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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 1 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v1].
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CHAPTER II. Although very short, will contain more than half my life.

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I once had a maiden aunt, who used to say it
was easier to raise children than chickens; from
which it might be proper to infer, that she hated
little boys and girls, and loved poultry. The inference
may be true, or not; but none, except the
inexperienced, will doubt the truth of her saying.
Certain it is, children will thrive upon means incredibly
small; and where one little existence is
suffered to go out for want of sustenance, dozens
are surfeited out of the world, before they are
surfeited with it.

I had one sister; she was two years older than
myself, and we grew up together almost miraculously;
for my father having expended nearly all
his means in a legal contest with a stubborn lawyer,
had but a trifle to bestow upon his offspring.
The next ten years of his existence he lived upon
hope, expecting, at the death of my grandfather,
who was rich, to come into possession of his property,
jointly with my uncle. But my grandfather
was an implacable old man, and for some reason,
which I never rightly understood, he took a

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dislike to my father, and bequeathed him but one
dollar, leaving the bulk of his property to my
uncle. Although the disappointment to my father
was very great, when the only prop upon which
his hopes rested was knocked from under him, yet
the reflection that his father had gone into an unchangeable
existence with hatred in his heart
against him, gave him more pain than the mere
loss of the property. When the full extent of
our misfortunes was known, domestic matters
were much straiter with us than before my grandfather's
death. My father had seemingly lost
all his energy; and my mother, to solace herself,
took to two articles of domestic manufacture,
which owe their support chiefly to indolent old
ladies, and romantic young ones; viz., novels
and snuff.

My sister and myself were left to follow the
bent of our own inclinations, which would no
doubt have led us into the street, where the inclinations
of young folks generally lead them, had
it not been that we were very proud, and our little
hearts could not brook the sight of our cousins
better dressed than overselves, and, as we were
taught to believe, at our expense. We had no
companions, and all our little stock of knowledge
was gained from the books which my mother read.

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Miserable food it was for the minds of young creatures
like us, who had no opportunities of correcting
by observation the strange accounts we read of the
world we lived in. And so, in this idle manner I
grew up, ignorant of every thing around me, and
with dreamy, ill-defined apprehensions of the way
of the world. I had attained to my seventeenth
year; and I might have continued until now doing
nothing better than reading novels, or what is
worse, perhaps, writing them, had it not been for
a very trifling incident, which sent me forth into
the world to encounter the adventures which I am
now about to relate, for the especial instruction and
benefit of my kind reader.

-- 008 --

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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 1 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v1].
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