It is kind, indeed, to put it in my power to do good to those who shall deserve it; and I will take double pains to find out the true merit of such as I shall recommend to favour, and that their circumstances be really such as I shall represent them.
But one thing let me desire, that I make up my accounts to Mr. Longman, or to his honour himself, when he shall be here with us. I don’t know how-but it will make me uneasy, if I am to make up my accounts to you: for so well known is your love to us, that though you would no more do an unjust thing, than, by God’s grace, we should desire you; yet this same ill-willing world might think it was like making up accounts to one’s self.
Do, my dearest child, get me off this difficulty, and I can have no other; for already I am in hopes I have hit upon a contrivance to improve the estate, and to better the condition of the tenants, at least not to worst them, and which, I hope, will please every body; but I will acquaint Mr. Longman with this, and take his advice; for I will not be too troublesome either to you, my dear child, or to your spouse.—If I could act so for his interest, as not to be a burden, what happy creatures should we both be in our own minds!—We find ourselves more and more respected by every one; and so far as shall be consistent with our new trust, we will endeavour to deserve it, that we may interest as many as know us in our own good wishes and prayers for the happiness of you both.
But let me say, how much convinced I am by your reasons for not taking to us any of our relations. Every one of those reasons has its force with us. How happy are we to have so prudent a daughter to advise with! And I think myself obliged to promise this, that whatever I do for any of them above the amount of—forty shillings at one time, I will take your direction in it, that your wise hints, of making every one continue their industry, and not to rely upon favour instead of merit, may be followed. I am sure this is the way to make them happier as well as better men and women; for, as I have often thought, if one were to have a hundred pounds a year, it would not do without industry; and with it, one may do with a quarter of it, and less.
In short, my dear child, your reasons are so good, that I wonder they came not into my head before, and then I needed not to have troubled you about the matter: but yet it ran in my own thought, that I could not like to be an encroacher:—for I hate a dirty thing; and, in the midst of my distresses, never could be guilty of one. Thank God for it.
You rejoice our hearts beyond expression at the hope you give us of receiving letters from you now-and-then: it will be the chief comfort of our lives, next to seeing you, as we expect we sometimes shall. But yet, my dear child, don’t let us inconvenience you neither. Pray don’t; you’ll have enough upon your hands without—to be sure you will.