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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 262 pages of information about The Path of Duty, and Other Stories.
myself, taken a short time after our marriage.  I commit you with many prayers, to the care of your Heavenly Father, for I feel that the hand of death is upon me, and that a few brief days will close my earthly existence.  My last prayer will be that my boy may so live on earth, as to meet his mother in Heaven.  My strength fails me.  I can write no more.

    “From your loving, but dying mother,

    “Charlotte Harwood.”

CHAPTER VIII.

The reader who has got thus far in the narrative of the early life of Earnest Harwood, will doubtless learn, with pleasure, that the letter written by his mother, proved, under the blessing of God, the means of his salvation.  The earnest persuasion of that letter, induced him to form a firm resolve, that he would amend his conduct, and cease from his evil ways.  He was, at the first, fearful that he had lost the love of his foster parents, by his ungrateful conduct.  He one day expressed this fear to them, and together they assured him, that although he had certainly caused them much grief and anxiety, their love for him had remained unchanged.  They took this opportunity, when his feelings were thus softened, to urge him to be firm in his resolution of amendment.  They also, for the first time, spoke of the fearful sorrow he had caused them by being brought to his home in a state of intoxication; and besought him never again to allow himself to be persuaded to taste of the intoxicating cup.  Mrs. Humphrey pressed a motherly kiss upon his fine brow, and said,—­

“My dear boy I hope that you will not again disappoint our fond hopes, and that you will yet do credit to the fine abilities with which our Heavenly Father has so liberally endowed you.”

From this time there was a marked and decided change in the character of Earnest.  Many feared that the change would not be permanent, but Mrs. Humphrey was very hopeful.

“I feel an assurance,” said she “that the many prayers which have been offered to heaven on his behalf, are about to be answered.”

It was even so.  And they who feared a relapse into his former evil ways were happily disappointed.  He again punctually attended school, and applied himself diligently to his neglected studies; and his teachers were surprised, as well by the astonishing progress he made, as by his correct exemplary deportment.  As may be readily supposed, he had much to contend with from the vicious boys who had been his former associates.  He shunned their company as much as possible, but he could not avoid occasionally coming in contact with them, and I am happy to say, that they found him immovable in his resolutions for good.  They tried every means again to entice him into evil ways, but without success.  As a last resort, they tried the effect of ridicule, but they learned now, that he had allowed his better nature to assert its power, for he possessed a spirit far above the influence of ridicule; and when they found they could by no means induce him to mingle with them, they were forced to give him up, and allow him to go his way in peace.  When Mr. and Mrs. Humphrey found that the change in Earnest was likely to prove a permanent one, their gratitude and joy was heartfelt and sincere.

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