Records of a Girlhood eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 815 pages of information about Records of a Girlhood.

CHAPTER X.

I can not remember any event, or series of events, the influence of which could, during my first stay in Edinburgh, have made a distinctly serious or religious impression on my mind, or have directed my thoughts especially toward the more solemn concerns and aspects of life.  But from some cause or other my mind became much affected at this time by religious considerations, and a strong devotional element began to predominate among my emotions and cogitations.  In my childhood in my father’s house we had no special religious training; our habits were those of average English Protestants of decent respectability.  My mother read the Bible to us in the morning before breakfast; Mrs. Trimmer’s and Mrs. Barbauld’s Scripture histories and paraphrases were taught to us; we learnt our catechism and collects, and went to church on Sunday, duly and decorously, as a matter of course.  Grace was always said before and after meals by the youngest member of the family present; and I remember a quaint, old-fashioned benediction which, when my father happened to be at home at our bedtime, we used to kneel down by his chair to receive, and with which he used to dismiss us for the night:  “God bless you! make you good, happy, healthy, and wise!” These, with our own daily morning and evening prayers, were our devotional habits and pious practices.  In Mrs. Harry Siddons’s house religion was never, I think, directly made a subject of inculcation or discussion; the usual observances of Church of England people were regularly fulfilled by all her family, the spirit of true religion governed her life and all her home relations, but special, direct reference to religious subjects was infrequent among us.  God’s service in that house took the daily and hourly form of the conscientious discharge of duty, unselfish, tender affection toward each other, and kindly Christian charity toward all.  At various times in my life, when hearing discussions on the peculiar (technical, I should be disposed to call it) profession and character supposed by some very good people of a certain way of thinking to be the only indication of what they considered real religion, I have remembered the serene, courageous self-devotion of my dear friend, when, during a dangerous (as it was at one time apprehended, fatal) illness of her youngest daughter, she would leave her child’s bedside to go to the theater, and discharge duties never very attractive to her, and rendered distasteful then by cruel anxiety, but her neglect of which would have injured the interests of her brother, her fellow-actors, and all the poor people employed in the theater, and been a direct infringement of her obligations to them.  I have wondered what amount of religion a certain class of “professing Christians” would have allowed entered into that great effort.

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Records of a Girlhood from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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