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You may believe we had some weeping at home upon this occasion. But the Lord is very good. Your mamma has been supported, and is pretty well.
I long to see you, and especially now, that we may read Mr. Gray's Elegy together. I hope we shall be permitted to be with you on the famous exhibition day, and I please myself with the thought, that you will appear to advantage. I wish, for your own sake, you could get the better of that trepidation and hurry which discomposes you when the eyes of company are upon you; but it is a fault on the right side, and much better than a bold, pert, selfconfident carriage, which is very disgusting in some young people; but there is a medium wbich I wish you to aim at.
I am your affectionate,
June 11, 1783. My dear Child, I THANK you for your last letter, which
pleased me and your mamma very much. We thought it well written, and well expressed. Take as mnch care as you please how you write, and use as little study as you please, what to write. When you are surrounded with the beauties of nature, you need not puzzle yourself with thinking what to say first: but set down first what first occurs to your mind: when you have written that, something else will offer. Try to write just what you think, and write as often and as largely as your inany important businesses will allow; for nothing but practice will give you a habit of writing easily: and practice will do it. We could fill up as large a sheet as you, with repeating how much we love you; I hope and believe there is no love lost on either side. Love will make you desirous to please and oblige us, and love will prompt us to do every
thing in our power to oblige and please you; and so I hope we shall go on loving and pleasing as long as we live.
We often think of Monday se'nnight, when we hope to come and see your exhibition. I promise myself that your part will do you credit, and give us satisfaction. I could like to come over and read the Elegy with
you once more; but I know I shall not be able, and I believe it will not be necessary. I doubt not but you will do it very well, especially if you can get the better of your diffidence and trepidation. But I had much rather see you a little timid, than see you assuming and affected, as some young people are. I could wish you to have just so much feeling when you begin, as might intimate a respect for the company; and then that you should enter into the spirit of the poem, so as in a manner to forget every body present, till you have done. There is a great beauty in the cadence and melody of the verse, if
you can hit it off without overdoing it. If you
understand and can feel the subject, you will express it properly.
I hope the Elegy will likewise lead you to some profitable reflections for your own use, and which may excite your thankfulness to the that among
Lord. To him you owe your capacity, and to him likewise you are indebted for the advantages you have of cultivation. It is possible,
the children we meet half naked in the streets, there may be some who might have been amiable and admired in life, if they had been favoured with the helps which the good providence of God has afforded you. But they grow up, poor things, in ignorance and wickedness, after the example of those among whom they live. And though you would not have been like these, yet it is probable you would not have been, as you now may, and I hope will be, if the Lord had not sent you to us. Though you were deprived of your own parents when you were very young, perhaps no child, in such a case, has had less cause to feel the loss; because the Lord not only made us willing to take care of you, but gave us, immediately on our receiving you, a tender affection for
you had been our own; and from that time your welfare has been a very principal object with us. You have been guarded against the follies and vanities which might otherwise have taken an early possession of your mind; and you have been acquainted with the means of grace, and the blessed Gos
you, as if
pel. I trust the Lord has a gracious design to lead you to himself, by all these favourable circumstances in which he has placed you; for, without this, every thing you can learn or attain, would be but of little worth. I wishy. indeed, to see you possessed of every accomplishment you can acquire at school ; but nothing will satisfy me for you but the grace of God.
I am your very affectionate.