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an alteration, equally striking, taken place in the dress and habits of those in stations above them? and while we blame their folly and extravagance, must we not, in some measure, attribute it to the examples that are set before them? nay, could we not ourselves mention several instances, among those raised above the situation of a servant, whose appearance is far beyond what, some years ago, would have been considered becoming their station ?
Shopkeeper. "Why some are a little shewy, to be sure, Madam; there's Nancy Sims, the carpenter's wife, and Betsy Adams, the blacksmith's wife, and Mary Jones, the laundress, and
Lady. And might not your own name, my good woman, be added to the list?
Shopkeeper. Why perhaps I am a little smart, on high days and holidays; but that is but seldom. I always pay for what I have on; and one does not like to appear shabby by the side of one's neighbours: and, as to example, it's very well for the rich and great to be very careful to set a good one, but mine can be of no consequence to any one.
Lady. Believe me you are there widely mistaken: the conduct of every human being influences, more or less, that of others. We are all but too prone to imitate what we see; and severely accountable, I fear, shall we be hereafter for the evil into which our own errors have been the means of leading our fellow creatures. What says our blessed Saviour? “Whosoever sball break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so *, &c."
Shopkeeper. “True, Madam, but that relates only to the breaking of a commandment: and I hope you don't think me capable of leading others astray in that respect."
Lady: “Wilfully, I trust, you would not. But are not those guilty of doing so, indirectly, who excite,
* Matt. v, 19.
in others, desires of any kind which they have not the means of gratifying. What greater incentive can be held out to a breach of the tenth commandment, Thou shalt not covet?' and, from that, we all know how easy it is to pass on to a disregard of the eighth, Thou shalt not steal. But, if you have a few minutes to spare, I will relate to you a circumstance which once fell under my observation, and will, I think, prove more clearly than any argu. ments of mine, the truth of what I have been saying."
Shopkeeper. “You are very good, Madam, I shall be happy to listen to you.”
Lady. "I was, in my youth, on a visit to a friend in Worcestershire, at a time when a general interest was awakened for the fate of a young woman, who had been convicted of stealing some lace off the counter of a shop, in a neighbouring town. She was frequently visited, in prison, by the son of my friend, who was Rector of the parish in which she lived ; and mapy a tear was shed in the family, at his recital of the painful scenes to which he was witness in his conferences with her, during the period of her confinement. That which struck me the most for . cibly, was the poor young woman's own account of her history, as repeated to us by him, and the cause which led to the commission of the fatal act, which brought misery on herself, and all connected with her. She was one of several children of an honest and industrious day labourer, who, wbile the children were too young to provide for themselves, worked hard for their support, and, as soon as they were old enough, placed them out in different surrounding families. They had all conducted themselves in a manner highly gratifying to himself and his wife, till the unfortunate circumstance occurred which I am going to relate. The youngest daughter had been placed, as under nursery maid, in a large family, some miles distant from her father's cottage : the situation was not one which her parents consi
dered particularly desirable for a young girl of sixs teen, but no other at that time presented itself. I was comfortably off, Sir, in many respects,' would she say to Mr. Lawson, and ought to have been contented, and thankful for the advantages I enjoyed. I had food and clothing, and was kindly treated, and what could á poor girl wish for more. My mistress was kind-hearted and indulgent, but sbe was young and inexperienced, and suffered her household to follow their own ways, instead of using her authority in governing and restraining them. The consequence was, that most of the servants were idle and self-willed, and some of them exceedingly sinful: the females were allowed to indulge in uncontrolled extravagance of dress. I heard of nothing but caps, and bonnets, and ribbons, and lace. My wages were, of course, low, sufficient indeed to provide me with every thing necessary and proper for my station, but not such as to admit of my vying in show and finery with the rest ; alas! that I should have been so foolish as to desire it! I did, however, become dissatisfied with what I had myself, but, for some time, resisted the temptation to possess myself by unfair means, of that which I had learnt so eagerly to covet; till at length, opportunity, and my own wicked inclinations, overpowered me; and, in an evil hour, I committed the dreadful act for which I am justly condemned to suffer. I would pot willingly reflect on the conduct of others, nor fix on them the blame which properly belongs to my own wilful transgression; but oh, Sir! it was bad example that first tempted ine astray. Had I been fortunate enough to escape its 'ruinous influence, I might have lived beloved and happy, and have preserved that peace of mind which is now gone for ever.'
Shopkeeper. “An awful tale indeed, Madam, but what became of the poor girl?"
Lady. “She was sentenced to seven years' trans
portation ; but grief, remorse, and shame, brought on an illness which pat an end to her sufferings; and she died on her passage to Botany Bay, in the nine. teenth year of her age. And, now, let me ask you what was it that brought on all this misery? It was the example of persons irr the same line of life with herself, the servants in the family with whom she lived, the baneful influence of whose conduct, in a point too often considered of no consequence, that induced a fellow-servant to commit an act of dishonesty, which plunged her family in wretchedness, and brought herself to the grave.”
Shopkeeper. "I humbly thank you, Madam ; and I now see that the fault which I thought so little of, is capable of producing the most lamentable consequences."
Lady. “Be assured, then, that the best and surest method of improving others, is to begin by improving oneself. First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote out of thy brother's eye *.?"
PLAIN DRESS. The following is an example of plain dressing, in a person of high rank; no less a person than Queen Elizabeth. In the latter part of her life, it does not seem that this. Queen continued her dislike for finery, but the following is an account of her when she was in her 17th year. Her tutor, Roger Ascham, thus writes of her in a letter to his friend Sturmius. “With respect to personal decoration, the Lady Elizabeth greatly prefers a simple elegance to shew and splendour, so despising the outward adorning of plaiting the hair and of wearing of gold."
Matt. vii. 5.
Dr. Aylmer, who was Bishop of London in Elizabeth's reign, thus draws her character when young. -" The king left ber rich clothes and jewels, and I know it to be true that, in seven years after her father's death, she never, in all that time, looked upon that rich attire and precious jewels but once, and that against her will. And that there never came gold or stone upon her head, till her sister * forced her to lay off her former soberness, and bear her company in her glittering gayress. And then she so wore it, that every man might see that her body carried that which her heart disliked. I am sare that her maidenly apparel, which she used in King Edward's + time, made the noblemen's daughter's and wives to be ashamed to be dressed and painted like peacocks; being more moved with her most virtuous example, than withall that ever Peter or Paul wrote touching that matter. Yea, this I know, that a great man's daughter (Lady Jane Gray) receiving from Lady Mary, before she was Queen, good apparel of tinsel, cloth of gold and velvet, laid on with parchment lace of gold, when she saw it said, “ What shall I do with it ?” “ Wear it,' to be sure," said a gentlewoman. “Nay," quoth she, " that were a shame to follow my Lady Mary against God's word, and leave my Lady Elizabeth who followeth God's word.” And when all the ladies, at the coming of the Scots' queen dowager, went with their hair frownsed, curled, and double curled, she altered nothing, but kept her old maidenly shamefacedness."
CONFESSION OF PALLETT THE MURDERER. This wretched man, was executed at Chelms
ford, for the murder of Mr. Mumford, made the fol