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DO IT, AND IT WILL BE DONE." many occasions his advice was sought by relatives and friends.
“I have been thinking, cousin Barnaby,” said a widow relative of the family, that it would be very proper for me to make a will.”'
“I think so too,” said my uncle ; " so do it, and it will be done.”
'I do not know that there is any immediate hurry about it ; my health is very good, and you know I am the youngest of the family.” (By family she meant a race of cousins, not brothers and sisters, for she had none.)
“ A will is better made in health than in sickness, when there is so much to attend to, and so little capability of attention ; and the youngest of a family is not always the survivor.”
“ True, cousin ; and I should not die sooner for having made my will.”
Certainly not ; but you might live the more comfortably.".
“ It is but little I have to leave behind me.” “The fewer words will be required to describe it.”
Perhaps some day, cousin, when you are quite at leisure, you would draw up something of the kind for me to look over.”
“I am sufficiently at leisure now to give you half an hour, which is more than enough for the purpose ; let us set about and do it, and then it will be done. What is it you wish expressed ?” My uncle sat down to his desk, folded a sheet of paper, and looked for instructions.
You take me quite unaware, cousin ; you are such a man for the despatch of business. Suppose we leave it for the present, and I will see you again in a few days.”
“Well, you must please yourself; but life is uncertain, and for my part, I think no time like the present. Is it that you have not made up your mind, that you wish to delay ?”
“ No, cousin, not that; my mind is quite made up that
little property should go to cousin William and his family. He was a kind friend to me when my husband died; and to him I may say I am indebted for having any thing to leave. I am sure it is all due to them; besides, my father's nephew does not at all need it, and I am under no sort of obligation to him.”
“True ; yet, as he is a first cousin, and the nephew of your father, while cousin William is a more distant relative, I suppose the former would come in as heir-at-law, especially as your little property is in freeholds.”
"Well, it is quite right to provide against that ; so if you will just set it down, it will be a great satisfaction to me.”
My uncle in a very few lines expressed the will of his relative as to the disposition of her property, (of course taking due care that it should be legally explicit,) and handed it over to her for approbation. She looked it over, and said, “It will do very well ; it is exactly what I wish.” My uncle then proceeded to ring the bill for some of the servants to witness the signature. Stop,” said the widow, “now it is written, there is no such great hurry about the signature. There are a few jewels, and my watch, which I should like to leave as keepsakes among the younger branches of the family. I will look over the things, and then it can be signed at any time.”
“Please yourself,” said my uncle, “but remember,
a will is nothing till it is signed ; my maxim is, · Do it, and it will be done;' you have thought about it, and set about it, but you have not done it.
In less than a fortnight after this, my uncle. was hastily sent for to see this relative, who was alarmingly ill, and expressed an earnest desire to
He lost no time in visiting her; but she was too far gone to be capable of communicating her wishes. It was doubtful whether she even recognized him. She shortly after expired. The will was found in her pocket unsigned : and her little property, contrary to her express wish, passed from a worthy family to whom it would have been a seasonable and valuable acquisition, and to whom the testator was under real obligations, to a rich and niggardly old bachelor, whose riches were already a burden to him ; but who, when this small addition came to him as heir-at-law, had not the generosity to relinquish it.
There was another widow in the family, a person in struggling circumstances, and with a large family. “I have little or nothing to leave," said she, “ but I ought to make a will, that after my death
may know what obligations lie on me, and what resources there are for meeting
Yes, it would be very well to do so," replied a friend ; " it might prevent future misunderstandings in the family, though it is to be hoped you will live many years yet, and be placed in much better circumstances than you are at present. Every day you have reason to hope matters will mend, and perhaps in the course of a year or two you will have realized some property that will render it worth making a will."
" It is worth making a will,” replied the widow, “ whether I have any thing to leave for my family, or only to make provision for every one connected with me receiving their due. Mine has been a life of struggles ; but, by the blessing of God, I hope to do justly to every one.” “Yes, I hope you will; but do not make
yourself too anxious about it. I think
had better, for the present, defer making your will, or it will always be haunting you, and perhaps impair your health, and hasten the event which it contemplates. Come, let us talk on some other subject.”
“No,” replied the widow; “having had the thought presented to my mind, I will not suffer it to escape until it be accomplished. Before I eat or sleep I will do it, that it may be done.”
A few minutes' reference to a regular account, enabled her at once to perceive and to express the true state of her affairs, and her wishes as to the disposal of any little remaining property.
She did it before she ate, and she ate her meal with a double relish ; she did it before she slept, and she slept with additional tranquillity, from the consciousness that such a document was in existence. From time to time she had the happiness of crossing out some name from the list of those to whom she was under engagements; and she lived to make a will which contained no reference to any such engagement, and treated only of the disposition of actual property.
There is one most important class of duties to which my uncle's maxim is emphatically applicable. It is that of caring for the souls of others. I saw one whom I had regarded as a Christian brother on the verge of danger. I had heard
nothing to his prejudice, but I frequently saw him come out of a public-house opposite my window. “Perhaps," thought I, "he has lawful business there; my suspicions may be groundless, and what right have I to interfere with his affairs ?” Still, there was a secret conviction in my mind, that from love to his soul and regard to his consistency I ought to speak to him. Still this went on from day to day, while I resolved it should be done, and only deliberated on the most proper and delicate way of doing it. With how much greater promptness and alacrity do we discharge a pleasing duty than a trying one! A week or two elapsed, and still
mind and conscience were burdened with a
sense of neglected obligation. I could. bear it no longer ; I resolved immediately to go and speak to the party, and intimate my apprehensions respecting him. What was my consternation on finding that he was in prison, having, by the love of liquor, been tempted to defraud his employer, and forfeit his good conscience and good name! Who can tell, if I had but followed my uncle's maxim of promptitude and perseverance, and spoken kindly to him the very first time that my suspicions were awakened, but I might have been the means of reclaiming the wanderer, when he had strayed but comparatively a little way?
A friend of mine had prepared a bed-chamber for a visitor, and had omitted to furnish it with a Bible. “ I will remember it to-morrow," was her thought : “ it is not necessary again to go to the top of the house to-night, and perhaps he has one in his trunk ;” but the counter thought prevailed,
Perhaps he has not ; perhaps, too, if I neglect it to-night, I may forget it to-morrow; I will do