In a few days Mrs. Hartley ordered her daughter to instruct me in such useful works and employments as Maria knew. Of every thing which she called useful I was most ignorant. My accomplishments I found were held in small estimation here, by all indeed except Maria. She taught me nothing without the kindest apologies for being obliged to teach me, who, she said, was so excellent in all elegant arts, and was for ever thanking me for the pleasure she had formerly received, from my skill in music and pretty fancy works. The distress I was in, made these complimentary speeches not flatteries, but sweet drops of comfort to my degraded heart, almost broken with misfortune and remorse.
I remained at Mr. Hartley’s but two months, for at the end of that time my father inherited a considerable property by the death of a distant relation, which has enabled him to settle his affairs. He established himself again as a merchant; but as he wished to retrench his expences, and begin the world again on a plan of strict economy, he sent me to this school to finish my education.
(By Charles Lamb)
I was born and brought up, in a house in which my parents had all their lives resided, which stood in the midst of that lonely tract of land called the Lincolnshire fens. Few families besides our own lived near the spot, both because it was reckoned an unwholesome air, and because its distance from any town or market made it an inconvenient situation. My father was in no very affluent circumstances, and it was a sad necessity which he was put to, of having to go many miles to fetch any thing he wanted from the nearest village, which was full seven miles distant, through a sad miry way that at all times made it heavy walking, and after rain was almost impassable. But he had no horse or carriage of his own.
The church which belonged to the parish in which our house was situated, stood in this village; and its distance being, as I said before, seven miles from our house, made it quite an impossible thing for my mother or me to think of going to it. Sometimes indeed, on a fine dry Sunday, my father would rise early, and take a walk to the village, just to see how goodness thrived, as he used to say, but he would generally return tired, and the worse for his walk. It is scarcely possible to explain to any one who has not lived in the fens, what difficult and dangerous walking it is. A mile is as good as four, I have heard my father say, in those parts. My mother, who in the early part of her life had lived in a more civilised spot, and had been used to constant churchgoing, would often lament her situation. It was from her I early imbibed a great curiosity and anxiety to see that thing, which I had heard her call a church, and so often lament that she could never go to. I had seen houses of various structures,