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CHAP. XIV.

COMMENTS ON THE POOR WOMAN'S STORY.

THE DUTY OF PARENTS TO CORRECT EARLY ALL EVIL PROPENSITIES IN THEIR CHILDREN.

-THE HATEFULNESS OF FALSEHOOD.

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“ What think you, my children, of this unhappy woman's story?" said Mr. Rich. ardson.

" It has illustrated, Sir,” said Charles, “ what you observed respecting the sailor George, that misfortunes are frequently salutary; for I don't apprehend that even if she had it in her power, she would ever act so erroneously again."

“ The supposition is charitable, and I hope just; but bad habits are very difficult to overcome, particularly such an abominable spirit as she was possessed of, that had grown with her strength, and increased with her years. -However, my

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opinion coincides with yours, for she appears thoroughly humbled, to trace all her misfortunes to their proper origin; and what, above all, gives me hopes that she will hereafter act properly is, that I have no doubt but in the account of herself she has spoken truth.”

“ Indeed, papa,” answered Mary, “if I had been so very naughty, I fear I should have tried to make myself look a little better, for I should have been ashamed to own it.'

“ Then you would have redoubled your crime: 'tis true, she might have deceived me, but could she deceive God? who by some means might have led me to the truth; in which case, as I despise a liar, and when once discovered, ever distrust them, I should have left her in the misery in which I found her. In the present case, I suppose, I can learn no worse than I have already heard, though I am sorry to say, the malevolence of man frequently represents the errors of those he dislikes in their deepest colours ;

I therefore always endeavour to allow for personal pique."

“ Though, with Mary," answered Charles, “I should have wished not to have appeared so very blameable, yet I hope I should, like poor Charlotte, have told the truth; for I think I should scarcely feel more ashamed in being detected in a theft, than convicted of a lie; it is so mean and humiliating.”

“ It is indeed equally despicable," returned his father, “and yet more injurious to society ; for the thief pays his forfeited life to the laws of his country, but the liar lives to spread his contagion, and cause innumerable mischiefs, until called to answer them before the more dread tribunal of his God."

« My dear papa,” said Mary, warmly, “ whenever I commit an error, I will candidly confess it, and you will forgive me.'

Assuredly, if I find you take care not to repeat it. But all poor Charlotte's faults appear to have originated from her bad grandmother.”

“ How can that be, papa ?". returned Mary : “even the saucy maid said she was a good creature, and she was very kind to Charlotte, for she loved her in spite of all her naughtiness."

“She might be a well-meaning, inoffensive woman to the world in general, but you must allow she was a very bad grandmother; and could hardly have acted worse by Charlotte had she absolutely hated her, Was it not her duty, as she undertook the care of her, to endeavour to bring her up properly, -and to have corrected her propensity to vice? - for example, had she severely punished her in her childhood for the improper liberties she took with the servants, and also for her passions and falsehood, she would have been careful not to repeat them : and instead of being reduced to beggary, placed nowin ease and affluence:-again, did she not nourish the despicable seeds of pride and vanity in her heart, by suffering her to dress more than became her situation in life, or more than her property

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would allow ? Would it not have been more prudent, think you, to have saved that superfluous expence, towards placing her in some respectable situation at her death? To have acted thus, would indeed have been truly showing her affection."

« For the future, then, papa,” said Màry, “ when I am punished I will endeavour to think it is for my good.”

“ But I hope you will give me no cause to punish you, my love," returned he.

“ I hope I shall not again, but I was severely punished the other day by not going to Lambeth; yet when I reflect, it was certainly for my good; for had my lesson been excused then, I dare say I should have neglected it again, and expected the same indulgence." My dear Mary, I love

candour: and to answer you with equal truth, it was a punishment to me to leave home ; yet, as idleness is

your

among

the most abominable of vices, I will never have to reproach myself with having encouraged it in you."

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