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should rejoice to know that you might be permitted to live and attend me on my dying couch, and thus soothe my sufferings to the end of life. Yet as it does not seem best that it should be so, I will endeavor to be thankful that I have enjoyed your society so long, and that I have reason to trust that when I cease to enjoy the manifestations of your affections here, you, my dear daughter, will be free from sorrow, sin, and care. It would be selfish in me to wish to detain you longer in this world ; much more so to embitter the remaining days and hours of your existence by my selfish sorrow. The circumstances, too, under which you leave me, my dear child, ought to reconcile me to your premature departure. I thank my Heavenly Father, that the trial is not heavier.'
It is believed Mrs. Jefford felt most deeply the last sentiment she had uttered, for she was often heard to say, that could she have been permitted the privilege of attending her darling Frederic during a fatal illness, and have heard him express satisfaction at the reflection that he was in the hands of a faithful God, and afterwards have seen him close his eyes peacefully in death, she could not have felt afflicted. It is true she gathered solace from what she had heard concerning the last weeks and days of her unfortunate and guilty son, but, after her endeared and interesting Myra was gone to return no more, she longed for the time of her own departure from this world of vicissitude, sin, and pain.
Mrs. Jefford lived only a few years from the time she heard of the tragical end of her first-born and dearly beloved child. Her end was peaceful, and her example in every thing save one, worthy of imitation.
CHAPTER X XII.
The members of the Weldron family whose history, as the reader has seen, is very peculiar and instructive, often reviewed the past, as connected with much designed to illustrate the important truth, that a departure from moral rectitude is sure to involve the erring in perplexity and sorrow. It is believed they profited by the experience of the many who pursued the rough path of trial and disappointment, who, being nearly allied to them, had an influence in deterring their friends from imitating their pernicious example.
It is true, also, that much, very much was drawn from the conduct of such as followed the path of virtue, that awakened in the hearts of those who ever delighted to dwell upon their characters, a love for the lofty and ennobling traits which they discovered in them.
Should the foregoing pages fall beneath the eye of any who feel that the standard of duty erected is too high to be easily attained, it is hoped they will not lay the book aside as teaching error, until they are certain that they are right in forming such an opinion. The author contends that the views here presented of human nature, are
correct. The characters brought before the mind are not isolated cases, taken from the family of man; their faults are such as are common to all. Facts may easily be adduced, from the experience and observation of every week, to substantiate this statement. The virtues pointed out, too, may be copied by all who will look above themselves for strength to go forward in the path of life and peace.
The important truth has been kept in view, that whoever trusts to his own heart is most unwise. What the reader has read is not fiction. The circumstances related have occurred ; and it would be easy to point out the spots where now repose the ashes of some whose thrilling history has been feebly portrayed.
In taking leave of the indulgent reader, the writer would say: let us strive, as individuals responsible for
, the influence we daily exert, to reach even a higher standard than has now been presented ; and let us not be discouraged, if we fail in our attempts to do right, every day. We shall be sure to make advances, if we persevere ; for He is faithful who has promised to afford us help ; and if we faint not, we shall in the end reap a rich harvest, and be blest in the reflection that we have been enabled to conquer selfishness, and every attendant evil. Then, and not till then, may we expect to be happy, and answer the great end of our existence, in exerting a lasting and salutary influence upon the world.