« PreviousContinue »
found his affairs in a worse condition than he had even feared. Many of those he had employed had been faithless to their trust; and while they had enriched themselves at his expense, had injured his fame to shield their own. At the same time, he had the agony of seeing many worthy families impoverished by his failure, through the base arts of those he had unsuspectingly confided in. It was an intricate business to unravel all the mazes in which their avarice, artifice, and treachery, had involved him. It was painful too to a benevolent being, who delighted in loving his fellow-men, to charge them with dishonesty and perfidy. All
hope of wealth, or even competence, for himself or children, he could resign without a sigh; but to have his honour, his integrity doubted, was insupportable to his noble heart; and the fear that his apparent want of consistent conduct, in its pure morality, might cast a stain on that gospel it was his glory to profess, shot anguish to his soul. He bowed to the will of his heavenly Father, as it respected his own and his children's poverty, with perfect acquiescence; but he had to struggle much for resignation, to be viewed as the instrument of ill to others, or to have his own name branded with dishonour; but, above all, he prayed, that whatever might be his own fate or sufferings, the cause of religion might not be
reproached for his supposed want of adherence to its holy precepts. It was, however, his duty, as well as his fervent wish, to do all in his power to avert the ill effects his failure had produced. For this purpose he wrote to a friend in New-York, on whose probity he could rely, to have the whole of his large property sold, without reservation or delay. He had many houses in that city, and immense tracts of land throughout the different states; and the proceeds of the sale of all his possessions he could not but hope would be adequate to the payment of all his debts and responsibilities both at home and abroad, numerous and extensive as they were. Delays and disappointments were constantly occurring, but still hope led him on from year to year. During these years of exile his little Justina was his heart's solace; never did he reach his place of abode without thanking heaven that he had been induced to bring her with him; and always, when he entered and closed his door, he endeavoured to shake off every distracting care, with which the world oppressed him, that he might find nothing but peace with his child, and not affect her youthful spirits with the gloom of his own. Oh how delightful it was for him to exchange the crowd of clamorous and suspicious creditors, for the society of the lovely little being, who sprung to his embrace, and who
hailed his approach as the plenitude of her felicity!-to turn from the eyes of scrutinizing distrust, to those of sweetest tenderness,
"That seem'd to love whate'er they look'd upon,"
and whose every glance beamed with confidence in his truth and affection.
Her education was now his "delightful task," and in this he had every aid in the excellent writers of the present day, to which the youthful mind is so much indebted for instruction and entertainment; he himself loved to read all their works, and his mind mixed with his child's in her pleasures and her studies. He was her instructer in all the useful branches of knowledge. The short tasks he gave her in grammar, arithmetic, geography, French, and history, she learnt during his absence, and recited them. to him on his return; he then explained the subjects to her, until he was convinced she entirely understood them, and, set her lessons for the next day, which he varied, that he might not fatigue her mind. They then read together such books as he selected, suited to her youthful capacity, and calculated to improve her morals and understanding. She would willingly have read from morning to night, and from night until morning, but he was fearful she might acquire habits too sedentary for her health,
and he therefore consigned her over to Mrs. Selwin, for several hours of the day, to run about the house with her, and she frequently boasted to her smiling father that she had assisted in making the pudding, or the pie, which he had just pronounced to be so excellent.
It blossom'd not in dreary wild,
And tears of heaven-born rapture shed.
MR. MELROss was cheered at this time with letters from Mrs. Ranmore, informing him of the health and welfare of herself and his little Augusta, and that they had removed from the city of New-York to A
a pleasant and healthful town situated on the banks of the Hudson. "Dear papa," said Justina, "Augusta tells me in her letter that she goes to dancing-school." "Yes, your aunt writes me the same; she sends her, she says, as they say in the play, that she may learn to stand still; but you can stand still without going to dancing-school, can you not?" "I know that, papa." "But would you like to go, Justina ?" "Not unless you wish it." Melross thought seriously on the subject: for the mere act of dancing he cared nothing; but she was diffident, and it might give her self-possession; she had no youthful associates; she led with him a life of solitude, and he feared that she