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was not groundless ; it brought a letter full of anxious apprehensions about me, who had been the guilty cause of all ; my mother was exceedingly distressed and agitated at not hearing; it was concluded that I must be ill; and my father entreated my uncle to write immediately, and relieve them from their painful suspense, a lesson that
never forgot : om that time to the present, I have accustomed myself to regard as absolutely sacred, my own promise to write on a certain day, or the request of an absent friend that I would do so. I must, however, acknowledge having more than once deferred writing to so near the moment of the post closing, as caused me to forget part of my communication, and perhaps laid me under an otherwise unnecessary obligation to write again, in order to supply my former omission ; thus giving point to my uncle's admonition, “Do it, and it will be done ; do it, to secure against the uncertainty of its being ever done at all; and do it, to ensure its being well done, by allowing yourself time to do it properly, without hurry and confusion.”
My uncle had an extensive grapery, and took great pleasure in the production of fine and early fruit, with which to gratify his friends. The first grapes
of the season were cut for a present to my cousin Mortimer, and the advancing succession was destined for other friends. My uncle observed that something was amiss with the lock of the hot-house door, and directed one of the gardeners to get it set to rights. “ Send for the smith directly,” said my uncle,“ or rather go yourself and fetch him, and see that it is done before night.” My uncle was just setting out on
a visit to cousin Mortimer, or he would not have contented himself with ordering the lock to be repaired; he would have seen that it actually was done ; and perhaps, had he been at home, the gardener would have been so sure that his prompt and personal obedience would be looked after, that he would scarcely have ventured to delegate the trust. But master was just leaving home; and rare, as well as valuable, is the servant who never on that account in any degree deviates from the course of duty, or slackens his diligence in pursuing it. My uncle's head gardener, old Anthony, was one of this sort ; but it happened at the time that he was ill; so the order was given to Edward, the second gardener, who, on receiving it, contented himself with saying, “ Yes, sir,” and thought no more about the matter till next morning, when he opened the door, and by the imperfect manner in which it was fastened, was reminded of his neglect on the preceding day. “George,” said he, to one of the labourers, " be sure you take this lock to the smith's, and get him to mend it; master ordered it to be done yesterday, and he will be home to-morrow.” “ Yes, sir,” said George, and contented himself as Edward had done before him. On shutting up for the night another remark was made on the omission, and another resolution formed that it should be attended to the first thing in the morning. Indeed,” said George, - there is no occasion to take it to the smith's at all ; I could do it myself in five minutes : the spring has become rusty, which prevents the bolt shooting far enough ; it only requires to be taken off and oiled.” “ Very well,” replied Edward ; " then, as master says, “Do it, and it will
be done,' and be sure it is done before master comes ;” and so it was intended to be done.
But, to the great consternation of both Edward and George, somebody had been there before them, and had cleared away all the ripe grapes, and a number of choice plants to the value of many pounds. There were no marks of violence to indicate a forcible entry having been effected. It was evident that the robbers had found an easy access, from the simple circumstance of the lock being out of order. Both the men dreaded the return of their master, fearing that he might suspect them of being concerned in, or having connived at, the robbery. My uncle had no such suspicion ; but his first question naturally was,
Had the lock been mended ?” and very severe was the reprimand elicited by this instance of disobedience and neglect. It afterwards proved that the robbery had been committed by a lad occasionally mployed in the garden, who had accidentally overheard the order of my uncle, and had observed also its non-fulfilment.
My uncle often advised us, if in the course of reading or conversation we met with a word which we did not exactly understand, immediately to look it out in the dictionary. I have often done this with satisfaction and improvement; but I have sometimes been tempted to delay it: the book was not in the room, or I did not like to break in upon the conversation, and I thought I would recollect the word and look for it when convenient. In such a case, the consciousness that there was a word which I intended to look for, would haunt me for days and weeks; but I do not recollect any instance in which, if once suffered to escape, it
ever recurred to me again. I have sometimes with shame asked Frank if he could tell me what word it was I said I would look for. He, too, bas tried in vain to assist me, and we have generally concluded with, “Well, it shows that we ought to follow uncle's saying, “Do it, and it will be done.'
In like manner, my uncle used to advise us, if we met with a striking expression or interesting fact, whether in reading or conversation, immediately to make a memorandum of it in a common-place book. This I have habitually done, and have thus accumulated a stock of valuable information ; but my stock might have been much larger than it is, if I had always done as I intended, and not suffered myself to be put off with good intentions. I often remember now with mortification, or rather half remember, many conversations in which pointed remarks were uttered, sometimes by very distinguished individuals, which would furnish many an interesting anecdote or illustration, could I but recollect them with sufficient distinctness and confidence to give them with proper names; but as it is, I have only the vexation to see a confused and untangible something float about
which I cannot appropriate or use.
I remember calling with my uncle on several of his cottagers, to take them some seeds of a newly-introduced and very profitable vegetable, which my uncle had just received from London. All of them seemed much pleased with the kind thoughtfulness of their landlord, and quite disposed to try the experiment. On our way home, we called again at one of the cottages where we had
left a parcel of seeds, to inquire for an umbrella, which Frank had left behind him. We knocked several times without being answered, and, concluding the family were all out, were taking our departure, when one of the children came in ;' father and mother, she said, were in the garden, clearing the ground, and putting in the seeds that his honour had given them; and she had been sent to the Hall with the umbrella that the young gentleman had left behind; for her mother said, “Take it at once, and then it will be out of harm's way, and ready if it should be wanted.” The good man and his wife then appeared, bringing in their gardening tools. “ You have been working late, said my are you not
tired ?" “ Rather so, sir,” replied the man ; " but wife said we had better do it, and then it would be done ; and I thought so too; so we both bestirred ourselves and set about it; it was not more than an hour's work : and now the seeds are in, ready for such weather as it pleases God to send us ; the weather could not help forward the seeds before they were put in the ground.” “Right, right," said my uncle ; “let our part be done diligently, and then we may humbly expect a blessing to
About two months afterwards, in one of our walks, we called again on some of the cottagers ; my uncle was particularly concerned to know the success of the new experiment. In the several gardens there was a considerable disparity in the advancement of the crops; but in none was the difference so striking as that of the cottager where we called a second time, and that of his next door neighbour. As the gardens were only separated