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In the body of the work fewer liberties have been taken. There the original story is preserved nearly throughout; while the old-fashioned manners and modes of speaking have been carefully retained.
THE GOVERNESS, &c.
There lived, in the beginning of the eighteenth century, in the southern parts of England, a gentlewoman whose name was Teachum. •She was the widow of a clergyman, with whom she had lived nine years in that delightful harmony and concord which the marriage state frequently affords, when both parties are humble and cheerful Christians. Two little girls, whom she had endeavoured to bring up in the nurture and fear of the Lord, had greatly added to their felicity ; insomuch that Mrs. Teachum, during the life of her husband, very frequently, with great gratitude to God, professed herself to be one of the happiest of women. But it pleased the Father of mercies, during one period of her life, to exercise this excellent person with many severe trials, no doubt in order to bring her the nearer to himself.
Mr. Teachum was a truly pious man, and had great delight in contributing to the instruction of his wife: endeavouring, at the same time, as far as lay within the reach of human ability, to conduct her in that holy way in which he himself had been taught to walk : and she, by the blessing of the Holy Spirit of God, had profited by his instructions in no ordinary degree.
The education of their children had supplied one constant subject of their conversation: and Mr. Teachum had inspired his wife with sentiments on that head, so entirely consonant with his own, that when, in his last illness, his physicians pronounced it to be beyond the power of their art to relieve him, he expressed the most entire satisfaction with respect to his children: being well assured that their pious mother would train them up in the purest principles of Christianity, without the mixture of any worldly alloy. He died confessing himself to be an unprofitable servant, though not without a firm assurance that his salvation would be perfected in Christ: of which he gave evidence by the last words which he was distinctly heard to speak :“I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.' "" Psalm lxxi. 16.
Mrs. Teachum, though exceedingly afflicted under such a loss, yet sorrowed not as one without hope. The manner of her husband's death afforded her peculiar comfort; and she had some consolation in immediately applying herself to the care of his beloved children. But the trials with which it pleased her heavenly Father to exercise her were not yet at an end; nor was the work which he meant to bring about by these afflictions as yet fully accomplished : the gold was not yet sufficiently refined from the dross. The Almighty would have the whole heart and affections of this his afflicted daughter: and for this purpose it was that he exercised her with repeated bitter trials: “for the Lord doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” Lament. iii. 33.
Within a year after the death of her husband, Mrs. Teachum was deprived of both her children by the small-pox: and her small property being much diminished by the expenses necessarily attendant on their sickness and death, she was suddenly reduced to a very dependent state. But her Almighty Father left her not without assistance. A female friend, whom she had not seen for many years, who resided in a beautiful village near the town of Guildford, hearing of her afflictions, invited the suffering widow to her house ; where for a considerable time she administered to her every consolation of which her situation was capable. And when by the blessing of Almighty God, in whom are all our fresh springs, her mind was so far recovered as to fit her for some exertion, her prudent friend advised her to undertake, what she was so admirably qualified to manage, namely, a seminary for the education of a few young ladies.
Mrs. Teachum was pleased with the proposal, thinking that if she could by any means become an humble instrument of usefulness in the hands of God, she might in some degree possess again that cheerfulness of which affliction had deprived her, and might be enabled peace
fully and contentedly to await that blessed change by which, through her Saviour's merits, she hoped to be restored to those beloved friends from whom she had been parted by death.
In pursuance of this plan, Mrs. Teachum's friend secured a house for her in the same village with her own: and it may, perhaps, please you to read a description of the place.
This house was built at one end of a large green, where grew many stately elm-trees; and from this green there branched out several narrow lanes, formed by the garden-walls, and hedges, overtopped by high trees, belonging to the several gentlemen's houses and cottages, which were irregularly scattered in its neighbourhood. The church and Mrs. Teachum's house, which was close to it, had in past times formed part of a nunnery, in which, when all the inhabitants of England were Roman Catholics, many women, from a mistaken idea of religion, had been maintained together in a separate society. Mrs. Teachum's house was built of small bricks, and had some appearance of antiquity about it. The windows were pointed, and many of them projected beyond the wall of the house in a kind of bow. The rooms were low, but very large, and wainscoated in a curious manner. The entrance was at the side of the green, by a porch into a large hall; on one side of which was a parlour, with glass-doors, opening into an old-fashioned garden, where straight walks, bordered on each side by a hedge of cut yew-trees, ended in a very pretty arbour. Here jasmines, and roses, and woodbines, in the summer season, poured forth an odour so sweet as to fill the whole house with a refreshing fragrance; and hence nosegays were „supplied for the parlour and school-room, being renewed every Saturday night, in order to distinguish the succeeding day as emblematic of that eternal Sabbath which we hope to enjoy in the land which is very far off—that land where the rose of Sharon ever blooms, and where the voice of the turtle is heard without ceasing. Over the hall was the room appointed for the school-room, a large and convenient apartment; at the end of which an oriel window, raised by several steps, commanded a view of the garden, together with various green and lovely fields beyond it, among which cottages and hay and corn-ricks, half
concealed by the trees in the hedge-rows, afforded a most agreeable prospect.
Mrs. Teachum proposed opening her school after the midsummer holydays : but a few weeks before that time she entered upon her house, and received into it one young lady, who, being an orphan, was confided entirely by her distant relations to the charge of Mrs. Teachum. Mrs. Teachum felt peculiarly happy in being able to supply the place of a mother to this sweet young lady; and she rejoiced also in the opportunity thus afforded her of forming this first pupil to her wishes before the arrival of the other scholars. Moreover, she hoped, by the blessing of God, that Miss Jenny Peace (for that was the name of the young lady), being as much as sixteen years of age, might be rendered of great use to her in leading the younger children into a state of submission and order. For Mrs. Teachum knew well how important it is that the elder child of any family or seminary should be well disposed, since more of good or evil is often effected by such than even by the parent or ĝoverness. With this view, therefore, Mrs. Teachum made the best of the interval allowed her before the opening of her school, to instil the best principles into the mind of Miss Jenny Peace: and in the mean time she discovered, with peculiar gratitude to God, that Miss Jenny had already received the best preparatory education from her deceased mother, whose pious efforts had evidently been attended with the divine blessing.
Immediately after the midsummer holydays, Mrs. Teachum received into her family eight more young ladies, which completed the number she had determined upon: for as she was moderate in her desires, and sought rather to do good than to amass a fortune, she was resolved to take no more scholars than she could herself have an eye to, without the help of other teachers.
The names of these young ladies were, first, Miss Jenny Peace, to whom I have already introduced my readers, Miss Sukey Jennett, Miss Dolly Friendly, Miss Lucy Sly, Miss Patty Locket, Miss Nancy Spruce, Miss Betty Ford, Miss Henny Fret, and Miss Polly Suckling. The eldest of these was sixteen years old, and neither of the others had yet attained her fifteenth year.