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LETTER VII. From the young, Gentleman to his mother, during
his Apprenticeship. Honoured Mother,—Your having retired to the country, has hindered me from writing to you so often as I could wish. Ever since I was bound to Mr. Anson, he has treated me with every sort of indulgence, and I have endeavoured to acquire the good-will of all our customers. I know that you are so straitened in your own circumstances, as not to be able to afford me pocket-money; but I have the pleasure to tell you, that Mrs. Newton has taken care in that particular, and generously supplies me from time to time. In every part of my conduct I shall endeavour to act consistently with the principles of virtue, and am, with the utmost respect and duty, your affectionate son.
Honoured Mother,—In my last I informed you that my worthy benefactress Mrs. Newton, had been extremely ill ; I have the pleasure to assure you, that she is now perfectly recovered. The happiness of my present situation may be conceived, but it is not in my power to describe it. After we get up in the morning, the family are called together to return thanks to the Almighty for his preserving them during the preceding night, and to implore his protection on the remaining part of the day ; afterwards we retire to breakfast. During the forenoon the young ones walk into the garden, or the fields, whilst the good lady is employed in dispensing medicines to her poor tenants. At one o'clock we dine, and afterwards retire to the summer-house, when each, in her turn, reads some part of the best English authors, whilst the others are employed in needle-work. I have received a letter from my brother, and am glad to hear he is settled in so good a family. I am, honoured Madam,
Your affectionate and dutiful daughter.
LETTER IX. From a young man to his Father, desiring him to
intercede with his Master to take him again into his service.
Honoured Sir,—With shame arising from a consciousness of guilt I have presumed to write you at this time. I doubt not but you have heard of the irregularities of my conduct, which at last proceeded so far, as not only to induce me to desert the service of the best of masters, but to run into the commission of vices that might have proved fatal to me, had it not been for the many examples and moral lessons I met with in a book lately published. * It was the allurements of vicious company, that first tempted me to forsake the paths of virtue, and neg: lect
my duty in a family where I was treated with the greatest tenderness. Fully sensible of my fault, I am willing to make every reparation in my power: but know not of any other, than by acting diametrically opposite to my former conduct.
Let me beg of you, Sir, to intercede with my worthy master to take me again into his service, and my future life shall be one continued act of gratitude.-I am, Sir, Your affectionate, though undutiful son.
The Father's Answer. My Dear Child,--If ever you live to be a father, you will know what I feel for you on the present
• The Newgate Calendar.
occasion. Tenderness as a parent, resentment on account of ingratitude, a real concern for your future happiness, and respect for the worthy man whose service you deserted, all conspire together to agitate my mind to different purposes : but paternal affection becomes predominant, and I am obliged to act as your friend, although I am afraid you have considered me as your enemy. I have written to your master, and just now received his answer ; copies of which I have sent enclosed. Your master is willing again to receive you into his service, and I hope your behaviour will be corresponding to so much lenity.
I am your affectionate father.
LETTER XI. The Father's Letter to the Master. My worthy Friend, - I have often written to you with pleasure, but, alas ! I am constrained at present to address myself to you on a subject I little expected. I have just now received a letter from my son, by which I am informed, that he has left your service, through the instigation of evil company : his letter contains a penitential acknowledgement of his offence, together with a declaration of his resolution to act consistently with his duty for the future. He has begged of me to intercede with you in his behalf, and I know your humanity will excuse paternal affection. If you will again receive the unhappy youth into your family,
have great reason to hope that his conduct will be equal to his promise : and it will confer a lasting obligation on an afflicted parent, and oblige,
Your sincere well-wisher.
The Master's Answer. Sir,—Ever since I first considered the state of human nature, or the difference between right and wrong, I have always preferred mercy to the severity of justice. However seasonable your request may appear to yourself, yet to me it was really unnecessary. I am a father, Sir, and can feel at least part of what you suffer. My resentment against the young man is less than myanxiety for his happiness; and were I sure of his adhering to an uninterrupted course of virtue, I should have more real pleasure than his acquiring me the revenue of a nabob.
In the meantime, that nothing may be wanting on my part, to make both you and him as happy as possible, all faults are from this moment forgotten ; my house is open for his reception ; and if he will return, he shall be treated with the same indulgence as if lie had never committed any fault whatever.
I am, Sir, your affectionate friend.
LETTER XIII. From a Mother in town, to her daughter at a board
ing-school in the country, recommending the practice of virtue.
Dear Child,—Although we are separated in person, yet you are never absent from my thoughts ; and it is my continual practice to recommend you to the care of that Being, whose eyes are on all his creatures, and to whom the secrets of all hearts are open ; but I have been lately somewhat alarmed because your two last letters do not run in that strain of unaffected piety as formerly. What, my dear, is this owing to ? does virtue appear to you unpleasant is your beneficent Creator a hard master, or are you resolved to embark in the fashionable follies of a gay, unthinking world ? Excuse me, my dear, I am a mother, and my concern for your happiness is inseparably connected with my own. Perhaps I am mistaken, and what I have considered as a fault may be only the effusions of youthful gaiety.-I shall consider it in that light, and be extremely glad, yea happy to find it so. Useful instructions are never too often inculcated, and therefore, give me leave again to put you in mind of that duty, the performance of which alone can make you happy, both in time and in eternity:
Religion, my dear, is the dedication of the whole mind to the will of God, and virtue is the actual operation of that truth, which diffuses itself through every part of our conduct; its consequences are equally beneficial as its promises : “ Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.”
Whilst the gay unthinking part of youth are devoting the whole of their time to fashionable pleasures, how happy shall I be to hear that my child was religious without hypocritical austerity, and even gay with innocence! Let me beg that you will spend at least one hour each day in perusing your Bible, and some of our best English writers; and don't imagine that religion is such a gloomy thing as some enthusiasts have represented: no, it indulges you in every rational amusement, so far as is consistent with morality ;-it forbids nothing but what is hurtful.
Let me beg you will consider attentively what I have written, and send me an answer as soon as you can.--I am your affectionate mother.