to suspect this, sometimes without cause ; appearances should, therefore, be attended to in our conduct toward them, as well as realities. I write by this post to Cousin Williams to continue his care, which I doubt not he will do.
We expect to sail in about a week, so that I can hardly hear from you again on this side the water; but let me have a line from you now and then while I am in London. I expect to stay there at least a twelvemonth. Direct your letters to be left for me at the Pennsylvania Coffee-house, Birchin Lane, London. My love to all, from, dear sister, Your affectionate brother,
B. FRANKLIN. P. S.-April 25. We are still here and perhaps may be here a week longer. Once more adieu, my dear sister.
TO MISS STEVENSON.
PARIS, 14th September, 1767. DEAR POLLY: I am always pleased with a letter from you, and I flatter myself you may be sometimes pleased in receiving one from me, though it should be of little importance, such as this, which is to consist of a few occasional remarks made here and in my journey hither.
Soon after I left you in that agreeable society at Bromley, I took the resolution of making a trip with
Sir John Pringle into France. We set out on the 28th past. All the way to Dover we were furnished with post-chaises, hung so as to lean forward, the top coming down over one's eyes like a hood, as if to prevent one's seeing the ucontry; which being one of my great pleasures, I was engaged in perpetual disputes with the innkeepers, hostlers, and postilions about getting the straps taken up a hole or two before and let down as much behind, they insisting that the chaise leaning forward was an ease to the horses and that the contrary would kill them. I suppose the chaise leaning forward looks to them like a willingness to go forward, and that its hanging back shows reluctance. They added other reasons that were no reasons at all, and made me, as upon a hundred other occasions, almost wish that mankind had never been endowed with a reasoning faculty, since they know so little how to make use of it and so often mislead themselves by it, and that they had been furnished with a good sensible instinct instead of it.
At Dover, the next morning, we embarked for Calais with a number of passengers who had never before been at sea. They would previously make a hearty breakfast, because if the wind should fail we might not get over till supper-time. Doubtless they thought that when they had paid for their breakfast they had a right to it, and that when they had swallowed it they were sure of it. But they had scarce been out half an hour before the sea laid claim to it, and they were obliged to deliver it up. So that it seems there are uncertainties, even beyond those between the cup and the lip. If ever you go to sea, take my advice and live sparingly a day or two beforehand.
uncertain deliver it laid claim