Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/80

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26
THE LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE

his own contented disposition and Mrs. Blake's excellent management, left him even in person, although far from gross, round and comfortable, and at one time nearly what may be called portly. By way of contradiction to the report of Blake's poverty, be it known that he could even find money enough to lend; for when a certain free-thinking speculator, the author of many elaborate philosophical treatises, said that his children had not a dinner, Blake lent him £40, nearly all he had at that time by him, and had the mortification upon calling upon him on the following Sunday, to find that his wife, who was a dressy and what is called a pretty woman, had squandered some large portion of the money upon her worthless sides. She had the audacity to ask Mrs. Blake's opinion of a very gorgeous dress, purchased the day following Blake's compassionate gift: for there is little doubt so great a difficulty as the payment of a debt never was attempted by such careless ones as those. Such people are a prey upon the assiduous, and a heavy drag to the never-failing industry of the active man, whose sagacity is wealth, whose energy is gain, and whose labours are ever blessed with the abundance they deserve. Industry and frugality accompany each other through lands fat with plenty, and meadows fed with the streams of exuberance; they enjoy and praise, are satisfied and rejoice. Idleness and