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He seemed to ponder my words, but not clearly to comprehend them ; however, as I saw he was a reflecting man, I led away my young friends, and left him to weigh and inquire what was the purport of them.
There were two young girls walking our way, and they seemed engrossed in deep conversation; one of them opened a paper very carefully, showing the contents to the other, who exclaimed
Oh! in a tone of wonderful admiration.
It's not pink, it's rose colour. Isn't it a bonny ribbon ? I saw Miss Lucy Grey's bonnet with such a colored ribbon, and I determined with my next money to buy such an one; the man in the shop told me this was off the same piece, and he said they call it rose colour. I've sent my Sunday bonnet to be cleaned, it will cost me two shillings, but I don't mind, I shall earn what will pay for it. Mother said, I'd best buy a new petticoat, but you know that is not seen. Oh! Nanny, the other said, I wish my
mother would let me have my own earnings; I'd work. so hard if she would, and then I'd buy a ribbon like it; but she buys every thing for me, and she likes such old fashioned things, drawing up her frock, see, I've this thick stuff petticoat, and black stockings, and a pair of strong shoes, and another such a pair for Sundays; she never buys me smart things.
Oh! it's best to have your money for yourself, and then you can do as you like.
We all listened to this conversation, and as they stopt to talk further on the subject, we passed on and hastened home, and were quite ready for refreshment; during which, the children related all the occurrences of the morning to their mother, accompanied with very discriminating observations, and my own mind was furnished with a key to some species of disobedience to parents, which had often surprised me before, and now especially engaged my attention.
The next morning Louisa reminded me of the old man, by saying,
Remember Thomas's old father, uncle.
With pleasure ; if your mamma will permit it, we will go this morning.
Will you consent, mamma?
Defer it till the evening, my dears, for I do not like you totally to neglect your usual avocations.
But perhaps it - may rain in the evening, Charles said.
I shall be sorry if you should be disappointed, but we will trust to the event.
I am sure it will rain,-George said, with a little tone of impatience,--for the sky has clouded in.
If it should, my dear George, you will, I hope, know how to bear a disappointment of your own will, which would arise from two causes that are not only good, but, also, beyond your control.
What two causes, mamma ?
First, the will of God, who sendeth the rain; and second, the will of your mother, who desires your regular instruction.
My sister had a particularly happy mode of blending an affectionate manner with a firmness of purpose, so that while her children felt her authority, they were sensible of her kindness.
Not another attempt was made to change the mind of their mother, and even the little pet which had assailed George, wore off, and they were soon busily and cheerfully engaged.
I took the opportunity of throwing together my reflections upon the incidents of the morning, and of investigating the operation of that system of independent labor, which has grown into such general use amongst the laboring classes of society. I could not help thinking, that however plausible the plea for industry sounded, it sprung from a corrupt principle of greediness for gain in the parents, which substituted a selfish worldly motive as a stimulus, instead of a godly and dutiful principle, prompted to action by a spirit of love. It seemed to proceed from a coretous disposition in the parents, desiring to make a gain of their children, and producing the same feeling in them; for of course, their industry would be tainted with a lurking covetous desire,
and their minds occupied with the calculation how to apportion out what they would allow their parents for their support, so as to pay at the. cheapest rate ; the parent and child thus becoming barterers with each other for personal advantages, derived from those mutual acts of duty and relationship, which should be suffered to flow spontaneously in the channels of filial and parental love. The present system of labor, and state of society, has doubtless suggested this plan. In instances where the first principles of love to God are laid, there may not be so much danger of corrupting the finer feelings of the heart, because it will still be subservient to the duty to which the love of the Lord prompts; but where this is wanting, the system must undoubtedly be of bad and prejudicial influence; it is found to foster the worst of feelings. I know a man who is able to earn a good livelihood by his own labor, but being a drunkard, he shows that disposition which ranks him, in the apostle's view, as worse than an infidel ; not providing for his own, affording neither clothing nor food to his children, leaving them to earn what they can independently of him, and they are often in circumstances of absolute want, without moving the feelings of this unnatural father. It is no uncommon case for the parent to lay aside all sense of obligation to his child, so soon as he is able to earn his own bread, and of course the child disowns all bond to his parent; thus the family bond of mutual interest is broken, and in early life a child is set
free from the parental restraint, só needful at that age; and vice, and selfishness, and dissipation, and licentious freedom, bring them into the bondage of sin and death. Alas! how many houses which should be the dwellings of harmony and love, are the bitter scenes of dissention and misery.
I believe this system has its influence also in the families of the opulent, who are fond of giving their young children the idea of an independent income, by apportioning to them a kind of allowance, out of which they are to provide themselves with certain articles of dress, &c. stipulated by the parent. A better feeling would be inculcated by a liberal supply out of the general stock, coming as daily acts of love, and received as such by the child, from the band of a kind parent. The supplies should be liberal in proportion to the circumstances, so as to unite confidence with dependence; openly showing them, at the same time, that they are considered as entitled to a share in all the parent's possessions. In the other case, they take as a right the sum allotted, and are in danger of losing that sweet sense of oneness in the interests of home, which enlarges the affections to each other. I know there may be many arguments alleged for the other system ; but it would be well, to investigate the principle with some minuteness, and see whether they be not of human policy and worldly origin, without any regard to the prime