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Mrs. Barnet had not only a warm benevolent heart, bat also something of a warm imagination. The accidental manner in which she had met with this boy, and the sudden and growing interest which his appearance, behaviour, and forlorn condition, created in her breast, she considered as the impulse of Providence urging her to save a fine boy from vice, infamy, and ruin.
Fraught with this idea, she returned to her own house a little before her husband arose; and by the time he was dressed, she had every thing arranged for his breakfast.
Mr. Barnet entered the parlour with a newspaper in his hand, and, what was seldom the case, with a cheerful countenance.
" I fancy you have good news to communicate,” said Mrs. Barnet.
Why, yes,” said he, " I find stocks have risen one and a half per cent. by which I shall gain a pretty round sum.”;
“I am glad to hear it,” said she, presenting him with a basin of tea.
"I do not see why we should not have a dish of johndories for dinner to-day, let them cost what they will," resumed he.
"You shall have it, my dear,” said Mrs. Barnet ;" I will give orders about it directly.”
While Mrs. Barnet was giving the orders, her husband helped bimself very plentifully to the toast, which he found buttered to his taste. He continued to eat, with every appearance of satisfaction, for a considerable time after his wife returned; and when he could eat no more, he presented her a plate of toast, with his usual phrase on like occasions -"I really wish you would eat a little bit yourself, my dear."
“With all my heart," said Mrs. Barnet, “ for I rejoice to sée you look so cheerful and well this morning.
"Why truly,” said he, stroking his belly, " I do feel myself pretty comfortable."
Mrs. Barnet, thinking this the lucky moment for resuming the story of the poor boy, described his fine looks and helpless condition in such eloquent and pathetic terms, that her husband, in spite of his natural indifference to every thiog which did not personally regard himself, seemed a little affected. Mrs. Barnet perceiving this, continued :
“I do assure you, my dear, that you never saw a prettier “ I make no manner of doubt of it," said Mr. Barnet;
* but as for the old woman,” resumed his wife, “ she seemed to be an unfeeling creature, and sinelt of gin.”.
“ I make no manper of doubt of it," said Mr. Barnet; " for I have known several old women smell of gin.”
“ I am sure she will neglect the poor boy," resumed she.
“Well, my dear, since you are persuaded of that, I think we must send for the old woman, and advise her to take care of him; and I am willing to give her a few shillings out of my pocket, for so doing,” said Mr. Barnet.
“That would make her promise to take care of him," said Mrs. Barnet, " and make her appear very kind to him when you and I are with her; but what will become of the poor child when we are not present ?"
* Why, he must take his chance, like other children," said the husband.
“ The other children have all some relation to enquire about them," said Mrs. Barnet; "but this poor boy is quite destitute of relation, friend, or protector. The poor creature himself told me that the only friend he ever had died last week."
* And who was he?" said Mr. Baroet.
“ And are you making all this fuss, Jane, about a little friendless vagabond, whom "nobody knows ” said Mr. Barnet.
“ If this poor boy were known, and had friends, he would not stand in need of our protection,” replied Mrs. Barnet.
“ That is very true," said Mr. Barnet,“ but on the other hand, it is very hard on us to be the only protectors of poor friendless vagabond boys."
“ This is but one boy,”: replied Mrs. Barnet; “ perhaps Providence will never throw another so partieularly in our way.
Why truly, Jane, you surprise me," said the husband; " you seem to be as much concerned about this boy, as if he were your own.”
“So would you, if you had only seen him; he is a most bewitchiog little fellow, and although he is somewhat pale and emaciated, I never in my life beheld a boy with finer features, and a more interesting countenance; he brought to my remembrance our own poor George, who is dead and gone."-Here she barst into tears, and was unable to speak for a few ininutes.
“ Pray do not afflict yourself for what cannot be helped," said Mr. Barnets "you know, my dear, we did all we could for George, and the apothecary did all he could also: he could not have prescribed a greater number of dranghts, and cordials, and jalaps, to the only son of a duke; for his bill was as long as a spit; so there is no cause for sorrow or reflection. And as for this hospital-boy, although he is nothing to me, yet since he bears such a resemblance to George, I am willing to make a weekly allowance out of my own pocket to the old woman, to make her careful of him.”
Mrs. Barnet shook her head.
“ Why, what would you have me do ?" resúmed the husband : " you would not surely have me take him quite out of the hands of the old woman, and be at the whole burden of his maintenance myself.”
Mrs. Barnet smiled, with a nod of assent.
“ Good gracious, my dear! You do not reflect," added the husband,“ how strange a thing it would be for us to take a poor miserable wretch of a boy, perhaps the son of a footman, under our care, and be at the whole expense of maintaining him. I should be glad to know who would thank us for it?"
“Our own hearts," said Mrs. Barnet.
" My heart never' thanked me for any such thing since I was born," said Mr. Barnet; “ and I am sure all our acquaintances would laugh at us, and turn us into ridicale."
“ All the laughter in the world cannot turn benevolence into ridicule," said Mrs. Barnet: " and the narrow-minded may be hurt to see you do what they cannot imitate; but malice itself can neither prevent the pleasure which a charitable action will afford to your own breast, my dear, nor the respect which will attend it."
“ So your drift is,” replied the husband,“ to tease me till I take this boy into the house.”
“ My drift has never been to tease you, but always to make you happy, my dear. I own I am affected with the friendless condition of this poor orphan, and struck with his resemblance to the child who was torn from us at the same age; as for the poor young creature's maintenance, it will be a mere trifle io us, but of infinite importance to him; it may save him from vice and the worst kind of ruin. The reflection of having done so charitable an office to a lovely boy, like your own departed son, would no doubt afford you constant satisfaction : but," continued she, perceiving that her busband began to be affected, “I desire you to do Dothing which is not prompted by the generous feelings of your own heart; for of this I am certain, that your acting up to them will render you more prosperous in the world, and secure you a reward of a hundred-fold in your own mind."
The earnestness of Mrs. Barnet's manner, and the recollection of a son whom he had loved as much as he could love any thing, had already touched the heart of the husband : and this last iotimation of immediate prosperity and future reward, sounding in his ears something like accumulated interest and a large premium, came nearest his feelings, and overcame him entirely.
"Well, my dear,” said he, “ since this is your opinion, let the boy be brought hither as soon as you please."
Mrs. Barnet threw her arms around her husband's neck, and thanked him with all the warmth of an overflowing and benevolent heart.
BENEVOLENCE. WHEN thou considerest thy wants, when thou beholdest thy imperfeotions, acknowledge his goodness, O son of humanity, who honoured thee with reason, endowed thee with speech, and placed thee in society, to receive and confer reciprocal helps and mutual obligations.
Thy food, thy clothing, thy convenience of habitation; thy protection from the injuries, thy enjoyment of the conforts and the pleasures of life; all these thou owest to the assistance of others, and couldest not enjoy but in the bands of society:
It is thy dutý, therefore, to be a friend to mankind, as it is thy interest that man should be friendly to thee.
CHARITY. Happy is the man who hath sown in bis breast the seeds of benevolence; the produce thereof shall be charity and love. “From the fountain of his heart shall rise rivers of goodness; the streams shall overflow for the benefit of pankind.
He assisteth the poor in their trouble ; he rejoicesh in furthering the prosperity of all men.
He promoteth in his neighbourhood peace and good will, and his game is repeated with praise and benedictions.
GRATITUDE. As the branches of a tree return their sap to the root, from whence it arose ; as a river poureth its streams to the sea, whence its spring was supplied; so the heart of a grate-. ful man delighteth in returning a benefit received. He acknowledgeth his obligation with cheerfulness, he looketh on his benefactor with love and esteem.
SINCERITY. O thou who art enamoured with the beauties of truth, and hast fixed thy heart on the simplicity of her charins, hold fast thy fidelity unto her, and forsake her not; the constancy of thy virtue shall crown thee with honour. The tongue of the sincere is rooted in his heart, hypocrisy and deceit have no place in his words.
He blusheth at falsehood, and is confounded; but in speaking the truth he hath a steady eye.
Yet with prudence and caution he openeth his lips; he studieth what is right, and speaketh with discretion.
He adviseth with friendship; be reproveth with freedom; and whatsoever he promiseth shall surely be performed.
Let him, ungenerous, who alone intent