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HISTORY OF SUSAN GRAY,
AS RELATED BY A CLERGYMAN;
THE BENEFIT OF YOUNG WOMEN WHEN
GOING TO SERVICE, &c.
AUTHOR OF LITTI.B HYNRY AND HIS BRARZR," &e.
A NEW EDITION.
HOULSTON AND STONEMAN,
65, PATERNOSTER ROW.
IT is proper to advertise the reader, that the
present Edition of SUSAN GRAY has been re-
vised, corrected, and, it is hoped, in some parts
essentially improved, by the Author.
IN the parish over which it has pleased God
to appoint me pastor, not far from the fair town
of Ludlow, on the bank of the beautiful river
Teme, are the garden, the little orchard, and
the ruins of the cottage, which, many years
ago, were rented by James Gray.
A little coppice on the hill-side shelters this
pleasant spot from the north wind, and a row
of large willows grows at the foot of the garden
by the river-side. I became acquainted with
James Gray when I first came to my living.
He was a pious young man, and was so happy
as to have a wife who feared God: the charac-
ter still given in this country by those who re-
member Mary Gray is, that she was a pious,
sober-minded young woman--a keeper at home,
(Tit. ii. 5,) as the apostle exhorts women to
be, and a most kind and dutiful wife.
James gained a comfortable livelihood by
working in his garden. He cultivated his land
with so much care, that lie had the earliest and
best peas and beans, gooseberries and currants,
THE HISTORY OF
salads and greens, in the country: these he al-
ways sold at a moderate price, never attempting
to deceive or cheat the purchaser; for it was
one of his most favourite sayings, that honesty
is the glory of a poor man.
For some years these worthy young people
lived happily in their cottage. It is true, that
they were obliged to work very hard; and, now
and then, in a severe winter, to live rather hard-
ly also: but they loved each other, and, next
to serving their God, they thought it their duty
to please each other; and, as the holy Scrip-
ture says, a dinner of herbs, where love is, is
better than a stalled ox, and hatred therewith.
(Prov. xv. 17.)
After his daily work, James never omitted
reading a chapter in the Bible, and praying
with his wife before they went to bed. "For,"
as he often used to say, "when we lay our-
selves down in our beds, we know not whether
we shall be ever suffered to rise from them
again; many have died in their sleep: every
night, therefore, we ought to renew our cove-
nant with our Saviour, confessing to God the
evil we have committed during the past day,
and seeking anew to be made partakers of the
benefits of the death of Christ; so, should
death visit us in the hour of night, we shall
not go into another world unprepared."
These excellent, though humble, persons had
one little girl, to whom they gave the name of
Susan; a child so exceedingly lovely in out-
ward appearance, that strangers passing by
would stop to admire her as she stood at the
cottage-door, and the more so as, by the bless-
ing of God on the instructions of her Christian
parents, she was remarkably modest and cour-
teous in her deportment. Moreover, the very
great neatness and plainness of her rustic dress
was much to be commended, and proved that
her mother was one of those women who are
observant of these words of the apostle: I will
that women adorn themselves in modest apparel,
with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with
broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly
array; but (which becometh women professing
godliness) with good works. (1 Tim. ii. 9, 10.)
I often went to visit these pious persons, and
was greatly delighted with their holy discourse;
for a foolish or profligate word never proceeded
from their lips, and their child was so clean, so
well ordered, so dutiful, and so gentle, that,
young as she was, I formed the greatest hopes
of her, and believed she would become a good
It pleased Heaven, however, to deprive this
poor child of her good parents. She was just
turned six years of age, when a fever, which
raged in this neighbourhood at that time, seized
first upon Mary Gray, and then upon her hus-
band; and, notwithstanding all the care that
could be taken, they both died. But death to
them was no evil, for they had always trusted
in their Saviour, and endeavoured to fulfil his
will; and it pleased him to take them from this
world of sorrow and labour, to that happy place
where men are made equal unto the angels, and
are the children of God. (Luke xx. 36.)
* THE HISTORY OF
But their death seemed to be a sad evil to
their little girl, for whom I and my wife felt so
much sorrow, that had we not had many young
children of our own, we would have taken
her into our family. As soon as her dear
father and mother were dead, she was carried
to the parish poor-house; after she had remain-
ed there about two months, an old woman, her
father's aunt, who lived in Ludlow, undertook
to maintain her till she should be twelve years
of age, if the parish would allow her twelve-
pence a week.
The parish having given their consent to this
plan, the child was carried to the town by the
old woman, and for many years I saw no more
of her; for about that time it pleased God to
afflict me with a disorder, which for some time
prevented me from attending to my parish, or
taking heed unto the flock over which the Holy
Ghost had made me an overseer.
When, at the end of twelve years, by the fa-
vour of Heaven I was restored to health, and
could ride about the country and visit my chil-
dren, (for so I call my parishioners,) I went
several times to Ludlow to enquire after Susan
Gray, but could hear nothing of her; her old
aunt was dead, and her house shut up.
Thus it was out of my power to serve the
daughter of the worthy James and Mary Gray;
but I trusted that Heaven, who visits the
sins of the parents upon the children unto the
third and fourth generation, would not fail to
bless the child of these excellent people: and
so, as I hoped, it proved to be. God did
bless Susan Gray: for a time indeed did he
try her; but at length he made her who had
sown in tears reap in joy, and rewarded her
with an exceeding great reward.
James and Mary Gray had been dead about
thirteen years, when one evening, as I was
sitting by my fire with my wife and family, I
was called out to a poor woman, who kept a
very homely but reputable lodging-house in the
village. "I made bold to come, Sir," said
she, to ask you to read prayers this evening
to a poor young woman, who is, I fear, at the
point of death."
"And who," said, I "is this young woman?"
I know but little of her," answered
she: she came to my house fourteen days
ago; soon after that great storm of thunder
and lightning which struck the church steeple,
and blasted your great pear-tree, Sir. It was
after twelve o'clock in the night when she
knocked at the door. I happened to be up,
finishing some work, or I could not have let
And pray," asked my wife, who had step-
ped out into the kitchen after me, "from
whence do you suppose she comes?"
Indeed," replied the woman, "I should
think from no great distance; for, although she
had a small bundle of linen in her hand, she
had neither hat nor cloak on."
"I fear," said my wife, looking at me and
shaking her head, that this is some unfortu-
nate young creature, who knows not the fear
THE HISTORY OF
Truly, Madam," said the woman," I would
not wish to harbour any bad person in my
house; but I really think that this poor friend-
less girl is one whom no one can say any thing
ill against. She is extremely neat and plain in
her dress, and most civil and obliging in her
carriage; while she was tolerably well, which
she was during the first week of her being with
me, she did some little work for Farmer Flem-
ming, who, as she told me, knew her father and
mother; and then she paid me every night her
two-pence for her lodging. But since she has
been ill, she has scarcely been able to raise
enough to keep her from starving, by selling,
one by one, the few clothes which she brought
with. her. She has a handsome Bible and
Prayer-Book, which are constantly in her
hands: these, she says, she would not sell, if
she could possibly help it, for she calls them
her only comforters."
"Did you not say," asked my wife, "that
Farmer Flemming knew this poor girl's father
Yes, Madam," replied the woman; they
lived many years ago in this parish; their
names were Gray."
"Gray!" exclaimed my wife; "is it pos-
sible!" And she looked at me.
I immediately put on my hat, and, following
the woman, hastened down into the village,
thinking, as I walked along, of the wonderful
ways of God: how sometimes for a season the
good seem to be chastened and the wicked to
flourish. But we know that all things work
together for good to them that love God.
(Rom. viii. 28.)
When I arrived at the lodging-house, I was
conducted into a small room; where, on a
little bed, and covered only with a thin blanket,
lay a young woman, apparently in a kind of
doze. She was very pale, and appeared to be
in the last stage of a decline; notwithstanding
which, there was such an expression of peace
spread over her languid countenance as I never
before saw equalled.
While I stood looking upon her, for I would
not suffer the woman of the house to awaken
her, I could not help thinking of James and
Mary Gray, and I said to myself, Is this the
same fair Susan Gray, who, not many years
ago, was blessed with a kind father and mother
to take care of her, and to watch over her I and
is she now without a friend, without a home?
Is sickness so soon come upon her, and must
she die, while yet in the flower and prime of
life? But the days of man are as grass: as a
flower of the field so he flourisheth: for the
wind passeth over it, and it is gone. (Psalm
ciii. 15, 16.) So saith the royal David."
While these thoughts passed in my mind, she
opened her eyes, and tried to raise herself in her
bed: and, smiling, said in a faint voice, "I most
humbly thank you, Sir, for visiting a poor or-
phan, although I was quite an infant when I
lost my father and mother, yet I remember how
often you visited their humble cottage, and how
often you kindly noticed their little child."
I turned away to hide the tears which came
THE HISTORY OF
into my eyes; and she not understanding
wherefore I turned from her, and why I did
not answer, said, "Sir, I fear by the freedom
of my speech, I have offended you. You,
perhaps, do not remember Susan Gray. My
father and mother lived many years ago in the
little cottage on the river-side, just below the
By this time I had recovered myself, and
turning to her I took her hand, and said, Poor
young creature, do you think it possible that I
should be offended at your innocent joy on see-
ing me? No, my daughter, I have not forgot-
ten you: I have not ceased to remember with
affection your worthy parents. But where
have you lived since the death of your aunt?
what has reduced you to this state? have you
not met with any friends in this world to pro-
tect you, and to supply to you the place of
your lost parents?"
She replied with a degree of piety which
caused my eyes to fill with tears of joy; I
have not indeed, Sir, met with many friends;
but that God who is the Father of the father-
less has not forsaken me. I have had many
trials and temptations," she added, and those
who ought to have been my protectors laid
snares for me. But I trusted that Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for our sins, would deliver me
from this present evil world, according to the
will of my God and my Father. (Gal. i. 3, 4.)
And praised be God," said she, clasping her
hands together, "he has delivered me; I am
now above the power of wicked pleasures.
Although I am poor, Sir," continued she, and
soon must die, yet I am not unhappy; and now
I am so far on my journey, I would not, were
it in my power, be restored to health, and
return again into the busy and wicked world."
While she was speaking she grew very faint:
so for the present I besought her to speak no
more of the things that were past, telling her
that I hoped, should she get better, to hear all
her history. Then taking up a Prayer-Book
which lay by her side, I read a few prayers to
her; for I saw she was not able to go through
the whole of the service for the sick with me;
and then, having wished her a good night, and
promised that I would visit her again the next
day, I hastened home.
When my wife heard my account of Susan,
late as it was, she put on her hat and cloak,
and, having made a little gruel, and warmed it
with a glass of our best made wine and some
spice, she herself went down into the village to
see the poor girl. As she passed by, she called
upon Nurse Browne, a good old woman, whose
cottage is close by my garden-gate, and engaged
her to attend and wait upon the poor sick girl
till her disorder had taken some turn either for
the better or the worse; if death to so good a
girl, as Susan proved to be, can be said to
be worse than a restoration to health.
But methinks I run rather too much into
length in my story; suffice it to say, that for
about ten days my wife and I continued to visit
Susan in the poor lodging-house, at the end of
which time she was so much better, that we re-
THE HISTORY OF
moved her from thence to Nurse Browne's cot-
tage, which, being higher up the hill, and situ-
ated on the same sunny bank with my house,
we thought would be more cheerful and airy
for the poor girl.
Nourishing food and good nursing had done
much for her; but still the doctor, who some-
times visited us from Ludlow, declared she
could not live. She had caught a cold, which
had fallen upon her lungs, and was in a deep
decline, which we believed would probably end
in her death before winter. But although she
as well as those about her knew that she was in
a dying state, yet never did I see a more cheer-
ful or happy creature than she was when we
brought her to the nurse's cottage.
Thank God, she was not in much pain, and
she had made her peace with him; her lamp
was trimmed, and she was prepared for the long
journey which she was soon to take. She spent
many hours of the day in reading and prayer,
and sometimes at noon, when the sun was high
in the heavens; and the air was warm, she would
sit at the door of the house, looking around her
upon the green woods, the river rolling through
the meadows, and the church upon the hill,
where she hoped her body would be laid beside
those of her dear parents, while her soul was
mounting, far above the clouds, to that happy
place, where those who have endured tempta-
tion shall receive the crown of life, which the
Lord hath promised to them that love him.
(James i. 12.)
While she was at this cottage, she, by little
and little, when she found herself able, told us
her story, which, much as we loved and ad-
mired her before, rendered her still more and
more dear to us.
But before I relate it, as I intend to do to
the best of my power in her own language, I
must address a few words of my own to those
young women who shall hereafter read the his-
tory of Susan Gray.
I am an old man, being seventy-four last
Old Christmas-day: I have been Rector of this
parish forty years; and during that time I can
say, with King David, I never saw the righteous
forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread.
(Psalm xxxvii. 25.) I will not say that misfor-
tunes do not sometimes come upon very good
people; but God is a strength to the poor man
who fears him, a refuge from the storm, a
shadow from the heat. (Isaiah xxv. 4.)
Yet, while I affirm this for the encouragement
of those who try to serve their God to the best
of their power, I must not hide from you who
shall read this, what has been the end of all the
bad people whom I have been so unfortunate as
to know since I lived in this village. I will
speak particularly of bad women. I never
knew a vain, a light, or bold girl, whose end in
this world was nbt shame, poverty, or disease.
For a time a bad young woman may seem to
prosper; she may deck herself in silver and
gold, she may paint her face and tire her head
like the wicked queen Jezebel. But these are
the words of God, Hear now this, thou that art
given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that
THE HISTORY OF
sayest in thine heart, lam, and none else beside
me: evil shall come upon thee, thou shalt not
know from whence it riseth; and mischief shall
fall upon thee, thou shalt not be able to put it
off; and desolation shall come upon thee sud-
denly, which thou shalt not know. (Isaiah
xlvii. 8, 11.)
And I pray you, my daughters, do not de-
ceive yourselves, nor suppose, because you see
many bad women around you, that God will
spare them for their numbers: the city of So
dom, in which there were not ten good men,
was burnt with fire from heaven; so, were there
not ten good girls in the town or village in
which you live, the multitude of the sinners
would not save them. All bad people will
have their portion in the lake which burns
with brimstone and fire.
Nor must you hope that you will be saved
by being secret in your crimes, for night is not
dark with God. He knows even all your
thoughts; and if we suffer our minds to be
filled with evil thoughts, he will not receive us
into heaven when we die.
Attend, therefore, my daughters, to what an
old man says, who has studied God's book from
his cradle to his old age; and all of you try to
equal Susan Gray, that you may with her
enter into the joy of your Lord.
But now let me proceed to tell you her
story, as I heard it from herself.
Account of herself.
WHEN I consider the early part of my life,
and the pious instructions which I received
from my beloved parents, (said Susan Gray,)
my mind is filled with shame and sorrow, to
think how little I profited by them, and how,
for a time, I entirely forgot all that had been
taught me, and yielded to every temptation
which fell in my way. Thus I became, early
in life, convinced, by sad experience, of the
utter depravity of my own heart, and of my
total incapacity of turning to good without
Many particulars concerning my childhood
you are well acquainted with, my dear Sir;
but, much as you respected my parents, and
often as you visited them, you can form little
idea of their anxiety to give me a right appre-
hension of the religion of Christ. So great
were the pains they took, that they made me
acquainted, before they were called hence, with
most of the leading doctrines of Christianity;
such as, the fall of man-the evil of the human
heart--the need of a Saviour--the nature of
God-and the wonderful plan formed by divine
wisdom for man's salvation. And 0 what en-
dearing ways were used by these loved parents
to win my infant heart to God! How often did
my gentle mother mingle her tears with prayers
for my eternal welfare! How sweet is the re-
THE HISTORY OF
collection of pious parents! The memory of
the just how blessed! (Prov. x. 7.)
But I will leave this part of my story, and go
on to that time when I was taken by my aunt
to her house in a little narrow street in the
town of Ludlow. I was too young to feel very
much the sad change: a sad one indeed it was,
for even in the poor-house I had lived in clean-
liness, and had been encouraged to behave
well; but with my poor aunt I lived in dirt and
wretchedness, I was suffered to keep company
with bad children, to tell lies, to take God's
name in vain, and even to steal. My aunt was
old, and made herself very sickly by having
been in the constant habit, from her youth up,
of drinking strong liquor. She had never been
an industrious cleanly woman; and now that
she was advanced in years, she became so dirty
and disagreeable, that no decent person cared
to enter her house.
She had, since the death of her husband,
sold, by little and little, all her furniture, till
there was scarcely any thing left in her house.
The floor of the house was covered with litter
and dirt, the broken windows were filled up
with paper and rags, and we had no other
than straw beds to sleep upon.
But what was worse than all this, was the
wickedness which went on in this house. My
aunt not only herself took God's name in vain,
and entirely neglected all religious duties, but
she encouraged all sorts of bad people to come
about her. I never loved my auntie for al-
though she often indulged me to an extreme,
giving me of the best of what she had to
eat or drink, and suffering me to go unpu-
nished for many grievous faults, yet she
sometimes fell into the most violent passions
with me upon the most trifling occasion. She
would sometimes beat me severely for throw-
ing down her tobacco-pipe or snuff-box; and
would, at the same time, allow me to swear
and tell lies, without correcting me in the
In this manner I lived till I was about ten
years of age, and seemed entirely to have for-
gotten every lesson I had ever received from my
parents; but although God was absent from
my thoughts, yet was I remembered by him,
and in due time he returned and took pity
Where was I different from my young com-
panions? Where was I better than these, that
the Lord should save me as a brand plucked
out of the fire, while these were left to perish?
O, God I how can I praise thee sufficiently for
that thou hast preserved me from the ways
that lead to destruction?
When I was about the age of ten years,
my aunt sent me to gather sticks in the
fields; and I took with me, as a companion,
a little girl of my own age, the daughter of a
widow, who kept an huckster's shop near my
aunt's house. This little girl, whose name was
Charlotte Owen, was no better taught than my
self, though she was indulged in being dressed
in as costly a manner as her mother could
afford; and the gay apparel of this little girl
THE HISTORY OF
often used to excite in my young mind the
most envious and malicious feelings.
Charlotte used to take a delight in ridiculing
my ragged and dirty appearance; and I, on the
other hand, found a thousand little ways of
venting my spite at her. Thus, even in those
early days, a spirit of hatred and rivalry began
between us, which, on my part, I have only
been able to subdue by the assistance of my
Saviour; for, though weak in myself, in him I
found strength. (2 Cor. xii. 10.)
When Charlotte and I had gotten into the
fields opposite to the castle, instead of looking
for sticks, she began to taunt and reproach me
with my ragged dress, and I failed not to say
every thing to her which I thought would vex
her. Our contention at last ran so high, that
we parted; she running home to her mother,
and I going further out in quest of sticks.
As I was sauntering down a narrow lane at
the back of the town, I saw, in the hedge, one
of the prettiest little birds I had ever beheld.
It was not much larger than a robin, and had
a hooked bill like a hawk, but his feathers
were of the brightest red, blue, and purple.
I immediately laid down my sticks, and walk-
ed softly up to the bush in which the bird
sat: but no sooner had I put out my hand to
take hold of him, than he hopped through the
hedge into the next field; I followed it there,
and thought I was sure of it, when it again
made its escape into the lane.
At length, with much trouble, I caught the
pretty little creature, and was surprised to find
that it was so tame as to sit upon my finger,
as my aunt's magpie used to do.
I was so delighted with my prize, that, for-
getting my sticks, I hastened into the town,
proudly holding up the bird, who perched
quietly upon my hand.
Just as I was got into one of the largest
streets, I heard somebody cry out, Ah I there
is my mistress's paroquet;" and immediately a
very decent elderly woman came up to me, and
said, with an air of much joy, My good little
girl, where did you find my mistress's bird?"
"Your mistress's bird, indeed 1" said I;
"it is my bird."
"No," replied the woman, "that cannot
be; it flew out of my mistress's window this
morning, and over the garden-wall into the
For all that, he is not your bird," I answer-
ed; he is my mine:" and I was going to run
off with him, when she caught hold of my
gown, and said, My mistress will give you
half-a-crown for it."
No, no, no," I cried, I will have it."
At that moment, my aunt coming out of a
shop hard by, and seeing me struggle with the
servant, called out, Hey-day, what is the mat-
ter? what are you doing to the child?"
"Come, aunt, come I exclaimed; "come
and take my part: I won't part with the
My aunt was at first very angry with the
servant; but when she heard that I was to have
half-a-crown, if I would consent to part with
THE HISTORY OF
the bird, she turned all her anger upon me, and
bade me give it to the servant, and follow her
to her mistress's house to receive the money.
I obeyed; but I was sadly vexed, and
went muttering the whole way to the lady's
We passed through several streets, till at
length we came to one which leads up to the
castle. The servant stopped before an old
house close by the gates of the castle-walk;
she opened the door, and bade me wait in the
While I stood there I stared around me with
wonder, for I had never before been in a house
belonging to gentlefolks. The hall was a large
room, hung round with pictures, which I after-
wards learned were taken from the history of
the Bible. At the further end was a window,
partly filled with coloured glass, which looked
into a garden full of tall trees; beside the win-
dow was a clock made of very shining black
wood, ornamented with golden flowers. On
one side of the hall was a door which opened
into a kitchen, and on the other was one which
led into the parlour.
When the servant had brought me into the
house, she went immediately towards the par-
lour, and left the door open so wide that I
could see all within. The parlour was hung
with paper of a dark colour; and in one corner
there was a cupboard, filled with very fine
Over the fire-place was a coloured picture
of three very pretty little girls; one of them
held an orange in her hand, and one had a
bird upon her finger, and the least held a
By the fire-side sat an old lady. 01 I did
not then know what a sweet good lady she
was, or I should have cried for joy. She was
very short, and, having lost her teeth, her
mouth had fallen in. But she was fair, and
her eyes were bright, and looked very good-
humoured; so that her face was still very
agreeable. She was dressed in a black silk
gown, with a short white apron; she had long
ruffles, and a white hood over her cap. A
little round table stood before her, upon which
lay her large Bible; and a small yellow cat
was asleep at her feet.
Here, Madam," said the servant, going into
the parlour, "here is Miss Polly come back."
The old lady smiled, and holding out her
hand, the bird hopped upon her finger; and
while she stroked it, she called it naughty bird,
and asked it why it flew away from its best
friends' She then enquired how it was found:
and the servant having told her, she arose from
her chair, and taking a little gold-headed stick
in her hand, "I will go myself," said she, "and
speak to the child."
I was by this time in a better humour; and
when the old lady came up to me, and began
to talk to me in a gentle and kind way, I felt
no longer inclined to be cross, but I smiled and
curtsied, and gave an account of the way in
which I had found the bird as civilly as possi-
ble. When the old lady had talked to me for
THE HISTORY OF
some time, she called her servant, and said to
her, Sarah, I do not know whether my me-
mory may have failed me, but I think there is
some resemblance between this child and what
my eldest daughter was just before she died."
"It is now forty years or more," replied
Sarah, since my dear young mistress's death,
and being then but young, I do not remember
her very well."
But," said the old lady, look at the pic-
ture of my dear Clary, as it hangs there over the
mantle-piece, and tell me if she has not the
same white hair and rosy colour, and the same
smiling eyes, as this little girl:" then looking
kindly at me, she asked me many questions
about my parents, and my way of living; and
when I had answered them, she gave me the
money which had been promised me, telling
me to come again to her house four days
"But be sure," added she, "before you
come again, wash yourself quite clean, and
comb your hair; for however poor you may be,
there can be no necessity for uncleanliness."
Thus did Almighty God provide a friend for
me, remembering the virtues of my excellent
parents; for, as the holy Psalmist says, Blased
is the man that feareth the Lord; his seed shall
be mighty upon earth, the generation of the up-
right shall be blessed. Surely he shall not be
moved for ever: the righteous shall be had in
everlasting remembrance. (Psalm cxii. 1, 2,6.)
So did God in his mercy remember my
parents; and when they were no more, he be-
came a father to me, making me strong against
those who thought to have tempted me to do
wickedly, and blessing me with the hopes of
Four days afterwards I went again to Mrs.
Neale's house; for Neale was the name of this
good lady. When Mrs. Sarah saw that I had
taken care to make myself clean, she took me
into a little room beside the kitchen, and taking
off my old rags, she put on me an entire new
suit of clothes, which good Mrs. Neale had
caused to be made for me. My new gown was
of purple stuff, and I had a blue apron, and
white tippet, and round cap.
When I was dressed, she took me by the
hand into the parlour; and said, Here, Ma-
dam, is the little girl to whom you are so
The old lady got up from her chair; and,
having put on her spectacles, she looked at me
for some time, and turning me round, said,
" 'Tis a nice little tidy girl to look at; I wish,
Sarah, that as happy a change could be brought
about within as we have been able to effect
Ah, Madam," answered Mrs. Sarah, "that
is not so easy a matter. There is no great dif-
ficulty in washing the outside of the cup, but it
is a hard matter to cleanse the inside."
Sarah," replied Mrs. Neale, with God all
things are possible. Know you not that the.
purifying of the heart is not the work of man,
but that of the Holy Spirit? We will, God
permitting, use the appointed means for rescu-
THE HISTORY OF
ing this little girl from her present state of sin
and ignorance, and will humbly wait God's
blessing upon our endeavours."
Then sitting down, and taking my hand as I
stood before her, "Little Susan," she said,
" you cannot be so ignorant as not to know that
there are two places ordained for men after
death: the one hell, to which men have doomed
themselves by their disobedience; and the
other heaven, the way to which is opened for
sinners by God the Son, who himself bore our
sins upon the cross. Are you willing to learn
this holy way-to forsake your late sinful prac-
tices, and to follow your blessed Saviour whi-
thersoever he may lead you? If you are so, I
will place you in a school, where you shall be
taught the will of God; and we will pray for
the divine help, that you may be enabled to
As I made no objection, though I did not
then understand the value of this offer, I was
sent to a day-school, where I was taught to
read my Bible, and to repeat my catechism.
And every Sunday I was allowed to dine at
Mrs. Neale's, and was taken to church; after
which, Mrs. Neale examined me as to what I
had learned during the week, and explained
the Scriptures to me.
In this manner I continued to live for about
four years; and was, at the end of that time,
able to read with ease to myself, and could do
any kind of plain needle-work, and, by the
help of Mrs. Sarah, knew a good deal of house-
hold business My aunt was become very in-
firm, and unable to leave her arm-chair or her
bed, and Mrs. Neale put me upon reading the
Bible to her; and taught me that it was my
duty to make her comfortable in every way in
When I was about the age of fourteen, m/
poor aunt died, and, as I now had no home,
Mrs. Neale took me entirely into her family, to
wait upon her, and to assist Mrs. Sarah, who
was getting past her work.
I lived in this family for more than three
years, and these were the happiest years of my
life. Not a day passed in which I did not
receive some good instruction from my dear
lady,-some holy counsel, by which, with
God's help, to guide my future life. She
was particularly anxious to make me sen-
sible of the depravity of my heart, and of my
natural inability to do any thing that is good
and pointed out to me, that, as the people
of God were sustained in the wilderness by
the manna which, from day to day, was found
as dew upon the ground, in like manner I
must seek the bread of heaven, as my daily
support in my Christian life. She began and
ended every lesson by leading and commend-
ing me to the Saviour of men; exhorting
me habitually to cast myself as a condemn-
ed and helpless sinner at the foot of the
At length, it pleased God to take from me
my beloved Mrs. Neale, after an illness of a
few days. She died at the great age of eighty-
two. A fewv hours before her death, she called
THE HISTORY OF
me to her bed-side, and talked to me in such
a way as I never can forget.
My dear Susan," she said, "in a short
time I shall be taken from this world, where I
have endured many hard trials, and I trust,
through God's mercy, shall go to that happy
country where there is no sorrow nor crying.
Do not weep, my Susan, for I am going,
through the merits of my Redeemer, to the dear
children and kind husband whom I have long
lost; and in a few years, my child, I shall see
you again. Only continue to be mindful of
your Saviour, and remember, that those who
love him keep his commandments; pray for
help, that you may not be drawn aside from
your duty by the wicked pleasures of this
world,-pleasures which endure only for a
short season, and the end of which is eternal
She then told me, that, knowing she must
soon die, she had been long endeavouring to
get a service for me, but that she had not suc-
ceeded; for people in general objected to me
on account of my youth. But," added this
good lady, I would not have you, my dear
child, to seek your fortune when I am no
more: I have provided a situation, in which I
hope that you will improve yourself, and ren-
der yourself fit in a few years for a good
You know Mrs. Bennet," said she, "who
lives about two miles from the town, and gains
a very comfortable living by washing and iron-
ing, and by needle-work. She is an ;ndustri-
ous woman, and bears a good character, and
has undertaken to receive you into her house
for three years; during which time she will
improve you in her business, and you will then
be fit to wait upon a lady."
I could not for some time answer, for my
tears and sobs almost choked me; but when I
could speak, I thanked my dear lady for her
kindness, and prayed that I might never forget
the good things she had taught me.
She then gave me three guineas to provide
me with clothes while I was with Mrs. Bennet;
from whom I was to receive no wages; and,
also, she left me her Bible and Prayer-Book,
and a black stuff gown and petticoat to wear
as mourning for her.
The same night this dear lady died; and I
remained in the house only till the funeral was
over: then taking leave, with many tears, of
Mrs. Sarah, who set off the next day to return
to Cornwall, where she was born, and where all
her family had lived, I went to my new place.
It was a small yet very neat cottage in the
midst of a garden; there was behind it a hill
covered with tall trees, and before it were many
pleasant green meadows, which reached down
to the river, through which was a pathway
which led to Ludlow. The town itself would
have been plainly seen from hence, had it not
been for some trees which concealed all the
houses, and only shewed the tower of the
church and part of the old castle.
As I walked from the town, I continued te
cry the whole way; but when I came near tin
THE HISTORY OF
cottage, I wiped away my tears, and strove to
put on a more cheerful look. It was a fine
summer's evening, and Mrs. Bennet was sitting
before the house-door drinking tea. My old
companion, Charlotte Owen, of whom I had
seen but little since I had lived with Mrs.
Neale, was with her, having taken a walk that
evening to see her.
O! here is Susan Gray," cried Charlotte,
as soon as she saw me.
Welcome, Susan," said Mrs. Bennet;
"come and sit down, my good girl." So say-
ing, she placed a chair for me beside her, and,
laying her hand upon mine, added, I am glad
to see you here, child. You and I shall agree
vastly well, I am sure: and if you will mind
your work, you shall have no cause to regret
the old lady's death, for you shall want for
"I should be apt," said Charlotte, "if I
were in your situation, Susan, to be very glad
to see Mrs. Neale laid low, for you must have
led a shocking dull life with those two old
0 no, no, no," I said, while the tears
came again into my eyes, "I was never so
happy in my life as I have been these last two
Charlotte laughed, and Mrs. Bennet, staring
freely in my face, said, Come, child, wipe
away those tears, and let me see no more of.
them; nothing spoils beauty like crying."
"Then 1 never will cry," said Charlotte,
" or I shall never get a husband."
' Mrs. Bennet laughed, and, clapping her on
the shoulder, said, "Thiou art a wise girl."
Then giving me a dish of tea, Come, cheer
up, child," she added; if you could but look
a little more bright, you need not be ashamed
to shew your face with any one," adding some-
thing more to the same purpose, but in a man-
ner so different to any thing I had ever seen in
her before, that I was startled, and, I suppose,
looked surprised, for she laughed, and said,
"Why, Susan, Mrs. Sarah has made you as
grave and dull as herself. Do you expect to
find every one as precise as that poor body was?
Why, I used to be afraid of every word I said
when I went to iron at Mrs. Neale's."
I made no answer, for my heart sunk within
pie; but, hastily drinking my tea, 1 got up,
and said, that I was ready to do any work
which she might have for me in the house.
0! sit you down again," answered she;
"I have nothing for you to do to-night. Now
your old friend Charlotte is with us, we will
have a little gossiping."
I sat down, as my mistress desired me; but
as she and Charlotte joutinued to talk in a
very light and improper manner, I remained
Bless me," cried Charlotte, how grave
Susan looks I why, we have affronted her, 1
suppose, by telling her that she will spoil her
beauty by crying."
No, indeed," I answered, I am not af-
frcnted: but, if you must know the truth, I do
not quite like the subject of your discourse,
THE HISTORY OP
Charlotte. My dear Mrs. Neale pointed out
to me many places in the Holy Scriptures,
where we are exhorted never to talk about idle
and unprofitable things. I could if you please,
shew you those texts in my Bible."
"No, for Heaven's sake, child," said Mrs.
Bennet; keep your preachments to yourself.
Why, I suppose, by and by, these good Chris-
tians will deny us the use of our tongues.
Come, let us hear no more of this."
I obeyed, for she looked very angry: and,
0 1 how earnestly did I wish that I was not
bound to remain with this woman.
Had Mrs. Neale known what she was, I felt
assured, she would rather have seen me in my
grave, than have placed me under her care. But
she always had a good character, and no one,
before her betters, spoke with so much modesty
and propriety, as she had the art to do.
: The next subject of their discourse was
dress; and Charlotte gave an account to Mrs.
Bennet, of the gowns and head-dresses which
the ladies wore at Ludlow. Mrs. Bennet, in
her turn, described some fine dresses which
she had lately made up.
Charlotte wished that she could afford to
buy a silk gown, and said, she should never
be easy till she could get one. Then turning
to me, Susan," she said, how are you off
for clothes? Have you any finery to shew
us? Come, open your box, and let us se*
what you have in it."
To prove that I was willing to oblige them
in every thing in my power, I unlocked my
box, and laid all my clothes before them: but
I had nothing fine to shew.
"Well," said Mrs. Bennet, when she had
examined all my gowns, I cannot but wonder
that Mrs. Neale, who every body knows was of
a very good family, should like a servant about
her, dressed in such ordinary garments as these.
Indeed, Susan, you would look much better, if
you would dress a little smarter. I dare say
the old lady gave you a little money before she
died: now if you would spend a few shillings
at the next fair, in buying a bit of ribbon for
your hat, and a little trimming for your cloak,
and one or two lawn aprons, you would cut a
much more creditable figure, and look a vast
deal better in every respect."
I smiled, and, wishing to turn the discourse,
said, Well, Madam, if you will bestow these
things upon me, I will not refuse to wear
Nay, that is quite out of the question,"
answered she; "I have nothing but what I
work for, and it is not to be supposed that I
should have money to spend upon others.
But I know very well that you have money, if
you could find in your heart to lay it out."
I will answer for her," said Charlotte,
" that she has plenty. See, how she blushes.
She cannot deny that she has money. But
all I can say is this, that if she chooses to go
about in such ordinary clothes, she cannot
expect that people who cut a better figure
will be seen with her."
On hearing these words, I felt my anger
THE HISTORY OF
rise, and was going to answer sharply, but was
providentially hindered from committing this
sin, by Charlotte's suddenly turning away, and
speaking upon other matters.
At length, Charlotte Owen took her leave,
and Mrs. Bennet put me in mind that it was
time to go to bed, as I must rise early the next
morning to my work. She then led me to a
small room up stairs, which was within her
own; this she told me was to be mine. It had
one window, which opened towards the hill
behind the house; and from hence I could
hear the song of the birds among the trees,
and see the flowers which grew beneath in the
garden. This room was so small, that it would
scarcely contain more than my little flock bed
and the box which held my clothes: yet, ne-
Vertheless, it was a great comfort to me to
have a place which I could call my own, and
to which I could retire, when I had a leisure
hour, to read my Bible, and commune with
But not to make my story too long, I must
say, in a few words, that, for the two first
years, my life with Mrs. Bennet was by no
means so uncomfortable as I at first thought
it would have been, for my mistress was sel-
dom at home. As I could soon do most of
the work she had to do within doors, she used
often to go out to iron and work in the genteel
families in and about the town; for there was
scarcely any thing which she could not put
her hand to. So that I had very little of her
company, and of that light discourse which
was so unpleasant to me, When she was at
home, it is true, that she did not always treat
me as kindly as I had been accustomed to be
treated with my dear Mrs. Neale and Mrs.
Sarah. But we must not expect that every
thing in this world of trial will always pass on
quietly and agreeably. She sometimes was
very easy and free with me, as if I were her
daughter, rather than her servant; and then,
without cause, she would become fretful and
sullen, and it would be totally impossible to
give her satisfaction. But I endeavoured to
remember the words of St. Peter, and, I trust,
Servants, be subject to your masters with all
fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also
to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a
man for conscience toward God endure grief,
suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it,
if, when ye be buffetedfor your faults, ye shall
take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and.
suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is accept-
able with God. For even hereunto were ye
called. (1 Pet. ii. 18-21.)
It was my wish to obey my mistress in all she
could ask, whether it was reasonable or unrea-
sonable, except when she was so inconsiderate
as to require me to do any thing sinful. She
often requested me to go with her to wakes and
merry-makings on a Sunday, instead of going
to church, which I always refused to do; nor
would I ever buy any fine clothes to please
Although I was apparently without a friend,
THE HISTORY OF
and living with a woman who was entirely with-
out the fear of God, yet my heavenly Father so
ordered things, that I was, for a long time, pre-
served from temptation. My business lay but
little in Ludlow. I had full employment at
home, and few persons came to our house, un-
less it might be Charlotte Owen, who some-
times brought with her a young man, the son of '
a neighbour, with whom she was so indiscreet,
sometimes, as to walk in the fields and lanes
about the town.
But I had little to say to Charlotte when she
came. She was not fond of me; and I have
since thought, that I had it not enough at
heart to try to win her to God. Whenever
she was with my mistress on a Sunday evening,
I used to shut myself up in my little room, if
I was not wanted below.
I had now lived with Mrs. Bennet more than
two years and a half, and was looking forward
with hope to the time when I should leave her
service and enter into that of some person who
feared God, when, one evening, towards the
latter end of last April, my mistress having
been in Ludlow the whole day, I was alone in
the cottage ironing some linen, I remember
that, as it was becoming dusk, many very
serious thoughts passed through my mind. 1
considered how many persons whom I had
known and loved during my short life had
passed from a temporal to an eternal state;
and I considered how soon, even in the com-
mon course of nature, I also should be num-
bered among those who are departed.
While my mind was filled with these reflec-
tions, some one tapped suddenly at the window,
and, before I could distinguish who it was,
Charlotte Owen called out, What! all alone,
Susan? Make haste, and let me in."
I was surprised at the free manner in which
she spoke to me, but I opened the window, and
endeavoured to speak as cheerfully to her as if
we had always been the best friends.
I came for a little chat," she said; "will
you let me in?"
I answered, that I thanked her; but at the
same time I advised her, as it was getting late,
to make the best of her way home, as it was
late for a young woman to be seen abroad.
There again," she said, you come in with
your scruples, Susan, and your over-niceness.
You have lived with the old woman till you
are good for nothing."
So saying, she went round to the door, and
knocked very loudly at it till I unbolted it;
for when I was alone I always fastened it as
night drew on.
"Why, Charlotte," I said, "you seem very
merry this evening;" and I invited her to sit
down by my ironing-board.
"Merry she answered, as she took her
seat, "yes, to be sure: the town's all alive.
The soldiers are in town, I suppose you know
that. You may hear the drums and fifes down
here very plain; and we had a dance yesterday
at the Blue-Boar. My mother and I were both
there; and the long room was so full, that you
could hardly squeeze in; and the women were
THE HISTORY OF
all so smart! I am sure you would have liked
it: but here you are shut up, and are so dull.
Don't you think your mistress would let you
come among us?"
Perhaps she would," I answered; but I
shall never ask her leave: for to tell you the
truth, Charlotte, I do not think that modest
women have any business at such merry-mak-
Bless me! and why not?" cried Charlotte.
"Why, all the gentlefolks have their dances,
and plays, and routs; and I do not see why we
should not have them too. Do tell me where
the harm of them lies."
"I can scarcely tell you, Charlotte," I an-
swered; for I never was at a dance, or a
wake, or a fair, or a show, in my life. But will
you own to me, whether you ever went to any
of these places, without hearing bad language,
without meeting with bold or drunken men,
who talk familiarly to you, who utter profane
and wicked jests, and take God's name in vain?
now do answer me this question, Charlotte."
I don't know, I can't tell: why, why,
why-" said Charlotte.
"Answer me either yes or no, my aear
Charlotte," I said. "Surely, if you do not
meet with bad people in these places, you
may say so; and, if you do meet with them,
you must agree with me, that they are not
fit places for good young women."
How scrupulous how over-nice you are "
How can we be too scrupulous in these
things, Charlotte?" answered I. Can we love
God too much? or serve him too well? Is it
not said in the Bible, No man can serve two
masters: for either he will hate the one, and
love the other; or else he will hold to the one,
and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God
and Mammon?" (Matt. vi. 24.)
Charlotte made no answer; and, for some
time, she sat quite silent. At last she said,
"Susan, when were you in town last?"
"The day before yesterday I fetched this
linen from Mrs. Nichols," I answered. .
Dd you see the Captain then?" she asked.
"What Captain?" I said: "1 know no
Why, have you not heard of the Captain
who is just come to town? Where can you
have lived this last fortnight? He is come to
lodge at Mr. Smith's, the mercer; and he is the
finest, handsomest, freest, pleasantest gentle-
man I ever saw in my life. He seems to regard
his money no more than the stones in the
streets; and you cannot think how condescend.
ing and obliging he is. He smiles, and is so
gracious when one meets him any where, and
speaks so kindly."
"And speaks so kindly I" I repeated. 0!
Charlotte, what business could a gentleman, a
stranger too, have to speak to a poor girl in
She coloured: A poor girl, indeed!" she
answered. I like that, Susan; a poor girl,
truly! I am no servant."
"Perhaps not," I answered; but you must
FHE HISTORY OF
know that the gentlefolks do not look upon you
as their equal, nor will a gentleman treat you
as such. You may be assured, that when a
gentleman speaks freely to a young woman in
your state of life, he means no good."
Who says that the Captain spoke freely to
me, I should wish to know?" said Charlotte.
Did you not say yourself," I asked, that
he smiled, and spoke kindly when you met
Well, and suppose he did," answered she;
" and suppose he should think me handsome;
and suppose he should think of making me his
lady, where would be the wonder?"
"' O! Charlotte," said I, gentlemen are not
so ready to raise up poor girls to be their wives.
Do you think, whatever they may say, that
they could like women in our humble station
better than the fine ladies whom they see every
day? How are we fit to appear in the com-
pany of gentlefolks? can we talk of the things
which they talk of? are we fit, with our homely
and countrified discourse, to converse with
learned people? Do not let us expect that our
betters will raise us to be their equals. If a
decent young man in our own station offers
himself, we may listen to him; but if we
think of making ourselves greater than our
neighbours, we shall fall lower than we now
"I am sure I don't want to raise myself,"
said Charlotte. "I did nothing to make the
Captain notice me: I was walking very quietly
down the lane, from the town towards the mea-
dows, when he first thought proper to speak
to me; I am sure I did not speak first."
But, perhaps, you looked at him," I said.
Looked at him, truly I" replied she; why,
who would not look at so fine a gentleman?
You cannot think how very handsome he is."
And do you think, Charlotte," said I, be-
cause you did not speak, that this gentleman
could not find out what passed in your mind?
When we are angry, do not our looks shew our
displeasure, although we open not our mouths?
You suffered your mind to be full of this
stranger; you looked at him and admired him:
and he, no doubt, discovered these your
thoughts by your looks, although you supposed'
them hidden by your silence. If he, therefore,
treated you with any freedom, it was your own
fault; and you have as much reason to blame
yourself, as if you had tempted him to do so
by speaking boldly to him."
"Upon my word, Susan," answered she,
"you take finely upon you, indeed! Who
made you ruler over me, that you should dare
to find fault with me at this rate? What, must
I neither look nor speak? I suppose you would
have me walk about with my eyes shut."
I beg your pardon, Charlotte," said I, if
I have spoken harshly to you; but you were
the friend of my early days, and although we
have been but little together of late, yet I can-
not but love you, and I wish, if possible, to
convince you that you allow yourself in liber-
ties, which you may think innocent, but for
which I fear that you will be punished, per-
THE HISTORY OF
haps, very severely after death. For although
you are not so learned as the gentlefolks are,
yet you have been taught to read your Bible;
and it is your own fault, if you are ignorant of
what is the duty of a Christian. Surely, you
have read in the Holy Scriptures, that every
man that hath hope in God, purifieth himself as
he is pure: and again, he that committeth sin is
of the devil." (1 John iii. 3, 8.)
"And pray, what sin have I committed?"
You have allowed your thoughts to be em-
ployed, my dear Charlotte," said I, by very
vain and improper subjects. Your heart has
oeen occupied by this stranger, although God
has commanded you to set your affection on
things above, not on things on the earth. (Col.
iii. 2.) You have broken this commandment of
God, and are exposing yourself to great danger;
and, unless you call upon your Almighty Sa-
viour, to give you grace to overcome this tempt-
ation, I fear that you will make yourself not
only miserable in this world, but in that which
is to come. For the holy apostle St. Paul says,
to be carnally-minded is death." (Rom. viii. 6.)
Charlotte made no answer, but stared at
me; and at that moment my mistress knocked
at the door.
Charlotte ran to open it, very glad, I believe,
to break off her discourse with me.
In came Mrs. Bennet, with a large roll of
fine Irish cloth under her arm, which she laid
upon a small table; and, throwing herself upon
a chair beside it, Now, girls," said she,
" guess for whom I am going to make that set
of shirts: look at the cloth first; see how fine
and even it is, and tell me who you think it fit
Charlotte said, she presumed it was for the
'Squire of the next village; and I guessed, the
worthy Dean, the Rector of our parish.
Mrs. Bennet laughed, and, clapping her hand
on the cloth, said, "You are both mistaken;
it is for a finer gentleman than either of these.
Why, Charlotte, I wonder you cannot think of
him; for I have a pretty shrewd guess that he
is often uppermost in your head:" and then
she laughed again.
I returned to my ironing without saying an-
other word; and Charlotte, after thinking some
time, cried, "Why, surely, it is not for the
You have it now," said my mistress.
"Mercer Smith called me in to-day, as I was
passing by, and told me that the Captain want-
ed to speak to me. I wondered what he could
have to say to me; but it was about these
shirts: he desired to have two of them made
and washed by next Sunday morning. So,
Susan, you must set to work by day-break;
you have but three days to do them in, for I
cannot help you. I am going out to-morrow,
and we must not disoblige his honour for
01 Mrs. Bennet," said Charlotte, if you
will give me leave, I will come to-morrow and
help Susan: it would be a pleasure to me to
work for so fine a gentleman."
THE HISTORY OF
1 thank you, Charlotte," said I, I shall
want no help."
Mind that," said my mistress; she takes
such pleasure in working for this smart youth,
that she will not have your help, Charlotte."
But I will not repeat all their free jests.
0! how truly did the wise king Solomon say,
that the thoughts of the wicked are an abomi-
nation to the Lord. (Prov. xv. 26.)
Charlotte insisted upon helping me in my
work; and, as it was very late, Mrs. Bennet
asked her to stay with her all night.
When I had finished my ironing, and had
got them their suppers, I asked leave to go to
bed, that I might hear no more of their vain
discourse; and when I was alone in my little
room, I knelt down and besought my Saviour
to remember me, and to save me from being
corrupted by this evil world.
Early the next morning, I began my work;
before Mrs. Bennet and Charlotte came down
As soon as breakfast was over, my mistress
went out, and Charlotte and I sat down to
work before the door. We were for some time
silent; at length, Charlotte, throwing down her
work, took out of her pocket a small pattern
of flowered silk, which she shewed me, asking
me how I liked it.
It is very pretty," said I.
"Should you not like a gown of it?" said she.
"No," I answered; "I think that a silk
gown would not become a poor servant."
Why, as you are a servant, it might not
suit you; but 1 shall very soon have a gown of
it," said she. "Mrs. Hall, the pawnbroker,
has one to part with, as good as new; and she
has promised to let me have it for a guinea and
A guinea and a half!" I cried; what a
large sum! you will never be able to raise it."
And why not?" said Charlotte: I have
already given Mrs. Hall half-a-guinea towards
it, and I know that I shall soon be able to raise
the guinea. But you must not say any thing
about it, for my mother is not to know at
0! Charlotte," said I, what are you about
to do? in what way can you get the money
unknown to your mother? And can you be
so mean and foolish as to deceive your mother
for the sake of a silk gown ?"
Bless me why, what is the matter now ?"
cried she. Why, I shall shew my mother the
gown as soon as I have got it; and tell her that
I paid for it out of the money which my uncles,
and aunts, and grandfather had given me, and
which I shall say I saved up. And she will
not ask many questions, for she will be so pleas-
ed to see me so smart."
And can you resolve to offend God," I said,
"to deceive your mother, and, perhaps, to be
punished for ever in another world, for the sake
of a silk gown, which, in a few years, will fade
and wear away, and will be good for nothing
but to be thrown aside?"
As to deceiving my mother," answered
THE HISTORY OF
Charlotte, I am very easy about that; for I
shall only do to her as she does to others, even
to the very best of her friends. For not a day
passes, to my knowledge, but she cheats some
of her customers; and, as to telling lies, she
minds them not the least, when she can get a
few pence by them."
But," said I, if your poor mother does
wrong, that is no reason you should imitate her.
Remember these words, my dear Charlotte,
which are taken from the holy Bible: All liars
shall have their part in the lake which burneth
with fire and brimstone." (Rev. xxi. 8.)
"But I am resolved," answered she, "to
have the gown, so you may spare your preach-
ing; only I beg you to say nothing about it."
Will you answer me one question, Char-
lotte?" said I. How did you get that half-
guinea which you have already given for your
gown? I know that but last week you told
Mrs. Bennet that you had spent all you had in
the world on a new hat."
"O! I am not obliged to tell you that,"
said she, laughing: but all I will say is, that
I got it where I hope to get more."
I begin to be much afraid for you," said I;
"this love of fine clothes will one day or other
end in some sad evil. Indeed, my dear Char-
lotte, I beg you to think no more of this silk
gown; be assured, that if you could even get it
honestly, no one would honour you the more
for being dressed above your station; any un-
due degree of finery shews vanity and pride, if
not something worse. Nor is it right for us to
spend all that we have upon ourselves, little as
that may be. If we deny ourselves some few
pieces of finery, or even some few comforts, that
we may give a little to those who are in greater
want than ourselves, God will reward us ten-
fold: but if we greedily and selfishly spend all
we can earn upon ourselves, our Lord, I fear,
will say to us, at the great day of judgment,
Departfrom me, ye cursed, into everlasting fre,
prepared for the devil and his angels. For Iwas
an hmugred, and ye gave me no meat; I was
thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a
stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and
ye clothed me not; sick and in prison, and
ye visited me not." (Matt. xxv. 41-43.)
I think as you do, Susan," said Charlotte,
" that rich people ought to spare some of their
abundance to give to the poor; but you know
that we are not rich."
"As to you, Charlotte," I answered, "who
have so many of the good things of this world,
who have money to spend on gloves, and rib-
bons, and laces, and fine gowns; can you say
that you have nothing to spare to the poor? I
have less than you possess, and am obliged to
work hard for what I have; but, like the poor
widow, I think it my duty to give my mite to
the poor. And I remember what St. Paul says
to the man who has been a thief: Let him
that stole steal no more; but rather let him la-
bour, working with his hands the thing which is
good, that he may have to give to him that need-
eth. (Eph. iv. 28.) And I could repeat to
you twenty other texts in the Bible, to exhort
THE HISTORY OF
and command us to take pity on the poor, and
to love our neighbours as well as ourselves;
which we cannot be said to do, when we lay
out all the money we can earn in decking our-
selves forth, or pampering ourselves with deli-
You have a vast deal to say, Susan," said
Charlotte: but I do not think, with all your
fine talking, that I shall give up my silk gown."
f "Now, my dear Charlotte," said I, if you
will promise to think no more of this silk gown,
and will, for a few years, be content to wear
humble garments, and to give of what you save
to those who are in need, and to follow Him,
who, for our sakes, took upon him the fashion
of a servant, I think I can promise, that, at the
end of that time, you shall have a finer gown
than any lady's in the kingdom; yes, a richer
gown than any queen ever wore on a birth-
Charlotte smiled, and asked me what I
This gown," said I, that I promise you,
shall be as white as snow, and as bright as the
sun; it will never soil and never wear away;
no moths shall ever corrupt it, nor shall any
thieves steal it from you."
Why, Susan," said Charlotte, of what are
you talking? I do not understand you."
"And with this beautiful gown," added I,
"you shall wear a crown of precious stones, as
bright as the stars in the heavens. 0! my dear
Charlotte, if you would but think less of this
world with all its vanities, if you will resist its
temptations, and endeavour to serve your God,
you shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom
of the Father, and enjoy pleasures for evermore
in the presence of God."
"O! now I understand you," cried Char-
lotte: "you had quite puzzled me with your
shining gown. It reminds me of the fine silver
lace upon the Captain's waistcoat; you have no
notion how handsome he looked in it."
I believe that I surprised her a little; for the
moment she mentioned the Captain, I got up
and carried my chair into the house, where I
sat down, at some distance from her.
"What is the matter, Susan?" said she;
"why do you run away?"
Because I do not choose to hear any thing
said about that gentleman. What business
have we poor girls to be talking and joking
about a Captain? I heard too much of these
jests, Charlotte, last night; and, whatever you
may think of me, I am resolved that I will hear
none of them to-day."
She got up, and, coming to the door of the
house, stood leaning with her back against the
post, laughing at me for some minutes. But I
made no answer, remembering that it is said,
the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be
gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in
meekness instructing those that oppose them-
selves. (2 Tim. ii. 24, 25.)
While she continued to laugh at me, two
young men, belonging to the town, came run-
ning through the wood down the side of the
garden. As they passed by the house they saw
THE HISTORY OF
Charlotte, and one of them called to her; the
other went on to the town.
She no sooner heard his voice, than she ran
to the wicket, and there stood talking and
laughing with him till our dinner was ready.
As soon as dinner was over, she told me that
she was tired of work, and, wishing me a good
day, took her leave.
1 had finished two of the shirts, and washed
them on Saturday evening; and on Sunday
morning, it being a fine day, my mistress laid
the shirts in a neat basket, and, strewing them
over with lavender, ordered me to take them to
the Captain's. "You will not have time,
Susan," said she, "to get back to the village
church; therefore, dress yourself before you
go, and, when you have delivered the linen,
you may leave your basket at Mercer Smith's,
and go to church in town."
I accordingly dressed myself neatly, and,
taking the basket under my arm, was just go-
ing out at the garden-gate, when my mistress,
calling after me, said, "Susan, you must ask
to see the Captain himself, and deliver the
linen to him; and if he asks you what he is
to pay for the work, you must say, whatever
his honour pleases; for, you know, we must
not fix a price to so great a gentleman."
I thought that my mistress knew better how
to deal with gentlefolks than I could do, who
was a stranger to the world. Therefore, when
I came to Mercer Smith's door, I knocked, and
asked to see the Captain.
The Captain's servant came, and asked me
if he could not take the message to his mas-
No," I said, my mistress ordered me to
see his honour myself."
I was then led through the shop into a hall,
where I stood for some minutes; at last, the
parlour-door was opened, and the Captain
came out. When I saw his honour, I began
to be frightened; for he was, indeed, a very
fine gentleman; I looked upon the ground,
and, at first, I could scarcely speak.
"Young woman," said he, "what did you
want with me?"
I hope that your honour will pardon me,"
I said; but my mistress ordered me to bring
this linen to you."
"Hold up your head, young woman," said
the gentleman; "I cannot hear what you say."
I raised my head, and repeated what I had
said before: but I was very much frightened.
When he saw that I was frightened, he
smiled, and said, very kindly, Tell your mis-
tress, my good young woman, that I am obliged
to her for obeying my orders so exactly. You
are her servant, I suppose; pray what may
y8ur name be?"
Susan Gray," I answered.
"And where do you live?" he said.
"In the cottage by the river-side, under the
coppice," I replied. I then made a courtesy,
and was going away; but he called me back,
and asked me what he was to pay for the work.
I answered, as I had been told, Whatever
your honour pleases."
THE HISTORY OF
He immediately offered me half-a-guinea. I
was surprised, and said, "0! Sir, this is too
much; my mistress would not take half of
"Then," said he, "my good Susan, do you
pay your mistress what you think she might
expect, and keep the rest yourself."
No, no, no, Sir," said I, refusing to take
the money; I am only her servant, and have
no right to the profits of her work."
The Captain looked very hard indeed at me
when I spoke these words; and, when I had
done, lie said, "Your mistress is very happy,
my good Susan, in so honest a servant. But
you must take the whole of this money for
yourself; when I see your mistress I will pay
her for the work."
Indeed, Sir, I cannot take it; I thank your
honour for your generosity, but I assure you,
that I want for nothing, and I have no right to
take money which I have not earned." So say-
ing, I made another courtesy, and hastened
away. When I got into the street, it was timt
to go to church.
While I was at church, I could not help
thinking how very odd it was that the Captain
should offer me money, wondering that so great
and fine a gentleman should talk to so poor a
girl as myself in so free a manner. ..
These thoughts so entirely filled my mind,
that I fear I knew little of what passed in the
church; and thus, at the very time when it be-
hoved me to put on the whole armour of God.
1 was entirely off my guard; but faithful was
SUSAN GRAY. h3
Ie who called me. (1 Thess. v. 24.) As the arms
of the mother are a protection on each side of
the careless and wayward child, so did his
everlasting arms uphold me, though I knew it
not. I, who had blamed Charlotte so freely,
but a few days past, had certainly fallen under
the same temptation, had not my Almighty
Saviour upheld me. So foolish was I and ig-
norant; I was as a beast before thee. Never-
theless, I am continually with thee; thou hast
holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide
me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me
to glory. (Psalm lxxiii. 22-24.)
As I returned home, I came into a narrow
lane which led from the town to the meadows
in which our house stands. At the end of this
lane was a stile, on each side of which grew
some very tall trees, whose green boughs made
a kind of bower over the head.
When I came in view of this stile, I saw a
gentleman sitting upon it reading a letter; but
I could not tell, because of the shade of the
trees, who he was.
I would have gone back, and taken another
way home, that I might not give him the trou-
ble of rising to let me pass, but I supposed
that my mistress would, by this time, be come
from church, and would be in want of her
dinner. So I walked on.
But when I came near the stile, I was much
surprised to find that this gentleman was the
Captain. He went on reading the letter, and
never moved from his seat till I was come up
close to him. I stood waiting for some mu-
THE HISTORY OF
meats; at last I begged his honour's leave to
The first time I spoke, he seemed not to hear
me? and when I again asked him to give me
leave to pass, he lifted up his eyes from the
letter which he.was reading, and, without mov-
ing from his place, Your servant, Susan," he
said; where may you be going, my good girl?"
I am going home, Sir," 1 said, "and beg
your leave to pass."
"I will let you go presently, but first you
must answer me a few questions."
Sir," I replied, you can have no business
with me; if you wish to speak to my mistress,
she shall call upon you at any time you shall
please to fix."
"I have nothing to say to the old woman,"
answered he, but I want to have a little dis-
course with you."
As I found that he was so rude, I turned
back, and was going to take the other way into
the meadows, although it was above half a
mile round. But he, jumping from the stile,
followed me, and said something which I
thought very impertinent. Upon which, I said
to him, "If you forget, Sir, that you are a
gentleman, I shall forget, also, that I am a
servant, and will tell you very plainly what I
think of you."
"And what do you think of me, little
Susan?" said he, laughing.
I think, Sir," I answered, that you are a
very wicked man; and although I may have
no friend on earth to take my part, yet God
Almighty will not suffer such behaviour as
this to go unpunished."
So saying, I pushed hastily by him, and, by
means of running as fast as I could, was soon
out of sight.
When I got home, I found the door locked,
and no one within. I soon opened the door
with a key which I had of my own; and, as
my mistress did not return, I ate my dinner,
and prepared to go to our little village church.
I had not been returned from church above
an hour, before my mistress came in with Char-
lotte Owen, and two or three more young wo-
men, and as many young men, with whom she
had been taking a walk to a village some miles
distant, where they had dined together at a
"Susan," said she, as soon as she entered,
"make the fire burn, and set on the tea-
kettle, for we must have some tea as soon
as possible, and set us a table and chairs at
I did as I was ordered; but while I was get-
ting tea ready within doors, I was shocked at
the loud laughing and jesting of my mistress
and her company.
The young men, who I found had drank a
few glasses of ale more than they were used to,
were extremely free and bold in their manner,
and I was very sorry to see, that not only Char-
lotte and the other young women, but, also, my
mistress, encouraged them, by their foolish tit-
tering, and still more foolish jokes, to behave
in a manner which must be highly offensive to
THE HISTORY OF
God, who has commanded Christian men to
treat the elder women as mothers; the younger
as sisters, with all purity. (1 Tim. v. 2.)
Having brought the tea-things, and prepared
every thing for the tea, my mistress bade me
bring a chair, and take my place with the
I thanked her, but said, I would beg to be
Nay, don't refuse, Susan," said one of the
young men, whose name was William Ball:
" we must have your company. Here, take
this chair by me; come, we are vastly merry."
I see you are merry," I said; "but I shall
beg not to make one among you."
"And why not?" they all cried at once.
O! do not oblige me to say," I answered.
"What, we are not good enough for you, I
presume!" said Charlotte.
None of these airs, Susan," said my mis-
tress; "a fine lady, in truth, you are, with
scarcely a rag to your back, or a shilling in
your pocket, that you should turn up your
nose thus at your betters. Sit you down this
minute," added she, with a very naughty word.
William Ball, at the same time, took hold of
my gown, and was going to pull me down into
the chair by him; when I, struggling hard,
escaped into the house, and, leaving my mistress
and her company to wait upon themselves, ran
into my own little room; where I shut the
door, and, throwing myself on my knees, prayed
to God to protect me. 0! my God," I cried,
" I am surrounded by snares and temptations;
deliver me, I pray thee, from the evils which
My mistress did not call me down until
all the company were gone, except Charlotte
Owen, who complained of a head-ache, and
begged to stay all night at the cottage.
Susan," said Mrs. Bennet, as soon as I came
down, any other mistress but myself would
turn a servant out of doors, who had behaved
as you have done; but, in consideration of your
having always been an honest girl, I forgive you
this once. I cannot say that I should pardon
you so easily, if you were to shew any of these
saucy airs again. Surely, my friends are fit
company for my servant!"
I should think so, in truth," said Charlotte,
who was sitting in an arm-chair, leaning her
head upon her hand.
I thanked my mistress for forgiving me; and
then turning to Charlotte, to prove that I was
not in an ill humour, but that I had only left
the company for the sake of my God and my
religion, My dear Charlotte," I said, I am
sorry to see you so poorly."
She made no answer; and my mistress, pre-
sently afterwards, said, with a laugh, "Well,
Susan, and what did the Captain say to you?"
"I do not like the Captain," I answered;
" and, with your leave, I never will go to his
Bless me and what now?" cried my mis-
tress. And Charlotte, at the same time, raising
her head, fixed her eyes upon me.
I then told them what had passed between
THE HISTORY OF
me and the gentleman. As soon as I had fi-
nished the story, Mrs. Bennet cried out, And
were you so rude, Susan, as not to take the
money ? Don't you know that it is the greatest
affront a servant can put upon a gentleman, to
refuse his money? Why, the Captain will
never forgive you! How could you, Susan,
behave in such a manner?"
I did not want the money," I answered.
"Not want it!" said my mistress: "why you
have not a decent gown to your back. Every
body says that you would be well-looking
enough, if you dressed but smartly. But as it
is, you are such a dowdy, such a country
Joan, no one will look upon you. Is it not
Don't talk to her about it," said Charlotte;
"she can't help her poverty: those who knew
her aunt, don't wonder at the figure she cuts-
poor low creature! And, as to the Captain, 1
am sure he never would offer her money: and,
if he did, I am sure she never would refuse it.
Don't let her deceive you, Mrs. Bennet, with
her fine stories."
"Nay, I do not think the girl would tell a
lie," answered my mistress: I always found
her honest enough. But now, do tell me,
Susan, why did you not take the Captain's
Because," I said, "although I am poor,
yet I fear my God, and I will never take any
money, but such as I can get in an honest man-
ner. Did God see fit, he could make me rich-
er in one day than I should become, were I for
a long life to use every wicked means, and every
lying and deceitful art, to get money. For, as
the Bible says, it is an easy thingfor the Lord
of a sudden to make a poor man rich. (Ecclus.
xi. 21.) I know not for what reason the
Captain offered me the half-guinea; but I
knew it could be for no good reason, for I
had done him no service, and stood not in
need of charity."
Not stand in need of charity!" said my
mistress; that may be as you think: to be
sure, you have bread to eat, but you certainly
want for many necessaries. Why, as I said be-
fore, you have not a decent gown to your back;
you have not one that has not been patched in
half-a-dozen places; and since you came to
me, you have not had a new hat."
"If I am poor," I said, "I cannot help it."
"Not help it!" said my mistress: did you
not refuse money to-day? But pride and po-
verty often go together."
"Pride!" I repeated, and I fear I said it
rather warmly; "I am not proud: though I
trust that I am above receiving money which
can be given with no good intention."
Charlotte took me up sharply: "And how
do you know," said she, that it was with no
good intention that the Captain offered you
money? I understand what you would be at,
Susan; but it is nothing but envy at seeing
people better dressed than yourself."
She said much more to the same purpose,
and seemed so very hot, that I really was sur-
prised, till I perceived that she had on the very
THE HISTORY OF
silk gown which she had been talking of some
days past, and for the purchase of which she
had, no doubt, received money from the Cap-
tain. I was so injudicious, because this was
not a time for it, when she was in the height of
her anger, to charge her with what she had
done; and, though I hope I did not do it in a
rude way, yet she grew so angry upon it, that
my mistress thought it time to interfere, and
bid me go up to bed.
I obeyed, and, when I got into my own
room, burst into a violent fit of tears. I was
not pleased with myself: I felt that the past
day had not been well spent; that my mind
was not in a good state; and that I had spoken
to Charlotte with impropriety, and not in a way
which was likely to lead her back to God. I
had not, as in days past, those pleasant and
peaceful feelings of confidence in God which
had made my little room a most sweet and de-
lightful abode to me. I felt forsaken and
alone: and yet I had no inclination to pray;
no desire to call upon that beloved Saviour
who had hitherto been my comforter.
I sat at the foot of my bed, and, for some
time, continued to shed tears, not of humility,
but rather of passion and discontent. Char-
lotte and my mistress were talking below; for
Charlotte was to stay with Mrs. Bennet all
night; but their voices were so low, that I
could hardly hear them. It was almost dusk,
and I know not how long I might have remain-
ed in that rebellious state, when He, of whom it
is said, Before they call I will answer, (Isaiah
lxv. 24,) so ordered it, that some poor holy man
passing along the lane which is at the back of
the garden, should bethink himself of beguiling
the way by singing the praises of God. It was
an old psalm tune, which I remembered to have
heard my father sing when I was a very little
child, and I had never heard it again since that
I listened to the sound, as it drew nearer,
and eagerly strove to catch every note, till the
singer had passed away; and, such was the ef-
fect on my mind, it seemed to me as if the days
of my childhood had returned again. I could
almost have fancied that I saw my father and
mother again, and the Holy Spirit of God, for
I can think no less, brought them to my remem-
brance. Many pious lessons which I had re-
ceived from these beloved parents, and which
had almost entirely passed from my mind, or
till now, at best, had been very imperfectly re-
membered; much, also, that dear Mrs. Neale
had said to me before her death, was, at this
time, brought before me, as strongly as if she
were still speaking: and my conscience began
to smite me with having profited so little by all
that these dear friends had done for me. From
these thoughts, I was led on to think of Him
who had died for me, and of all that he had
endured for my sake; and, like St. Peter, I be-
gan to weep bitterly: and I trust that these
tears were shed in a humbler spirit than those
which had just before flowed from my eyes.
I was enabled this night to give myself up to
God, and to trust him with the future events of
THE HISTORY OF
my life; humbly beseeching him not to leave
me, in any time of trial, to my own strength
for I had found, by the past day's experience,
that I was as little able to endure temptation as
poor Charlotte, whom I had so freely censured.
After this, my mind became more easy, and
my sleep was sweet.
The next morning, I expected that my mis-
tress would have looked cool upon me; but
quite the contrary, for while I was setting the
tea-cups for breakfast, she came down, and
taking up Charlotte Owen's new hat, which had
been left the night before on a chair, and plac
ing it on my head, she held up her hands and
eyes, as if she was mightily astonished, and
cried," Is it possible! I could not have thought
that any head-dress could have made such a
difference! Why, Susan, you look as handsome
as the queen of May in that hat; I protest
that I should hardly have known you again.
You must, indeed you must, have such a hat
as that. I do think, if you were to buy the
silk and make it up yourself, it would not come
to more than five shillings; and you cannot
think how very handsome you would look in it."
Whether I look handsome or not," I an-
swered, "I cannot afford to buy such a hat;
for I really have not the money to spare. My
dear Mrs. Neale gave me three guineas when I
came to you; but 1 have now been with you
nearly three years, and in that time my shoes
have cost me a guinea, and, with a little linen
which I have bought, and a common stuff
gown, and a few other necessaries, I have not
much more than half-a-guinea left, and this 1
shall want, to enable me to make a decent
appearance, if I should be so happy as to get
a good place when my time is out with you."
What! have you so much as half-a-guinea
left ?" said my mistress; and yet you will not
purchase a hat, in which you would look so
very handsome. Come, now, I will tempt you,"
said she: here is a half-crown towards it; I
make it a free gift to you." So saying, she
held out the money.
I was puzzled to think what could have
made her, all at once, so generous; for she had
never before offered me so much as a penny. I
looked at the half-crown for a minute, as she
held it towards me, and then at the hat, and, at
last, I said, I thank you, Madam, for your
very kind offer; but if I am to spend the money
upon a hat, and to add another half-crown of
my own to it, I will beg leave not to take it."
She looked angry, and, putting the money
immediately into her pocket, turned round upon
her heel, and said some few words which I
could not hear.
I am afraid," I said, "that you will think
me very ungrateful for not accepting your offer;
but I am sure that I am much obliged to you;
and, if you please, I will tell you my reasons
for so doing."
"Well," said she, "and what may those
"In the first place," I said, I was taught
by my dear Mrs. Neale, that it becomes not a
Christian woman to be fond of vain ornaments.
THE HISTORY OF
I could shew you many places in the Bible,
where we are exhorted not to love the world,
nor the things that are in the world. It be-
comes every one of us to dress decently, and
with the utmost cleanliness; but surely, what-
ever the rich may think it right to do, it be-
comes not a poor servant to spend her little
pittance on needless finery."
Certainly not," said my mistress; "I would
not have you spend all you have on a hat.
But if you were a little better dressed, Susan,
perhaps some young tradesman or farmer might
be taken with you, (for you are a good-looking
girl,) and might choose you for his wife. And
do you think, child, that if you could get a
good husband, by spending a few extraordinary
shillings, that the money would be thrown
away?" And then the wicked woman laughed;
for indeed I must call her a wicked woman.
"If God sees fit," I answered, "that I should
marry, in his due time he will provide me with
a worthy husband. But this is, at present, no
concern of mine; I trust in God, and leave him
to do what he pleases with me."
"You always have a mighty deal to say for
yourself, Susan," said my mistress: but come
now, think better of it; here, I offer you the
half-crown again. Have you a mind to take it
towards buying the hat?"
If you will give it to me towards a pair of
shoes, or a coloured apron, I will thank you,"
1 said; and held out my hand to receive it.
No, no," said my mistress, that will not
do; you shall have it, if you please, for the bat,
but for nothing else: for I want to see you with
something smarter on your head than that old-
fashioned straw hat."
Ah! why," said I, should you tempt
me to these vanities? If, for God's sake, you
do not forbear trying to draw me aside, yet,
for your own, you should rejoice that I am not
fond of the fine things of this world, rather
than endeavour to fill my mind with the love
"Now, suppose, my dear mistress," added I,
coming nearer to her, and smiling, to shew that
all I said was in the greatest good humour, I
were all at once to become vain, and to prefer
fine clothes, and to be admired by men, rather
than to be loved by God; immediately, for the
sake of getting these things which were become
so dear to me, I should pilfer you in a thou-
sand little ways; nothing that you have in the
house would be safe; but I should be changing
your bread for a ribbon, your cheese for a bit
of lace, a candle for a fine pin, a piece of soap
for a pair of buckles, and so on; and then, as
it would be no use to shew my fine clothes to
the owls and the bats, the horses and the cows,
whenever you were safe out of the way, instead
of doing your work well, I should hurry it over
in a slovenly manner, and fly off to town, to
shew myself at the fairs and markets. So I
will not, if you please, buy the hat; lest,
when I have got one fine thing, I should wish
for another to wear with it, and so never be
My mistress made no answer, for at that mo-
THE HISTORY OP
ment Charlotte Owen made her appearance:
and they sat down together to breakfast.
After breakfast, they both left the cottage,
my mistress having given me a task to do, and
told me she should not return till night.
I was alone all that day, and busy at work,
till, just as it was getting dusk, and the moon
began to shew her face above the tops of the
hills, I took a walk in the garden, to enjoy the
fresh air. It was a most pleasant evening, and
the violets and other flowers of spring filled the
breezes with their most sweet smell. A night-
ingale was sitting among the branches of the
trees at the top of the hill, and her voice sound-
ed very melodiously in the cottage-garden.
As I walked up and down, I thought of the
many snares and dangers to which those young
persons are exposed, who have not the happi-
ness to have good parents. I had not one friend
in the world; I was daily tempted to evil by
those who surrounded me; those whose duty it
was to guard and protect me, seemed to take a
pleasure in exposing me to danger. I feared
most, also, from my own corrupt nature; for
although I tried to fight against them, yet evil
thoughts were rising, continually, in my mind:
sometimes I felt weary of living, shut up in the
cottage, without having any one to speak to,
except bad persons, who constantly made a
mockery of me; and sometimes I could scarce-
ly help fretting and repining, and thinking
that I was dealt hardly by.
I prayed to God to forgive me if ever I had
murmured, or forgot to trust in his mercy. I
prayed him to enable me to resist the evil
suggestions of my corrupt heart, and, above all
things, never to leave me nor forsake me; for I
felt that, though utterly helpless in myself, in
him I was strong.
"Ah! what does it signify," I said, as I look-
ed up to the skies, all bright and sparkling with
thousands and thousands of stars, whether I
am happy or miserable, for the few short years
which I am to spend in this world? I am now
voung, it is true; but when I am thrice my
present age, I shall be an old woman, and must
soon expect to lay me down in the grave.
O, my dear father and mother and my
beloved Mrs. Neale! you are now happy in
heaven, in the presence of your God and Sa-
viour; you are no longer poor weak human
creatures, but immortal and glorious spirits; all
tears are wiped from your eyes; you have rest-
ed from labour and sorrow for ever."
While these thoughts were passing in my
mind, I sat me down before the cottage-door,
and sung a hymn, which had been taught me
by Mrs. Neale.
I had scarcely done singing, when I saw a
gentleman open the garden-gate, and come to-
It was nearly dusk, but when he came near
to me, I knew him to be the Captain. With-
out waiting to think what I ought to do, I
started up from my seat, and, running into the
house, was going to pull the door after me, and
to fasten it; but the gentleman was too quick
for me: before I could draw the bolt, he push-
THE HISTORY OF
ed open the door and walked in. It was almost
dark in the house; there was no other light ex-
cept from a few embers which glowed upon
My dear Susan," said the Captain, coming
up to me, why did you run away? why are
you so frightened?"
"Pray, Sir, pardon me," I said, making a
"Is your mistress at home? I wished to
see her," said the Captain.
No, Sir," I said, she is not. But if you
please she shall call upon you to-morrow morn-
ing at any hour you may fix."
"No," he answered; what I have to say
to her is of little consequence."
Then he added, looking very hard in my
face, "You have a very sweet voice, Susan.
Do you always, when alone, sing hymns? Do
you never sing any other than holy songs ?"
No, Sir," I answered, I know no other."
By whom were you brought up? Where
do your parents live?" he enquired.
I told him, that I had no father nor mother.
He asked me many questions about the way
in which I had been brought up; and when I
had answered them, Sir," I said, will you
pardon a poor servant, but, as it is very late,
might I ask you, if you have any message
which 1 could deliver to my mistress?"
"What, my little Susan," he said, "you
wish me to leave you; you, perhaps, think that
your mistress would be displeased, if she found
Why, perhaps, Sir," I answered, looking
down upon the ground, for I was afraid of look-
ing so fine a gentleman in the face," she might
not be pleased, if she should happen to return
while you were in the cottage."
"Does she often go out, Susan?" asked he.
"Yes, Sir, very often," I answered.
"Will you, then, let me come and see you
some day, when you are sure that she will not
return?" said he.
I believe I looked very angry; for I felt very
angry, and I said, Sir, you mistake me very
greatly, if you suppose that I refuse to do what
is wrong lest I should offend my mistress: no,
indeed, I do not fear her displeasure only, but
I fear the anger of God."
The captain was silent for some minutes; at
last, he said, Susan, I beg your pardon; I
was deceived in you; I believed you to be very
different to what I find you."
He then said some very fine and flattering
things in compliment to my virtue and my
modesty; saying, how much virtue made young
women appear amiable.
I am sorry to say that I listened to these
things with so much pleasure, that I forgot, for
some time, to ask him again to deliver his mes-
sage: at last, when I reminded him that it was
late, and that it did not become me, in my
humble state, to enter into discourse with a
gentleman: "My pretty Susan," he said, "al-
though you are in the low state of a servant, yet
there are many ladies who might be proud to
be like you; nor is there any lady whom I have
THE HISTORY OF
seen in all my travels, that I should prefer to
you for a wife. Had I not a very severe father,
who would refuse to give me one shilling, if I
were to marry without his leave, I would marry
you, Susan, to-morrow, and think myself the
happiest man in the world."
0! Sir," I said, how can you talk so to
a poor servant; surely, it does not become you
to degrade yourself, to deceive such an ignorant
girl as myself."
I am not deceiving you," he said; and was,
perhaps, going on to say many more fine things,
when I, recollecting myself, said, "Sir, I have
listened to you too long; you mnlst go this
moment. It is neither fit for you as a gentle-
man, nor for me as a servant, to talk any more
on these subjects. I pray you, Sir, go, and
do not think of returning again to this place,
for my conscience tells me, that I have already
done very wrong in entering into discourse
Seeing that I was so positive, he took his
leave; but before he had passed through the
wicket, he turned back again, and begged my
pardon, if he had said or done any thing which
could offend me. "You take me for a bad
man, Susan, I fear," he said, "but I am not
one; and, in future, you may trust that I will
always behave to you, as I ought to behave to
so virtuous and discreet a young woman."
He had scarcely gone out into the meadows,
when my mistress came in.
Did you meet any body in the path-way ?"
said I to her.
No," said she; who has been with you?
has Charlotte been here this evening?"
I immediately told her who had paid me a
visit; and repeated all that the gentleman had
said. Scarcely had I done speaking, when she,
clapping me on the back, cried out, I wish
you joy, my Susan; play your cards well, and
you are sure of being the Captain's lady."
"Indeed," said I, "I have no such vain
thoughts. I am not fit to be a gentleman's
wife, I know very well; aid I am resolved that
I will see him no more: with your leave, Ma
dam, I will never go to his lodgings more."
"Not see him more!" said my mistress,
"why, you little fool, should you dislike to be
a gentlewoman? Had you rather slave all your
life, and be a poor servant, than live at your
ease, and be honoured and respected?"
"Why should I think," said I, "that the
Captain would marry me? Did he not tell me,
but now, that it was not in his power?"
0! but if you would try to please him,"
said my naughty mistress, "he would, perhaps,
become so fond of you, that he would marry
you in spite of his cross old father."
"And can you advise me to tempt a son
to disobey his father?" said I, lifting up my
eyes and hands. "No, no," I said, I will
neither tempt him to evil, nor shall he tempt
me; I will never, if I can help it, see him
My mistress said no more on that subject
that night, but the next evening, she ordered
me to take some more of the linen which was
THE HISTORY OF
just washed and finished, to the Captain's lodg-
ings, and to ask for the money.
Wlen I heard this command, I stood for
some moments silent; at last, I said, "Pray
pardon me, my good mistress, but 1 must, for
once, refuse to obey you."
"At your peril," said she;"gothis moment, or
(and she said a very bad word) I turn you out of
doors: go, and bring the money back with you."
"To-morrow," I answered, endeavouring to
speak gently, "you will go to town early, and,
as the Captain is not in a very great hurry for
the linen, it would then be time enough for you
to take it, and ask for the money."
She called me some very bad names, and,
raising her hand, said, "Am I to fetch and
carry at your command? Go you shall, or to
bridewell you shall be sent."
I trembled so that I was obliged to sit
down, for I was unable to stand; but I made
Are you obstinate? do you refuse to obey
me still?" asked she, stooping down, and put-
ting her face, flaming almost with rage, close
to mine; will you go, girl?"
I still was silent.
"You shall go; by heaven you shall go,"
said she, dragging me up by the arm, and
offering me the basket.
I refused to take the basket in my hand.
She struck me on the cheek, at the same time
using a most shocking oath.
I raised my hands and eyes to heaven, and
said. "God have mercy on me."
What means that mockery of religion ?"
said she: "if your Bible does not teach you
to be obedient to your mistress, you had best
not look into it."
My Bible," I said, "first teaches me to
serve my heavenly Master, and then my earthly
One would think," said she, becoming a
little more gentle, that I had asked you to do
some very wicked thing: who would suppose
that all this grimace is because I ask you to
carry a basket a couple of miles?"
I would carry it fifty miles," said 1, an-
other way to please you; but, indeed, if I go
to the Captain's house, and ask to see him, I
may expect any treatment that he pleases to
But," said she, "I want the money early
to-morrow, before I go to town. Farmer Jones
will, perhaps, call for my rent, and I want
about nine or ten shillings to make up the sum.
You have about as much as that left, I think;
if you will lend it to me for a few days, I will
excuse your going to the Captain's, and will
pardon, for once, your ill conduct."
I immediately gladly fetched the money, not
doubting but that I should be paid again, as I
had more than once before lent her a few
shillings, which I had received duly again; and
she had every where the character of being an
honest woman in point of money matters.
But although I had lent my mistress all the
little money that I had left, yet she did not
even that day treat me kindly; and, from that
THE HISTORY OF
time, for several days, she was so harsh am
severe with me, that my life was quite a burden
to me. I never received one kind word from
her; and it really seemed, from her way of using
me, that she wished me to run away from her.
The only comfortable time which I passed,
was when she was from home: then, indeed,
did I truly enjoy the peace and quiet of the
house; then I could think of holy things; and,
although I was quite alone, and had not one
fellow-creature to speak to, yet my heavenly
Father supported me. But, lest the Captain
should come again to the cottage, I never walk-
ed out before the door, nor sat at the window;
but I generally took my work into my own
little room, where no one could see me through
the window: for, having no friend, and no one
to take care of me, it behoved me, I thought,
to be more nice and careful in my behaviour,
than if I had had a kind father and mother, or
Once or twice, while I was sitting at my
work in my little room, which was in the back
of the house, 1 thought that I heard the step of
some one in the garden; and once, indeed, I
was sure that I heard a rap at the kitchen-
window; but I thought it best to keep close,
and mind my work, and to let no one in but
One evening, I believe it was about a fort-
night after the time that I had the dispute about
carrying the Captain's linen to his lodgings, my
mistress, who had been at work in town all day,
sent a little girl to me, about six in the evening,
to tell me that she should be at home about
nine, and that she should bring with her a
friend, who was to sup and sleep with her that
night; and she sent me her orders to make the
house very neat, and to get the best of what
there was for supper.
Accordingly, as soon as the child had left
me, I set every thing in order; and, having
made myself neat, I sat down, about nine
o'clock, beside a bright fire which I had made;
and, while I waited for my mistress and her
friend, I took the opportunity of reading a few
chapters in my dear Mrs. Neale's Bible.
It was very near ten, and my mistress was
not come; but I was so engaged with my Bible,
that I did not think how the time went.
The part of the Holy Scriptures which I was
reading, was the account of the cruel way in
which the wicked Jews treated the Lord of
glory: how they mocked him and buffetted him;
how they reviled and persecuted him; pierced
his innocent hands with the nails, leaving him
to die a slow and very painful death upon the
cross. When I had finished this sad story, I
shut up the holy book, and sat thinking upon
the great love of God for us poor creatures,
who, when we had enslaved ourselves to the
devil, by our sins, sent his only Son to redeem
us, by his precious blood, from everlasting
misery and torment; and how very humbly did
the glorious Lord Jesus Christ take upon him-
self the shape and form of a poor mortal! how
many hardships and trials did he endure! as
the holy prophet and apostle have said of him,
THE HISTORY OP
He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we
shall see him, there is no beauty that we should
desire him. He is despised and rejected of
men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with
grief: and we hid as it were our faces from
him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
(Isaiah liii. 2, 3.) He made himself of no re-
putation, and took upon him the form of a ser-
vant, and was made in the likeness of men: and
being found in fashion as a man, he humbled
himself, and became obedient. (Phil. ii. 7, 8.)
All this he did for us. Yet, for his blessed
sake, seldom do we give up any pleasure, or
deny ourselves the smallest enjoyment. Al-
though he humbled himself to the cross for
us, yet we, who are but dust, exalt ourselves,
striving who shall be first, and who shall be
Then I could not but think how great the
mercy of God was, in bearing so long with us
sinful and obstinate beings; and I prayed that
[ might not be numbered among the wicked,
but that God would send his Holy Spirit to
strengthen me, and to enable me to resist temp-
tation; that, in the last day, I might be found
fit to inherit eternal happiness, through the
mercy of my blessed Saviour.
Just as I had finished this prayer, I heard a
knock at the door: I immediately hastened to
open it, thinking, foolishly enough, that it could
be no other than my mistress. But how sur-
prised I was, when, instead of Mrs. Bennet, in
came the Captain. Yet, I did notfeel so much
frightened as might be supposed, for the Lord
God had heard my prayer, and, at that mo-
ment, gave me greater courage and greater
power to resist temptation, than 1 should have
had, had I trusted in my own strength.
As the Captain walked up to me, I stepped
back, and said, Sir, if your business is with
my mistress, she is not at home."
"My business is not with her, Susan," he
said, but with you;" and then he said some
very fine things in my praise.
But I looked very gravely indeed at him, and
answered, "You can have nothing to say to
me, Sir, and I must beg you to go away, and
leave me this moment."
You are very cruel, Susan," said he; you
treat me as if you hated me." And then he
went on to tell me how much lie loved me, and
many other false things.
Sir," said I, if you loved me, as you say
you do, or, indeed, if you had that regard for
me, which every one ought to have for a fellow-
creature, you would not give me the pain and
trouble which your visits cause me. I am a
poor girl, without a friend; next to the favour
of God, my good name is most dear and most
valuable to me. If you were to be seen here
at this late hour, or, indeed, at any hour, my
character would be gone, and I should then
lose all that I depend upon for an honest
Must I never see you, Susan?" said lie:
" if I thought that I was to be parted from you
for ever, I should never be happy again."
"As to that, Sir," said I, I do not pretend
THE HISTORY OF
to say it is not true; for a gentleman would
surely be above saying what he knew to be
false at the time: but the question is not what
we think will make us happy, but what God
Almighty would approve. Be assured, Sir,
that, whatever you may now suppose, the only
way to be happy is to be good. For God is
the source of all happiness; from him comes
all pleasure: and we must know, that he will
not bestow them on people who do not think
it worth their while to obtain his favour."
He looked at me very hard when I spoke;
but did not attempt to move.
I beg and pray you, Sir," said I, to go
away. What will become of me, if my mis-
tress should find you here?"
"Your mistress will not come yet, I am
sure," he answered: and I have much to say
to you. Indeed, Susan, you must hear me,
or I will leave the country, and never more
"It would be better for us both, if you
would," I said.
He answered, that I was very cruel and
But I will not repeat all the things he said:
foolish discourse cannot be too soon forgotten.
It was a very long while before I could per-
suade him to depart; nor would he go till I
was so much frightened, that I began to shed
tears, and till he had heard me, more than
once, pray to God, in a very solemn manner,
to protect me.
He then said to me, "Susan. I will leave
you; but, whatever you may say, I never can
be happy again. In a few days, I will go out
of the country, and return to it no more. I am
not so bad a man as you think me to be: I love
you dearly, Susan, not because you are hand-
some, but because you are innocent and mo-
dest, and love your God. I would marry you-
but 1 fear my father; although you are so
charming, yet he would never forgive me for
taking a wife from so low a condition."
He spoke all this in so earnest a manner,
that I almost believed he did not mean to de-
ceive me. But I still persisted that he should
go away. He begged very hard that I would
see him once more before he left Ludlow, but
I said, I could not allow it. "So great a gen-
tleman as you are, ought to have nothing to
say to one in my condition."
Will you sometimes think of me, Susan,"
said he, as he went towards the door, "when
I am far away in the wars and in distant
Sir," I replied, ought not to think of
you, but sometimes I will pray to God to bless
O! Susan," said he, how greatly was I
deceived in you! I did not expect to find so
virtuous a young woman in your situation. I
have known so many of light character." Then
returning again from the door, he said, I can-
not leave you yet, unless you will promise to
see me once again."
I then, being more and more frightened,
threw myself on my knees before him, and
THE HISTORY OF
prayed him, for the sake of God, to depart.
He seemed to be touched by my grief: he beg-
ged my pardon for having caused me so much
trouble, and, at length, left the house.
As soon as he was gone, I locked the door
and bolted it, and then, throwing myself on my
knees, with my face on a chair, I thanked God
for having delivered me from this evil, and en-
abled me to endure this temptation; for I felt
that it was not in my own strength that I had
At last, being come to myself, I wiped away
my tears, and stirred the fire, thinking that my
mistress would be coming every minute; but
when I looked at the clock, and found that it
was nearly twelve, I thought that something
unexpected must have happened, to keep her
in town all night. I would not, however, go to
bed: indeed, all alone as I was, I should have
been afraid. I, therefore, sat down in my mis-
tress's arm-chair, and, throwing my apron over
my head, I tried to sleep. But, at first, I
trembled so, that I could take no rest: I could
not help thinking of the Captain; and, although
he had been very wicked in coming to the cot-
tage, yet I thought that he had done better
than some persons would have done, in leaving
it at my desire.
I recollected that he had said he was soon
going to the wars, and felt sorry to think, that
he should be in danger of being killed: then I
thought, that, if I were a rich lady, and he
loved me, I would marry him, and try to make
him good; which was a foolish thought, and
proves, that, had my God left me to myself, I
should have been undone.
It was past two o'clock when I fell asleep,
and I slept till six o'clock, waking only now
and then, as if something had frightened me.
The striking of the clock then waked me;
the fire was almost out, and there was no light
but what came through the crevices of the door
and window-shutter. At first, I could hardly
tell where I was, or why, instead of my bed, I
was sleeping in a chair; but, when I recollect-
ed what had happened the past night, and how
the Lord God had delivered me from a very
great evil, I fell down upon my knees and
thanked him for his goodness.
I then opened the window-shutters and the
door. It was a fine bright morning: the grass
in the field, and the flowers in the garden, were
all wet and shining with dew; the little birds
were singing in the woods, and the cock was
strutting about before the door, crowing most
cheerfully. But, although every thing looked
so gay and bright about me, I felt so sad that
I could not help crying. I never thought my-
self so desolate and friendless before; and this
shocking idea came into my head, that my
mistress had staid out on purpose the night
before, to give the Captain time and opportu-
nity to come to the cottage. Could I but be
sure of this, I thought to myself, be the conse-
quence what it might, I would leave her, and
endure any hardship, rather than live with so
bad a woman.
I had just got some sticks to make up the
THE HISTORY OP
fire, and had put the kettle on for my mistress's
breakfast, when I saw her coming up the path-
way through the meadows.
You may be sure that I did not go to meet
her, or seem as if I was glad to see her.
"Good morning, Susan," said she, as she
came into the house.
I was busied in taking the tea-cups and sau-
cers from the shelf, and wiping them. I did
not turn towards her when she spoke, and
scarcely, I believe, made her any answer: for,
as you may suppose, suspecting what I did of
her, it was hard for me to be commonly civil
She placed a bundle of linen, which she had
brought with her, upon the dresser, and said,
in a very brisk tone, "Well, Susan, how are
you disposed for work this morning? These
things must be done to-day."
I still scarcely made any answer, for I could
hardly speak. The tears came into my eyes,
and ran down my cheeks. I wiped them away
with my apron, not wishing my mistress to see
them. But, however, she had observed them,
and thinking, perhaps, wicked woman as she
was, by my tears and silence, that I had, at
last, fallen into the snares which she had laid
for me, she came up close to me, with an
exulting and malicious smile upon her face,
such, methinks, as the wicked angel might
have had, when he had tempted our first mo-
ther to disobey the commands of God; and,
laying her hand upon my arm, bending for-
ward, at the same time, to look in my face,
" Why, how now, Susan?" said she, "wast
frightened, child, at being left alone last night?
Could you not rest well by yourself?" And
then she laughed aloud.
I turned to her with a look which made her
start, and, shaking her hand from my-arm,
"Wicked, abandoned woman," I said, "can
you think that I do not see through your arts ?
God will one day avenge my cause; that great
God who has hitherto protected me, an help-
less orphan, from all danger, will not long suf-
fer such crimes as those, of which you have
been guilty, to remain unpunished."
She was silent.
O Lord God I I thank thee," I said, rais-
ing up my hands to heaven, "for having, at
length, opened my eyes, and shewn me the
dangers of my situation: henceforward, O my
Father, 1 will trust only in thee, and confide
no longer in wicked people, who can plan my
destruction, and would rejoice in my downfal."
And pray, Susan," said my mistress, "who
are these wicked people, of whom you speak ?"
"Those," I said, who could leave me last
She affected to be surprised, and said, Bless
me! is all this uproar about my being kept
out last night? Why, Susan, must I send to
ask you leave, if, by chance, I am kept from
home a night?"
, "By what means did the Captain know,"
said I, that you were from home?"
"The Captain!" said she; "what of him?"
."Do you not know," said 1, that he came
THE HISTORY OF
here late last night? And I am well persuad-
ed, knew that you were not at home."
Heaven is my witness," said the wicked
woman, that this is the first I have heard of
his being here."
Then she affected to be mightily angry with
him: she called him many harsh names, and
said, that, although she had not been brought
up so precisely and stiffly as I had, yet, that
she was as much above doing a bad action as
I could be; and pretended to be greatly offend-
ed at my suspecting her. And, at last, she said
so much, and brought so many arguments to
prove that she knew nothing of the Captain's
coming, that I began to think I had suspected
her falsely, and begged her pardon for having
said any thing about it.
"Susan," said she, I forgive you, in consi-
deration of your being, upon the whole, a very
honest and good girl. But, indeed, you have
used me very ill, in thinking I could commit a
crime for which I should deserve to lose my
During the rest of the day, my mistress was
kinder to me than she had been for some time.
In the evening, while we were at work, Char-
lotte came in.
I had not seen her since she had taken such
offence against what I said about receiving the
Captain's money. As soon as she came in at
the door, fixing her eyes upon me, So, so, a
fine lady, in truth, are you, Susan," said she,
"taking upon you to preach and argue with
your neighbours, blaming one for this, and con-
demning another for that, looking so demure
and so precise, and I know not what! But
now all is come out; we all now know you very
well. You may as well lay aside your dis-
guises, and look like what you are."
My mistress looked surprised; and I was
so astonished that I could scarcely speak. At
last, however, hearing her go on at that rate, I
said, Indeed, Charlotte, .I do not under-
stand you: what have 1 done?"
What have you done !" said she, in a taunt-
ing way; how innocent you look And so
you pretend not to know what you have done!
But this I will tell you, Miss, your character
is abroad, it is the town's talk: some whom
you have deceived with your fine grimaces and
preachments, wonder at you; but others say,
that they never thought the better of you for
My mistress began to laugh, and, tapping
Charlotte on the shoulder, said, "Why, what
now, my girl? Methinks you seem somewhat
"Warm repeated she, turning to Mrs.
Bennet; "I warm I What should make me
so? If Susan chooses to behave like a fool, it
is no business of mine; only I think that those
who can do as she has done, have no right to
be lecturing other people."
On hearing this, I smiled, for I could not
guess what she was talking of.
You may laugh, if you please, Miss,' said
she; but, when you come to be out of place,
you will find it no laughing matter." Then she
THE HISTORY OF
called me by some very bad name, and said,
that no decent person would take in such a
wretch as 1 had proved myself to be.
I began to be frightened, and said, "Pray,
pray, Charlotte, tell me what I have done."
Done!" said she, have you not received
the Captain here, in this very house, many an
evening? Do you think people have no ears to
hear what is said, or eyes to see what is done?
Why, the Widow Bell, who lives at the end of
the lane, has seen him, many an evening, come
over the stile into the meadows; ay, and has
watched him to this very house, and seen him
tap at the window. And, last night, Susan,
where was he? Ah!" said she, tauntingly,
"now I have you-What have you now to say,
Miss Susan? Have you no Scripture text to
quote? There, now cry, and sigh, and look
pitiable, you little hypocrite, now that all your
sly ways are out."
Indeed, I could not help crying; for I was
thunderstruck when I heard all these things,
and thought how very difficult it might, per-
haps, be to clear up my character.
"What have you now to say?" cried Char-
I looked at Mrs. Bennet, and said, "You
can clear my character; you know that I am
innocent: speak for me, my dear mistress."
I speak for you!" said the wicked woman,
who, it seems, was bent upon ruining me, soul
and body; I am sure, child, I don't know
what to say. Charlotte, I dare say it is not
true: Susan is a good girl. I am sure I never
saw any thing wrong in her when I was at
home; then, you know, I am out a good deal,
and I cannot, to be sure, every body must know,
say what she might do when I am out late at
night; nay, all night, as I was last night."
I got up from my chair, Heaven forgive me,
quite in a fit of anger, and said to my mistress,
" 0! you wicked woman, is this the way in
which you defend the character of a poor
friendless orphan? 0 my heavenly Father!"
I cried, throwing myself on my knees, pro-
tect me, I beseech thee, protect me, for thou
art my only friend."
Charlotte looked at me as I knelt; and when
I arose, she burst into a loud fit of laughter,
and used some very rude and brutal language.
My mistress seemed half afraid of joining with
her; nay, she even begged her to spare me.
But although her words condemned her, yet her
eyes looked as if she rejoiced in seeing me
thus disgracefully treated.
I had been long used to ill language; but,
indeed, I now felt my heart very, very sad. I
placed myself in a chair, at some distance from
the cruel Charlotte, and, throwing my apron
over my face, sobbed most bitterly.
"You may well cry," said she, "you may
well grieve and take it to heart, for you have
lost every friend." Then she told me what all
her neighbours in Ludlow, what all Mrs. Neale's
and my aunt's old acquaintance had said of
me; for, alas! it was but too true, that the
Captain had very often come to the cottage,
when I did not know of it; and that, as might
THE HISTORY )F
be well supposed, his many visits, particularly
his having come to me the last night, when my
mistress was known to be in town, had made
even my best friends think very ill of me.
This the cruel girl took care to point out to
me; and then, thinking to make my grief still
deeper, she said, Do not think, Susan, that
the Captain, for whom you have lost your good
name, has any love for you-No, no, truly,
don't trust to that. 'Tis likely enough that he
should be steady to a poor 'prentice girl, when
he never, for a week together, is true to the
finest lady in the land. Let me tell you, Susan,
that there are many of your betters, even in
Ludlow, that he has deceived."
I am sorry for that, Charlotte," said I,
plucking up a little courage: but he has
never deceived me."
I was sorry I said this afterwards; for it
made her ten times more violent. She called
me a thousand ill names; and I found, from
what she said in her passion, that her anger
against me was from this cause; that, since the
naughty gentleman had become acquainted
with me, he had taken less notice of her than
he had done before.
When I found that this was the case, I wip-
ed away my tears, and, getting up and coming
towards her, My dear Charlotte," said I, if
we have either of us ever talked of the Captain,
or been led by him to do any thing wrong,
which, however, I hope is not the case, let us
repent and be sorry for our faults, and let us
think of him no more, but turn our hearts to
some better thing. Do not let us add to our
faults by reproaching each other, and blazing
each other's follies abroad in the world."
O you little artful hussey," said she,
"what, would you have it thought that I am a
partner in your faults? I think of the Cap-
tain! I hate the Captain. I would rather
marry a blind beggar out of the street than
such a gentleman. But, thank Heaven, he is
going out of the country; he has given warning
to leave his lodgings. He is going abroad to
the wars, and may the first shot that is fired
bring death to him!"
While she spoke these wicked words, my
mistress looked towards me with so keen a
look, that I could have thought she was search-
ing into my very heart. But I must not enter
into too many particulars, (added Susan Gray.)
The hours of my life draw fast to their close;
1 may have but a few days only in which to
finish my sad story.
And so, that I may not run too much into
length, 1 will say, in a few words, that the next
day, when I went to do some errands in Lud-
low, I found, alas! that I was not regarded in
the light I had formerly been. Some of the
young men of the town laughed and looked
after me as I passed, as if they thought lightly
of me. Mrs. Fell, the grocer's wife, told me
plainly, that, say what I would, she could not
but believe that I had been very inconsiderate;
and Mrs. Hand, the mantua-maker, who had
promised to get me a place, told me, that she
could not now answer for my character, al-
THE HISTORY OF
though I might, perhaps, be belied. And, on
this occasion, (said Susan,) I cannot help re-
marking how very careful people should be
how they credit tales that go abroad; for many
a poor girl has, I fear, been made desperate by
worthy people denying her their notice and
countenance upon a slight suspicion.
The next day was Sunday, a day abounding
in mercies to me. I arose with a mind full of
discontented thoughts and worldly grief. The
pleasures of the world appeared in a tempting
and inviting form to me. I was then in bloom-
ing health, and imagined that I had a long life
before me. I thought that the duties required
of me were too hard for me. My mind was
darkened, and I could not look through the
veil of flesh to the happiness of a future world.
My eye could not see, nor my ear hear, neither
could my carnal heart conceive the things
which God hath prepared for them that love
him. But 0! how greatly is my God to be
praised, who, in this season of difficulty and
distress, still watched over me, and preserved
me from being led away by the error of my
ways! How wonderfully, from time to time,
did he support me with strength, leading me
through perils and difficulties, on which I can-
not look back without crying out, 01 how
has thy strength been made perfect in weak-
ness! (2 Cor. xii. 9.)
This day, my mistress going to town, I went
to the village church alone. My way lay
through the coppice, and, as I was rather too
soon, I walked slowly on, meditating, as I went,
upon my unhappy situation; far I was, as I
before said, in a very discontented state, and I
allowed myself to wish, and that earnestly,
that I were in a situation of life to be the Cap-
tain's wife. I thought, and thought, till I be-
gan to weep bitterly; and was almost ready to
cry out, in the agony of my mind, How hard
has been my lot in this life! how many hard-
ships have I been put to! what cruel trials!
how friendless, how forlorn am 1!"
Such, I am ashamed to say, were the
thoughts which were passing in my mind as
I entered the village church; and, alas! my
heart was not drawn from them till I heard
the voices of the little children, who were
clothed by the 'Squire's lady, singing a part
of the ninetieth Psalm. These verses I had
always loved; and, if you will give me leave,
I will repeat them to you: and, surely, they
contained a fine lesson to me, and to all other
young people; for though I was then in as
good health as I had ever been in my life, yet,
since that time, I have never been able to
serve my God in his holy house, and never
now shall enter a church till I am carried
thither in my coffin.
"Thou turnest man, 0 Lord, to dust,
Of which he first was made;
And when thou speak'st the word, Return,
"'is instantly obeyed.
Thou sweep'st us off, as with a flood,
We vanish hence like dreams:
At first we grow like grass, that feels
The sun's reviving beams.
THE HISTORY OF
But howsoever fresh and fair
Its morning beauty shows,
Tis all cut down, and wither'd quite,
Before the evening close.
So teach us, Lord, the uncertain sum
Of our short days to mind,
That to true wisdom all our hearts
May ever be inclin'd."
As I listened to these words, my heart smote
me with a sense of my wickedness and ingrati-
tude, in indulging such sinful thoughts as had
been employing my mind all the morning, and
I felt tears of shame and repentance trickle
down my cheeks: and suddenly, with a power I
could not resist, came to my remembrance, the
many, many happy hours when, in that very
church, and in my little room at my mistress's,
I had enjoyed solitary, sweet communion with
my God, and tasted such pleasures as those
who are altogether of this world cannot con-
ceive; also, the tender care of God over me
from my infancy, and how, until that moment,
I had been preserved from grievous outward
sin, was brought strongly before my mind. I
felt myself drawn towards my God with such
cords of love as I could not resist; the allure-
ments of sin and the world seemed to lose their
power, and, when we knelt down, I earnestly
prayed to be forgiven for the discontented
words I had been about to utter. I solemnly
renewed my covenant with God, beseeching
him to take me wholly and entirely under his
protection for the remainder of my life.
After this prayer, the rest of the day I felt
such peace of mind as I cannot describe; and,
as I returned from church, through the coppice,
the sweet-smelling and beautiful flowers, the
shady trees, the mossy banks, the voice of the
cuckoo, and the hum of the bee, seemed, as it
were, so many tokens of my heavenly Father's
love, who, if he thus adorn this lower world
for sinful creatures, shall he not much more
beautify the habitations of glory ?
In the evening, my mistress asked me if I
would go with her to drink tea with a friend
in town, and see some of the preparations for
the fair, which was to be the next day.
Alas!" said I, what have I to do with
visits and fairs? I, who am now in such a sad
disgrace among my friends?"
Well but," said she, if you stay at
home, people will say the Captain will be with
I cannot help that," said I; "1 shall shut
the door and bar the windows when you are
gone, and will remain in my own little room,
nor will I see any one who comes."
She said a great deal, trying to persuade me
to go with her; but I was steady, and although
it made her very angry, yet I would not be
tempted to go to town, where, I thought, I
might see the Captain.
As my mistress went out of the door, Su-
san," said she, if you do not see me by eight
o'clock, I shall not be back to-night."
As soon as she was gone, I shut myself up
in my own little room, and, sitting at the foo
of my bed, continued, till the dusk of evening,
THE HISTORY OF
reading my Bible. At last, it getting dark, I
shut my book, and thought over what I had
been reading, of the great happiness which
God has promised to those who, for his sake,
give up the pleasures of the world. I remem-
bered stories which my dear Mrs. Neale had
told me of holy men and women, who, for the
sake of their God, and for the love which they
bore the Saviour who died for them, gave up
their lives, some being burnt to death by fire,
and others being killed by the sword, others
submitting to be starved, or to perish in deep
dungeons far from the pleasant light of the sun,
rather than deny their God or do any thing
which might make him angry.
Then I thought how good my God was to
me, in not requiring me to give up my life, or
to suffer cruel pain, for his sake, as these holy
martyrs had done. "All he asks of me," said
I, "is to bear with patience a few unkind words
and harsh rebukes, and to keep myself apart
from those who would tempt me to sin."
Then I thanked my God for dealing thus
kindly with me; for requiring so light a sacri-
fice from me, and for promising so exceeding
great reward to my poor endeavours.
My mistress did not come home; so about
nine o'clock I went to bed and slept most
sweetly, till, at break of day, I was awakened
by the crowing of the cock, and by the bleat-
ing of the sheep upon the hills.
Having earnestly prayed and besought God's
blessing upon me that day, I went down stairs
and began my work. About noon I saw my
mistress coming along the path-way from the
town; she carried a large basket under her
arm, and seemed, from her way of walking, to
be in a great hurry.
When she came to the garden-wicket, she
called me several times with a loud voice to
open the cottage-door. As soon as she was
in the house, she set down her basket in the
midst of the kitchen, and, standing for a few
minutes to rest herself, with her arms upon her
sides, Susan," said she, "you must see and
bestir yourself. Why, this is the most un-
lucky thing that could have happened: I was
engaged to assist my cousin at the Blue-Boar,
and have been obliged to leave every thing in
sixes and sevens; and it has hurried me so,
running down here and getting things together,
that I think I shall hardly recover my breath
So saying, she began to unpack her basket.
She took out of it some tea and sugar, a loaf
of fine white bread, some cold fowls and ham,
and several bottles of wine; and placing them
on the dresser, Susan, you may well look
surprised," said she, why, who do you think
is coming to pay me a visit this evening?"
Indeed," I answered, I cannot tell; but
some great person, I should think, if I may
judge by all these nice things which you have
brought with you."
"A great person, indeed!" said my mis-
tress; well, it was the last thing that I could
have thought of, or expected-that such a lady
should think of visiting such a poor body as I
THE HISTORY OF
am. You have heard me speak of having liv-
ed, in my younger days, with my Lady West,
the widow lady, who lives at the great house
on the other side of the town; about six miles,
it may be, from this place. Well, about an
hour ago, as I was at the Blue-Boar, who should
ride into the yard but Mr. Thomas, my Lady
West's footman. As soon as he saw me, Mrs.
Bennet,' said he, my business is to you: 1
knew I should find you here.' And then, with-
out getting off his horse, he told me that his
lady had a mind of a little air this evening, and
that she thought of coming to drink tea at my
cottage, and bringing with her, her two nieces.
' My lady will be with you by four o'clock,
provided it is very fine weather; but mind,
Dame Bennet,' added he, in his droll way, if
there is one drop of rain, you must not look
for us.' So Mr. Thomas rode out of the yard,
and I came home, in spite of my cousin at the
Blue-Boar, who said she should be hurried
to death, to get her business done without
Although I had reason to think that my mis-
tress had often before said the thing that was
not true to me, yet I could not suppose that all
this long story, about my Lady West, and Mr.
Thomas, the footman, was every word of it
quite false, as it proved to be. I could not
have thought that there could have breathed
on earth, so very bad a woman as 1 found my
mistress to be very soon afterwards. I believ-
ed that my Lady West and her nieces really
were coming to visit Mrs. Bennet; and I be-
stirred myself very much, to get every thing in
the nicest order for them.
I rubbed the tables and chairs as bright as
a looking-glass, and dressed the mantle-piece
and the shelves with primroses, and cowslips,
and violets, and such sweet flowers as I could
gather in the garden, and on the sunny bank
above the house; and when I had put on the
tea-kettle to boil, and placed my mistress's best
china cups and saucers upon the little round
table, I dressed myself as neatly as I could, in
my cotton gown, with a clean cap, and my
best white apron and handkerchief.
Just as I had finished dressing myself, my
mistress came into my room, and seemed to
be in so good a humour, that I could not but
feel very much pleased with her at the time,
although I have since been shocked to think
of her wicked arts.
She praised me for looking neat; (she knew
that I loved to be called neat;) and said that I
had been an excellent housewife of my clothes.
She then took out of her pocket a new pink
ribbon, which she said her cousin had given
her as a fairing.
But I am too old, Susan," added she, "to
wear pink ribbon; and as you have been a good
girl lately, I believe I must present it to you."
She then made me sit down, while she tied the
ribbon round my head, and fastened it with a
very smart knot in front.
As I had had, lately, so many disagreements
with my mistress, I thought that I would not
refuse to wear the ribbon, although I could not
THE HISTORY OF
help fancying, when I looked at myself in the
glass, that such finery did not become a poor
It was four o'clock, and my Lady West not
being come, my mistress bade me go to the top
of the garden, from whence I could see the
road through which the coach must pass for
nearly a mile. But I could see nothing on the
road but a few asses eating thistles in the
hedges: so I sat down upon the green bank,
to wait till the coach should appear.
I remember very well what passed in my
mind while I continued to sit there alone. The
evening was then very fine, although there were
some very dark and angry clouds resting upon
the tops of the Clee Hills, which are full in view
of my mistress's garden.
The bells of the town were ringing most
pleasantly, and the flowers filled the air with
their sweet smell.
My mistress had told me while we were at
dinner, that she had seen the Captain with his
soldiers march out of town early in the morn-
ing, that they had taken their leave of Ludlow,
never more to return; and that it was very
true, as Charlotte Owen had said, that they
were going to fight in some far distant country
beyond the sea.
I thought, with pleasure, that my great trials,
as I hoped, were at an end, that I should never
more be liable to be tempted to turn aside from
my duty by this gentleman: yet, at the same
time, I thought it was a very sad thing that he
should go to the wars, and be in danger of hav-