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heart; for, next to your dear mamma, there is nothing so dear to me in this world as you. But the Lord gave you to me, and I have given you to him again, many and many a time upon my knees, and therefore I hope you must, and will, and shall, be his.
I hardly know any accomplishment I more wish you to obtain, than a talent of writing free and easy letters : and I am ready to think, if you could freely open your mind to me, you might inform me of something I should be glad to know, or you might propose to me some things which now and then trouble your thoughts, and thereby give me an opportunity of attempting to relieve, encourage, or direct, you. For these reasons I have requested of your governess to permit you now and then to seal up your letters to me or your mamma without showing them to her. I have asked this liberty for you, only when you write to us; nor even then always, but at such times as you find yourself disposed to write more freely than you could do if your letters were to be seen before you send them. I have likewise told her, that I would desire you to be as careful in writing as if she was to see your letters, and not send us pothooks and hangers, as they say,
because you know she will not inspect your
My dear child,
January 27, 1783. My dear Child, W ANT of leisure, and not want of inclina
tion, prevented my writing before you left home ; and I now take the first opportunity that has offered since you went from us. If I had no more correspondents than you have, you would hear from me very often; nor can I expect to hear from you so often as I wish, because I consider you likewise have your engagements; and though, perhaps, I am not willing to allow that your business is as important as some of mine, it must, and ought, for the present, to take up a good deal of your time. You have not only reading, and writing, and arithmetic to mind, but you work sprigs and flowers, and maps, and cut bits of paper to pieces, and learn a strange language, so that you are very busy. to be sure; for idleness and sauntering are very great evils, and doors by which a thousand, temptations and
miscliiefs may enter. Your mamma and I are well pleased with you, on the whole; your affection is not lost upon us; we think we can perceive an improvement in you, and we believe the things in which you yet fail, proceed rather from inattention than from the want of a desire to please; and we have a good hope that, as you grow older, you will outgrow that heedlessness which you sometimes discover. You are not yet a woman, but neither are you a child; you are almost fourteen, and at that age a certain degree of thought and forecast may be hoped for, which it would have been unreasonable to expect from you some few years ago. It has pleased God to give you à capacity for improvement; and, as you see we are so situated, that neither your mamma nor I can bestow that time and attention upon you, when you are at home, which we would wish, I hope you will make the best use you possibly can of the opportunities you have at school. It is no pleasure to us that you should live so much from us, for we love you dearly, and love your company; but it is what we submit to for your advantage.
You desired me to send you news, when I should write; but I have little to tell you. ;
'l'he public news you will hear, I suppose,