“My dear child, let there be perfect confidence between us. Am I not more interested in your happiness than anyone else? My child, what has estranged you of late?”
Georgia made no reply.
“What, but my love for you and anxiety for your happiness, could induce me to object to your receiving Mr. Vincent’s attentions?”
“You are prejudiced against him, and always were!”
“I judge the young man only from his conduct. You know—you are obliged to know, that he is recklessly dissipated, selfish, and immoral.”
“He is no worse than other young men. I know very few who are not quite as wild as he is. Beside, he has promised to sign the temperance pledge if I will marry him.”
“My child, you pain me beyond expression. Does the depravity which prevails here sanction Vincent’s dissipation? Oh, Georgia, has association deprived you of horror of vice? Can you be satisfied because others are quite as degraded? He does not mean what he promises; it is merely to deceive you. His intemperate habits are too confirmed to be remedied now; he began early, at college, and has constantly grown worse.”
“You are prejudiced,” persisted Georgia, unable to restrain her tears.
“If I am, it is because of his profligacy! Can you possibly be attached to such a man?”
Georgia sobbed and cried heartily. Her good sense told her that her mother was right, but it was difficult to relinquish the hope of reforming him. As gently as possible, Mrs. Asbury dwelt upon his utter worthlessness, and the misery and wretchedness which would surely ensue from such a union. With streaming eyes, she implored her to banish the thought, assuring her she would sooner see her in her grave than the wife of a drunkard. And now the care of years was to be rewarded; her firm but gentle reasoning prevailed. Georgia had always reverenced her mother; she knew she was invariably guided by principle; and now, as she listened to her earnest entreaties, all her obstinacy melted away. Throwing herself into her mother’s arms, she begged her to forgive the pain and anxiety she had caused her. Mrs. Asbury pressed her to her heart, and silently thanked God for the success of her remonstrances. Of all this Dr. Asbury knew nothing. When Mr. Vincent called the following day Georgia very decidedly rejected him. Understanding from her manner that she meant what she said, he became violently enraged; swore, with a solemn oath, that he would make her repent her trifling; took his hat, and left the house. This sufficed to remove any lingering tenderness from Georgia’s heart; and from that hour Fred Vincent darkened the home circle no more.