Page:Letters to Mothers (1839).djvu/60

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long absence, without frequent tokens of remembrance, and its most passionate stage of existence, may be checked by caprice.

But I have seen a mother's love, endure every test unharmed, and come forth from the refiner's furnace, purged from that dross of selfishness, which the heart is wont to find among its purest gold. A widow expended on her only son, all the fullness of her affection, and the little gains of her industry. She denied herself every superfluity, that he might receive the benefits of education, and the indulgences that boyhood covets. She sat silently by her small fire, and lighted her single candle, and regarded him with intense delight, as he amused himself with his books, or sought out the lessons for the following day. The expenses of his school were discharged by the labour of her hands, and glad and proud was she to bestow on him, privileges, which her own youth had never been permitted to share. She believed him to be diligently acquiring the knowledge which she respected, but was unable to comprehend. His teachers, and his idle companions, knew otherwise. He indeed, learned to astonish his simple and admiring parent, with high-sounding epithets, and technical terms, and [51] to despise her for not understanding them. When she saw him discontented, at comparing his situation with that of others, who were above him in rank, she denied