Wednesday, March 3 1756

This day I appointed to go to Lewes to meet Mr Stephen Fletcher, but did not go. I wanted by a small parcel, and the roads were very bad; so my trouble and expense would have been more than the profit arising from what I should have bought. At home all day. Dined on a piece of pickled pork, light pudding and greens.

In the evening I was sent for down to Halland. Accordingly about 7 o’clock I called on Thomas Davy, and we went down. When I came, I found that it was Ann Smith had sent for me to ask my advice in the following affair (as she tells it): About 8 years ago she kept the house of Thomas Baker in the parish of Waldron, who was an elderly man. At the same time in all probability he might have a feeble insurrection of an unruly member, which might prompt him to make his addresses to her, as she says he did. As he found his affections slighted, and understanding she was indebted to Mr Venner of the same parish the sum of 2.7.0, and as a means, as he simply imagined, to ingratiate himself in her favor, he (as she solemnly avers) went and paid the same without her knowledge or orders. When he had so done, he never offered to make any drawback in her wages when she left him, though (she says) he often told her he had paid it. When she went away, she went and asked Mr Venner whether she owed him anything. He answered, “No!” So it is plain Baker had paid the money. But as Baker is now in low circumstances (though still a single person), he has lately made a demand or the same, notwithstanding it has been near 8 years since, and (as she says) [he] never pretended to have any demand on her before, and she always looked upon it as a free gift. Now my advice was as this; to wit, if what she repeated to me was true and that he actually paid it without her knowledge and designed it as a free gift to her without any proviso to the contrary, I thought she was not obliged to pay it. Only change in circumstances and gratitude should always oblige everyone to return favors where they have received any. But if it were any ways by her order he paid it, or if she was to outset it in her wages or to make him any other gratuity, and did not, I thought in justice she ought to pay him. Came home about 8:10. Read part of Homer’s Odyssey. At church in the morning.

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