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The full assurance I possess of having gained the love, the confidence, and esteem of the most amiable and engaging of children is, I confess, extremely gratifying to my heart; it is the more gratifying from a consciousness of never having permitted any consideration to interfere with what appeared to me the great and real interests of the precious objects of my tenderness. It is, indeed, a great consolation to reflect, that in every recollected proof of the strength of my attachment you will be able to trace the undeviating steadiness of the principles by which it was guided; nor have I any doubts concerning the nature of the impression they left upon your mind.
The hopes I formed respecting you, my beloved child, will, I trust, be amply realized: and, though the time I had the pleasure of spending with you was too short to admit of any thing like a regular development of the plan I had formed for your improvement, I trust the corner stone which I laid will be retained as the foundation of the future superstructure. The emotion, with which you received many of the important truths it was my delight to unfold to you, gives me reason to hope, that the foundation, thus laid, will not be easily shaken. But though many of these truths may retain a place in your memory, your recollection with regard to others may be imperfect. Even .those remembered with accuracy will be recalled in a detached form, and not as parts of one great and connected whole. They will have the force of precepts, but they will not have the power of principles.
The primary object of the letters
which I have it now in contemplation to address to you is to supply this deficiency. Of the various motives which have determined me to give them in a public form, I shall only mention that which immediately concerns yourself; and which I hope will be sufficient to obviate all the objections that can be made against it.
No communication of my sentiments would, I am persuaded, have been received by you with indifference; but how could I expect that, at your tender age, letters in manuscript would be preserved with care, or, if preserved, that they would be re-perused in a regular series, so as to give them the advantage of connexion?
Nor is this all. Of written letters addressed to you, my dearest Lady Elizabeth, to you the benefit must have been exclusively confined. It is not so with my affection, which
embraces, Embraces, with almost equal warmth, every individual of that lovely circle, on which I have never looked but with emotions of delight; on which I can never think but with the most lively, the most heart-felt interest!
Those instructions which your superior years and more ripened intellect rendered it proper, in the time we spent together, to address exclusively to you, would, had circumstances permitted me to prolong my visit, have been in substance repeated to your sisters. That they will now be repeated with the same effect as when I had it in my power to watch the favourable moment of impression, and to seize the opportunity which passing events afforded for illustrating their utility, it were vain to expect. But they will still have these advantages over the instructions to be found in other books, they will be associated
in the memory with the recollection of those blissful hours, when the newly awakened mind first learned to exert its powers of observation; when the sports of infancy were found a source of delight and of instruction; when the understanding was first taught to reason, and the heart to feel ; — above all, they will be remembered as the parting-gift of a fond, an indulgent, and ever faithful friend!