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you an anecdote of my journey, and if you condescend to smile over it, why so much the better. When seated in a company of strange phizzes, I immediately set myself to decypher them, and assign a character and occupation to the owner of each. But in the stage which conveyed us to B*****, there was one which completely puzzled me. I could think of no employment that would fit it, except that of a ******** representative, unless it was that of a
*****, whose pride being confined in B. by the pressure of wealth and talents, had now room to expand itself. A certain kind of consequential gravity, and pompous solemnity, together with his dress, might perhaps have impressed us with respect, had not a pair of hard callous hands, with crooked dirty nails, lessened their effect. During a pause in the conversation, he presented me with a paper which, on examination, I found to be one of those quack advertisements, which Mr. **** has honored with his signature. Not suspecting, in the least, that the good gentleman had any concern in the business, and feeling a fine flow of words at hand, I began to entertain my fellow travellers with its numerous beauties of expression, spelling, and grammar. Finding them very attentive, and encouraged by their applause, I next proceeded to utter a most violent philippic against quacks of all denominations, especially those who go about poisoning the ignorant with patent medicines. I could not help observing, however, that my eloquence, while it had a powerful effect on the muscles of the rest of my companions, seemed to be thrown away on this gentleman aforesaid. But concluding that his gravity proceeded from a wish to keep up his dignity, I resolved to conquer it; and commenced a fresh attack, in which, addressing myself entirely to him, 1 poured forth all the ridicule and abuse which my own imagination could suggest, or memory could supply. But all in vain. The more animated and witty I was, the more doleful he looked, till having talked myself out of breath, and finding the longitude of his face increase every moment, I desisted, very much mortified that my efforts were so unsuccessful. But in the midst of my chagrin, the coach stopped, the gentleman alighted, and was welcomed by a little squab wife into a shop decorated with the letters, "MEDICAL CORDIAL STORE." I afterwards learnt
he is the greatest quack-medicine seller in B. Excuse me, my dear father, for this long dull story. I thought it would be shorter. I feel rather out of tune for embellishing to-day.
We have lately been in a hubbub here about a theatre. After a great deal of dispute, the town voted, to the astonishment of all, that they would not, if they could help it, suffer the establishment of a theatre. One man said, and said publicly, that he considered it as much a duty to carry his children to a play-house, as he did to carry them to meeting, and that they got more good by it. Among the arguments in favor, it was asserted, that, though bad plays were sometimes acted, bad sermons were likewise preached, and that the pulpit ought to be pulled down, as much as the theatre.-Adieu, my dear father, and believe me your most affectionate son, EDWARD PAYSON."
October 29, 1805.
"I must, my dear mother, give you some account of my comforts. In the first place, I have a very handsome chamber, which commands a delightful view of the harbor, and the town, with the adjacent country. This chamber is sacred; for even the master of the house does not enter it without express invitation. At sunrise, a servant comes and lights up a fire, which soon induces me to rise, and I have nothing to do, but sit down to study. When I come from school at night, I find a fire built, jack and slippers ready, a lamp as soon as it is dark, and fuel sufficient for the evening. An agreement with a neighboring bookseller furnishes me with books in plenty and variety. The objections to our meals is, they are too good, and consist of too great a variety. And what gives a zest to all, without which it would be insipid, is, that I can look round me, and view all these comforts as the effects of infinite, unmerited goodness; of goodness, the operations of which I can trace through all my past life; of goodness, which I humbly hope and trust will continue to bless me, through all my future existence."
"MY DEAR MOTHER,
November 18, 1805.
"I last night witnessed a scene, to which I had before been a stranger; it was a death-bed scene. A young gen
tleman of my acquaintance, and nearly of my own age, had been confined thirty-two days, and I was requested to watch with him; and a more exquisitely distressing task I hope never to undertake. When I went, there was lit tle, if any, hope of his life. His mother-whose favorite he deservedly was though she is, I believe, a sincere Christian, seemed unable to support the idea of a separa tion. Fatigue and loss of sleep made her light-headed; and, at times, she raved almost as badly as the patient. His sister, a gay, thoughtless girl, was in a paroxysm of loud and turbulent grief; while a young lady, whom he was expecting to marry, heightened the distress by marks of anguish too strong to be concealed; and which seemed to flow from tenderness, equal to any thing I have met with in romance. As I had seen nothing of the kind before, its effects on my feelings were irresistible. The perpetual groans and ravings of the dying-whose head I was for hours obliged to support with one hand, while I wiped off the sweat of death with the other; the inarticulate expressions of anguish, mingled with prayers, of the mother; the loud and bitter lamentations of the sister; the stifled agonies of the young lady, and the cries of the younger branches of the family, (the father was asleep!) formed a combination of sounds, which I could scarcely support. Add to this the frightful contortions and apparent agonies of the poor sufferer, with all the symptoms of approaching death. About two o'clock he died. I then had the no less difficult and painful task of endeavoring to quiet the family. The mother, when convinced he was certainly dead, became composed, and, with much persuasion and some force, was prevailed upon to take her bed, as were the rest of the family, except the young lady.
I had then to go half a mile for a person to assist in laying out the corpse, in a bitter storm as ever blew; and after this was done watched with it the remainder of the night. You will not wonder if I feel, to-day, exhausted in body and mind. Surely, there is no torture like seeing distress, without the ability of removing it. All day have I heard the dying groans sounding in my ears. I could not have believed it possible, that any thing could take such astonishing hold of the mind; and unless you can remember the first death you ever witnessed, you can
never conceive how it affected me. But distressing as it was, I would not for any thing have been absent. I hope it will be of service to me. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of mirth. Grief has a strong tendency to soften the heart and dispose it to gratitude and other affections. An instance of this I saw in this family. They are so grateful to me for-I don't know what, that they seem unable to thank me enough."
January 25, 1806.
"I had a letter from ****** last evening. He is in the West Indies, and has just recovered from a fever. His letter is more friendly than any I have received, but it is not so serious as I wish. You prophesied, when I was at home, that our friendship would not last long; but since it has survived a visit to the Cataract of Niagara, to Saratoga Springs, and a voyage to the West Indies, it is something of a proof that many waters cannot quench, neither floods drown it.
A classmate, who has commenced preaching, called last week to see me. Speaking of an old tutor of ours, a very pious man, who has lately lost a much loved wife, he mentioned a letter written by him, while the bell was tolling for her funeral, in which he says, "The bell is now tolling for my wife's funeral; yet I am happy, happy beyond expression." This my classmate considered as a sure proof of a very weak or very insensible mind. It is needless to add, that he is an Arminian. I daily see more occasion to be convinced, that the Calvinistic scheme is, must be right, but I cannot wonder so few embrace it. So long as the reasonings of the head continue to be influenced by the feelings of the heart, the majority will reject it."
February 9, 1806.
"You need be under no apprehension, my dear mother, that my present mode of living will render the manner of living in the most rustic parish disagreeable. On the contrary, I shall be glad of the exchange, as it respects diet; for I find it no easy matter to sit down to a table profusely spread with dainties, and eat no more than nature requires and temperance allows. And I should take infinitely more satisfaction in the conversation of a plain,
unlettered Christian, than in the unmeaning tattle of the drawing room, or the flippant vivacity of professed wits. What gives me most uneasiness, and what I fear will always be a thorn in my path, is, too great a thirst for applause. When I sit down to write, I perpetually catch myself considering, not what will be most useful, but what will be most likely to gain praise from an audience. If I should be unpopular, it would, I fear, give me more uneasiness than it ought; and if-though I think there is little reason to fear it-I should in any degree be acceptable, what a terrible blaze it would make in my bosom. What a temptation this disposition will be to suppress, or lightly touch upon those doctrines which are most important, be cause they are disagreeable to most persons. I should, at once give up in despair, had I nothing but my own phil osophy to depend on ; but I hope and trust I shall be enabled to conquer it.
"If you knew the many things which rendered it unlikely that I should continue here half so long as I have, you would join with me in thinking an overruling providence very visible in the whole affair. With respect to continuing longer I do not mean to form a single plan on the subject. If I know any thing of my own heart, I can appeal to God as a witness of my earnest desire to be in the situation, where he sees best to place me, without any regard to its being agreeable or disagreeable; and he can, and I doubt not will, order matters so as to shorten or prolong my stay here as he pleases."
January 15, 1806.
"If you, my dear Mother, can pick out the meaning in the last page, I shall be glad; for in truth it is but poorly expressed. You must have observed, that my letters are very obscure; that the transitions from one subject to another are rapid and capricious. The reason of this confusion is,-when I sit down to write, forty ideas jump at once, all equally eager to get out, and jostle and incom mode each other at such a rate, that, not the most proper, but the strongest, escapes first. My mind would fain pour itself all out, at once, on the paper; but the pen being rather too small a passage, it comes out in wads, like but ter out of a bottle. So much by way of apology, by which