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afterwards ungrateful, yet now, truly penitent and afiicted daughter; whose heart is so severely broken, that it truly breaks our hearts to behold her daily and nightly griefs: and, indeed, she is so completely overwhelmed with shame and remorse for her sins, before God and man, that it is a question with us, if she can long survive the sorows of her own mind. For the sake, therefore, of that blessed Saviour, whose mercies are so free to the vilest of our penitent race, pass by those unguarded hours of your daughter's life; let the principal blame rest upon the head of the vile seducer, and restore to your recollection what she was in her chaster days, when it was the joy of her heart to shew the most filial obedience, and affectionate attention to a parent she still so dearly loves, and so highly reveres. fess, I find it is to me a much greater difficulty to decide, how far it becomes me to be her advocate with her husband as well as with her father. She confesses the bond of her marriage connexion is dissolved; and she humbly acknowledges, that were she doomed to spend the residue of her days in a state of the most pensive widowhood, it would be the least punishment she deserves; nor can she ever suppose herself again worthy to embrace her dear child, which she unnaturally left when it still needed the fostering care of a mother's arms. - "Under these considerations I determined, that it might be the most prudent step not to correspond with her husband, but with her father, on this most unhappy event; and to leave you to converse with your son-in-law, and then to transmit your answer to this address. I have already mentioned, that almost every circumstance, relative to this unhappy affair, has been communicated to us by her ; but an event, about a public disturbance, which, she
says, originated in her misconduct, and, on account of
which, she conceives she will be for ever forbidden to make her appearance any more in your neighbourhood, she has not fully explained. If you think it proper, confidentially, to relate the particulars of that event, you may depend upon it, the only ad. vantage I shall take of it will be to exert myself still further to assist and console, by every effort in my power, a poor unfortunate young woman, originally dear to you, by the purity and simplicity of her affectionate obedience, and now not less dear to me, as an humble penitent won to God our Saviour by the ministry of
“ Your unknown frierid, May 1,
" and servant, for Christ's sake, Lower Brookfield,
os near Mapleton.
About a fortnight after the above letter was sent, Mr. Reader returned the following answer :
REV. SIR, “ I conceive myself unutterably obliged to you, for your very great kindness and attention manifested towards my unfortunate daughter. No doubt, but you find yourself sufficiently repaid by the approba. tion of your own mind, for the great goodness you have testified on this occasion, while you have still to look forward to a future day, in which you will receive a full reward at the hands of the Almighty for that uprightness of heart you have manifested towards one, that I thought might have been sufficiently guarded from such evils, by the virtuous principles, which, from her childhood, I conceived it my duty to impress upon her mind. Amidst the deep grief I have sustained at the revolt of my dear child, from the paths of virtue and morality, I
am happy she is now convinced of her error; and sincerely pray, that she may abide by the good resolutions she has been able to re-assume. I at once submit, kind Sir, to the requisition you make on my daughter's behalf. Assure her, thercfore, that I freely forgive her, and shall again receive her, with. out the most distant token of my displeasure, as I trust her repentance has proved a sufficient atonement for her crimes: and, indeed, her former good conduct, before she was seduced by that wicked man, ever gave me such evident demonstration of the naturul goodness of her heart, that it were highly uncharitable, not to suppose that her repentance is sincere ; these unhappy days of her folly and indiscretion, I shall therefore bury in eternal oblivion. Assure her, therefore, I shall be much grieved and affected, if the unhappy fracas, which, she says, she is ashamed to relate, should prevent her from aceepting this, my affectionate invitation for her return; and, as you wish to understand that circumstance, I am free to relate it. My worthy son-in-law, a man of most excellent natural inclinations, who had unfortunately too much proof of the evil propensities of my daughter, from her uncivil and unkind behaviour, by first thwarting him upon all occasions, and then embracing every opportunity to receive the addresses of Sir Charles, had soon too much reason to suspect his vile intent. He therefore for once feigned a necessary absence from home on his business, and returned at an unexpected hour. By this stratagem, he detected that wicked man in his abominable designs: and not having sufficient property to avenge himself in course of law, can you wonder, Sir, if Mr. Chipman should have exceeded the rules of moderation in the revenge he was excited to take against the man, from whom he had received such cruel injuries ? Armed with horse, whips, he and one of his men, by force entered the chamber, where they discovered my daughter and this libidinous wretch : thus armed, they gave him one of the severest flagellations man could well receive. But could it be severer than such a brutal and treacherous conduct deserved at his hands? Being thus driven out of the house, he was followed with no less severity through the town.
He was thrown into the kennel by a mob.of children in the streets, while the people at large eagerly testified their approbation of Mr. Chipman's method, if not of legal, yet of laudable revenge, in their general oui-cry against a man so deservedly detested, as the destroyer of the peace of one of the most happy families in the town. At length, however, Sir Charles, with great difficulty got to his lodgings ; soon afterwards he was followed thither by my daughter ; they both made an early elopement together the next morning, and, after that, what became of them was a matter entirely unknown to us until your letter was received.
“ As, with much delicacy, you ask my advice, how far it may be practicable to attempt a reconciliation between my daughter and her husband; so I find as much difficulty in giving my advice. You say, my daughter is so true a penitent, and is now so deeply afiected at her past offences, that you have your fears, whether she can survive her grief; and it much concerns me to observe, that the revival of her affection to her husband, must be attended with additional grief to her mind, when she is informed, that Mr. Chipman has been so deeply affected at this unhappy event, that he sunk under melancholy and dejection of spirit: This brought on a bilious fever, which, for several days, we thought would have terminated in his death : and, though he is recovered from the most dangerous crisis of the disease,
yet, I fear, the effects of it he will not long survive, He has no spirits left; his business he totally neglects; and, whenever he thinks of my daughter, or beholds the dear little infant she has cruelly left behind, he is again overwhelmed with grief and floods of tears; and though I and Mr. Fribble, the curate of our town, do all we can to divert him by reading the news, or by an innocent game at cards, I fear, that detestable seducer will be the death of one who, I believe, was naturally as good-hearted as most that are to be met with in the present day.
“ Think, kind Sir, what a painful task it was to me, to read your letter to my son-in-law, in a state so debilitated and weak; and, though I did it with all possible tenderness and attention to his feeling mind, yet it opened the sluices of his affection beyond what I can possibly express, and it was with inuch difficulty, that at length, he cried, “ Tell my wife, I freely forgive her ; but, though a dying man, how can I forgive the wretch, who has destroyed the peace of my mind, and torn my darling from
“ I leave it with you, Sir, to break these painful circumstances to my unfortunate daughter as you may judge best. So far as her conduct has been a grief and injury to me, again I repeat it, I freely forgive her from the bottom of my heart; but, from the declining state of her husband's health, I have deferred writing for above a week. I fear he will soon forget all his sorrows, in being speedily laid in the silent grave. He is, however, a man naturally of a very good mind, and is now endeavouring to fortify himself against that solemn event, by making his peace with God, according to the best of his ability and knowledge. Iam, Rev. Sir, with many thanks, for your great kindness and attention to my daughter,
“ Your most obedient humble sei vant, Locksbury, May 15. “ JAMES READER.