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succeeded very well. Indeed, he had been respectables of the town and neighbour. successful in business somewhat less than hood, in outward adoming. half a score years, when he fell in love On more than one occasion, the feelings with the face of a servant girl, and married of Mr. Softman, naturally of quiet, domesher. This was an imprudent act, not be- tic habits, had been excited to the utmost, cause of her situation in life, which should by the provoking conduct and tongue of his never be reflected upon, but because of her wife. Their words were often high ; Mrs. want of good sense and good breeding. Softman, accustomed from the first to rule, She had a pretty face, but not a spark of determined to rule still. Her promise at intelligence shone on it, or from it, and in the altar she had forgotten; or the simple temper she was all that could be desired to word “OBEY” was, above most others, obrender herself, or any one else, and espe- jectionable to her unmusical ears. Passion, cially her husband---miserable !
like fire, which rarely goes out by casting The first thing almost that was done by more fuel upon it, is only increased by Mr. Softman, after his imprudent marriage, contention. " A soft answer turneth away was, to increase his circle of friends. Then, wrath, but grievous words stir up anger." the house he occupied was too small and So Solomon says, and so common life too mean. Mr. so and so's was larger, and proves; but this lady had no soft words, or Mr. so and so's was genteeler : this was, at least but few, for her husband. He had therefore, disposed of, and one, on a supe- long mourned over his imprudence in his rior scale for size and elegance, purchased. marriage, but regrets furnished no remedy; All this was done, at the suggestion, or neither servant nor children stopped the will, of the lady. To do this, however, wrath of his wife. She felt she had no Mr. Softman was compelled to lay himself character to lose, and was quite unconunder obligation to a friend for the loan of cerned respecting
her husband's respectaa few hundreds in ready money. Plea- bility or peace. The most trivial circumsures and parties, at home and abroad, not stance gave rise to a volley of abuse, and only led the mind from business, but this too before witnesses. Either he went was highly prejudicial to property and out too much, or he visited where she trade.
objected, or he did not return when she Five years rolled over the heads of this wished, or some equally ridiculous cause, charming pair, unnoticed and unthought set her tongue in motion, the discordant of. One act of imprudence only seemed sounds of which, although familiar, were to make way for another. The recent not the more pleasing to her husband. servant-maid had become a fine lady, as Mr. Softman now felt that he had no far as dress could make her so, for not a home; he had indeed an habitation, in fashionable in the town could surpass her which to eat, to drink, to sleep, but all in that way; but in manners and in con- these constituted not a HOME. Oh, no, he versation, she was still humble Betty. No thought, and thought somewhat correctly, man or woman of sense could be in her that company half an hour, without being re
“ 'Tis home where the heart is, wherever that be, minded of the fable of the ass in the lion's
In city, in desert, on mountain, in dell, skin, and applying it somewhere.
Not the grandeur, the number, the objects we see,
But that which we love is the magical spell,” They had now two children, a girl and boy; the first was four, the other three years old. Of these, they were of course- He was driven to seek happiness, while during their infancy-passionately fond; his dwelling should have furnished it. He they were their idols. In every company had once made a profession of religion ; they were displayed as prodigies of wit and but, alas, he had not followed the counsels beauty. The children were, indeed, fair of the book of God, and hence the consoand well-formed; but it was not therefore lations which that source would have fully prudent to hold them up to the inconsi- supplied, were forfeited by him. His heart derate adulation of every society; and if was wrung out with agony, in reference to they did discover intellectual endowments his children; their minds he perceived of more than common order, which in fact were running to waste, for want of culture; the mother only had penetration enough to but as Mrs. Softman knew not the advan. discover, to court for them the applause of tages of education herselt, she felt no contheir guests was more likely to injure than cern about ignorance in others. The chilbenefit. Their persons were adorned like dren had indeed been sent to school, but puppets, with all the glitter and glare that they were half their time absent from it. various colours could furnish. No expense The eldest was little better than a compawas spared, to make them equal with the nion for the servant, whom, upon every
occasion, she was found assisting; and this herself in her finery, walk forth for could not be greatly wondered at, when the pleasure. distressing example set before her is con- As imprudence had so long and so strongsidered.
ly marked the parent's conduct, it was not to The fondness of Mrs. Softman for dress be expected that the children should escape had only trained her mind to haughty its influence. They did not:-like proignorance, which at times descended to duces its like. Edrick their son, had mean familiarities, which she ed attained his sixteenth year, and had been kind condescension; and on that principle, some time engaged in the counting-house the servant was made her confidant, and of his father. His appearance was perrepository for every secret circumstance fectly fashionable, disgustingly so; with betwixt Mr. Softman and herself ; while information just sufficient to keep the her careless prodigality had again and ledger, or make out a bill of parcels, he again reduced her husband's property so conceived himself amply furnished for all low, that, but for the help of his friends, the purposes of life. Occasionally he would have been attended with ruinous visited the theatre, and there formed consequences. Imprudence grew, and acquaintance and habits such as, in all produced— Imprudence.
probability, would ruin him ; and even at Time rolled on, and Providence once this early period, the chase, the ball-room, more smiled upon their worldly affairs. and the harmonic society, were attended From a state of comparative want, they by him. Who would not have trembled were raised to comfort and respectability. for a youth of ardent feelings, so circumMr. Softman hoped, that, after what they stanced? What parent would not have had suffered, his wife's folly would be wept over, and prayed for him ? Edrick's corrected: but he hoped in vain. A short parents did not. Mr. Softman's spirit was period did indeed exist, in which his hopes broken down by his wife's conduct, and were kept alive; but soon she returned, he was scarcely concerned about any thing. like the dog to his vomit, or like the sow He had indeed made one or two faint that was washed to her wallowing in the efforts to convince him of his errors, but mire, to her usual habits. Display was her his own imprudence spoiled all the good idol, she was now determined to be a effect which his advice might have prolady — and why should she not?- she duced ; while Mrs. Softman was proud of had been long enough moped up, and had the spirit of her son, and furnished him, made up her mind at length to enjoy life. most imprudently, with various sums, unThe slightest observation from her husband known to his father, to follow his pursuits. as to impropriety, called down volumes of On one occasion, Edrick had spent the abuse : he was cruel, inhuman, and a former part of the Sabbath in company brute-all her past sufferings she imputed with a party of dissolute young men, at to him, never for a moment allowing her some few miles from home. It was in the mind to criminate herself. Her passion uncertain month of March, when in the was not, however, stayed by dress; one course of a few hours the wind often blows evil led to another. I do not mean to from every part of the compass. The house assert, that an absolute connexion exists in which they were assembled was on the between a love of dress and a love of side of the Humber. A number of boats strong drink; no—but in the present case lay in a small creek, formed partly by it was so : she drank, but it was secretly. nature and partly by art, for the accommoHer husband imagined it not, refused to dation of packets, while others were sailing believe it when reported to him, and, until on the smooth waters. Suddenly a squall conviction, clear as light, forced itself upon arose, and shortly the whole of the aquatic his half-distracted mind, rejected the testi- sporters put to shore. The wind continued mony made against her.
to rise, it blew with increased violence, And now the sharpness of a mother's the Humber rolled in dark billows, while feelings appeared to be blunted; she occasionally the white foam with which the became indifferent, not only to her hus- surges were tipped, gave to them a wilder band's comfort, but to the well-being of appearance. Edrick and his companions those even who were parts of herself. looked out on the fury of the elements, and Epithets the most frightful, and such as laughed at the fears of those who had been I will not allow my paper to be stained diverted from their pleasures by the gale. with, she applied, at the least provocation, Two of the party, one of whom was Edrick, to her children; and, even in the hours of wished to display their courage and seasickness and disease, could abandon them manship, and, excited by the spirits they to the care of each other, and, arraying had taken, betted with the others, that they
could, in a specified time, cross and recross herself and her new friend. They met, the Humber. Fearless of consequences, and for a few weeks these meetings were the daring youths laughed at the advice continued, and then they were married ! and persuasions offered by those who were The blooming hopes of the gentleman were perfectly sober, and pushed their little instantly cut off, his fortune was transferred bark before the wind. For a while they to another branch of his family, while him. managed their vessel with great ability; self and Maria were left to struggle on in now she sunk between the long dark bil- wretchedness and misery. This was but of lows, and then gallantly rose iike a swan, short continuance. The union had been and rode upon the summit. A strong cur- the result of passion, and not of affectionate rent at length drove them considerably to regard; hence, the object having been leeward. It became necessary for them to gained, the passion subsided; and he who, tack; the helm was put about, and she soon but a few weeks before, had vowed eternal answered to the rudder, but in attempting love, abandoned her to grief and poverty. to shift over the sail they became perplexed. She sunk like a smitten flower before the The rope by which it was attached to a rude gale, languished a brief period, and cleet which held it, was entangled, and in died the victim of imprudence. an instant a breaking wave went over The measure of Mr. Softman's misery them; the wind caught the vessel as she now seemed to be full. His wife had long crossed the tide, and threw her on her since made her very name odious to all broadside on the water : she filled, half- his friends and acquaintance-hence they righted, heaved fearfully, and sunk in five never visited or invited either of them. fathoms water. A long, loud shriek from The foolish woman, stung to the quick by those who stood on the shore, informed those what she denominated the insult of her who were in the house what had occurred; husband's friends, raged so much the more, they rushed out, and saw the unhappy and made his home increasingly miserable. youths struggle for a few minutes with the He had not yet reached his fortieth year, waves, and then beheld them sink to rise but the sorrows of which his own impruno more!
dence had made him the victim, had Maria, at the time of her brother's awful his form the appearance of more than fifty. death, had just completed her seventeenth To all he had already suffered, he was now year. Her education, as I have stated, called to bear the affliction of embarrasshad been neglected. She was tall and gen- ment in his circumstances. His connexions teel in person, but withal most coquetish in trade had suffered by the conduct of his in her manners. There were but few par- wife; and, as business declined, temporal ties of which she was not one, or public difficulties increased. His mind's eye at exhibitions at which she was not present. length turned inwards,--his religious feelOnly a few months after Edrick's death, a ings were revived. Like Ephraim, he ball was given in the neighbourhood; she bemoaned himself: “Thou hast chastised was invited, and was imprudent enough to ine, and I was chastised, as a bullock accept the invitation. She went, and her unaccustomed to the yoke; turn thou me, figure attracted the attention of a gentle- and I shall he turned, for thou art the Lord man present, of wi and dissolute habits. my God: and concerning him, as of He was little more than her own age, was Ephraim, God said, “Since I spake against dashing in his appearance, and engaging in him, I do earnestly remember him still; his address. It was also known that he therefore my bowels are troubled for him ; was presumptive heir to a considerable I will surely have mercy upon him,” property, which, on the death of an aged Jer. xxxi. 19, 21. relative, it was believed, would descend to Nearly a score of years of almost un. him. He employed all his art during the mixed misery, was closed with the particievening, to gain and fix Maria's attention, pation of a bliss unending. He read his and succeeded. This was her first intro- imprudence in his past sufferings, and duction to the person in question, but wondered at the goodness which had strangers might have supposed it had been spared, amidst multiplied provocations, an acquaintance of intimate and long and the mercy which had met, and brought standing.
him, through the Saviour, to God. On the Imprudence and criminality are closely eve of earthly poverty, he became rich, allied, and, in some instances, scarcely dis- rich in the possession of the "pearl of tinguishable. It was so in the case of great price,” and heir to “ treasures in Maria with her suitor. The evening closed heaven.” His stricken heart bowed within with an engagement made for a private him, he blessed God, and died. interview on the following night, between Mrs. Softman alone remained • she
could scarcely be said to live, she merely S. I admit you are young, and I obvegetated. Her own enjoyments, and the served your want of discretion the other happiness of others, she had cut off by her day, when you were railing against the folly : still she knew it not. With an whole female sex; and making use of those ingenuity which could alone have been mean, common-place jokes, which aim to given birth to by deception of the most lower their talents and importance in awful kind, she freed herself to herself, society. from all blame, and conceived she alone J: I am sorry; I meant no harm; it was the injured person. Unpitied and was only to my sisters. unfriended, the parish-house received her S. Although you meant no harm, it is as an inmate of its humble walls, where, unwise to reject advice because it comes for some years, she dwindled out, and may from the feebler, but more refined, part of yet continue to dwindle out, an existence our nature ;—and very ungrateful to return of penury, rendered more painful by the sarcasm for affection, and ridicule for sourness of an unbroken temper--an ex. friendly advice, which, if attended to, ample of the evils, though insensible to the might prove very beneficial to your future charge, of IMPRUDENCE.
J. I hope you don't think that I am so base as to make the fair sex the butt of ridi
cule in reality. Senior. Well, my young friend; I hope J. Perhaps not, but you may reap conyou have enjoyed a profitable week this siderable advantage, by cultivating acChristmas?
quaintance with the fair sex. Junior. Indeed, I have enjoyed myself J. I think, being too familiar with silly very much, and particularly last night at flirting girls, is rather dangerous. our Christmas party.
s. I allow there is an evil in this; but S. I am glad to hear you have enjoyed what I recommend is the fostering care of yourself, and hope you have gained some considerate, respectable females, and espeuseful information from the company,
cially if they have the advantage over you J. You know I am of so lively a dispo- of a few years. sition, that I often substitute a frivolous J. Then you think he whose connexions spirit, instead of attention, when any profit. afford him no female society sustains a loss able conversation commences.
by this privation. S. Too true; and as you are conscious S. Most undoubtedly. of your error, try to reform. But, pray, with J. But there is some difficulty, if not imwhat were you so much entertained last possibility, of gaining the attention of those evening?
J. Oh! many things; we had Miss X, Y, S. I am aware every female is not of and Z, Mr. O, P, and Q, and several other this description, but you have the protecpersons, besides my sisters, cousins, uncle, tion of a kind mother and affectionate and aunt.-I can assure you, we were as
sisters. merry as we could wish to be.
J. Yes, but my sisters' company is quite S. Yes; yes; but, pray let me know old-fashioned. what subject pleased you most?
S. You ought to consider yourself favourJ. Why, to be sure, when Mr. O. began ably situated, in having sisters who have to joke Miss X. about a certain young gen. done playing with dolls; do not oblige tleman, who, he supposed, paid consider. them, by your unfeeling conduct, to keep able attention to her.
you at the distance of a mere acquaintance; S. And what information did you gain try to deserve the character of their confifrom this common, thread-bare subject? dential friend : nothing is more ridiculous
J. Indeed, I think it was the most inte- than to hear a brother complain of being resting subject we could have hit upon.
tired of his sisters' company. s. No doubt that it was interesting; but J. Well, I believe there is some profitwhat benefit did you derive from it? able information to be derived from the sex,
J. I learned that, “a faint heart will but unfortunately my awkwardness causes never win a fair lady."
me to commit myself sometimes in their S. That may be true in many instances; presence, which excites from them a titter, but recollect, that imprudent conduct never and this causes me to get out of the way of gains a virtuous wife.
female society, and my feelings towards J. Your reasoning seems very good, but them sink into disgust or hatred. there is no danger of my getting into any S. You appear conscious of your defierror of this description, as I am so young ciencies, and must know, that, to avoid the
society which might tend to improve them, would be a pillar in the Lord's house. It is not the proper way to proceed. You is true, he never appeared to feel the saving should rather practise a sort of gallantry, influence of the Holy Spirit ; but I hoped which is due, to your mother, sisters, and the seed which had been sown had taken friends at home; and by these means you root in good ground, and that when I was will prepare yourself for more delicate and called to give an account of my ministry, I genteel company elsewhere.
should find him at the right hand of God. Preston Brook, Sept. 1832. S.S. I was permitted to visit that part of the
country again, after an absence of three years. But, alas ! the visit, to which I had
looked forward with so much pleasure, was (Recollections of a Minister.)
indeed a mournful one. Reader, you have As we pass along from day to day, we fre. seen the exterminating effects of fire, and quently hear and read of the ruinous effects you have felt how lonely and desolate it is, of intemperance—the sudden deaths, the to visit a place you had once known, and misery, poverty, and distress, into which to inquire for your friends, and hear the oftwhole families are thrown, by the degraded repeated answer, “They too are dead.” and unprincipled conduct of one indi- But even in this there is a consolation; for vidual.
you frequently hear of their triumphant On my arrival in the village of - in departure for another and a better world. the summer of 1826, I was delighted with But to meet them after years of separation, the appearance of industry and enterprise and to find them drunkards, and almost that was eminently conspicuous in the inha- brute-like in their appearance, all feeling bitants. The first Sabbath of my ministry, of shame, all sense of remorse, drowned in my congregation was small, but respectable. the inebriating cup, as was the case with Our church was new it was unfurnished on my arrival at ; O how differ—there was no Bible in the pulpit. When ent the scene! I inquired for one friend, and I came down from the sacred desk, a young the answer was, “O, sir, he became a drunken man stepped forward, and said, “Sir, I miserable sot, he neglected his business, and perceived that it was rather difficult for you failed, and his wife and children are in the to find your text in your small pocket most abject poverty." I inquired for an. Bible; if you will allow me, I will present other and another, but alas, the answer was you one for your pulpit.” I thanked him, still the same--all had failed, and intemand said in my heart, “Surely, this is a perance had been their ruin. It made my good beginning, on the first morning of heart bleed, but I never thought that among my ministry to be presented with a hand- the general wreck occasioned by this scourge some edition of the word of God !”
of mankind, my friend S- could have For some weeks, I laboured daily. There been one of the number. I proposed callwas a deep attention, but none had as yet ing on him; but, O my God! the thrilling exhibited any signs of the awakening power answer was returned, “ He will not know of God. At length the work broke out; you." I inquired, “Why?" My informnot with that overwhelming influence which I ant replied, “ Ah! sir, it is but seldom that have seen in many reformations, but with a he has any recollection.” I was horrorslow, sure pace. "In a short time our house struck; I feared that some dreadful calawas furnished; we built a new vestry, and mity had happened to him. But, alas ! the Lord prospered us greatly. I com- my worst fears did not come near the truth. menced my labours with six members in I found, on inquiry, that about a year after society, and at the expiration of two years my leaving: he had become concerned we had two hundred and fifty. Whenever in a distillery. He commenced with tastthere was any thing to be done, or any ing; then took a little dram in the forenoon; scheme of benevolence or philanthropy from this he could take a little in the aftergoing forward, my young friend was ever noon; and in the course of a few months, ready and willing to promote it. He had the much beloved and once highly respected an amiable and lovely wife, and three very S- would be carried home to his wife interesting children. He was a constant in a state brutal intoxication. I called attendant on the word of God, and many upon him the next day; he met me with an hours of social happiness have I enjoyed idiot smile, but seemed to have no recol. with him and his pleasant companion. It lectionnd; yet when his wife named me, for appeared as if the Scriptures were verified a moment reason seemed to flash across his in him, for all that he took in hand pros- brain. I talked with him for some time; pered ; he was blessed in his basket and but, alas ! all recollection had fled. The store. When I left him, I was in hopes he tears fell down the pale features of his