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years, been admitted to this little feast; the mother of the family had long been a blessing to her husband and sons, and indeed to all who knew her : she was, in return, greatly beloved by them, and on the New Year's evening it was the regular custom that her husband and her two boys (her only children) should first drink her health, and offer to her their wishes, that she might have " a happy new year."—On the evening of which I am speaking, she smiled through the tears with which she thanked them, and returned her wish for their happiness. She had for some months been in a very declining state, and she felt that her days on earth were very near their end. After a few moments, in which she had struggled to overcome her emotion, she said, " weak as I am, my dear friends, I must, according to my yearly custom, tell you how I think you may best hope for ' a happy new year.' I think," added she, in a faltering tone, looking tenderly on each, "I think it is the last New Year's day I shall be with you; but, as I hope I have always desired to do, I would fain once more beseech you to lift up your hearts in thankfulness to the Giver of every good, for the many mercies with which he has blessed you and me, through the past years; and, in humble faith, still to raise your hearts in prayer for future blessings: above all, that God's Holy Spirit may direct you in all your ways; may strengthen you in the hour of temptation, and support you under every affliction.—Oh ! be assured, my dear boys," said she, fixing her tearful eyes with an expression of great anxiety in the countenance of Charles, her eldest son, "be assured that in this Divine strength is your only safety. Watch over your own sinful hearts, trust not to your own sincerity of intentions, or to the feeble reed of good resolutions. Remember the merciful caution given, ' Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.'—To you, my dearest Charles, this caution is the more necessary, because, as you know, you are apt to be too self-dependent* The warning voice of your fond mother may be silent in the grave, yet the voice of God will continue to speak in his Word—Oh! remember this, my beloved boys, both of you, and we may hen look forward, in the full hope of meeting in heaven and there enjoying endless years of 1838.] A HAPPY NEW YEAR. 3
happiness."—Her husband and sons could not hide their tears, and she added, calmly, " weep not for me; sinful and unworthy as I am of the least of the Lord's mercies, I can, blessed be his name, trust in the atonement of my Saviour; and, cleansed from all sin in his most precious blood, I can, in firm faith.believe that God will be gracious to me, a sinner." A few weeks after this family meeting, the husband and sons followed this Christian woman to her grave. I had constantly visited her, and had passed many hours, profitably, as I trust, by the side of her dying bed. Often had I listened to, and joined in her prayers for those she left behind—for her boys, more especially. William, the youngest, had always been a humble-minded, dutiful son, and of him she had great hope. Charles, on the contrary, had always been proud and self-willed. By kind, yet firm government, his wise parents had done their utmost to check these sinful dispositions; but his mother's fears for him were many and great, and her prayers for all she loved, generally ended in earnest entreaty for the especial grace of God to him. The husband had for many years occupied a small farm left to him for his life by an uncle. This uncle was Charles's godfather, and to him he left the farm, upon the death of the father. This was thought, by careless observers, a fine thing for the boy, as he then was; but his parents saw the matter otherwise, and had many proofs that it, in great measure, undid all they so much strove to do for the good of Charles, who was, as I have said, naturally proud and self-willed, and, even as a child, had a great notion of being genteel. His father's authority had kept him at work on the farm, and made him learn all that was necessary for its cultivation; but the expectation of being some day independent was a great snare to him:—he had, when about twenty-two, taken a great fancy to a young woman, who was likely to become a still greater snare: because she was very pretty, her weak parents had encouraged her love of dress; and, though the father was not by any means a thriving tradesman, they sent her to a genteel day school, where her companions were higher in station than herself, so that she became what is called very genteel, but, to call things by their right names, very silly. Charles so well knew how very much his sensible mother would object to such a wife for him, that he never spoke to her on the subject, and, during her life, his fond affection for this excellent parent kept him careful and much at home; but, soon after her death, he was continually seen with this same young woman; and, at the end of two months, plainly told his father that he intended to ask her to marry him. "Alas, my son," said the poor old man, " think well of what you are going to do; have you so entirely forgotten the advice your dear mother used to give her boys, to consider well the end, before they began with a wife? Is Catherine Green, do you think, likely to make such a wife as your beloved mothar made me? Think of the grounds of all the happiness we enjoyed with her. She knew her station and kept her station ; and by rich and poor she was respected. Consider the qualities which, for so many years, made her a blessing to me and to you, and ask yourself, my boy, whether this young woman will in any one respect supply her place to you? You cannot surely so deceive yourself, as to expect she will. God has blessed you with means to enjoy all the necessaries, and many of the comforts of life, provided you have a notable and discreet wife." The good farmer spoke with such earnest affection and kindness, that Charles was moved by it, and promised that he would take time to think of it. It pleased God soon to take from him his worthy father, who died after a very short illness, leaving to poor Charles the full possession of the small farm, in excellent order, well stocked, and free from debt. To William he could only leave a small sum, the fruit of many years of care and saving.
The sons were much attached, and William gladly accepted his brother's offer to continue to live at the farm with him. It was soon seen how things would be; and, two months after the father's death, Charles asked William to attend his wedding. With a heavy heart William consented; he knew the faults of his intended sister-in-law, which Charles could not, or would not see :—they were married towards the close of the year 1835, and I was, as usual, invited to pass New Year's evening with them ; but, alas! how changed was the scene :—instead of the large 1838.] A HAPPY NEW YEAR. 5
kitchen in which we had for so many years assembled, we were now entertained in a room which had been newly and genteelly furnished, as a parlour ; instead of the plain meal which we formerly had, there was an attempt at finery; a genteel maid servant, with ringlets hanging down to her nose, waited at table instead of the neat little girl, whose bright hair was smoothly combed under her plain cap. I was glad to see the cup of spiced ale on the table, as I feared, among the many changes I had observed, that might not be admitted. 1 was glad also to see a tear stand in Charles's eye, when he took the cup and drank his wish for a happy new year to his wife, and added a hope that through many years she and himself might follow the excellent pattern set them by the beloved parents who, on the last New Year's Day, filled the places which were then filled by them. William and I could with great difficulty express our good wishes, not from dislike to the new mistress, but from a fond recollection of the old one; and I believe we were both glad when the evening was over.
A few days afterwards, William called upon me, to consult me, as his parents' friend, upon his future plans. He had served his apprenticeship to a very respectable coach maker, whose foreman he had been for two or three years before his mother's death; and his master had, on New Year's Day, proposed to him that he should become his partner, on paying down a small sum of money. "Now this sum," said William, " I can very well spare from what my dearest father left me; and, as you know, both he and my mother approved my choice of Mary Dodd for my wife, whenever I had a reasonable prospect of maintaining her, I am come to ask you, whether you think this is not the case now. My master's character has always stood high; he has very good business, for a country tradesman; and a third of the profits, which he now offers me for the next three years, and a promise of half (if we continue to agree) at the end of the next three years, will more than keep us. What remains of my father's legacy, after paying the sum required, will furnish a small house, in a plain way, such as Mary and I shall like, and will leave a trifle to keep house with; and I trust, by God's blessing on her industry, and our affection for each other, we may do well. Charles has been very kind to me, but his house is no longer quite so pleasant a home as it was, and I own I shall be very glad to have one of my own, if you approve of it. I have not said all this to Mary, because I consider you now in the place of my mother, and I will be guided by the advice of that dear mother's friend."
I was much affected by this proof of confidence, and assured my young friend, that I approved entirely of his plans; "andl think, dear William, that you may reasonably hope to enjoy a happy new year." The small house being hired and the plain furniture bought, she became the happy wife, of a happy husband. She had always been a great favourite with William's mother, and this seemed to render her doubly clear; but, indeed, her industry, her good sense, and, above all, her unaffected piety, richly deserved his esteem and love. On the New Year's day of this year, now so near its close, we could not meet at poor Charles's house; his wife scorned Mary's plain ways, and had taken a dislike both to William and me. She had, about a month before, given birth to a little girl, and though she had been to church, and was in truth quite well, she fancied that she could not bear the fatigue of the New Year's party. Poor Charles had in the course of the year known many trials, and had cause to lament his folly, in taking a wife so entirely against the advice of his parents. He had given way to so many of Catherine's foolish fancies, that he began to fear there would be no end of these trials. Very soon after their marriage, the covered cart in which his respected mother had so often ridden, was turned out, and a new gig and a goodlooking horse were brought home instead of it; and there must be wine too, when they had friends to see them. The old-fashioned furniture of her bed-room must be changed ; in short, there was no end to the whims of this foolish, would-be lady. Charles was naturally good-tempered, but his love of having his own way was fast taking place of the love he had had for his wife. Catherine had insisted on having a housemaid, but here Charles made a stand, and declared he would have no