Mrs. Douglas was not aware of the effect of her own practical lessons; and that, while she was almost unconsciously practising the quiet virtues of patience, and fortitude, and self-denial, and unostentatiously sacrificing her own wishes to promote the comfort of others, her example, like a kindly dew, was shedding its silent influence on the embryo blossoms of her pupil’s heart.
“. . . So the devil prevails often; opponit nubem, he claps cloud between; some little objection; a stranger is come; or my head aches; or the church is too cold; or I have letters to write; or I am not disposed; or it is not yet time; or the time is past; these, and such as these, are the clouds the devil claps between heaven and us; but these are such impotent objections, that they were as soon confuted, as pretended, by all men that are not fools, or professed enemies of religion.” —JEREMY TAYLOR.
LADY Juliana had in vain endeavoured to obtain a sick certificate for her daughter, that would have authorised her consigning her to the oblivion of her own apartment. The physicians whom she consulted all agreed, for once, in recommending a totally different system to be pursued; and her displeasure, in consequence, was violently excited against the medical tribe in general, and Dr. Redgill in particular. For that worthy she had indeed always entertained a most thorough contempt and aversion; for he was poor, ugly, and vulgar, and these were the three most deadly sins in her calendar. The object of her detestation was, however, completely insensible to its effects. The Doctor, like Achilles, was vulnerable but in one part, and over that she could exercise no control. She had nothing to do with the menage—possessed no influence over Lord Courtland, nor authority over Monsieur Grillade. She differed from himself as to the dressing of certain dishes; and, in short, he summed up her character in one emphatic sentence, that in his idea conveyed severer censure than all that Pope or Young ever wrote—” I don’t think she has the taste of her mouth!”
Thus thwarted in her scheme, Lady Juliana’s dislike to her daughter rather increased than diminished; and it was well for Mary that lessons of forbearance had been early infused into her mind; for her spirit was naturally high, and would have revolted from the tyranny and injustice with which she was treated had she not been taught the practical duties of Christianity, and that “patience, with all its appendages, is the sum total of all our duty that is proper to the day of sorrow.”
Not that Mary sought, by a blind compliance with all her mother’s follies and caprices, to ingratiate herself into her favour—even the motive she would have deemed insufficient to have sanctified the deed; and the only arts she employed to win a place in her parent’s heart were ready obedience, unvarying sweetness, and uncomplaining submission.