I have mentioned several times the pertness of Mrs. Betty to me; and now, having a little time upon my hands, I will give you a short dialogue that passed just now between us. It may, perhaps, be a little relief to you from the dull subjects with which I am perpetually teasing you.
As she attended me at dinner, she took notice, That Nature is satisfied with a very little nourishment: and thus she complimentally proved it—For, Miss, said she, you eat nothing; yet never looked more charmingly in your life.
As to the former part of your speech, Betty, said I, you observe well; and I have often thought, when I have seen how healthy the children of the labouring poor look, and are, with empty stomachs, and hardly a good meal in a week, that God Almighty is very kind to his creatures, in this respect, as well as in all others in making much not necessary to the support of life; when three parts in four of His creatures, if it were, would not know how to obtain it. It puts me in mind of two proverbial sentences which are full of admirable meaning.
What, pray, Miss, are they? I love to hear you talk, when you are so sedate as you seem now to be.
The one is to the purpose we are speaking of: Poverty is the mother of health. And let me tell you, Betty, if I had a better appetite, and were to encourage it, with so little rest, and so much distress and persecution, I don’t think I should be able to preserve my reason.
There’s no inconvenience but has its convenience, said Betty, giving me proverb for proverb. But what is the other, Madam?
That the pleasures of the mighty are not obtained by the tears of the poor. It is but reasonable, therefore, methinks, that the plenty of the one should be followed by distempers; and that the indigence of the other should be attended with that health, which makes all its other discomforts light on the comparison. And hence a third proverb, Betty, since you are an admirer of proverbs: Better a hare-foot than none at all; that is to say, than not to be able to walk. Continue reading