Page:Adventures of Rachel Cunningham.djvu/5

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4
THE LIFE OF

and her very shrewd conception of things coming within the sphere of her notice, which would have seemed beyond the reach of infantine comprehension; while she possessed those bewitching germs of beauty which won the favour and excited the admiration of all who beheld the superiority and contemplated the rising excellence of her charms. To these personal qualities and mental prefigurations of what, in their fond hopes they predicted, she might in future be, may be, not inaptly, attributed an overyielding indulgence, on the part of her parents, to all her little whims, desires, and growing caprices, without regard to the necessary restraint to curb that warmth and volatility nature had mingled with and implanted in her composition.

At a very early age she was put to a sort of preparatory boarding-school, and when she was in her ninth year, death deprived her of a kind mother's ever-watchful attention.—This, although she fell not then its weight, was a loss at once irreparable in itself and destructive in its effects; and as it effected the best interests of the blooming Rachel's future situation in society, fate could not, perhaps, have aimed a stroke more truly ruinous to her well-being.

At the seminary, before referred to, she remained but a short time subsequent to her mother's decease, when, for her better education and accomplishment for the station in life she was intended to fill, to be initiated in those branches of polite literature, deemed in the instruction of young ladies, as most imperatively necessary to the finish of the female character, she was removed to another establishment of higher order and repute, where in a little while, she preeminently distinguished herself by, for her age, the rapid progress she made in those acquirements and the facility with which she imbibed the benefits of tuition. She was now the almost worshipped idol of her father's most sanguine hopes, while he looked forward to the future day, when he should behold in his adored Rachel one of the most brilliant ornaments of female society, with anticipations that gladdened every coming hour of his existence with the heart cheering prospect before him. During the periods of school-vacation:, when she would be at home, and more immediately under his eye, he, as it were, absolutely deified her. No-