« السابقةمتابعة »
her accurately, and said, “ How is it that a woman like you, in the prime of life, is so reduced as to be obliged to beg ? Surely, you are capable of earning an existence in a less derogatory manner.”
“ Alas, Sir !" replied the woman, “that is true : I can do all kinds of needlework; and I am willing, could I find employment; but I have no one to recommend me." “I fear that argues a fault in your
character," answered he: “ for few people that walk honestly through life until your age, however unfortunate, some one will exert their humanity to assist them.”
“ Alas, Sir!" replied she, “it is indeed a fault in my character, which, though not profligate, has been very erroneous ; and which neither sorrow nor repentance can obliterate."
“ True repentance obliterates our errors even with our Maker, who himself is spotless : and shall frail humanity judge of its fellow-sinner so harshly? For the present take that half crown, and if you
are really what you declare, repentant for your errors, and willing to gain an honest existence by your industry, call on me to-morrow,” giving his address, “and I will endeavour to help you farther.”
The woman looked astonished, and un. able to reply, but fixing her eyes on them, and supporting herself against a tree, she burst into tears; while Mr. Richardson hastened along the Mall with his children, and soon reached the coach.
THE BEGGAR-WOMAN'S STORY.
TAGES OF A BAD CHARACTER.
MR. RICHARDSON being employed the ensuing morning with his mercantile concerns, the children walked with Mrs. Beaumont until dinner; after which they amused themselves during the afternoon until sent for by their father.
In the meantime the poor woman they had seen in the Park the day before call. ed as desired; and being admitted, Mr. Richardson questioned her respecting her former life : and finding that though erroneous, there was nothing to injure the morals of his children, he sent for them to be present at the relation.
My children,” said he, “ I wished you to hear the relation of this poor woman's misfortunes; from them may you learn wisdom, and avoid those errors that have wrought her ruin !—Then turning to her, he added, “ Fear not to speak the truth; it shall not injure you with me, for falsehood is a crime of all others I detest."
The poor woman answered, “ Alas, Sir, falsehood, vanity, and arrogance, have been the bane of my life, and left me destitute as you see; therefore, with God's assistance, were I ever to be placed in comfort, as I have been, I have abjured them for ever ; I have read that the wages of sin is death; and, I am sure, the reward of falsehood, vanity, and unbridled passion, is shame and sorrow; therefore, well or ill befall me, I am resolved to make truth my invariable rule in every transaction."
« You will do well,” replied Mr. Richardson ; “ truth may procure us blame, but cannot be disgraced ; therefore, I again desire you to speak without fear."
The woman obeyed, and began as follows:
My name is Charlotte Glover; my parents died when I was very young, and I was sent to reside with my grandmother, who lived on an annuity left her rhy her husband. My father was a jeweller, but his affairs had not been prosperous: therefore, I had no provision but what depended on the bounty of my grandmother, whose income, though sufficient to support us in credit, would allow of no superfluities, I was but two years old when I went to her, and was soon so great a favourite, that I might be truly said to act as I pleased; for, on the least contradiction, I threw myself into such frenzies of passion, as frightened her, and in consequence was sure to gain my point. Evil habits strengthen with time, and one vice is ever sure to engender another ; thus, as I grew older, I became artful, and a liar ; so that whenever I was rea fused any thing I wished, either by our