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I resided, were constantly endeavoring to undermine my interest in the heart of their kinsman. I was to pass some time in a neighboring city, and, to render my visit more pleasing, my patron, at my departure, furnished me with a sum of money; this sum I carelessly put into my pocket, without examination, until calling in my way, upon my mother, I discovered, that my patron had, as I supposed, made a capital mistake; that he had given me gold, instead of silver. I mentioned this circumstance to my mother, in presence of one of her neighbors; and without announcing my design, I immediately returned home for the purpose of rectifying the error. Upon my unexpected appearance before Mr. Little, with information of his mistake, he smiled and said, that he never kept his gold and silver together. 'It was my design,' said he, 'to give you gold; but I advise you not to throw it away.' I pursued my journey, and passed my time agreeably; but whether I threw away the bounty of my benefactor, I do not, at this period, recollect; I only know that I brought not a shilling home with me: in fact, I was never sufficiently sensible of the value of money, to retain it in my possession. I was received on my return from this visit with uncommon pleasure; and some time after, my kind patron, taking me into his private apartment, thus addressed me: 'I need not my dear, inform you, that you have many enemies, and I regret to say, that those enemies are among my nearest relatives; but continuing in the paths of rectitude, you will be beyond the reach of their most malignant calumnies. Soon after you left home the other day, the clergyman, who has recently become the husband of my niece, called upon me, requesting a private audience; and when retired into this room, he observed, that he conceived himself in duty bound to apprize me, that I was not sufficiently acquainted with the character of the person I had adopted; that he was not honest, that he had obtained money from me, to which he had no right. • You gave him, sir, as you believed, some pieces of silver, but upon examination they proved to be guineas; this fact I can prove and if he could thus act, what may he not do?' I told this officious gentleman, that I had really intended to give you gold; but that you, conceiving I had made a mistake, forbore to appropriate the money, and speedily returned home, for the purpose of making the communication. Our clergyman departed, and you will easily conceive, not a little humbled. I mention this circumstance to you, my son, to put you upon your guard. It is my wish, that, in future, you should not be so communicative.' This little anecdote was exultingly repeated to me by the good lady and her daughters, who never failed triumphantly to report every little occurrence, which they believed would contribute either to my pleasure or reputation.
My establishment in this family rendered me an object of envy, even among some of my religious connexions. Objections were raised against my supposed erroneous sentiments: I was more than suspected of retaining my father's Calvinistic doctrines. Mr. Wes
ley received information against me. He set a watch over me; thus fixing upon me the evil eye of suspicion. A maiden sister, considerably advanced in years, became a dependent resident in the family of her brother. Her character was marked by duplicity, and she delighted in mischief. The tales she propagated were as various, as the parties which listened to her narrations; and all her communications were made under the strict seal of secrecy. Young and unsuspecting, I found it difficult to encounter enemies of such opposite descriptions. I had some friends, of whose affection I doubted not; with these friends I passed much time, and I communicated to them everything, and they, in their turn, communicated every thing to me; while many circumstances, thus confided, were, to my great astonishment, in circulation! My situation became uneasy to me: I was fond of being in company abroad; this was very disagreeable to my friends at home; they expected in me a friend and companion, who would, by reading and conversation, give to their fireside new charms; and both parents, and daughters, were mortified and disappointed. Mr. Little expressed his disapprobation of my frequent absences. I was hurt; Mrs. Little shed tears, and entreated me to change my conduct. You have, said she, in this wide world no such friends as we are disposed to prove ourselves; you will be abundantly more happy at home, than you can be abroad. You should supply to us the place of our deceased children: we expect consolation from your society. You are greatly beloved in this house; your enemies are not under this roof. For God's sake, if you have any regard for us, if you have any regard for any of your friends, if you would secure your own happiness, or the happiness of your mother, do not thus conduct.' Thus, with many entreaties, did this dear, affectionate lady, endeavor to arrest my wandering; and, while attending to her friendly lectures, my best resolutions were in full force, and I determined never to offend again. But going out to meeting, one and another of my religious connexions would take me by the arm: I could not avoid engagements; and when I returned home, every individual of the family, Miss Little excepted, had frequently retired to rest. The good girl waited to apprize me of her father's displeasure. Much did she expostulate; and her expostulations were not always unmingled with tears. My mother was rendered extremely wretched: I saw the gathering storm, but I had no sufficient fortitude to abide its ravages. My enemies derived consolation from my indiscretion, and my infelicities daily augmented. Whenever I was censured, I was rendered more abundantly unhappy; and I formed a serious resolution to quit both the family of Mr. Little, and the country, and to seek an asylum in my native place-England. For many days I continued obdurate, no remonstrances could influence me: I must absolutely commence a traveller-I must go to England. I had no object, yet I must depart for England-I could not tell why, indeed. It was believed I was distracted. What, relinquish fortune, and such connexions, and
such a prospect?-for it was generally believed, that I was to be united in marriage with Miss Little. Nay, her father was informed by his kindred, that I was absolutely clandestinely seeking to gain the affections of the young lady; and that they believed I was already in possession of her heart. But Mr. Little gave no credit to this report: he knew, that my evenings were passed abroad, and that this was the only source of dissatisfaction.
It happened, however, one evening, when I had been out late, and he, according to custom, retired to rest, I found, onmy return home, Miss Little waiting in the parlor, for the purpose of making a communication, which she conceived would be of consequence to me. We sat some time in conversation, by which we were mutually interested: she made known to me the invidious remarks of her uncles and aunts, and their displeasure at her, for not uniting with them in their sentiments: she dwelt upon the grief, which my inattention to the wishes of her parents occasioned them; and, upon this part of her subject, she became affected even to tears. I also was greatly affected, and for the first time in my life, taking her hand, I impressed upon it a kiss of fraternal affection; when, to our great astonishment, her father entered the apartment. Had we seen a spectre, we could not have been more appalled. He stood for some moments speechless, until fixing his eyes indignantly on my face, which was certainly covered with confusion, in a very pointed and significant manner, he said, 'So sir!' and, taking his daugdter by the hand, he conducted her from the parlor, leaving me to my own reflections. Words are inadequate to the description of my agonies, during the residue of that night. An idea of Miss Little, in any other character than that of a very dear sister, had never crossed my mind; yet suspicion was now furnished with a weapon against me, which would abundantly enforce the report retailed to Mr. Little, by his kindred. I have often wondered, that, at an age so susceptible of impression, I did not become more warmly attached to Miss Little: she was a most lovely, and amiable young woman; and she certainly gave me every reason, which a modest, delicate, and sensible female could give, to believe she was not absolutely disinclined to listen to a tale of love. My apathy can only be accounted for, by a recurrence to an unquestionable fact; my heart was wholly engrossed by my religious connexions. I passed this memorable night in my chamber, without entering my bed. I descended the stairs in the morning, with the feeling of a malefactor: I dreaded the sight of every one in the house. Mr. Little saw me, but spake not to me: Mrs. Little addressed me, in the language of kindness: their daughter was not present, and I am persuaded she was not reduced to the necessity of feigning indisposition, as a pretence for absence. After breakfast, Mrs. Little, in a whisper, directed me to retire into the back parlor, where she would speedily join me. With trembling dread I obeyed: she soon appeared, the shutters were closed, just light enough to see her, and be seen by her. I saw she had been in tears: she was a most kind
hearted lady. I could not speak; she commanded me to be seated: I drew a chair for her, and another for myself: she sat down, and I seated myself by her. After a pause, she began: 'Tell me, I conjure you, tell me, what I ought to understand by the appearances of this morning? Answer honestly the questions I shall put to you: but I know your answers will be literally true. My poor girl is very much distressed; her father is very reserved, and very sad; he will make no reply to my inquiries, and iny child is also silent. Tell me, I repeat, what is the matter?' I came home late last night, madam ; no one was up but Miss Little, who, like an affectionate sister, informed me she had something to communicate to me, with which I ought to be acquainted: I listened to her, till I became greatly affected with what I heard, and, deeply sensible of her goodness, we were mingling our tears, when thus thrown off my guard, I regret to say, that I ain apprehensive I committed an unpardonable offence. I am mortified, while I confess to you, my dear madam, that I had the boldness to press to my lips the dear hand, which seemed extended to rescue me from indiscretion; but indeed, my dear lady, it was the first time I ever dared to take so great a liberty, and I would give the world I had not then been guilty of so much temerity. At the moment Mr. Little entered, I felt as if I should have sunk under his indignant glance: Miss Little was greatly discomposed, while her father, with a voice rendered tremulous by anger, significantly said-'So, sir!'-and conducted his daughter out of the room. This, my dear lady, is the whole I know of the matter. I fear, Miss Little will never forgive me, for creating her so much distress: I had infinitely rather be dead, than alive; I dread the eye of Mr. Little, and it is my opinion, I ought immediately to quit your hospitable mansion. Alas! my dear child, I know not what to say; you believe you ought to quit us! Would to God you had never thus thought. This persuasion is the source of all our unhappiness, How often have I told you, that no enemy could ever injure you, if your own conduct was uniformly correct. You have deeply wounded a heart that loves you. I promised myself, that you would become a large addition to our domestic felicity. But you are apprehensive you have offended beyond forgiveness! Alas! my daughter is more distressed for you than for herself; you know not how much she has suffered on your account; you know not how much we all suffer! Why, my dear child, will you thus afflict your best friend?' I am, my dear madam, grieved to have been the source of so much distress to persons so dear to me; but I shall shortly be out of the way of offending any one. 'What do you mean?' To quit this house, to quit this country. The dear lady threw her materal arms around me, and with flowing tears interrogated: 'Is it thus you will avoid offending us? Ah, my dear child, how little do you know of us, or of yourself. For God's sake, let me persuade you not to take so rash a step! Where would you go, and what would you do? Would you leave a home, an envied home, and thus, while your dearest
friends, gratify your malignant foes?' But, my dear madam, it is impossible I can continue under this roof. Mr. Little will not restore me his confidence: my felicity in this family is fled, forever fled. 'You are mistaken, your happiness rests entirely with yourself; be but uniformly discreet, be but the companion we expected, when we adopted you, and all will yet be well.' But, madam, the eye and ear of Mr. Little will now be open against me; suspicion will be on the alert, and he will accept the tales of my enemies, as testimonies of sacred writ. 'Believe it not; think no more of this untoward business; you have but one enemy who can essentially injure you, and that enemy is yourself. I will be responsible for my family; you shall not be molested in this house, only convince us, that you love us; do but prove, that you are more attached to us, than to any other individuals, and we are satisfied. Do but reflect, how delightfully we might pass our time together. The business of the day closed, and we assembled in the parlor; you with you book, we your admiring audience, until we are summoned to supper; then, after you have closed our serene day by an appropriate, and affecting address to the God who created, and who has hitherto preserved us, we retire to an early pillow, soothed, and gratified, our sleep cannot but be refreshing. Why, what a paradise would our abode become. But, my child, when you pass every evening abroad, you know not what a melancholy group you render us. We are dumb; our countenances are sad; our silence is sometimes broken by Mr. Little, who questions in anger, Where is our young gentleman tonight? any society but ours!' Then follows a heavy sigh: 'Well, let us go to bed, it will be late before he returns; but this will never do.' We dare not open our lips, but my girls mingle their tears with mine.' Greatly moved by these observations, I sincerely repented of my past conduct; and I determined I would, in all things, conform myself to the wishes of my parental friends. I beheld the family picture presented before me by the dear lady: I beheid it with rapture, and I decisively said: yes, indeed, my future evenings shall all be devoted to a family so charming, and thus will my days be passed in peace. I promised the dear lady, solemnly I promised, that I would be all she wished; and I communicated to her bosom inexpressible delight. I left her in tears, but they were tears of rapture: I retired to my chamber; I threw myself upon my knees, I supplicated pardon of my heavenly Father, and, with a devout heart, I implored his supporting aid. A petition to my Creator always possessed the potent power of refreshing my soul: I was greatly refreshed, and I looked forward with renewed complacency. In a few hours, I was summoned to dinner; at the door of the dining-room, I was met by Mr. Little; no cloud rested upon his countenance: I entered the dining-room, where were seated my charming, my faithful friends, the mother, and her daughters; their countenances were animated, but their eyes bore testimony to their previous agitation: our interview, and hour of dining, were highly gratifying. It is true, many words were not uttered, but there is,