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enjoyed himself, till both himself and his mistress were grown much in years. At her request he visited her most evenings when she had no company, for as he was a truly religious man, she liked his conversation, and he had enjoyed the advantage of a good education, and never kept low company, 80 there was nothing vulgar in his talk.
When Nicholas was taken ill, as it proved never to recover, the old lady took on sadly. She looked out of her window, in sight of his dwelling, every hour to see if he was well enough to leave his cottage; and I verily believe would have 'tended him herself if she had not been confined to her house by the loss of the use of her limbs. The seventh night after he was taken, as she and the young lady were at supper, with a servant waiting, a lamp burning in the great hall, the door of the room being left open as the weather was warm, the old lady looked towards it suddenly, just as her son had done before, but not losing her senses, she said
What's that?! Her friend and the servant saw nothing, and asked her what she saw ? She made po reply, but went on with her supper, till casting her eyes again at the door, she repeated her question. This she did three times with increasing earnestness; but would make no reply to the request made her for information as to what she saw. In a few minutes she desired to be attended to bed, after which, the servants and the visitor searched the
house to find out what it might be which had alarmed the old lady, but fouind nothing. The next morning word was sent that Nicholas was dead ; and on communicating the intelligence to his mistress, she replied, I knew that, he looked in at the door last night. Now, Sir, concluded Humphrey) what think you of this p" " Truly," replied I, “ from observation I am obliged to think, there are very few servants now-a-days who deserve se well of their master and mistress, as your old aequaintance, Nicholas Ridman. Your story refleets great honour upon his character and that of his superiors, who knew how to value and reward his bumble worth': but as he only chose to appear to his affectionate, and as I should judge, superannuated mistress, and that too, just at the time, when her thoughts were so intent upon him and his situation, I must withhold my credence to his having appeared at all." V!.!.."
* You - are hard of belief, Sir," said Hum. phrey, who still seemed disposed to favour the Feport, though he acknowledged we should be cau. tious how we spread such abroad, as in some cases it might injure qur neighbour's property. Wé then conversed on the sin of scandal, so little attended to by multitudes. He told me, this was another temptation, with which he had been as. sailed; for his line of business led him to know much of the private affairs of his neighbours and
he found that altho it was generally thought 'none but old ladies loved to hear scandalous news, he found gentlemen of all ages were just as fond of it, and that he could not please many of his best eustomers, or insure their custom more effectually, than by carrying such sort of news to their ears. “ For some time,” continued Mr. Peach, “I was httle aware of the sin I had fallen into; but I believe it seldom happens, that a sincere Christian is permitted to lay under a delusion for any great length of time. The word of God is described as being sharper than a two-edged sword, a discerner of the very thoughts and intents of the heart; there fure it cannot be expected, that those who are constantly using it, should escape being wounded by it if they deserve chastisement. Thus it happened, that as I was reading, as it came in its order, the 15th Psalm, conviction flashed on my mind, that I lacked one of the marks of those whoʻshall abide in the Lord's tabernacle, and dwell in his holy hill ; seeing that amongst other things it was required, that he should not backbite with his tongue, doing thus evil to his neighbour ; neither take up a reproach against his neighbour. This set me to work in search after other evidences of my being a truly converted man-and-sad misgivings I had: I was indeed for a long while in the valley of humiliation. Pam no advocate for poring over our sins and infirmities, for I well know, “The joy of the Lord is our strength ;' and in proportion as we can rest on
his covenant-love, ordered in all things and sure, and feel our interest in the righteousness he has wrought out for us, will be our advancement in holiness of heart and life, without which no man shall see the Lord : yet there are seasons, when we ought to look in, as well as out of ourselves."
I understand the distinction you make," returned I, “and am persuaded, there is no duty more necessary than self-examination ; but as we are insufficient in ourselves for this, as well as every other good work, the aid of the great searcher of hearts must be implored, after the example of David, who said, Search me, O God, and know my heart : try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead ime in the way everlasting.' After this then, I presume, Mr. P. you lost your gossiping spirit; and I hope none of your customers in consequence : but I suppose they were a little surprised at the alteration in your discourse.” “ When they asked me for news," replied Mr. Peach, “I frankly told them the resolution I had formed, that my study for the future should be to be quiet, and only to mind my own business. They could none of them gainsay that this was a wise resolve, and there was no reason because I left off gossiping, that I should be glum and silent. To a person who thinks, and makes observations on what passes around him, there will generally be some innocent, if not pro,
fitable subject for talk; and sometimes I have good things to relate of my neighbours, which 'tis my duty to blazen abroad. How many good things could I tell you, Sir, about our Rector, who you *must know is a justice of the peace ; and I suppose has fewer people brought before him, than any other justice of the peace in England, because he keeps such a sharp look out on every thing passing in the parish, and endeavours to stop the current of sin at the beginning of its flow.
It was but last month he saved Ned Shallow, the fishman, a heavy fine; and, what's much better, convinced him of the bad practice he had adopted. This was selling fish on a Sunday, for because mackerel is allowed to be sold on that day, Ned
Shallow could see no reason, why he should not carry on his usual business. The adversary of our gouls knows how to adopt his temptations to our dispositions. Ned is a remarkably industrious fellow, and very careful for his family. Some pious persons, jealous as they ought to be for the honour of their God in the observation of his Sabbath, resolved to bring him before the justice. Now our kind-hearted minister felt for the inconvenience the fine would occasion to the poor wife and children; 80 notwithstanding Shallow had heeded none of his former admonitions and explanations respecting the law, allowing of the sale of one sort of fish, in case a great flow of them came in on a Saturday, because it was of a very perishable nature ; but that it