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deserved it; but that event is surely no cause for sorrow."
“ No, Sir," replied he, “ that is not ; yet it renews all my grief, when I reflect what a good friend I have lost ; a friend that no money can make amends for; and that such a gentleinan, even in his dying hours, should condescend to remember me."
“ But your lame cousin,” said Mr. Richardson, to relieve the discourse, “ how is he situated ?"
" Ah, Sir, bad enough; he found his mother worn to a skeleton, and all gone to ruin : for she was so distressed by his absence, that it impaired her health, and the business has been neglected, and I fear, totally lost."
“ I hope you were prudent enough not to shock her suddenly with his appearance ?" said Mr. Richardson.
“ I was, Sir, as careful as possible: for I went in first, and informed my mother, , who I thought would never have taken her arms from my neck; nor, indeed,
was I in
heart ached for poor George, who stood trembling without, uncertain how he should be received ; or, what was worse, thinking that perhaps his conduct had broken his mother's -heart. At last I called him in, and my mother received him kindly; and we agreed to leave him at our house, while I went to prepare my aunt. Poor woman, she was seated in her old arm-chair, but so altered, that I hardly knew her; she was, however, glad to see me ; and, after some discourse, asked me whether ever I had heard of her unhappy son? I answered that I had ; and was glad to tell her, he would now be all she wished. At first I thought she would have fainted; but, recovering by degrees, I informed her of the whole, and then went to fetch George; but the worst was to come; for she no sooner heard the sound of his wooden leg on the stairs, than she screamed aloud, and covered herface with her hands. George, on his entrance, could scarcely
speak; but recovering, he said, “ Oh! forgive me, my mother; be not thus shocked at my appearance : though I have lost a leg, I have gained what more than compensates for it, a heart willing to labour, and repay the long arrears of duty I owe you.” These words appeared to comfort her, and in an hour she was tolerably composed ; but I fear all George's cares will not be able to restore her; and then, poor fellow, he will have the additional punishment of thinking he has plunged her into the grave. But I beg your pardon, Sir, I am sure my long story must have wearied you and the young gentlefolks."
“ I requested it,” returned Mr. Richardson ; “ but how does your cousin mean to dispose of himself ?”
“ His master, the cutler, Sir, on his submission, has agreed to let him finish his time, as he says, for the sake of his mother. When I left them this morning, I was very uneasy with thinking how both our parents were to be maintained
in the interval: but that difficulty is now done away."
“ And how have you surmounted that inconvenience ?" demanded Mr. Richardson.
“ I am rich, now, Sir, and can well afford to keep both our mothers, at least until George is able to do something for his."
Exemplary youth!” said Mr. Richardson, in a low voice, to his son,“ how dignified is Virtue, whatever form she assumes !” Then turning to the young man, he addressed him thus : “ To deprive you of the satisfaction of assisting your mother, would be depriving you of what money could not compensate; but for your aunt, should she survive, these young people will occasionally help her during her son's apprenticeship; and for him, as I hope he has renounced his errors, I will find him clothes during that time."
William was astonished at this goodness; but his thanks were too sincere to suffer him to be eloquent.
-And now," said Mr. Richardson, “ how do you intend to dispose of yourself?"
“ I shall go to sea again, Sir, though, to own the truth, I have no great liking to that life now my good master is gone: ah, Sir, I would have attended him to the world's end. However, God's will must be done ; I shall, in respect to my friends, go with a light heart, for they will not want in my absence."
“ If you would prefer a situation at home,” replied Mr. Richardson, “ I will obtain your discharge, and, as I understand you write a good hand, place you under my clerks, where, with care and attention, you may soon render yourself useful."
The young lad seemed transported with pleasure, and repeatedly blessed the hour that he met so good a friend.
Thanks were not the incense Mr. Richardson delighted in; and telling him he would be late home, dismissed him, bid, ding him call again in a few days.