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with the new wedded pair, must visit Brownrigg in his cottage. It was furnished with great regard to comfort, and as a part of its furniture, his neat little maid Peggy was brought down to the country. It was late for Brownrigg to begin new habits, and at one time it was feared he would have returned to his villa at Walworth; he wanted his little bit of fish, his porter, his hot roll in the morning, and Peggy was but an indifferent bread maker; but these difficulties were removed one by one, and his gentle Esther was such a load-stone, and little Michael Meredith his daily visitor, outweighed the sensual part, so that by degrees he forgot the inconveniences of his new residence, and settled quietly down.
It was about eight months after the marriage of Michael that Brownrigg, with Meredith's boy on his knee, was sitting at the Brow, and the child, with the confidence of infancy, had fallen asleep in his arms, the clock struck eight, and the servants, in a quiet state of expectation, were waiting the prayer bell ; and Michael, from a mixed motive, forbore to ring. Brownrigg, with innocent yet mischievous drollery, kept his seat, wondering in his own mind how Michael would act. He had never been placed in these circum
stances before; it is true, they had often knelt together at the throne of mercy, and Michael had read the prayer and the chapter when he was present, but then he had been requested to do so; he had never been the leader or director of the worship in Brownrigg's presence, fearful of offending “ whom he wished much to persuade.' He stood with uneasy hesitation, holding a pen which he had been mending against the clear evening light. Brownrigg turned round. “ Well, Sir, you take some time to mend your pens.
“No, Sir, but-" Yes, but you are hesitating whether you shall admit such an infidel fellow as I am to worship God with you." Esther's heart yearned over her uncle," Oh no, my dear uncle !" Well, well,” said Brownrigg, “ more of this another time.” “ Now ring the bell, my good sir, and do not keep your servants wishing me out of your house.'
Michael's mind was a little disturbed by this slight circumstance: it happened that the chapter in course was that where Daniel prayed three times a day, notwithstanding the prohibition of Darius; and an ironical smile played on the lips of Brownrigg. As soon as the prayer was over, William was ordered to take the young Michael down to the mill, not that there
was any anxiety on the part of Fanny, for he was so frequent a visitor to Brownrigg, and she so well knew his care and kindness, that her heart rested completely. But Esther thought it was late, and it would save her uncle that bit of road; so it was, “ Good night, my man,” on the part of Brownrigg, and a long drawn yawning Good night, sir,” on the part of little Michael.
Brownrigg went to his home, and a few evenings after, when they met again at his own house, the tea-things were no sooner cleared than he began. “And so, sir, you give me up as a decided enemy to all that is good and excellent.” Michael, though not quite prepared for this attack, could not affect ignorance of his meaning; and, as he remained silent, Brownrigg went on. “
But if you, sir, are indifferent whether I pray to God or not, I should have hoped my
little Esther here would have no objection to meet her uncle in the kingdom of heaven." The tears fell fast from Esther's eyes ; Brownrigg could not bear to see it; he got up, took her hand in his, pressed it, stroked it, and looked at her, and we may truly say, that Michael, like Nehemiah, prayed to the God of heaven. “ I certainly,” said he, “ feel that I was very wrong, sir, in regarding the presence
of any man when a positive duty was in question; but if I did err, I can truly say it was through fear of assuming to teach one whom I much respect." said Brownrigg,
"I know and feel that you do respect me; every part of your conduct, since we first met, proves it; but you do not, you cannot respect me upon a religious ground. Still, let me beg of you, do not think worse of me than I merit; do not suppose, because I have no family worship myself, that I wish to prevent you and Esther from doing what you think right. I think it a good custom, a very good custom, provided it is well conducted, and people behave as they should do before they kneel down, and after they get up; but to see a man flump down on his knees, full of evil tempers, and to hear him, as soon as he gets up, begin some conversation about this work-a-day world, I must say it is very inconsistent, and the prayer had much better be let alone. As for me, I am a pepper hot fellow, and I cannot answer for myself two minutes together.” Here Michael ejaculated, “Who
“ Well, sir, with this conviction in my mind, how can I offer to play the priest even in my own house; in another man's it is different. I am rather supposed there to conform than to lead."
Michael. “But do you not think, sir, that it is a good thing to place a check upon our tempers by thus openly devoting ourselves every morning and every even
“Well, sir, it may be good, but I never yet thought it would be good for me; ; we are of different temperaments, some calm and composed like you, others boiling over every minute like myself.” “But my dear uncle,” said Esther, God, who formed us, hears our prayers for the correction of every failing, and I know I have heard you say, you wished you were not
Why, Hetty, child, “ I thought .confession was a sacred thing, even in the Romish church.” I just mention this little trait in Brownrigg's character, that the reader may see he was not bigoted to his own opinions, that he could listen and allow others to point out even his defects; and here he turned the conversation, by observing, that he was somewhat surprised by seeing what a train of servants they kept now; why, I counted seven coming into family prayers the other night.' “ Ah! that is all Esther's doings, sir, said Michael. “Well, my dear uncle, said Esther, “I must clear myself of extravagance; the truth is, we found it very difficult to have any command over the morals of those whom we only saw. at in