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The Maiden’s Error
by [?]

THE story of Julia Forrester is but a revelation of what occurs every day. I draw aside the veil for a moment, would that some one might gaze with trembling on the picture, and be saved!

The father of Julia had served an apprenticeship to the tanning and currying business. He had been taken when an orphan boy of twelve years old, by a man in this trade, and raised by him, without any of the benefits of education. At twenty-one he could read and write a little, but had no taste for improving his mind. His master, being well pleased with him for his industry and sobriety, offered him a small interest in his business, shortly after he was free, which soon enabled him to marry, and settle himself in life.

His new companion was the daughter of a reduced tradesman; she had high notions of gentility, but possessed more vanity and love of admiration than good sense. Neither of them could comprehend the true relation of parents. If they fed their children well, clothed them well, and sent them to the most reputable schools, they imagined that they had, in part, discharged their duty; and, wholly, when they had obtained good-looking and well-dressed husbands for their daughters. This may be a little exaggerated; but such an inference might readily have been drawn by one who attentively considered their actions.

I shall not spend further time in considering their characters. Their counterpart may be found in every street, and in every neighbourhood. The curious student of human nature can study them at will. Julia Forrester was the child of such parents. When she was fifteen, they were in easy circumstances. But at that critical period of their daughter’s life, they were ignorant of human nature, and entirely unskilled in the means of detecting false pretension, or discovering true merit.

Indeed, they were much more ready to consider the former as true, and the latter as false. The unpretending modesty of real worth they generally mistook for imbecility, or a consciousness of questionable points of character; while bold-faced assurance was thought to be an open exhibition of manliness–the free, undisguised manner of those who had nothing to conceal.

It is rarely that a girl of Julia’s age, but little over fifteen, possesses much insight into character. It was enough for her that her parents invited young men to the house, or permitted them to visit her. Her favour, or dislike, was founded upon mere impulse, or the caprice of first impressions. Among her earliest visitors, was a young man of twenty-two, clerk in a dry-goods’ store. He had an open, prepossessing manner, but had indulged in vicious habits for many years, and was thoroughly unprincipled. His name I will call Warburton. Another visitor was a modest, sensible young man, also clerk in another dry-goods’ store. He was correct in all his habits, and inclined to be religious. He had no particular end in view in visiting at Forrester’s, more than to mingle in society. Still, as he continued his visits, he began to grow fond of Julia, notwithstanding her extreme youth. The fact was, she had shot up suddenly into a graceful woman; and her manners were really attractive. Little could be gleaned, however, in her society, or in that of but few who visited her, from the current chit-chat. It was all chaffy stuff,–mere small-talk. Let me introduce the reader to their more particular acquaintance. There is assembled at Mr. Forrester’s a gay social party, such as met there almost every week. It is in the summer time. The windows are thrown open, and the passers-by can look in upon the light-hearted group, at will. Warburton and Julia are trifling in conversation, and the others are wasting. the moments as frivolously as possible. We will join them without ceremony.

“A more beautiful ring than this on your finger, I have never seen. Do you know why a ring is used in marriage?”