Admiral Chatillon had gone one day to hear mass in the Dominican Friars' chapel; a poor fellow came and begged his charity. He was at the moment occupied with his devotions, and he gave him several pieces of gold from his pocket, without counting them, or thinking what they were. The large amount astonished the beggar, and as M. Chatillon was going out of the church-door, the poor man waited for him: "Sir," said he, showing him what he had given him, "I cannot think that you intended to give me so large a sum, and am very ready to return it." The admiral, admiring the honesty of the man, said, "I did not, indeed, my good man, intend to have given you so much; but, since you have the generosity to offer to return it, I will have the generosity to desire you to keep it; and here are five pieces more for you."
Dean Swift being in the country, on a visit to Dr. Sheridan, they were informed that a beggar's wedding was about to be celebrated. Sheridan played well upon the violin; Swift therefore proposed that he should go to the place where the ceremony was to be performed, disguised as a blind fiddler, while he attended him as his man. Thus accoutred they set out, and were received by the jovial crew with great acclamation. They had plenty of good cheer, and never was a more joyous wedding seen. All was mirth and frolic; the beggars told stories, played tricks, cracked jokes, sung and danced, in a manner which afforded high amusement to the fiddler and his man, who were well rewarded when they departed, which was not till late in the evening. The next day the Dean and Sheridan walked out in their usual dress, and found many of their late companions, hopping about upon crutches, or pretending to be blind, pouring forth melancholy complaints and supplications for charity. Sheridan distributed among them the money he had received; but the Dean, who hated all mendicants, fell into a violent passion, telling them of his adventure of the preceding day, and threatening to send every one of them to prison. This had such an effect, that the blind opened their eyes, and the lame threw away their crutches, running away as fast as their legs could carry them.
As Sir Walter Scott was riding once with a friend in the neighbourhood of Abbotsford, he came to a field gate, which an Irish beggar who happened to be near hastened to open for him. Sir Walter was desirous of rewarding his civility by the present of sixpence, but found that he had not so small a coin in his purse. "Here, my good fellow," said the baronet, "here is a shilling for you; but mind, you owe me sixpence." "God bless your honour!" exclaimed Pat: "may your honour live till I pay you."
A beggar once asked alms of the Emperor Maximilian I., who bestowed upon him a small coin. The beggar appeared dissatisfied with the smallness of the gift, and on being asked why, he replied that it was a very little sum for an emperor, and that his highness should remember that we were all descended from one father, and were therefore all brothers. Maximilian smiled good-humouredly, and replied: "Go—go, my good man: if each of your brothers gives you as much as I have done, you will very soon be far richer than me."
THE "ANGEL" (about to give a beggar a dime)—"Poor man! And are you married?"
BEGGAR—"Pardon me, madam! D'ye think I'd be relyin' on total strangers for support if I had a wife?"
MAN—"Is there any reason why I should give you five cents?"
BOY—"Well, if I had a nice high hat like yours I wouldn't want it soaked with snowballs."
MILLIONAIRE (to ragged beggar)—"You ask alms and do not even take your hat off. Is that the proper way to beg?"
BEGGAR—"Pardon me, sir. A policeman is looking at us from across the street. If I take my hat off he'll arrest me for begging; as it is, he naturally takes us for old friends."
Once, while Bishop Talbot, the giant "cowboy bishop," was attending a meeting of church dignitaries in St. Paul, a tramp accosted a group of churchmen in the hotel porch and asked for aid.
"No," one of them told him, "I'm afraid we can't help you. But you see that big man over there?" pointing to Bishop Talbot.
"Well, he's the youngest bishop of us all, and he's a very generous man. You might try him."
The tramp approached Bishop Talbot confidently. The others watched with interest. They saw a look of surprise come over the tramp's face. The bishop was talking eagerly. The tramp looked troubled. And then, finally, they saw something pass from one hand to the other. The tramp tried to slink past the group without speaking, but one of them called to him:
"Well, did you get something from our young brother?"
The tramp grinned sheepishly. "No," he admitted, "I gave him a dollar for his damned new cathedral at Laramie!"
To get thine ends, lay bashfulnesse aside;
Who feares to aske, doth teach to be deny'd.—Herrick.
Well, whiles I am a beggar I will rail
And say, there is no sin but to be rich;
And being rich, my virtue then shall be
To say, there is no vice but beggary.—Shakespeare.