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You will have the goodness, Madam, to do this, and to inform me of the result. If my dear aunt shall approve of the connexion into which I am likely to enter, it will be an additional happiness to
Her most affectionate niece,
MY DEAR NIECE, I HAVE
HAVE received your letter, and that of Mr. William Neville. The reason of my not having written before is, because I have been put so much out of my way that I kave had but little comfort for this fortnight past. Your father has always been so very obliging to me, that I could do no less than ask him to be at my house. If he had been by himself, I could have done very well; but Mrs. Barnwell and I are so different in almost every thing, that I dare say she has had no more satisfaction in my company than I have had in hers.
One evening or two that Mr. Barnwell and she did not go to the play were spent at nay house. She wanted very much to make a party at cards; but I told her plainly there was no books of that kind in my library. Your father understood me, and said, I thought, Madam, you had possessed more liberal sentiments than to imagine with the vulgar that cards are the devil's books. I beg you will tell me what harm there is in playing a game at cards, any more than in taking a walk, or using any other recreation : there can be nothing unholy in paint and pasteboard.' Ben sides, I know many religious people who have no objection to a harmless game at cards.
I have no doubt of it, Sir, said I : but then it is to be feared that there are many religious people who will not
be admitted into heaven. The evil of cards does not proceed from the materials of which they are made. They .cause us to mis-spend much precious time, which might be better employed in profitable conversation. They also en.courage a spirit of covetqusness, by making persons anxious to win the property of their neighbours; and are frequently the occasion of indirect means being used for that purpose : the first is: a breach of the tenth commandment, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods, and the last is a species of fraud bordering on robbery. For the same season my husband would have nothing to do with lotteries, saying, that if God intended he should be rich, be had no doubt but he would direct him to such a way of acquiring wealth as would be conducive to his own glory and the good of society.
But to return from this digression, Mrs. Barnwell thought cheating at cards a very venial sin indeed. What had peo ple their eyes for? and the address of a good player was only conspicuous by his cheating cleverly, and without detection. Ah, cried your father laughing, all gamesters are Spartans in that respect : they think there is no crime in robbery, but that all the guilt consists in being detected.
When your father and I were alone, I told him that you had some expectation of proposals of marriage, and asked uim what he intended to do for you. He replied, that if you had behaved well, and had accepted of Mi: Clifford, as he advised and even commanded you to do, be would have done something handsome; but that he had been at great expenses since his marriage, and might possibly have a small family. It would be out of his power, therefore, to do any thing in his lifetime, and he would promise nothing afterward ; that should be as you behaved.
I asked him whether he would give his consent to your marriage, if proposals should be made. O yes, he said, by all means ; you knew you had his consent to be or do or go what or where you would. I am sorry, said I, that you should possess so little regard for your child. I can assure you, however, that she has a dutiful and affectionate regard for you; and it is at'her request that I have proposed the matter for your approbation. She may do what she pleases, answered he; I shall give myself no trouble about her.!
Well, my dear Miranda, the promise of God is remarkably made good to you, that when your father and mother forsake you, then the Lord will take you" up. I was this day reading the case of Solomon, on whom; when he chose wisdom. God not only conferred that gift, but also every other inferior mercy; and I could not help thinking the case of my dear child exceedingly similar. She chose the fear of the Lord, which is the true wisdom, and did not think it any Hardship to lodge and board' in a poor cottage ; and behold, He who has the property of this and every other world in his possession, is exalting her far above what she would have had reason to expect if her father had given her all his possessions." 7'54 12") - I rejoice that Mr. Neville and Signior Albino are so far brought to the knowledge of the truth. I trust that he who has begun the good work will carry it on
.. ni I hope, my dear child, that you look back with wonder and gratitude upon the kind providence of God, by which you have been guarded and preserved all the days of your life zcand I trust that if you should be so happy as to be the wife of Mr. William Neville, you will gratefully remember the humble seate from which he shall have called you, and endeavour by a frugal, discreet, and wise management in your:- familyto make some compensation for your want of fortune There are too many instances in which young women, exalted from a state of poverty to a státe of afnu. ence, have been the worst of wives. Pride has made them giddy, and has caused them to run neadlong into almost every excess : yea, they have frequently become vain on account of their imagined excellence, which they have had no other ground for supposing themselves to be pos sessed of than because their husbands took them without fortunes. I cannot iforbear syitig that Mrs. Barnwell mas nifests too much of this disposition ; for notwithstanding
your father married her without a shilling, and he is now engaged in an extensive chancery-suit, she spares for no expense. She has done little else but go from one shop to another. I have been obliged to see all her cheap penny. worths; for if I could have believed her, she understood every thing so well, that she got the tradesmen's goods for less than they cost. It was with much reluctance she left London yesterday. The country, said she, is a wretched dull place : it is fit for nothing but to make people melạn. choly. For my part, I am surprised that any people of condition can bear to live among a herd of rustics. I should not have mentioned one of these particulars (for Mrs. Barnwell is far from being singular) had it not been with a view of directing you to sail a contrary course.
I shall conclude with giving you a caution. Mr. Neville and his son speak very complaisant things to you, and of you. Beware, my child, lest you be intoxicated with praise ; for it is frequently poison poured into the ear, which contaminates and pollutes the soul. You have many excellencies ; but I doubt not you have many defects. Learn therefore more and more not to think of yourself above what you ought to think. Pray give my kind respects to Mr. William Neville and his sister, and Thomas and Mary Livingstone. I am, my dear niece,
Your affcctionate aunt,
From Miss Barnwell to Mrs. Worthington,
RECEIVED your affectionate letter, and was sorry to hear that my mother was so disagreeable to you : but I expected to hear nothing better concerning her. She is certainly an expensive woman, and thereby does herself an injury ; since she is wasting that which in all probability she will need for her family. With regard to the severe speeches of my father, I am only sorry for his sake. It was predicted that parents would hate their children on the Redeemer's account, which is a strong proof of our natural enmity against God, or which is the same, against his gospel. But I have reason to bless God for his great goodness to me; and I hope that the many renewed instances of his mercy will enable me to trust him in the darkest dispensations.
I am not the less obliged to you, Madam, but it was unnecessary to ask my father to give me a fortune. I showed Mr. William Neville your letter, and he told me he would accept nothing from Mr. Barnwell but his daughter, and that he should think her a princely donation. I begged him to consider the caution in your letter, and told him, that I believed many a wife had been spoiled in courtship. The men, said I, endeavour to make them believe they are goddesses, and to persuade them how much they are devoted to their service. And when the matrimonial knot is tied, whatever the woman may have promised cona cerning honour and obedience to him who is now become her head, yet having been acknowledged a superior being, and the reins of government being put into her hands, she frequently, like other monarchs, will not lay them down again but per force.
I believe, Miss Barnwell, replied he, that what you say is true, and that it is dangerous to administer food to the pride either of ourselves or others. But I know that my dear girl will consider that I view her bright side only, and that all the praise I bestow upon her is in consequence of my comparing her with her fellow-mortals. She will compare herself with the divine law, which requires her to love the Lord her God with all her heart, and with all her soul, and her neighbour as herself; and then I will venture to say she will find no room to be proud.
Last night, when we were all together, Signior Albino told us he had read the correspondence a third time, with. great care, and he believed without prejudice, and that he