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MARY WILSON was the only child of an industrious cottager, who long resided on the estate of Sir Thomas Stewart, in the parish of F, in Scotland. While yet very young, most unfortunately for her, her father died, leaving the girl to the care of her mother, a weak but well-meaning woman, whose extreme fondness was very likely to be one day productive of evil consequences to both. John Wilson, the father, a prudent and religious person, was aware of this. On his death-bed, he called to his wife to come nearer, and said to her, in a tone of voice too low to make his words understood by any one else in the cottage, "My dear wife, there is an anxiety still clinging to my heart, which renders me loth to die, and embitters my last moments-it is occasioned by your extravagant partiality towards our little daughter Mary. With all the imperfections of a positive temper, and indolent turn, she is faultless in your eyes; but mark well my words, and re

member them when I am gone. If you continue this blind indulgence, and thereby foster the serious defects of our child, you will not only render her unhappy through life, but lay up a hoard of misery, which may bring your own grey hairs with sorrow to the grave."

The grieving mother promised faithfully to remember his admonitions, and to correct the faults of their child with all due care; but after poor John's death, while yet weeping, and enlarging to her neighbours on the many virtues of the deceased, she looked through her tears at Mary's beauty, and remarked that the only fault her husband could be accused of, was a propensity to anticipate misfortune, and to consider the darkest side of events at a distance.

The young girl certainly possessed a very pretty face and figure, of which she soon became exceedingly conscious; and being of a sprightly, careless disposition, she early began to think more of setting off her charms to the best advantage, than of helping her mother in her labours, or attending to the instructions of the parish school-master, who in vain attempted to teach her the first rudiments of grammar; but to a professor of a very different kind she became a much more apt pupil. A mounte

bank's Merry-Andrew, whom his master had dismissed from his service for divers thefts and peculations, bethought himself of opening a dancing-school in the parish of F—, and immediately found his academy crowded with all the idle young farmers, their giddy sisters, and the spoilt children around; in the last class, Mary Wilson made a very conspicuous figure. She was unceasing in her attendance and application, and quickly could not only cut a caper almost as high as her master, but acquired a number of his grimaces and airs, which she imagined to be prodigiously elegant, and a vast addition to the captivating powers of her beauty.

Her mother, who became fonder of her daily, encouraged instead of checking this folly. She would spend whole hours in telling Mary how handsome she was, and what excellent matches many girls of her acquaintance had made, with only one half of her beauty, "and who knows," quoth she, "but that Sir Thomas Stewart's son, the young laird, may take a fancy to you when he comes from school; and you are much of an age; and when I was chambermaid at the hall, I read a book about a country wench, one Pamela, or some such name, whose master fell in love with, and married her; to be sure she could read, write, and

cast accounts, which you would never learn to do, but I dare say you dance much better than Pamela moreover, both Cats-skin and Cinderella got lords to their husbands, though, like you, they were obliged to sit among dirt and rubbish the whole day long."

Mary was very willing to assent to this stuff; but when her mother ordered her to do anything in the household affairs, to spin or to work at her needle, she heard her with a different countenance; nor were commands so unpleasing to her ever enforced, so that she became a lazy slattern, and delighted to ramble in the woods with overgrown boys and girls as idle as herself, depriving the innocent birds of their nests, devouring wild berries, and tearing her clothes upon the briars, or to sit by the fire at home, gazing in a bit of broken looking-glass, which her father had procured merely to reflect his beard, when he shaved on the Saturday night. No persuasion could induce Mary to attend church regularly. Sometimes the weather was bad, her feet sore, or Jean this, and Betty that, had finer clothes to appear in than she; and if her mother chanced to prevail upon her to accompany her to public worship, she either fell fast asleep during the sermon, stared about at the congregation, without attending to the 9

clergyman, or had the impudence to titter and laugh at a bodily imperfection under which the good minister laboured. In this manner she went on to her sixteenth year, acquiring the reputation of being the prettiest and laziest young woman in the whole parish.

Her mother then endeavoured to procure a service for her, but no one would have anything to do with such a self-conceited piece of sloth and ignorance. She knew not how to work, and was unwilling to learn. "I cannot afford to give wages to fine ladies," said one farmer. "She carries her head too high for my pig-stye door," cried another. "If she comes hither," added a third, "she'll spoil our draw-well' by drowning herself in it, for we have no other looking-glass." By such contemptuous rejections, both mother and daughter remained sufficiently disconcerted, though Mary endeavoured to persuade the other, that this refusal of her services proceeded from the spite of the men, whose daughters possessed not her beauty, or from the instigation of these girls themselves, mightily sensible, she insinuated, of their own personal inferiority.

Mrs. Wilson, however, was not perfectly con vinced by her daughter's chain of argument. Her long blinded eyes began to be opened, she

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