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fervour, I believe, of an honest, though a new-born, purpose. I did not want advisers. As soon as my inclination to seriousness was perceived, I was taken up by some leading people in the religious world, as it is called, and introduced from one to another as a promising character, requiring to be led forward. I was an heiress-nobody knew to what, nor did I but on some unexplained understanding that I was in a capacity to receive and do a great deal of good, I became a person of importance in my sphereamong people whose attentions to me, whatever may have been their effect, had no motive but to promote my welfare. I was taken from party to party, and church to church, and meeting to meeting, in a per. petual round of religious dissipation. Nothing could be more delightful to me than this hurry of pious occupation : for, besides that I had a real and ardent pleasure in listening to the things of God, and an honest desire to learn them, there was in it a contrast to the monotony of my home, naturally pleasing to the youthful mind. I had been to a ball about six times in my life; I had yawned through a tea-party about once a-fortnight; I had driven round the parks for an hour every day : all the rest of my time I had been thrown upon my own resources, which were few enough, and the society of my grandmother, or that of about half-a-dozen intimates of my own age. But now there was somewhere to go every night: somebody to hear every morning ; somebody to see; somebody to be introduced to everywhere: mingled all with the stimulus of first-awakened feeling, as new as it was delightful : for I was too young to have tasted of the excitements of earthly passion. My dear old
grandmother looked on with a surprise that excited my mirth; and with an anxiety, which, though I then perceived it not, I think of now with pain,
Sometimes she ventured to complain that the regu
. larity of her house was destroyed : the family prayer was unattended, because the servants were out with the carriage. They were sent hither and thither, she knew not where ; all sorts of people came about, she knew not whom. I was never at liberty to bear her company; or rather to sit silent by her side, which she so called. She never thought to see such fashionable doings in her house. Still I was to do as I liked ; only things were not so in her day, when girls of eighteen stayed at home, read their books, and were happy with their parents.
6. This went on a considerable time. But there was too much of the light of truth upon my mind, not to show me, after a while, that, however much I was gaining for myself, I was doing no good to anybody else. A spare shilling in the collection-box was all that was rendered for what I considered the much received; and I became uneasy under the first perception, that selfishness, that one great principle of nature's sin, is selfish still, whichever way indulged. I might have taken into account, also, the actual privation and discomfort of my grandmother and her household, as the cost of my indulgence. Eagerly, and I believe again with honest purpose, I began to ask everybody what I could do. I saw others doing, why should I be useless to my generation? Alas! had any
of kind friends looked into my mind, and, seeing how light, how empty, how ignorant it was, advised me to devote the next five years to mental improvement and the study of myself, what defeat and disappointment they had spared me! But this they did not. My desire to do good was much approved, and many ways were suggested to me. I was taken to see a school, where I found a lady surrounded by fifty neatly-dressed girls, hanging with
fixed attention upon her words, gazing on her with mingled reverence and love, their little countenances seeming to gather the benevolence that beamed in hers. She was about twice my age. A calm and sober serenity of manner, a voice of tender interest, gave force to all she said. The simplicity of her expressions was only equalled by the correctness and carefulness of the thoughts she clothed in them. It seemed that, knowing everything, she remembered when she had known nothing ; and from the depths of experienced truth, could reach the heart that had yet experienced nothing. There was not a whisper among her audience, but when they responded to her questions, and showed, in doing so, the extent and importance of the knowledge she had imparted. My heart burned within me to do the same—to be the instrument of Heaven's mercy to the children of poverty. Why should I not teach? Why should I not have a school? A thousand projects were afloat in my head, and not a single misgiving of my powers was in
heart. I knew I should not be restricted in pecuniary means, and returned home full of elevation in the prospect of being useful. So full, I could not help telling my grandmother I was going to teach a school. She only answered me, with something that was not quite a sigh, 'God bless you, dear child, and teach you in his own good time. It must be owned my spirit fell for a moment at this contemptuous speech, as I esteemed it; but my respect for the old lady's piety had long since expired; and my respect for her judgment was ready to follow, whenever it should come in contact with my own.
“ I soon recovered my self-complacency, and the next day prepared for my task-prepared to teach, at a time when I knew absolutely nothing : not God
-for it was but little time that he had been to me even an object of inquiry; not his word, for as yet I had studied it but little; not myself, nor the beings I was to instruct, for the examination of my own heart had made no part of my religious exercises ; and in everything my mind was so uncultivated, and so habitually unexercised, I had no faculty of communicating knowledge, or facility in receiving it. Whether
any among those who were my advisers could have perceived this, I do not know. I could not. My grandmother's wash-house was quickly fitted up with forms: children were collected; new books and clean white aprons were provided for them. All my friends in succession were brought to see my school, and I was kindly congratulated on being the instrument of so much good. The good, however, was the only thing that never appeared : and though I so long expected it would come, I was not so deluded by vanity as to suppose it did. When the novelty was over, the children ceased to attend, though I bribed them with all manner of inducements. When they did come, they made a noise, paid no attention to my exhortations, and never seemed to understand what I said to them. If they had, they had been wiser than their teacher. Still I did my best. I scolded, preached, persuaded, remonstrated; stimulated them with emulation, which never failed to make them quarrel; and urged them by comparisons, which never failed of making one party arrogant, and the other inveterate. Still for a while I was sanguine. The more difficulty, the more merit in the performance. As fast as my scholars forsook me, I got others; and every moment of time I could command was engrossed with teaching. But after some considerable time the benches thinned; the books wore out; the aprons were unwashed; the friends
ceased to come; and, though I would not own it myself, I was really weary of my task; weary of repeating what none cared to hear, and none remembered. With a poignancy of disappointment equal to the earnestness of my desire to be useful, I was compelled to perceive that the children did not understand anything better for the time and toil I had expended on them. My heart was very sad under this failure, and my spirit much discouraged. I thought that God refused to bless my undertaking: even that I was not his servant; since he refused
labours. Other's success added poignancy to my mortification, and sin perhaps to my sorrow. My distress was real; and so much was I at the moment humbled by it, it would have been happiness indeed had any one suggested that I might have mistaken my calling, and set myself to teach, at a period when I had better have been gathering in a store of knowledge for future distribution. However much my pride might have been wounded, I should have been relieved from the apprehension that God disowned my service.
“ About this time, my grandmother determined to remove into the country—for her health, she said but I believe, because she was tired of the disturbance I made in her household economy, and distressed by my perpetual absence from her. A house was taken for a twelvemonth at a watering-place on the coast, whither we removed. I felt little regret at abandoning an undertaking which had cost me so much disappointment. My city society I did indeed regret; but was assured I should find great opportunities of usefulness in my new residence. This consoled me.
“My first acquaintance was with two maiden ladies, advanced in life, and of a station in society