Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

sense of justice, in relation to pecuniary obligations ; you still cherish your reputation for purity; and you declare that you even wish to return. These circumstances combined, present such a prospect as in. duces me to think, that my compliance with your mother's request, in writing to you, may not prove like the attempt to soothe the angry tempest, by the soft modulations of the barp. You will certainly excuse me for writing, if you

do not approve my motives and sentiments; for it is your very dear, and truly deserving mother, who has twice urged it.

Let me then come to the point. If you wish to relurn, why do you not return? Your mother entreats, and your conscience urges. A most cordial welcome awaits you, whenever you please to relinquish the stage. She would gladly toil, not only for the maintenance of herself and your younger sisters, but fos your support. She would become a slave, that you, her eldest, might be a lady, could she thereby rescue her daughter from that misery and ruiu which she is confident must, sooner or later, overtake all unprotected and giddy females, who are inmates of the green-room.

Might I not appeal to your own conscience as a witness, to prove that yours is a dangerous situation? You are perpetually exposed to the arts of unprincipled and diseased men ; and a chaste actress among a thousand, would be a prodigy that might astonish the world! Return, then, unhappy L-, to your mother, and resolve to escape the temptatious which surround you : resolve to labour rather for a scanty subsistence, than connive at vice, if not actually participate in all the licentiousness which

SOME ACCOUNT OF AN ACTRESS.

185

renders the theatre enchanting to the debauchee and courtesan, that you may obtain the fleeting, accursed prosperity of the ungodly. Better would be a diuner of herbs, and robes of sackcloth, with the smiles of your mother, the peace of your own conscience, aud the approbation of your final Judge, than the most sumptous entertainment, the gayest apparel, and the worthless admirers, which might be obtained by a long life of celebrity for wit, refinement, inimitable eloquence, and peerless beauty. What would be your ultimate gain, should you sell your person to the best advantage, and your talents for the richest benefit ?' Could you then live happily, or die with either hope or resignation.

You must not, however, calculate upon pre-eminent rank in your profession'; for should you continue in it, which I pray you may not, you have merely to expect, for a little while, such a portion as you at present have; and when your powers and health shall decline, with premature old age, or something worse, the men who have flattered, fostered, and promoted you, will cast you away, to perish in the streets.

“ But it appears," you write to your mother, that "there is an invisible power which governs your actions, over which

you

have no controul.” Is this designed to deceive the heart of your fond and forsaken parent ? Can she believe in the wretched doctrines of Fatalism, which constitute the religion of the theatre? No, no, young lady! be honest, and assure yourself, as well as her, that

" Qur lasts are gods, and what they will is fate."

[blocks in formation]

God does, indeed, governs all beings, in such a manner as to allow them freedom of thought and action, but he does not impel you to do evil. If any invisible agency, besides

your own heart's attachment to an illicit pursuit, prevents you from returning to the protection of her who bore you, it must be the Devil; and I advise you to resist him as soon as possible. You have as much controul over the action of returning home as of ascending the stage.

Whether the influence of your mind, or of the Devil, or 'of both, in devoting you to your present mode of life, “ will terminate in good or ill,” is not "yet to be proved,” for it is great and dangerous ill now; but whether you will be prevailed upon to leave the society of the worthless, and associate with the good; whether you shall be an heir of Misery, or a daughter of never-ceasing Felicity, is yet to be ascertained by yourself and your friends. .

Why should you ask your mother's prayers, if you will not pray for yourself? She prays God, however, for those things which you do not supplicate, that you may be reclaimed, and may become a respectable, useful, happy woman. Were your prayers to unite with her's in relation to these objects, they would soon be answered to the joy of her bleeding heart. At any rate, should your mother never behold you again with satisfaction, her fervent petitions would return with balmy peace into her own bosom. She shall not pray in vain, so far as she is concerned; but you may not be improved by her tears and intercessions.

“Should it please the Almighty to cut the frail thread of your existence" in this life, before

you brought to love and obey the Lord Jesus Christ, in

are

SOME ACCOUNT OF AN ACTRESS.

187

stead of being happy, instead of escaping trials and temptations, you would drop like lead into the abyss of everlasting misery. You are not prepared for death, and do not consider its consequences.

It would be no consolation to leave your present mortifications and sorrows, for everlasting contempt, unceasing agony of conscience, and the sensible indignation of the Holy God. Oh! think of this warning, and before it is too late, return unto the Lord with weeping.

I am glad that you contrast your present situation in life with what it might have been; and I conjure you to compare it, with what it may yet be. You may yet be restored to the favour of your good mother, and to the friendship of the excellent ones of the earth; may yet become a beloved wife to some suitable man, who may pay you every kind attention; may become the joyful mother of children, and in a good old age die in their arms; may become a true Christian, and finally ascend to glory. All this may be"; or the dreadful reverse of every thing which should be desired. Choose then between good and evil. Think not that you have proceeded too far to become wise, and the object of much honourable affection. If you have any disposition to be reconciled to the Redeemer, and through his peace-speaking blood of atopement, to yourself, it is not too late. Immediately accept the pardon of all your sins, because the God of truth has offered a free remission, for the sake of the sufferings of Christ, but not of your mother, whose afflictions you vainly hope will propitiate heaven in your favour. Then, with the hope of ever

[blocks in formation]

lasting life and love, commence a life of sober usefulness and habitual duty. You will find Wisdom's ways to be pleasantness.

In vain you ask your mother not to be unhappy, if you continue to imbitter her state of poverty and desertion. Be a dutiful daughter; renounce the stage and its fictitious beings for ever; become a Christian, and your peace shall be like the river of God, your felicity with your pious mother shall be everlasting.

Accept my assurances of assistance in every possible way, and believe that your happiness, in conjunction with that of your friends, and the glory of God, is the sole object of this communication from

your friend

EZRA STILES ELY.

Miss M- at Mrs. Barnham's,

Liberty Street, New York.

LETTER FROM MISS L

M-, TO HER MOTHER.

New York, August 13th, 1814. MY DEAR Mother, Accept my sincere thanks for your

kind letter. It gave a very sensible pleasure to my heart. 'Twas a consolation for the anxiety I have felt on your account. I was apprehensive you were ill, or that some misfortune had happened. I thank God that is not the case.

Dear mother, how shall I thank Mr. Ely for the interest which he is good enough to take in my welfare, who am so unworthy of kindness ? But I will

« PreviousContinue »