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covery made you feel less disposed, or less desirous to go to the Sacrament ?"
"On the contrary, mamma, it makes me more anxious to go: for the deeper grows the consciousness of my ill-deserts, the more precious becomes every emblem of redeeming mercy, the more welcome every record and remembrance of Jesus' love. If I before thought it desirable for me to be a partaker of the body and blood of Christ, and of the benefits received by them, I now know it to be necessary;
for I cannot do without it. Ill-dressed, unclothed, unfitted as I am, I should like to go and try if the Master of the feast will admit me, and help me to provide myself a better garment; for I believe that none but He can give it.”
“ Then, my dearest Emma, though I do not tell you you are better than your sisters, or that your conduct this week is sufficient to prove the reality of your faith, or the sincerity of your professions, I do not hesitate to advise you to do as you desire; in humble confidence, that He who has invited you to his feast, will graciously receive you, and enable you to be what he requires."
The Sabbath morning dawned with more than usual brightness. The three sisters went together to their parish church; fancy might say the step of one was lighter than the rest: certain it is, that one only accepted the Invitation.
The eye that has long been accustomed to look upon the scene around us, has become familiar with its minutest peculiarities, reconciled to its deformities, and sated with its charms, can form but a very imperfect idea of the effect of that same scene on one who has never looked on it before. It is thus in every thing; we lose the general effect, in too close intimacy with the minute particulars. The painter feels this, when he has sat hour by hour over the laboured canvass, retouching every feature, measuring every line, till the effect as a whole is so entirely lost to him, he is obliged to remove it for a time out of his sight, or have recourse to the judgment of another. The poet feels it, when, having selected word by word the materials of his composition, and fitted them to the measure of his verse, he knows, that to his ear they harmonize; to his perceptions they express the idea and excite the feeling he intends; but can very inadequately judge of the impression they will make on the mind of a reader, who, for the first time, comes to their perusal.
And such is the difficulty I often feel, when I go about to listen for others to what I can only hear for myself; especially when it passes over my mind, that I am listening for those to whom nothing can appear under the same aspect in which it appears to me. Features of society that I have looked upon, till they seem to me too little prominent to excite attention, a young person, to whom the world is new, will likely fix upon as the objects of inquiry and sur
prise: while those, that in minuter intimacy I have discovered to be curious and important, they, in their hasty and unpractised glance, will either not perceive, or feel but little interest in. And thus, while I am carefully, and, as I think, very interestingly, telling stories and multiplying words about things, that, for what they know, may have happened in the moon, they are wishing, wondering, and not altogether pleased, that I never happen to see, or see under so different a shape, the objects that most puzzle and surprise them. It was under the burden of this very disturbing apprehension, I bethought myself for once to have recourse to memory for my tale, and relate what happened when I was as much a novice as my readers, and liable to as much mistake as they possibly can be, respecting the things I saw. But then my readers must be needs forewarned, that my observations in this paper are not required to be correct; what I thought wrong was, in all probability, very right; what I thought inconsistent, might be most beautifully systematic, if I had but had the sense to perceive the due connexion of things. And as all wonder is the offspring of ignorance—ignorance of what things are, if not of what they ought to be—any surprise that I may express, is to be, of course, attributed to my own inexperience at the time.
It happened once that is the genuine way of beginning an account of things that never happened -but my readers may depend upon it this did happen some time, though I find it inconvenient to say when. It was when the habits and practices of the world were known to me only through the newspapers that reported them, or the moral
that abused them, or the novels that misrepresented them: the world, in which I had grown up, being no wider
than the walls of the paternal dwelling, and no more populous than the family that dwelt in it. What ideas or expectations I had formed through the medium of these informers of the busy scene of life in which I have since so largely wandered, is not of importance to be told: my readers may be satisfied to know they were in every thing mistaken. Some time about the middle of March I was invited to spend a few weeks in London, where, with all my ignorance, and all my prejudices full upon me, I found myself arrived at the given period. I was a Listener then as well as now; then for myself, as now for others: and among an infinite variety of things, the following circumstances are in memory's record, as something that I heard.
“ It is rather a dull time to bring a stranger to London," said Mrs. T******, “because in Lent we see less company, and our public amusements are for the most part suspended. But after Easter we shall be particularly gay, and able to show you every ."
very shoul like to know, mamma," answered young Selina T., “ why we may not as well live in Lent as we live all the rest of the
suppose we do not live irreligiously at any time ?"
“I am surprised to hear you speak thus, Selina,” said her mother; “I thought you had been taught to read your Bible, and attend your religious duties strictly; I did not expect from you so ignorant a remark— I thought you knew”-Iwas considering of the probability that Mrs. T. had neglected to teach her daughter what she was surprised to find she did not know, when the lively Selina rejoined
“O, yes ! dear mamma, I do know that in Lent we have no balls or plays, never ask more than twelve to dinner at once; eat salt fish and pancakes,
and go to Church in the week days. But I wanted to know the reason of it all; I am sure there is nothing about it in the Bible, and I could not find it this morning in the prayer-book.”
Again, my dear, I must say you are very ignorant, if you do not know that the forty days preceding Easter are kept in commemoration of our Saviour's fast of forty days, in the lonely wilderness, where, for our sakes, and for our example, he hungered and thirsted, and"
“0, dearest mamma! I know all that of course," answered Selina, impatiently; " but I want to be told, what that has to do with balls and dinner parties, and pancakes, and plays ?"
“ I should think that too obvious to need explanation, my love,” said Mrs. T. I thought so too; and seeing her hesitate, I had almost a mind to propound the matter myself, so simple, and so certain, seemed to me the mode of explanation, and so clear to myself was my own understanding of it. I soon had reason to rejoice that I refrained my lips, when I perceived not only the difficulty of the exposition, but my own mistakes upon the subject.
Mrs. T. took off her thimble, primmed her pleasant face into the length of gravity, bade her daughter to be serious, and she would explain to her what she ought to have known long ago. I thought she ought, little suspecting that I did not know myself.
There were not wanting symptoms in the old lady's manner, which might have excited suspicion that she did not know; but that was impossible: the appearance must of course have proceeded from my want of knowledge of the world. Still, there was a long pause. The old lady drew towards her the large Bible, and the little prayer-book, that lay on the table, and put them carefully one upon the other,