Ever memorable is the day on which I first took a volume of Shakspeare in my hand to read. It was on a Sunday. —This day was punctiliously set apart in our house. We had family prayers, for which there was no time of other days. Our dinners were different, and our clothes We went to church. My father put some limitations on my reading, but—bless him for the gentleness which has left me a pleasant feeling for the day!—he did not prescribe what was, but only what was not, to be done. And the liberty this left was a large one. ‘You must not read a novel, or a play;’ but all other books, the worst, or the best, were open to me. The distinction was merely technical. The day was pleasing to me, as relieving me from the routine of tasks and recitations; it gave me freer play than usual, and there were fewer things occurred in its course, which reminded me of the divisions of time; still the churchgoing, where I heard nothing that had any connection with my inward life, and these rules, gave me associations with the day of empty formalities, and arbitrary restrictions; but though the forbidden book or walk always seemed more charming then, I was seldom tempted to disobey.— This Sunday—I was only eight years old—I took from the book-shelf a volume lettered Shakspeare. It was not the first time I had looked at it, but before I had been deterred from attempting to read, by the broken appearance along the page, and preferred smooth narrative. But this time I held in my hand ‘Romeo and Juliet’ long enough to get my eye fastened to the page. It was a cold winter afternoon. I took the book to the parlor fire, and had there been
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