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I see my
little bed, which stood in one corner, on which the invalid lay. She appeared weak, and almost exhausted; and on the bed, at her feet, sat a little boy crying as if his heart would break.
20. Deeply moved at this sight, the stranger drew near the bedside of the invalid, and, feigning to be a physician, inquired into the nature of her disease. The symptoms were explained in a few words, when the widow, with a deep sigh, added, “O, my sickness has a deeper cause, and one which is beyond the art of the physician to cure.
21. “I am a mother a wretched mother. children sinking daily deeper and deeper in want, which I have no means of relieving. My sickness is of the heart, and death alone can end my sorrows; but even death is dreadful to me, for it awakens the thought of the misery into which my children would be plunged, if -”
22. Here emotion checked her utterance, and the tears flowed unrestrained down her cheeks. But the pretended physician spoke so consolingly to her, and manifested so warm a sympathy for her condition, that the heart of the poor woman throbbed with a pleasure that was unwonted.
23. “Do not despair,” said the stranger; “think only of recovery, and of preserving a life that is so precious to your children.
Can I write a prescription here?” The poor widow took a little prayer-book from the hands of a child who sat with her on the bed, and, tearing ont a blank leaf, “I have no other,” said she; “but perhaps this will do.”
24. The stranger took a pencil from his pocket, and wrote a few lines upon the paper. “This prescription,” said he, "you will find of great service to you. If it is necessary, I will write you a second. I have great hopes of your recovery.” He laid the paper on the table, and departed. Scarcely was he gone when the elder son returned.
25. “Cheer up, dear mother,” said he, going to her bedside, and affectionately kissing her. “See what a kind, benevolent stranger has given us.
It will make us rich for several days. It has enabled us to have a physician, and he will be here in a moment. Compose yourself, now, mother, and take courage.”
26. Come nearer, my son, come nearer, that I may bless you. God never forsakes the innocent and the good. O, may He watch over you in all your paths! A physician has just been here. When he went away he left that prescription on the table: see if you can read it."
27. Henry glanced at the paper and started back. He took it up, and, as he read it through again, a cry of wonder and astonishment escaped him.
28. “ What is it, my son ?” exclaimed the poor widow, trembling with an apprehension of — she knew not what.
29. “Ah! read, dear mother! God has heard us."
30. The mother took the paper from the hands of her son; but no sooner had she fixed her eyes upon it than she exclaimed, “My God, it is Washington!” and fell back fainting on her pillow.
31. The writing was an obligation from Washington - for it was indeed he— by which the widow was to receive the sum of one hundred dollars, from his own private property, to be doubled in case of necessity.
32. Meanwhile, the expected physician made his appearance, and soon awoke the mother from her fainting fit. The joyful surprise, together with a good nurse, with which the physician provided her, and a plenty of wholesome food, soon restored her to perfect health.
33. The influence of Washington, who visited them
1. To read with propriety is a pleasing and important attainment, and is productive of improvement both to the understanding and the heart. It is essential to a correct reader that he minutely perceives the ideas, and that he enters into the feelings of the author whose sentiments he professes to repeat; for how is it possible to represent clearly to others what we have but faint or inaccurate conceptions of ourselves?
2. If there were no other benefits resulting from the art of reading well, than the necessity it lays us under of precisely ascertaining the meaning of what we read, and the habit thence acquired of doing this with facility (both when reading silently and aloud), they would constitute a sufficient compensation for all the labor we can bestow upon the subject.
3. But the pleasure derived to ourselves and others, from a clear communication of ideas and feelings, and the strong and durable impressions made thereby on the minds of the reader and the audience, are considerations which give additional importance to the study of this necessary and useful art.
4. The perfect attainment of it doubtless requires great attention and practice, joined to extraordinary natural powers; but as there are many degrees of excellence in the art, the student whose aims fall short of