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asked for some biscuits, expecting to find such as we had at Boston ; but they made, it seems, none of that sort in Philadelphia. I then asked for a three-penny loaf. They made no loaves of that price. Finding myself ignorant of the prices as well as of the different kinds of bread, I desired him to let me have three penny worth of bread of some kind or other. He gave me three large rolls. I was surprised at receiving so much; I took them, however, and having no room in my pockets, I walked on with a roll under each arm, eating the third. In this manner I went through Market street to fourth street, and passed the house of Mr. Read, the father of my future wife. She was standing at the door, observed me, and thought with reason, that I made a very singular and grotesque appearance.
I then turned the corner, and went through Chesnut street, eating my roll all the way ; and having made this round, I found myself again on Market street wharf, near the boat in which I had arrived. I stepped into it to take a draught of river water, and finding myself satisfied with my first roll, I gave the other two to a woman and her child, who had come down the river with us in the boat, and was waiting to continue her journey. Thus refreshed, I regained the street, which was now full of well dressed people, all going the same way. I joined them, and was thus led to a large Quaker's meeting house, near the market place. I sat down with the rest, and after looking round me for some time, hearing nothing said, and being drowsy from my
last night's labour and want of rest, I fell into a sound sleep. In this state I continued till the assembly dispersed, when one of the congregation had the goodness to wake me. This was, consequently, the first house I entered, or in which I slept at Philadelphia.
I began again to walk along the streets by the river side, and looking attentively in the face of every one I met, I at length perceived a young Quaker, whose countenance pleased me. I accosted him, and begged him to inform me where a stranger might find a lodging. We were then near the sign of the • Three Mariners?. They receive travellers here, said he, but it is not a house that bears a good character; if you will go with me I will shew you a better one. He conducted me to the Crooked Billet, in Water street. There I ordered something for dinner, and during my meal, a number of curious questions were put to me; my youth and appearance exciting the suspicion of my being a runaway. After dinner my drowsiness returned, and I threw myself upon a bed without taking off my clothes, and I slept till six in the evening, when I was called to supper.
I afterwards went to bed at a very early hour, and did not wake till the next morning.
As soon as I got up, I put myself in as decent a a trim as I could, and went to the house of Andrew Bradford, the printer. I found his father in the shop, whom I had seen at New York.
Having travelled on horseback, he had arrived at Philadelphia before me. He introduced me to his son, who received me with civility, and gave me some breakfast; but he told me he had no occasion for a journeyman, having lately procured one. He added, that there was another printer newly settled in the town, of the name of Keimer, who might perhaps employ me; and in case of a refusal, I should be welcome to lodge at his house, and he would give me a little work now, and then, till something better should offer.
The old man offered to introduce me to the new printer. When we were at his house,“ neighbour, said he, I bring you a young man in the printing business, perhaps you may have need of his servi
Keimer asked me some questions, put a
composing stick in my hand to see how I could work, and then said, that at present he had nothing for me to do, but that he should soon be able to employ me. At the same time taking old Bradford for an inhabitant of the town well disposed towards him, he communicated his project to him, and the prospect he had of success. Bradford was careful not to discover that he was the father of the other printer ; and from what Keimer had said, that he hoped shortly to be in possession of the greater part of the business of the town, led him by artful questions, and by starting some difficulties, to disclose all his views, what his hopes were found. ed upon, and how he intended to proceed. present and heard it all. I instantly saw that one of the two was a cunning old fox, and the other a perfect novice. Bradford left me with Keimer, who was strangely surprised when I informed him who the old man was.
I found Keimer's printing materials to consist of an old damaged press, and a small font of wornout English letters, with which he was himself at work upon an elegy on Aquila Rose, whom I have mentioned above, an ingenious young man, and of an excellent character, highly esteemed in the town, secretary to the assembly, and a very tolerable poet. Keimer also made verses, but they were indifferent ones. He could not be said to write in verse, for his method was, to take and set the lines as they flowed from his muse; and, as he worked without copy, had but one set of letter cases, and the elegy would probably occupy all his type, it was impossible for any one to assist him. I endeavoured to put his press in order, which he had not yet used, and of which indeed he understood nothing; and having promised to come and work off his elegy as soon as it should be ready, I returned to the house of Bradford, who gave me some trifle to do for the present, for which I had my board and lodging.
in a few days Keimer sent for me to print off his elegy. He had now procured another set of letter-cases, and had a pamphlet to re-print, upon which he set me to work.
The two Philadelphia' printers appeared destitute of every qualification necessary in their profession. Bradford had not been brought up to it, and was very illiterate. Keimer, though he understood a little of the business, was merely a compositor, and wholly incapable of working a press. He had read one of the French prophets, and knew how to imitate their supernatural agitations. At the time of our first acquaintance he professed no particular religion, but a little of all upon occasion. He was totally ignorant of the world, and a great knave at heart, as I had afterwards an opportunity of experiencing.
Keimer could not endure that, working with him, I should lodge at Bradford's. He had indeed a house, but it was unfurnished, so that he could not take me in. He procured me a lodging at Mr. Read's, his landlord, whom I have already mentioned. My trunk and effects being now arrived, I thought of making, in the eyes of Miss Read, a more respectable appearance than when chance exhibited me to her view, eating my roll, and wandering in the streets.
From this period I began to contract acquaintance with such young people of the town as were fond of reading, and spent my evenings with them agreeably, while at the same time, I gained money by my industry; and, thanks to my frugality, lived contented. I thus forgot Boston as much as possible, and wished every one to be ignorant of the place of my residence, except my friend Collins, to whom I wrote, and who kept my secret.
As the limits of our work will not permit us to give an elaborate sketch of any one individual, we are compelled to stop the interesting memoirs
written by Dr. Franklin himself, and continue his biography in a more condensed form.
He re-appeared in his native town, after an absence of seven months, with a strong recommendation from sir William Keith to his father; was affectionately welcomed; and, though he failed in his main object, secured the consent of his parents to his return to Philadelphia. At New York, on his way back, he had an adventure which bespeaks, as does the conduct of Sir William Keith, the simplicity of the times, and the great superiority of Franklin, at so early an age, to his lowly condition. The governor of New York, a man of letters, hearing from the captain of the packet in which he sailed, that one of the passengers had a number of volumes on board, sent for our jobworkman, the passenger in question, showed him his library, and conversed courteously and largely with him about books and authors.
He enlisted himself anew at Philadelphia, with his first master, formed acquaintance with a number of young men of a speculative and literary turn, bestowed his leisure hours upon metaphysics and poetry, and kept his reasoning faculties in constant and invigorating exercise. His patron, sir William Keith, drew him by fine promises into a scheme of going to England, in order to purchase a set of types; with which he was to be established in business at home. He credulously embarked, and discovered, on his arrival in London, that he had been miserably duped, and must depend upon his own unaided exertions to find a subsistence in that vast capital. It is to be noted, in proof of the goodness of his heart, that he bears testimony, in his memoirs, to the valuable qualities and public services of the man who practised upon him this despicable and cruel imposition.
He was aceompanied to England by one of his literary associates, Ralph, who, being destitute of