Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/83

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29
THE LIFE OF WILLIAM BLAKE

never more to forsake them for pelf and portraiture.

A beautiful story may be related in which Blake's means as well as his sympathetic nature may be further established. A young man passed his house daily whose avocations seemed to lead him backward and forward to some place of study, carrying a portfolio under his arm. He looked interesting and eager, but sickly. After some time Blake sent Mrs. Blake to call the young man in; he came and told them that he was studying the arts. Blake from this took a high interest in him, and gave him every instruction possible; but, alas! there was a worm lying at the root, whose bite, however, Blake was raised up to assuage. The young man shortly after fell sick, and was laid upon his bed; his illness was long and his sufferings were great, during which time Mrs. Blake or Blake never omitted visiting him daily and administering medicine, money, or wine, and every other requisite until death relieved their adopted of all earthly care and pain. Every attention, every parental tenderness was exhibited by the charitable pair. Blake could not, therefore, have been poor, or at all events he could not possibly be in starvation, to have been able to have rendered such timely and such benevolent assistance to others. Besides, it is a fact known to the writer, that Mrs. Blake's frugality