« السابقةمتابعة »
Nor didst thou speak that curse in vain.
OLD CATHARINE PRESCOTT.* Catharine was put to service at a very early age: and grew up without being able to read; as (to use her own expres. sion) " there were none of those blessed Sunday-schools in her days.” When about twenty years old, she went to live with a family in Liverpool, in which she staid about twelve years. During the time she lived in Manchester, she always attended the daily prayers at the Collegiate church, where she was kindly
The following account was prepared for tbe press before the Editor discovered that it had lately appeared in another Children's Magazine,
noticed by some of the clergy; but, as she afterwards expressed herself, she " could not so heartily enter into the public worship of God as she wished, because she could neither read her Prayer-book, nor distinctly hear all that was said.” She continued to attend at the church until she had passed her hundredth year, without ever having been able to read a word in any book whátever, having a form of religion, but a stranger to its power. She had long wished to learn to read; but either through shame, or for 'want of help, she had not taken any steps to effect it. At last, however, she got courage to look out for a teacher ; and her own account of the manner in which she began, I will relate in the words she herself ušed when I asked her to give me the particulars,
“Why, you see, when I used to go to the Old Church, many of the folks that used to come would sometimes offer me a book, and, dear heart, I could not read; and I was ashamed to refuse it: and, besides, there was a very pretty psalm they had used to sing, and I thought I could like to learn it-but then. I could not read. So I came home one day, and I told my daughter that I was determin. ed to learn to read; but she thought it was too late. However, I went to a
neighbour, and asked him if he would learn me a lesson, and he promised he would. So I went to him every day, and when I had tired him with one lesa son, I would have gone to another neighbour for another; and in this way I got on by little and little. When they were building the Lancasterian school, I told my daughter I would go to it as soon as it was readyand as soon as they opened it, I used to go every day for a lesson ; and the little lads would have come here on a night, and first one would teach me and then another, until I had tired them all. Then when your Sundayschool was removed into this street, 1 used to go every Sunday (before I went down to the Old Church) to say my les. son, and some of the scholars would come in now and then to teach me ; and So, from one thing to another, you see at last I learned to read."
By the time she had reached her 106th year, at which time I first came to know her, she was able to read pretty well. When she came, in the course of her reading, to words of three or four sylla. bles, she was sometimes at a loss to remo peat them, if they were not words in very common use; but her plan was, when she had got any person to hear and correct her in reading a chapter once over, afterwards to read the same chap
ter by herself; and if she still found any difficulty, she would ask some one to hear her again, until she was able to read it without help. In this way she be. came well acquainted with several chap. ters of the Bible, and she placed her slips of paper near those chapters which struck her as being important, in order that she might turn to them at a future time. Soon after she began to learn to read, she asked one of the clergy of the Collea giate church to give her a Bible, who readily granted her request; but the print being rather too small for her to read with comfort, she afterwards obv tained a Testament of a larger type, which she was able to use until within a few months of her decease, and without any help to her eyesight, until she was 107 years of age.
It was delightful to see her read the word of God, and to hear the simple comments she was in the habit of making as she went on. Once, as I was going up stairs towards her room, I overheard her reading to a little girl, who had come from the Sunday-school to teach her. On entering the room, I sat down behind her unseen. She was reading 1 John v. and the little girl had been correcting a mistake she had made; upon which Catharine said ; “ Well, I shall know how to read it by myself