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At one of these times, I remember, when he had beaten me in that manner, he commanded me, as he commonly did at such times, to go to my chamber; which I did, and he followed me to the bottom of the stairs. Being come thither, he gave me a parting blow, and in a very angry tone, said, sirrah, if ever I hear you say thou or thee to me again, I will strike your teeth down your throat. I was greatly grieved to hear him say so, and feeling a word rise in my heart unto him, I turned again, and calmly said unto him, would it not be just if God should serve thee so, when thou sayest thou or thee to him? Though his hand was up, I saw it sink, and his countenance fall, and he turned away and left me standing there. But I notwithstand. ing went up into my chamber, and cried unto the Lord, earnestly beseeching him, that he would be pleased to open my father's eyes, that he might see whom he fought against, and for what; and that he would turn his heart.
After this I had a pretty time of rest and quiet from these disturbances; my father not saying any thing to me, nor giving me occasion to say any thing to him. But I was still under a kind of confinement ; unless I would have run about the country bare-headed, like a mad-man ; which I did not see it was my place to do. For I found that, although to be abroad, and at liberty among my friends, would have been more pleasant to me, yet
home was at present my proper place; a school in which I was to learn with patience to bear the cross : and I willingly submitted to it.
But after some time, a fresh storm more fierce and sharp than any before, arose and fell upon me; the occasion whereof was this: my father having been in his younger years, more especially while he lived in London, a constant hearer of those who are called Puri. tan-preachers, had stored up a pretty stock of scripture-knowledge, did sometimes, not con. stantly, nor very often, cause his family to come together on a first-day in the evening, and expound a chapter to them, and pray. His family now, as well as his estate, was lessened ; for my mother was dead, my bro. ther gone, and my elder sister at London; and having put off his husbandry, he had put off with it most of his servants ; so that he had now but one man and one maid servant. It so fell out, that on a first-day night, he bid my sister who sat with him in the parlour, call in the servants to prayer.
Whether this was done as a trial upon me, or no, I know not, but a trial it proved to me; for they loving me very well, and dislik. ing my father's carriage to me, made no haste to go in; but staid a second summons. This so offended him, that when at length they did go in, he, instead of going to prayer, examined them, why they came not in when they were first called ; and the answer they gave
him being such, as rather heightened than abated his displeasure, he, with an angry tone, said, call in that fellow, meaning me, who was left alone in the kitchen, for he is the cause of all this; they, as they were backward to go in themselves, so were not for. ward to call me in, fearing the effect of my father's displeasure would fall upon me, as it soon did; for I, hearing what was said, and not staying for the call, went in of myself. And as soon as I was come in,
father discharged his displeasure on me, in very sharp and bitter expressions; which drew from me, in the grief of my heart, to see him so transported with passion, these few words; they that can pray with such a spirit, let them; for my part I cannot.
With that my father flew upon me with both his fists, and not thinking that sufficient, stepped hastily to to the place where his cane stood, and catching that up, laid on me, I thought, with all his strength. And I being bare-headed, I thought his blows must needs have broken my scull, had I not laid mine arm over my head to defend it.
His man seeing this, and not able to contain himself, stepped in between us; and laying hold on the cane, by strength of hand held it so fast, that though he attempted not to take it away, yet he with-held my father from striking with it; which did but enrage him the more.
I disliked this in the man, and bid him let go the cane and be gone,
which he immediately did ; and turning to be gone, had a blow on the shoulders for his pains; which yet did not much hurt him.
But now my sister fearing lest my father should fall upon me again, besought him to forbear; adding, indeed, sir, if you strike him any more, I will throw open the casement and cry murder ; for I am afraid you will kill
brother. This stopped his hand ; and after some threatening speeches, he commanded me to get to my chamber, which I did, as I always did whenever he bid me.
Thither soon after my sister followed me, to see my arm and dress it; for it was, indeed, very much bruised and swelled, between the wrist and elbow; and in some places the skin was broken and beaten off. But though it was very sore, and I felt for some time much pain in it, yet I had peace and quietness in my mind; being more grieved for my father, than for myself, who I knew had hurt himself more than me.
This was, so far as I remember, the last time that ever my father called his family to prayer. And this was also the last time that ever he fell, so severely at least, upon me.
Soon after this, my elder sister, who in all the time of these exercises of mine, had been at London, returned home; much troubled to find me a Quaker, a name of reproach and great contempt then ; and she being at Lon. don, had received, I suppose, the worst character of them. Yet, though she disliked the
people, her affectionate regard to me, made her rather pity than despise me; and the more, when she understood what hard usage I had met with.
The rest of this winter I spent in a lonesome solitary life; having none to converse with, none to unbosom myself unto, none to ask counsel of, none to seek relief from, but the Lord alone; who yet was more than all. And yet the company and society of faithful and judicious friends, would, I thought, have been very welcome, as well as helpful to me in my spiritual travel ; in which I thought I made but a slow progress, my soul breathing after further attainments; the sense of which drew from me the following lines :
The winter tree
lies in its root :
Shall bud, I hope, and shcot,
At length it pleased the Lord to move Isaac Pennington and his wife to make a visit to my father, and see how it fared with me, and very welcome they were to me, whatever they were to him ; to whom I doubt not but they would have been more welcome, had it not been for me.
They tarried with us all night; and much discourse they had with my father, both about the principle of truth in general, and me in