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been a great shock to him. Fanny offered up a silent prayer to God of thanksgiving that Willie had been saved, and that her efforts for his good had been crowned with success : and deep and heartfelt was her gratitude to God for His unspeakable mercy to her, as she thought of the poor parents of David mourning for his untimely loss, and their grief embittered, perhaps, by the conviction that had they brought him up differently he might have lived to be a comfort to them in their old age, instead of being cut off in the midst of all his evil
And if sometimes, when very much oppressed by work, or when worried by the dame's tiresome ways, which were hard enough to bear in spite of all her good qualities, she had felt inclined to regret the sacrifice she had made of the Doctor's good comfortable place, and to think that Willie might have done as well without her; now, how did she reproach herself for even the momentary selfishness, when she felt that, with God's blessing, her ceaseless efforts to keep Willie in the straight path, never, so to speak, losing sight of him, or leaving him exposed unassisted to temptation, had indeed been the means of preserving him, and that if she had allowed him to lodge alone, as must have been the case had she accepted the life of comparative ease that was offered to her, his bad companions would have had double
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the opportunity of getting hold of him if he had not been accountable to any one for his time, and might have come home as late as he pleased, instead of feeling that he couldn't be ten minutes late without telling Fanny what had kept him. She shuddered as she thought that, seeing he was far more ignorant of the use of a gun than either of his companions, that had he been tempted to go with them, it might very well, as poor Willie said, have been himself that had been killed, or he might have destroyed one of them; as all these thoughts passed rapidly through her mind, she felt most fervently the very great mercy that had been shown to them.
Willie was by this time quite composed, and able to talk of the sad affair without so much agitation as he at first displayed. The old dame saw there was no occasion to say anything to impress it more deeply on his mind, that he felt it most keenly, and would probably continue to do so for a very long time, so they only talked of the poor parents, and of what James Ross's feelings must be.
The next morning some neighbours came in, and said there had been an inquest on the body, and that they had given the verdict of accidental death, for James had explained how it had happened: they had only one gun between them, and as they were climbing through a hedge, James said he would hold the gun till David was through, but the
unfortunate lad was so afraid that James would keep the gun if he once got possession that he wouldn't give it up, and from their ignorance in carrying the gun cocked, something had caught the trigger, and the gun being carried in an awkward position, had, in going off, lodged its whole contents in his body, and he had never spoke or moved again. The neighbours said his poor father and mother were there in a most sad state of grief, for he was their only child, and that was the reason why he had been so sadly spoilt, and never contradicted or punished when he did wrong, and this was the end of it.
Poor James Ross was in such a state of agitation he could scarcely give his evidence, and the neighbours said, that, bad and reckless as he was, they couldn't help hoping such a dreadful event might alter him before it was too late, and make him see the evil of his ways. Poor Willie heartily joined in the wish.
On the following Sunday the brother and sister offered up their prayers with more than common gratitude and devotion as they thought of the mercy vouchsafed to them, and Fanny prayed most earnestly that this sad event might exercise a salutary influence on the whole of Willie's life, and that he might always be strengthened to resist temptation, and continue in the right way, which
alone, through the merits of our Saviour, can lead to life everlasting. After the first strong impression had worn off, and they had ceased to be so occupied in thinking and talking of it, things returned into their usual course. Fanny visited the poor parents, and endeavoured in her humble way to comfort them for their loss, and to make it the means of gradually turning their hearts toward God, and she was not without hopes that by degrees this might be the case, for they began to attend church, and to be thankful for the visits of the good old clergyman, and to be glad when Fanny could spare time to step in to read a chapter in the Bible to them, for they could neither of them read.
Willie began to receive small wages at the farm, and to grow in favour daily with his master: the garden, in process of time, became a sight to be seen for beauty and for neatness, and was besides a source of considerable profit. Fanny continued her humble duties and her labour of love towards all her fellow creatures, and so their uneventful life flowed on calmly and cheerfully, the good dame blessing the day when she had been persuaded to take them into her house; and Fanny, humble as her station was, was beloved by all around her, and was always held up as an example to all for her dutiful conduct to her mother as long as she lived, and afterwards for her strong sisterly affection and judicious conduct to her brother, which had indeed met with its reward even in this world; and Willie
; found also the good effects of his improved conduct, in the increased love of all who knew him, and the peace and contentment of his own heart. For rest assured, my
young readers, that let our station in life be what it will, a persevering endeavour, through the grace of God assisting us, to fulfil our duty towards him and towards our fellow-creatures, will always ensure to us a certain degree of happiness and content even here, let the vicissitudes of our life, and its troubles, be what they may, and be the means of laying
for us treasure in heaven, “that where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also.” And so we will conclude the humble history of our heroine, trusting that it may have been the means of giving pleasure to our young readers, and been the means of drawing their attention towards those things which (even from the earliest age) alone belong to