Page:Adventures of Rachel Cunningham.djvu/7

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6
THE LIFE OF

soft affection to mark the genuine female character and stamp the kindly-framed excellence of the sex.

After the funeral expenses and some other demands were finally settled and his affairs altogether arranged, it was found that the property left by her deceased father amounted to a mere trifle in consideration as to what might have been hoped for his daughter's support thereafter; in consequence of which, she, at the expiration of the next half-year, was removed from the academy she was then a pupil in, and was taken to live with her uncle, (a brother of her mother's,) residing at Burlington, in New Jersey, by whom she was received and treated with all the indulgent tenderness of parental affection, till there, death again interposed his power and sped the shaft of fate with such sure and unerring aim, that only a few months had elapsed, when she was again deprived of that protection so immediately important (especially for a young female at that period of her age, of such exquisite loveliness, and formed of such fiery elements as she was,) to her future welfare; while thus the death of her kind uncle seemed particularly to mark the relentless malignity of her fate, she was again cast into the arms of chance for protection, and chance placed her now under the care of an aunt, a younger sister of her father's, then living at Bedford Pa. (a watering place, in the summer-seasons visited numerously by the American fashionables.) The extraordinary bounties which nature had lavishly bestowed upon her person in all those points which distinguish elegance of form and that external loveliness which she so abundantly possessed, were at this time developing themselves in the full luxuriance of beauty, and now, also, it was that the intricately-woven web of fate begun to involve and entangle her constitutionally-loose inclinations in its virtue-debasing inteastices.

As vicious example teaches more readily to effect than admonitory lessons instruct to honourable emulation, she (the ill-fated heroine of this memoir,) was early initiated in the principle-polluting vices and corruptions of that fashionable and licentious place of resort, (Bedford.) She there beheld that immodest demeanour in her own sex, (which, like the mildew-pregnant breeze blighting the tender blos-