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Title: Forgotten Tales of Long Ago

Author: E. V. Lucas

Illustrator: F. D. Bedford

Release date: May 3, 2009 [eBook #28679]
Most recently updated: January 5, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by D Alexander, Josephine Paolucci and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive.)


Fourth Impression, July, 1931.


[Pg v]

In the present volume will be found twenty stories from early writers for children, the period being roughly 1790 to 1830, with three later and more sophisticated efforts added. Having so recently made remarks on the character of these old books—in the preface last year to Old-Fashioned Tales, a companion volume to this—I have very little to say now, except that I hope the selection will be found to be interesting. If it is not, it is less my fault than that of the authors, who preferred teaching to entertaining, moral improvement to drama. The pendulum has now perhaps swung almost too far the other way; but such things come right.

My first story, 'Dicky Random,' is from a little book published in 1805, entitled The Satchel; or, Amusing Tales for Correcting Rising Errors in Early Youth, addressed to all who wish to grow in Grace and Favour. On the title-page is this motto:

'Put on the cap, if it will fit,
And wiser grow by wearing it.'

There is no author's name. I do not consider the story of Dicky a very brilliant piece of work, but it has some pleasing incidents, not the [Pg vi]least of which is the irreproachable behaviour of the gentlemen at dinner. Dicky's father comes out as hardly less foolish than his son, which is not common in these books. To call a doctor Hardheart seems to me to have been a courageous thing. The sentence, 'The boy's father, though a labouring man, had a generous mind,' would help us to date the story, even without the evidence of the title-page. It is astonishing for how long the poor had to play a degraded part in minor English literature.

In another story in the book, called 'Good Manners their own Reward,' I find this sentence, which contains an idea for a children's manual that certainly ought to be written, under the same title too: 'Master Goodly not long after this had the pleasure of seeing a small book printed and circulated among his juvenile acquaintance, called "The Way to be Invited a Second Time."'

We pass next to a little work of pretty fancy, 'The Months,' which by its ingenuity I hope makes up for want of drama. I have included it on that ground, and also because if the descriptions were read aloud in irregular order to small children, it might be an agreeable means of encouraging thought and observation if the listeners were asked to put a name to each month. 'The Months' comes from a book published in 1814 entitled Tales from the Mountains, the mountains being those dividing England from Wales. A story in the same volume which I nearly included has the promising style 'The Spotted Cow and the Pianoforte,' but its matter is not equal to its title. It is, indeed, a variation upon a very old theme, being the narrative of two girls of equal age who, coming into a little prosperity, at once gratify old desires: one, the exemplary one, wishing a useful cow, and the other, the frivolous one, a piano. The author, in the old remorseless way, contrasts their subsequent careers, nothing but happiness and worth falling to the sensible girl who chose the cow, and nothing but disaster dogging the steps of the foolish desirer of the musical instrument. I do not think [Pg vii]this to be good working morality, since proficiency on the piano can also be a step towards a livelihood and independence, and even Madame Schumann, one supposes, had to make a start somehow. The name of the author is not known.

Probably no story in this collection had more popularity in its day than 'Jemima Placid,' of which I use only a portion. And I think it deserved it, for it is very pleasantly and sympathetically written, and a better understanding of home prevails than in so many of these old books. Jemima's brothers seem to me very well drawn, and certain minor touches lend an agreeable air of reality to the book. The author's name is, I believe, not known. His preface, which I quote here, is very sensible. Considering the date, say about 1785, it is curiously sensible and discerning:—

'It has been often said that infancy is the happiest state of human life, as being exempted from those serious cares and that anxiety which must ever in some degree be an attendant on a more advanced age; but the author of the following little performance is of a different opinion, and has ever considered the troubles of children as a severe exercise to their patience when it is recollected that the vexations which they meet with are suited to the weakness of their understanding, and though trifling, perhaps, in themselves, acquire importance from their connection with the puerile inclinations and bounded views of an infant mind, where present gratification is the whole they can comprehend, and therefore suffer in proportion when their wishes are obstructed.

'The main design of this publication is to prove from example that the pain of disappointment will be much increased by ill-temper, and that to yield to the force of necessity will be found wiser than vainly to oppose it. The contrast between the principal character with the peevishness of her cousins' temper is intended as an incitement to that placid disposition which will form the happiness of social life in every stage, and which, therefore, should not be thought beneath anyone's attention or undeserving of their cultivation.'

'Jemima Placid' is one of the many stories in which the names are symbolical. We have another example in 'Dicky Random,' and, I suppose, in 'Captain Murderer' too, while in 'Prince Life,' to which we soon come, which is frankly an allegory, the habit is carried beyond Bunyan, who made[Pg viii] his attributes very like men and called them Mr. or Lord to increase the illusion or diminish the cheat. The drawback to this kind of nomenclature is that it weakens the realism of the story. It also perplexes one a little when one thinks of later generations. Jemima's two brothers, for example, would marry one day, and their children would necessarily be called Placid too. But would they be placid? And was Mr. Piner's father a piner? It is even more perplexing when the name carries a calling as well, as in Farmer Wheatear, and Giles Joltem, the carter, and Mr. Coverup, the sexton, in the old story of Dame Partlet's Farm. Suppose Mr. Joltem's son had become a chauffeur, with rubber tyres? Or could he? If not, these names must have immensely have simplified the question 'What to do with our boys?'

It is hardly necessary to say that the books which Jemima took back with her from London (on page 46), and which gave such pleasure, were all published by the same firm that issued her own history. This was a system of advertisement brought to perfection by Newbery of St. Paul's Churchyard. It is so very artless and amusing that one is sorry it has died out.

For the 'Two Trials' I have gone to a little work entitled Juvenile Trials for telling Fibs, robbing Orchards, and Other Offences, 1816, from which, viâ Evenings at Home, I borrowed a story for Old Fashioned Tales. The book is anonymous. Surely such schoolboys and schoolgirls never were on sea or shore; but that does not matter. In the old books one did not look for reality.

I have included 'Prince Life' for two reasons. Partly because it seems to me not bad of its kind, although far from being as good as 'Uncle David's Nonsensical Story' in the Old-Fashioned Tales, and partly because I thought it interesting to show what kind of stories historical novelists write for their own families—for 'Prince Life' was written in 1855 for his little boy by G. P. R. James, the author of The Smuggler, Richelieu, Darnley, and scores of other romances.[Pg ix] Allegories, I must confess, are not much to my taste; but I have so frequently found that what I like others dislike, and what I dislike others like, that I include 'Prince Life' here quite confidently. It has given Mr. Bedford material for a good picture, anyway.

'The Farmyard Journal,' which follows, is not dramatic, but it has plenty of incident, and is included here to foster the gift of observation. I found it in a favourite and very excellent and wise old book, Evenings at Home, by the strong-minded Aikins—a kind of work which it grieves one to think is outgrown not only by the readers of children's books, but by their writers too.

'The Fruits of Disobedience,' which comes next, follows ordinary lines, and is chiefly remarkable for its busy clergy. I included it because the topic of kidnapping is one of which I think every collection of old stories for children should take notice. In every book of this nature at least one child's face must be stained with walnut juice. The story is from the anonymous Tales of the Hermitage, written for the Instruction and Amusement of the Rising Generation, 1778.

'The Rose's Breakfast,' also anonymous, is one of the many imitations of Roscoe's Butterfly's Ball, about which the English reading public so strangely lost its head in 1808. I never considered this a good story, but now that I see it in its new type on the fair page of the present volume, I am amazed to think I ever marked it for inclusion at all. It seems to me poverty-stricken in fancy and very paltry in tone, the idea of making beautiful flowers as mean-spirited as trumpery men and women can be being wholly undesirable. It is too late to take it out, especially as Mr. Bedford has drawn a very charming picture for it, but I hope it will remain only as an object-lesson. Possibly its badness may incite someone to write a better, and that would be my justification. One interesting thing about it is the light it throws on the change of fashion in garden flowers.

'The Three Cakes' is from an English translation of the[Pg x] great Monsieur Berquin's L'Ami des Enfants—the most famous children's book in France. Armand Berquin, who, in addition to his own stories, translated Sandford and Merton into French, was born in 1750 and died in 1791. His L'Ami des Enfants, 1784, was in twelve small volumes, and it covered most of the ground that a moralist for the young could cover in those days. It is more like Priscilla Wakefield's Juvenile Anecdotes, to which we are coming, on a larger scale, than anything I can name; but no imitation, for M. Berquin came first. The idea of 'The Three Cakes' was borrowed from M. Berquin by the Taylors for their Original Poems, and Mary Howitt borrowed it too, also for rhyming purposes. French writers when they have tried seriously to interest children, have been very successful. I know of few better stories than that which in its English translation is called Little Robinson of Paris; but it is a long book in itself, and could not be condensed for our purposes. While on the subject of French stories I may refer to 'The Bunch of Cherries,' on page 242 of this volume, which is also French, and comes from a work called in the English translation Tales to My Daughter. I include it for its quaint naïveté, and also for its lesson of gratitude and minute thoughtfulness. But it was a sad oversight (not too explicable in a French romance) not to make Augustus marry the Green Hat.

I included 'Amendment,' from The Little Prisoners; or, Passion and Patience, 1828, because its idea is an attractive one. There is always something engaging, not by any means only to the youthful mind, in the idea of a complete change in the conditions and surroundings of one's life. That is why so many of us want to be gipsies. The book is anonymous.

'Scourhill's Adventure' is from an amusing book called The Academy, which, for all I know, is the first real boy's school-book ever written. Its companion is The Rector, and together they describe, with no little spirit and reasonableness, a school a hundred years ago, with all the escapades and[Pg xi] errors of the boys and all the homilies of the schoolmaster. I like the episode of Scourhill as well as any because of the pleasant interior which it contains—Scourhill's home, with the noisy old gentlemen, a little like a scene in Marryat. The books are not worth reprinting, in the way that Lady Anne (to which we draw near) is worth reprinting; but they are worth looking at if they ever chance to fall one's way.

We come next to 'The Journal' from Juvenile Anecdotes founded on Facts; Collected for the Amusement of Children, 1803, by Priscilla Wakefield. A hundred years ago Mrs. Wakefield's books for the nursery (which, if its literature is a guide, was in those days less of a nursery than a conventicle) were in every shop. She poured them forth—little rushing streams of didacticism. The present work, from which, for its quaintness, I have chosen 'The Journal,' is a kind of Ann and Jane Taylor in very obvious prose. Little girls having spent their half-crowns on themselves, at once meet members of the destitute class, and, having nothing to give them, are plunged into remorse; little boys creeping into the larder to steal jam, eat soft soap by mistake and never are greedy again; and so forth. All the conventional images and morals are employed. The whole book is one long and emphatic division of sheep from goats. 'The Journal' is not perhaps exciting, but it reflects the quieter family life of a century ago, and incidentally portrays the thorough governess of that day.

Priscilla Wakefield was a Quaker, the great-granddaughter on her mother's side of Barclay of Ury, who wrote the Apology. She had a famous niece, Elizabeth Fry, and a famous grandson, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, the colonist. She was born in 1751 and died in 1832; wrote, as I have said, many instructive books for the young; and was one of the original promoters of savings banks for the people.

'Ellen and George; or, The Game at Cricket' is from an old friend, Tales for Ellen, by Alicia Catherine Mant, from which I took, for Old Fashioned Tales, the very pretty history[Pg xii] of 'The Little Blue Bag.' I do not consider 'Ellen and George' as good as the 'Little Blue Bag,' and I should not be surprised if I discovered on a severe analysis of motive that it was included here more for its cricket than its human interest. But it has a certain sweetness and naturalness too. Ellen's very sensible question (as it really was) on page 184, 'Then why don't you send the cat away?' is one of the first examples of independent—almost revolutionary—thought in a child recorded by a writer for children in the early days. To say such a thing to a mother eighty years ago was indeed a feat. For the most part children then were to accept all that was said to them by their elders as fact, and neither meditate nor utter criticism. The principal difference between the children of those days and the children of these is their present liberty of criticism. To-day every child has his own opinion; a hundred years ago none had.

Some of the remarks on page 186 will divert the young readers of to-day, when girls know as much about cricket (and sometimes play as well) as boys do. I must confess to much perplexity as to what part could be played in the manufacture of wickets by George's hammer and nails. Runs were called notches at that time because the scorer cut notches on a stick. Wilson's good nature has, I fear, found its way more than once into the first-class game—at least, I remember that a full toss on the leg side went to Mr. W. G. Grace when he had made ninety-six towards his hundredth hundred; and quite right too. When it comes, however, to throwing down one's bat and flinging the ball at a batsman (as George did), there is no excuse to be offered. I have omitted the end of the story, in which Mr. Danvers condescends to take a hand at the game, in a match against George and Tom Fletcher (who made it up), and beats them by a narrow margin of notches. According to the author he had been in his youth a fine bat, but this statement has been cruelly discredited by the artist who illustrated the book, and who placed the gentleman in an attitude (or 'stance,' as they say now), and gave him a grip[Pg xiii] on the handle, from which nothing but ridicule and disaster could result. Mr. Bedford is not like this. Mr. Bedford is one of those rare artists who read a story first.

Of 'Waste Not, Want Not' it is unnecessary to speak. It is one of the best of the stories in Miss Edgeworth's Parent's Assistant, most entertaining of books with dull names. I have my doubts as to whether Benjamin was not too much encouraged above Hal, but that has nothing to do with the story.

We come now to comedy and to farce. 'The Fugitive' I found in an odd little book by a Miss Pearson called A Few Weeks at Clairmont Castle, 1828; while 'The Butcher's Tournament' is from Peter Parley. I read this story when I was quite a child, and it always remained in my memory, and for several years of late I have kept up a desultory search for it. I could not, therefore, having chanced upon it in Peter Parley's Annual for 1843, omit it from this volume. The author's name is not given, but I suppose that William Martin wrote it—under the influence of Douglas Jerrold, I should say.

For 'Malleville's Night of Adventure' I have gone again to Jacob Abbott, from whom last year I took 'Embellishment.' The story is a chapter or two of Beechnut, best of the Franconia books. Later the author changed the name Malleville, which certainly is not beautiful, to Madeline; but I have left it here as in the original edition. There seems to be no middle way with Jacob Abbott: you must either think him the flattest of writers for children, or the most interesting. So many of my earliest recollections are bound up with Phonny and Beechnut that I shall always think of Jacob Abbott with enthusiasm. But the heretics in this matter I can understand, although pitying them too.

For looking through the scores and scores—I might, I believe, say hundreds—of books from which to select the twenty stories within these covers, I should consider myself amply rewarded by the discovery of Lady Anne. This story—I[Pg xiv] might almost say this novel—which is at once the longest and, to my mind, the best thing in the present volume, is anonymous. All that I know of the author is that she—I take it to be a woman's work—wrote also The Blue Silk Hand-bag, but of that book I have been able to catch no glimpse. In order to bring Lady Anne into this collection I have had here and there to condense a few pages, but I have touched nothing essential: the sweet little narrative is only shortened, never altered. Lady Anne was first published in 1823.

With 'Captain Murderer,' which ends the book, we come to another story by a novelist, this time a man of genius, Charles Dickens. The agreeably gruesome trifle occurs in the essay in The Uncommercial Traveller on 'Nurses' Stories,' and it was told to the little Dickens by a dreadful girl named Sarah, who chilled him also with the dark history of Chips, the ship's carpenter, and the rat of the Devil. The story of Chips is better than the story of Captain Murderer, but I do not care for the responsibility of laying it before you. The Captain may be held to be forbidding enough, but he is, all the same, well within the nursery's traditions of acceptable villainy, being only a variant upon Bluebeard and the giant who fed upon bread made with the bone-flour of Englishmen; whereas the story of Chips introduces infernal elements and makes rats too horrible to be thought about. So I feel; but if anyone complains of the grimness of the Captain I shall have, I fear, only a very poor defence.

E. V. L.

[Pg xv]


Dicky Random; or, Good-Nature is nothing without Good Conduct; Anon. 1

The Months; Anon. 15

Jemima Placid; or, The Advantage of Good-Nature; Anon. 23

Two Trials: I. Sally Delia; Anon. 48
II. Harry Lenox; Anon. 58

Prince Life; by G. P. R. James 72

The Farm-Yard Journal; by the Aikins 90

The Fruits of Disobedience; or, The Kidnapped Child; Anon. 98

The Rose's Breakfast; Anon. 114

The Three Cakes; by Armand Berquin 128

Amendment; Anon. 136

Scourhill's Adventures; Anon. 162

The Journal; by Priscilla Wakefield 172

Ellen and George; or, The Game at Cricket; by A. C. Mant 181

Waste Not, Want Not; or, Two Strings to Your Bow; by Maria Edgeworth 204

[Pg xvi]The Bunch of Cherries; Anon. 242

The Fugitive; by Miss Pearson 256

The Butcher's Tournament; by Peter Parley 275

Malleville's Night of Adventure; by Jacob Abbott 297

The Life and Adventures of Lady Anne; Anon. 320

Captain Murderer; by Charles Dickens 422
[Pg xvii]


Off it went, knocked him backwards, and shivered a beautiful mirror 7

The lambs frisk about her 17

Ellen went a dozen times in the day to look at her new cap 37

'I was reading, and was interrupted by Henry Lenox and three others talking over a secret' 65

The Prince slays the monster with a hundred horrible heads 87

She kicked up her hind legs and threw down the milk-pail 91

Cut her beautiful hair close to her head 103

The sweet Misses Lilies of the Valley could not be tempted from their retreat 121

'I will play you all the pretty tunes that I know, if you will give me leave' 133

Had not the gardener, who then came up, taken him in his arms, and carried him into the house,
in spite of his kicking and screaming 143

Every boy ... joined in the pursuit, and every cottage poured out its matrons and children and dogs 165

[Pg xviii]George was despatched to desire one of the servants to bring a basket, in which we carried the poor sufferer 177

Hither Ellen accompanied him to see the wickets completed 187

'Oh, what an excellent motto!' exclaimed Ben 207

'The everlasting whipcord, I declare' 239

'The happiness of sharing with others that which we possess enhances the value of its enjoyment' 245

'There he goes!' 263

Knights in armour tumbled over their own steeds, donkeys ran snorting about, ladies shrieked 293

Wherever the feather passed it changed the surface of the water into ice 303

The arrival at the inn 325

The Flight over London Bridge 351

Lady Anne finds her father 407

[Pg 1]

Forgotten Tales of Long Ago

Dicky Random


Good-nature is nothing without Good Conduct

'In festive play this maxim prize—
Be always merry—always wise!'

>'Do you know what hour it is when you see a clock?' said Mr. Random to his little son Richard.

'Yes, father,' said Richard; 'for I can count it all round. When both hands are at the top of the clock, then I know it is time to leave school.'

'Then go and see what time it is,' said his father.

Away ran Richard, and brought back word in a moment that it was exactly six o'clock.

In a few minutes after came in a friend with a young lady, the former of whom asked Mr. Random why he was not ready to go with them to the concert that evening, as he had promised. Mr. Random replied that it[Pg 2] was but six o'clock, which, however, he was soon convinced was a mistake of Richard's, who, on being asked what he saw when he looked on the clock, replied, 'I saw the two hands together close to the six, and that made me say it was six, for I always call it twelve when they are right opposite.'

'Remember, my dear,' said his father, 'that the long hand never tells the hour, except on the stroke of twelve. You ought to know that the minute hand overtakes its fellow somewhat later every hour, till at noon and midnight they again start exactly even; and when a bigger boy I shall expect you to tell me how much difference is increased every time they come into conjunction. You now see, Dicky, that through such a mistake I must make my friends wait; pray, therefore, mind better another time.'

In a few minutes after his father bid him go into the dining-room, and bring down a bottle of wine, which stood in the hither corner of the cellaret, that he might help the gentleman and lady to a glass.

'Yes, father,' said little Dick, and up he went. On the stairs he met puss, and stopped to play with her, during which he forgot what had been told him. Having gotten a bottle, downstairs he came, and, pouring out a couple of glasses, he returned with it. But, when on the landing-place, he naughtily drew out the cork to have a taste himself. It was not only very vulgar to drink out of the neck of a bottle, but wrong to make free slily with that which he was merely entrusted to serve out. However, it rushed so fast into his mouth, and was so hot, that he was afraid of being strangled. It happened that he had bitten his cheek that morning, and the liquor bathing the sore place made it smart so that he put down the bottle on the floor, when, in stamping[Pg 3] about, it rolled downstairs and made a fine clatter. His father ran out on hearing the noise, but was stopped in the way by seeing the young lady almost gasping for breath, and it was some minutes before she could say that he had given her brandy instead of wine.

Mr. Random next proceeded upstairs, where little Dick was picking up the pieces of broken glass, in doing which he cut a deep gash in his hand.

'Where did you take the bottle from?'

'Out of the farther side of the cellaret,' said Dicky.

'I told you to take it from the hither side,' replied Mr. Random. 'But, however, you shall smart for your neglect: what remains of the brandy will serve to bathe your hand, and I hope the pain will make you reflect that the loss is the same to me, whether you spilt it from design or inattention.'

He one day made his mother look very simple at table, for which he deserved to have suffered much more than her good nature required. Young Random was to have a grand rout in the evening with some of his little favourites. A few nice tarts, custards, etc., had been made in the morning for the occasion, and had been most temptingly baked in the forenoon.

It happened that two gentlemen called on Mr. Random about two o'clock, and he insisted upon their staying to dinner; in consequence of which his lady had the pastry removed from the sideboard to the china-closet.

All children must frequently have heard their mothers say, when they wish to have anything saved for another occasion, 'My friends, you see your dinner before you; I hope you will consider yourselves at home and not spare.' This is always thought to be a sufficient excuse for not bringing anything of another sort to table.

When the meat was nearly done with, Mrs. Random[Pg 4] made the above remark to her visitors, who declared that nothing more was requisite. She then bid the servant put the cheese on the table.

'What, mother,' said Richard, 'is there nothing else?'

'No, my love,' said his mother; 'I am sure you want nothing more.'

'Why, yes, mother. Where are the tarts and custards you put into the closet?'

'Surely you dream?' said his mother.

'No, I don't, indeed,' replied Dicky. 'You put them away directly the gentlemen said they would stay to dine, and observed what a deal of trouble visitors do give.'

Anyone will easily believe that this made Mrs. Random look very confused. She hardly knew what to reply, but she turned it off in the best manner she could, and said:

'It is you, Richard, who trouble me more than the visits of my friends. I am happy to see them always, but on some days more than others. To-day, you know, we have been preparing for your company, and therefore the reserve I have kept would not have been made but on your account. The pastry was intended for your visitors, and not your father's. However, if you are such a child that you cannot wait till night, they shall be brought to table now; but, remember, I will not order any more to be made, and you shall provide for your playmates out of the money put by to purchase the magic-lantern and the books.'

Richard looked quite down when he heard this sentence, and more so when he saw the pastry placed on the table.

Dear me, how soon had the tarts and custards disappeared, if one of each had been served round to the company! But the gentlemen were too polite even to taste them, and father and mother declined eating any.[Pg 5] Richard's sister said she could very well wait till supper; hence they were all saved. But Dicky was afterwards very severely taken to task for speaking out of time, when he was not spoken to.

When evening came, and the little visitors were assembled, Richard, who had seen some of the sports at a country fair, would show his dexterity to amuse his young party. He took up the poker, and, supposing it to be a pole, performed some imitations. But, unable long to preserve it upright from its weight, the sooty end fell on Master Snapper's book, who was reading a little work upon 'Affability.' The blow fairly knocked it out of his hand, and made a great smear on his frilled shirt, at which a loud laugh ensued. Now Master Snapper could not bear to be laughed at, and was so much out of humour all the evening that he would not play.

Little Dick never once, all this time, thought that if it had fallen on his playfellow's toe, it might have lamed him, and he would at least have had to carry him a pick-a-back home; nor did he think who was to have paid the doctor; but, pleased with the mirth he had made, he went upstairs and fetched down one of the pistols which his father kept in a private drawer. Then, pulling in his rocking-horse, he fancied he was one of the Light Horse, and mounted it to show the sword exercise, and how he could shoot a Frenchman or a Turk at full gallop. He had no business with a rocking-horse or a pistol among young ladies, but he never thought if it were proper or not, and much less if the pistol were loaded.

While he was going on a full canter, he gave the words, 'Present! fire!' and off it went, knocked him backwards, and shivered a beautiful mirror into a thousand pieces. Oh, what a sad scene of confusion ensued! Some of the[Pg 6] young ladies screamed out with fright. Miss Timid, knocked down by Dicky in falling backwards, lay on the ground bleeding at the nose. Some were employed in picking up the pieces of glass, or pinning their handkerchiefs over the fracture, to prevent its being seen while they stayed; but such a hope was vain.

The noise brought Mr. and Mrs. Random and all the servants upstairs, who too soon found out the havoc that had been made, and demanded how it happened. All the children would willingly have screened Dicky, because they knew he had not done it to frighten, but to amuse them. Master Snapper, however, now thinking it was his turn, in a very ill-natured speech made the worst of the story. But the spiteful way in which he spoke did little Dick no harm, as he seemed more rejoiced at his misfortune than sorry for Mr. Random's loss; hence it had the effect not to increase the latter's anger.

'Playing with balancing poles and pistols,' said Mr. Random in a stern accent to his son, 'is very well in a proper place, but quite inadmissible in a room full of company. Now, sir, what business had you to take this pistol out of my room?'

'Indeed, father,' said Dicky, crying, 'I did not know it was loaded.'

'It is but last week,' continued his father, 'that you were told never to take such a thing without asking, and not even then till someone had tried if it were loaded. So many accidents have happened with firearms which have been supposed not to be loaded, that he who unguardedly shoots another ought to take a similar chance for his own life; for you know the Scripture says: "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." Think, Richard, that if I had been standing before the mirror, what would have been the consequence. You would have shot your father! Your mother would have died of grief, and you and Letitia have been orphans!'[Pg 7]

Off it went, knocked him backwards, and shivered a beautiful mirror.—Page 5. Off it went, knocked him backwards, and shivered a beautiful mirror.—Page 5.

[Pg 9]

'Ah, then I should have died too!' said Dicky, wiping the tears from his eyes with the back of his hand. 'But how came you to load the pistol last night, father?'

'Because,' replied his father, 'I thought I heard something fall in the parlour, and the passage-door being directly after shut to in a still manner. I loaded the pistols, thinking that thieves had broken into the house, and pushed up the sash to shoot the first that came out.'

'Then it was lucky,' said Richard, 'I did not come out again, or you might have killed me; for I got up in the night to let Juno out of the shed, where I had tied her up, and she was making a sad howling. Indeed, before I was aware, she ran into the parlour, and, as it was quite dark, I tumbled over her.'

'And broke the geranium-tree,' added his father.

'Yes, I did indeed,' said Dicky, 'but I did not go to do it. After that I turned Juno into the yard, and this I dare say is all the noise you heard.'

'There is an old saying, my dear little friends,' said Mr. Random, 'which I wish you to attend to, because it has a great deal of truth in it: "The pitcher that goes often safe to the well may come home broken at last." And so, though the thoughtless and giddy may go on for a long while without danger, it will overtake them sooner or later. Here is a strong instance of escape from the consequences which might have attended Richard's thoughtlessness; besides which, his mother could get no more sleep all night, and I, after running the risk of catching cold in searching over the house, have this morning been at the expense of new fastenings to the doors and windows. The next time, however,[Pg 10] you rise, Richard, to alarm the family, you shall in future roost with the hens or bed in the stable.'

Dicky now thought that his parent's resentment had subsided, and, upon the latter's calling to him to come, he sprang across the room with the greatest alertness; but how suddenly was his smile cast down when Mr. Random, taking his hand, ordered him to wish his young friends much mirth and a good appetite, while he was going to be punished for his misconduct. At once were all their little hands put out to prevent Mr. Random's resolution of taking him away, but all their petitions were in vain. Richard was forced into an empty cellar, and left with no other companion than a glimmering rush-light. Here he was told he might do as much mischief as he pleased. The iron bars kept him from getting out on one side, and the door was padlocked on the other. In this dilemma he marched round and round, crying, with his little candle, and saw stuck on the walls the following lines:

'Empty caves and commons wild
Best befit a thoughtless child,
A solid wall, an earthen floor,
Prison lights, a padlock'd door,
Where's no plaything which he may
Turn to harm by random play,
For in such sport too oft is found
A penny-toy will cost a pound.
Be wise and merry;—play, but think;
For danger stands on folly's brink.'

After having been kept in confinement nearly half an hour, Mr. Random could no longer resist the pressing solicitations of his son's guests, who declined partaking of the supper till Richard was returned to them.

Having learned the above lines by heart, he repeated[Pg 11] them to his young company, and, on his promising to remember their contents, he was permitted to sit down to table.

The rest of the evening was spent in innocent cheerfulness, and for some time after little Random played with more caution.

We must omit many of the less important neglects of young Random, such as letting the toast fall in handling it, shooting his arrow through the window, riding a long stick where it might throw persons down, leaving things in the way at dark, etc., and proceed to relate a good-natured fancy of his which tended, more than any of the preceding events, to show him the folly of taking any step without first looking to what it might lead.

In Mr. Random's garden was a fine tall pear tree, and that year a very fine pear grew on the topmost twig. His mother and sister had several times wished for the luscious fruit, but it seemed to bid defiance to every attack that was not aided by a tall ladder. 'Oh!' thought Dicky, 'if I can get it down and present it to my mother, how pleased she will be!' So, when he was alone, he picked out some large stones and threw at it, but without any success. The next day he renewed his attack in the evening, and to insure a better chance employed several large pieces of brick and tile.

Now all these dangerous weapons went over into a poor man's garden, where his son and some other boys were weeding it. One of them fell upon the little fellow's leg, and cut it in so desperate a manner that he cried out, quite terrified at the blow and sight of the blood. The other boys directly took the alarm, and picking up some stones as large as that which had done the mischief, they mounted on a high bench, and discharged such a well-directed volley at the person of Master Random[Pg 12] that he was most violently struck upon the nose, and knocked backwards into a glass cucumber-frame.

Here he lay in a most pitiable condition, calling upon his mother, while the wounded boy on the other side joined in the concert of woe.

'Oh, it served you rightly!' exclaimed the young assailants, who were looking over the wall, and ran away as soon as they saw Mr. Random come into the garden to inquire the cause of the uproar.

His first concern was to carry Dicky indoors, and then, having wiped away the blood and tears, he asked him how it happened.

'I was only trying to get a pear for my mother,' said Richard, 'when these boys threw stones at me, and hit me!'

'That was very cruel,' said his father, 'to meddle with you when you were doing nothing to them, and if I can find them out they shall be punished for it.'

Mr. Random immediately set off to the next house, but was met at his own door by the father of the wounded boy, who was coming with him in his arms to demand satisfaction. This brought the whole truth out, and the artful little fellow was found to have concealed a part of the real case. Instead of saying 'he was only getting a pear,' he should have said that he was throwing large stones at the topmost pear on the tree, and that every stone went over the wall, he could not tell where.

'Ah, Richard,' said his father, 'it is little better than story-telling to conceal a part of the truth. The affair now wears quite a new face. It was you that gave the first assault, and will have to answer for all the bad consequences. It is my duty to see that this unoffending boy is taken care of; but if his leg be so cut or bruised that he cannot get so good a living when he comes to be a[Pg 13] man as he might otherwise have done, how would you like to make up the deficiency? You cannot doubt that he has a demand upon you equal to the damage you may have done to him. He is poor, and his father must send him to the hospital, but it would be unjust of me to suffer it. No, on the contrary, I shall prevent this by taking him home and sending you there, where Dr. Hardheart makes his patients smart before he cures them. Come, get ready to go, for delays in wounds of the head are not to be trifled with.'

Mr. Random then ordered the servant to go for a coach, in which Dicky most certainly would have been sent off had not word been brought back that there was not a coach on the stand. During this time Dicky had fallen on his knees, entreating that he might remain at home, and offering promises to be less heedless in future; nay, he was willing to yield up all his toys to the maimed little gardener.

The boy's father, though but a labouring man, had a generous mind; he wanted nothing of this kind, but only wished him to be more cautious in future, as the same stones, thrown at random, might have either blinded his son or fractured his skull, instead of merely hurting his leg. Mr. Random then insisted on Richard's giving him half-a-crown, and asking pardon for the misfortune occasioned by his carelessness.

This heavy sum was directly taken out of the hoard which had been laid by for the purchase of a set of drawing instruments, but he had a yet heavier account to settle with his father for damaging the cucumber-frame. He had broken as much of it as would come to fifteen shillings to mend, and as payment was insisted on, or close confinement until the whole was settled, he was compelled to transfer to his father all his receipts for the ensuing[Pg 14] five months before he could again resume his scheme of laying by an adequate sum to purchase the drawing utensils. Independently of which he always carried a strong memorial of his folly on his nose, which was so scarred that he endured many a joke, as it were, to keep alive in his memory the effect of his folly. Indeed, he never looked in the glass without seeing his reproach in his face, and thus at length learned never to play without first thinking if it were at a proper time and in a proper place.

[Pg 15]

The Months


Who is this, clad in russet-brown? His distant step sounds hollow on the frozen ground; no beam of beauty is on his face, but his look is healthy, and his step is firm. As he approaches the peasant bars his door and renews his fire. The sparkling home-brewed goes round and mantles in the foaming jug, the oft-repeated tale is told, the rain patters against the casement, but the night passes away, and the storm is no longer heard.

Bright in his career the sun arises. Millions of gems seem suspended from the leafless branches. The familiar robin and the bolder sparrow seek the abode of man. Swift fly the balls of snow; the ruddy youth binds on his skates and gracefully flies over the frozen pool.

Who is this stranger? He is the first-born of his family, and his name is January.

A grave and placid maiden now advances. The crocus and the snow-drop adorn her brown garments, a wreath of primroses binds her brows, the robin, perched on the leafless branch, welcomes her approach, and the lovely[Pg 16] green of the young wheat is spread over the lately barren fields. The lambs frisk about her, they nibble the grass of the valley, then suddenly start and bound up the shelving mountain. But their infant coats are now wet with rain, and their sports are over. Shivering, they follow the shepherd with their bleating dams. And now, adorned with rustic lays and bleeding hearts, the swain sends to his favourite maid the mysterious valentine. The birds choose their mates; it is the season of connubial joys. Mild then be thy reign, gentle February.

Who is this froward youth, with his loud and boisterous voice? He comes from the east; limping rheumatism and shivering ague are in his train; but his face is now dressed in smiles. The birds begin their lays, the lambs again frolic around. The daisy and the violet grow beneath his feet; he dresses himself with the buds of the spring. Vegetation displays her lovely green, and holds out the promise of future riches. Again the tempest of his passions arise; he tears the chaplet from his brows, and scatters it in the wind. Oh! hasten far away from us, variable and boisterous March.

Clad in a robe of light green, and decorated with lilies of the valley, a lovely maid advances. She breathes on the opening flowers, and their beauty is expanded. The leaves of the grove burst forth, and the hedges exhibit their partial verdure. Nature, invigorated, smiles around her; but she weeps, and her flowerets bend, drooping, to the earth. Mild is her mien, and the tint of modesty is on her cheek. She smiles, whilst the tear still trembles in her eye, like placid resignation bending over the tomb of a departed friend. She is a pensive maiden, and her name is April.[Pg 17]

'The lambs frisk about her.'—Page 16. 'The lambs frisk about her.'—Page 16.

[Pg 19]

Hark to the sound of rustic mirth, which precede a cheerful youth! His step is light and airy, his robe is of many colours, roses adorn his flowing ringlets, health and pleasure float on the freshening gale, exercise and mirth gambol before him, age forgets his troubles, quits his arm-chair, and welcomes his approach. The maids of the hamlet assemble and dance round the pole, decked with many a flower and many a streaming pendant. The village lovers loiter at the stile, or wander down the retired lane, where the hedges are covered with their white blossoms, and the modest wild rose, emblem of the blushing maid, peeps from the sheltering thorn. Season of love and delight! long may thy reign be protracted, young and beauteous May!

Who is the maid now approaching? She arises when the lark first pours his melody in air. Her dress is of a darker green, her head is adorned with full-blown flowers, her face is tanned by labour. The bleating and affrighted sheep are plunged, unwillingly, into the pool, and now by the sturdy hand stripped of their fleecy coats. The bottle quickly passes, the simple tale goes round, the ballad purchased at the fair is sung; the mower whets his scythe, and the grass and the wild-flowers fall before it; the waggon, heavily laden, removes the odoriferous hay; and the neat-mown fields display a brighter green. The cuckoo, with his never-varying note is heard; but let us, when the day is over, placed in some secluded nook, listen to the sweeter nightingale, who, as poets feign, was once a hapless female. Industry now toils through the lengthened day, and the name of this sun-burnt maiden is June.

Who is the youth that now advances in his robe of gauze? He comes when the rosy morn first trembles in[Pg 20] the east. Slow and languid is his step; he seeks the damp cavern and the impervious shade. It is the heat of noon, and the kine no longer low. Not a breeze stirs: the foliage of the groves, all—is still, except the insect world, who dimple the stream, or, buzzing round the head of the sleeping youth, rouses the panting dog that lies at his side.

Now the terrified birds dart swiftly through the air; a solemn and portentous stillness reigns; the thunder mutters, the lightnings flash, and the pouring storm approaches; the traveller seeks the sheltering cottage. But when the sun again returns in his glory, the birds plume their dripping feathers; the gardener ties up his fallen roses, and trails anew the gadding woodbine. How sweetly refreshing is the air; we will wander over the breezy hill; we will pluck the summer fruits; and still welcome shalt thou be to us, sultry July.

Who is she, who, with the first blush of Aurora, brushes the pearly dew from the grass? Her robe is thin and airy, and on her head is a garland of wheat-ears and poppies. How busy is the scene around her! The shining scythe cuts down the bearded barley and the quivering oat; the reaper bends over the golden wheat, and fills the plenteous sheaf.

All are employed: even old age and childhood bend, with prying eyes, to glean the scattered ears. The master looks on his riches, and swells with satisfaction; the busy housewife loads the hospitable board, and hands the mantling ale around; age tells the tale of past times; and the loud laugh and rustic song burst from the lips of jocund youth. Oh! ever thus return to us, with plenty in thy train, mirth-inspiring August.[Pg 21]

Who is the youth that, at early dawn, brushes the stubble with his feet? His gun is on his arm. His well-taught dogs are with him. The harmony of the groves is destroyed, and the feathered race fall before his cruel hand. The timid hare, starting at the sound of early feet, flies from the furzy brake, and she returns to her shelter no more. Content thyself, youth, with the various fruits which Nature now bestows. The golden apricot, the downy peach, and the blooming plum, peep from beneath their green foliage. Feast on these gifts, but spare the feathered race, sanguinary September.

Who now comes, with the steady air of a matron? Her robe is of yellow, tinged with brown; and a wreath of berries encircles her head. She fills her barns; and the flail, with monotonous sound, is heard. Labour blesses her as he turns the earth with his plough, and scatters, with a seemingly careless hand, the seeds of future harvests. She shakes the clustering nuts from the trees, and gathers the rosy produce of the orchard, where the apple and the mellow pear yield their refreshing juice.

The poet wanders through the silent grove; the mournful breeze wafts the withered leaves around him; the huntsman winds his horn; exercise bounds over the plain; the sportsman rejoices in the barren fields. Season that I love, ever welcome shalt thou be to me, mild and pensive October.

What terrific form is this? Sullen and haggard is his face; his ragged garments float in the blast; a wreath of yew binds his head; thick fogs arise around him; he tears from the groves the last leaves of autumn; disease attends his baneful steps; he drinks at the stagnant pool; he throws himself on the beetling rock;[Pg 22] he courts the foaming billows; he listens to the last groans of the shipwrecked mariner; he wanders through the churchyard; he seeks the abode of the raven, and horror is in all his thoughts. Oh, hasten far away from us, gloomy November.

Who is this clad in flannel and warm furs? He wraps his garments close about him; a wreath of holly binds his bald head; he seeks the warm hearth and the blazing fire; he expands his hands: they are thin and shrivelled with age. The snow fast descends; the sweeping blast howls over the dreary heath, and shakes the cottage of the aged man—he is the father of the year, and his name is December.

[Pg 23]

Jemima Placid


The Advantage of Good Nature


Mr. Placid was a clergyman of distinguished merit, and had been for many years the vicar of Smiledale. The situation of the parsonage was truly beautiful, but the income of the living was not very considerable; so, as the old gentleman had two sons with the young Jemima to provide for, it was necessary to be rather frugal in his expenses. Mrs. Placid was remarkably handsome in her youth, but the beauty of her person was much impaired by a continued state of ill-health, which she supported with such a degree of cheerful fortitude as did honour to human nature. As she had had the advantage of a liberal education, and had been always accustomed to genteel company, her conversation was uncommonly agreeable; and her daughter derived from her instructions those engaging qualities which are the most valuable endowments a parent can bestow. The eldest son, whose name was Charles, was about three years, and William, the youngest, near a year and a half[Pg 24] older than his sister. Their dispositions were not in all respects so gentle as hers; yet, on the whole, they formed the most agreeable family.

When Jemima was about six years old, her mother's health rendered it necessary that she should take a journey to Bristol; and it being out of her power to have Jemima with her, she left her with an aunt, whose name was Finer, and who had two daughters a few years older than their cousin. Miss Placid, who had never before been separated from her mother, was severely hurt at the thought of leaving home; but as she was told it was absolutely necessary, she restrained her tears, from fear of increasing the uneasiness which her mother experienced.

At last the day arrived when her uncle (whom I before forgot to mention) and his wife came to dinner at Smiledale, with an intention of conducting Jemima back with them. She was in her father's study at the time they alighted, and could not help weeping at the idea of quitting her friends; and throwing her arms around her brother William's neck, silently sobbed forth that grief she wanted power to restrain. The poor boy, who loved his sister with great tenderness, was nearly as much agitated as herself, and could only, with affectionate kisses, every now and then exclaim:

'Do not cry so, Jemima. Pray, do not! We shall soon meet again, my love. Pray, do not cry!'

When she had relieved her little heart with this indulgence of her sorrow, she wiped her eyes, and walked slowly upstairs to have her frock put on.

'So your aunt is come, miss?' said Peggy, as she put down the basin on the table to wash her hands.

Poor Jemima was silent.

'I am sorry we are going to lose you, my dear,' added she, as she wiped the towel over her forehead.[Pg 25]

Peggy's hand held back her head, and at the same time supported her chin, so that her face was confined and exposed to observation. She wanted to hide her tears, but she could not; so at last, hastily covering herself with the maid's apron, and putting her two hands round her waist, she renewed the sorrow which she had so lately suppressed.

Peggy was very fond of her young lady, as indeed was every servant in the house; but there was a good woman, who went in the family by the name of Nurse, for whom Jemima had a still greater attachment. She had attended Mrs. Placid before her marriage, had nursed all her children from their births, and Jemima was the darling of her heart. As she entered the room at this time, she took the weeping girl into her lap, and wept herself at the reflection that it was the first time in her life she had slept without her.

'And so pray, my dear,' said she, 'take care of yourself; and when you go to bed, mind that they pin your night-cap close at the top, otherwise you will get cold; and do not forget to have your linen well aired; for otherwise it is very dangerous, love; and many a person, by such neglect, has caught a cold which has terminated in a fever. Sweet child! I do not like to trust it from me,' added she, hugging her still closer, and smothering her face in a check cotton handkerchief which she wore on her neck.

Jemima promised an observance of her injunctions, and being now dressed, attended a summons from her mother, who was alone in her chamber, the company having left her to walk in the garden, whither she was unable to accompany them.

'I see, my dear girl,' said she, holding out her hand as she sat in an easy-chair by the window—'I see that you[Pg 26] are sorry to leave me; and, indeed, Jemima, I am much grieved that such a separation is necessary; but I hope I shall be better when I return, and I am sure you would wish me to be quite well. I hope, therefore, that you will be a good child while you stay with your uncle and aunt, and not give more trouble than you cannot avoid.'

Miss Placid assured her mother of her obedience, and her firm resolution to mind all her admonitions. Mr. Finer returning at this period, interrupted any further discourse, only Mrs. Placid affectionately pressed her hand, and, after giving her a kiss, Jemima sat down on a little stool by her side.

When the hour of her departure was nearly arrived, she retired into the garden to take leave of her brothers, and went round with them to all the different places she had been accustomed to play in. They visited together the poultry-yard, and Jemima fed her bantams before she left them, bidding them all adieu, and looking behind her for the last time as she shut the gate. They then walked round by some walnut-trees, where a seat had been put up for them to sit in the shade.

'I wish you were not going,' said Charles; 'for I put this box and drove in these nails on purpose for you to hang up your doll's clothes, and now they will be of no farther use to us.'

'I wish so too,' replied his sister; 'but I cannot help it.'

'Well, do not cry,' added William; 'but come this way by the brewhouse, and bid my rabbits good-bye, and take this piece of lettuce in your hand to feed the old doe, and here is some parsley for the young ones. We shall have some more before you come back, and I will send you word if I can how many there be.'

'And, Jemima,' said Charles, 'I wish I were going with you to London, for I should like to see it; it is such[Pg 27] a large place, a great deal bigger than any villages which we have seen, and they say, the houses stand close together for a great way, and there are no fields or trees, and the houses have no gardens to them. But then there is a great number of shops, and you might perhaps get a collar for Hector. Do pray try, Jemima, and buy him one, and have his name put upon it, and that he belongs to the Rev. Mr. Placid of Smiledale, for then, in case we should lose him, folk would know where to return him.'

'And would it not be better to have a bell,' said William, 'as the sheep have? I like a bell very much; it would make such a nice noise about the house; and then we should always know where he was when we were reading, as my father will not let us look after him. What else do we want her to buy, Charles? Cannot you write a list?'

'That will be the best way,' replied he, taking out his pencil, and, very ungracefully, to be sure, he put the point of it to his mouth two or three times before it would write. And then, having but a small scrap of paper, he despatched his brother, as the shortest way, to fetch a slate, and he would transcribe it afterwards with a pen and ink, for he had, in endeavouring to cut a new point to his pencil, broken it off so frequently that the lead was all wasted, and nothing remained except the wood. William soon returned with the slate under his arm. Charles took it from him, and then went to work to prepare a bill of necessary things, which his sister was to purchase in London. He leaned so hard, and scratched in such a manner as, had any grown people been of the party, would have set their teeth on edge (a sensation, I believe, with which children are unacquainted, for they never seem to notice it at all).[Pg 28]

'First then,' said he, 'I am to mention a collar for Hector, with his name and place of abode; and I should like very much to have some Indian glue to mend our playthings, such as father uses, and which we cannot get here, you know.'

William assented, and Jemima was as attentive as if she had to remember all the things he was writing without the assistance of his list. They sat some time in silence to recollect the other necessary commissions when she reminded them that a new pencil would be a useful article, but Charles said his father would supply that want, and there was no need to spend his own money for things he could have without any expense, but if anyhow he could get a gun with a touch-hole he should be quite happy.

'No, you would not,' returned William, 'for then, Charles, you would want gunpowder, which you never could have, and if you had, might never use it.'

'To be sure, that is true. I have long wished for it; but, as you say, I will be contented without it, so do not concern yourself about that, and I need not set it down.'

I shall not trouble you with the rest of the consultation on this important subject, but transcribe the list itself, which, with the account of the preceding conversation, I received from a young lady who frequently spent some months with Mrs. Placid, and to whose kindness I am indebted for many of the various incidents which compose this history.

A List of Things Jemima is to bring from London.

A collar for Hector; Indian glue; some little pictures to make a show; a pair of skates, as we shall like skating better than sliding; a large coach-whip for Charles, because John will not lend us his; and some little books which[Pg 29] we can understand, and which mother told Mrs. West may be bought somewhere in London, but Jemima must inquire about it.

Such were the orders which Miss Placid received from her brothers on her first journey to the Metropolis. They then attended her to bid adieu to her canary-bird, which she very tenderly committed to their care, and desired they would feed it every day, and give it water in her absence, and mind to turn the glass the right way, otherwise the poor thing might be starved. While she was taking her leave of little Dick, who hung in the hall by the window, her cat came purring to her and rubbed its head against her frock and pushed against her feet, then lay down on one side, and while Jemima stroked it with her hand, she licked her fingers, and at last jumped up into the window-seat to be still nearer to its mistress, who, taking it into her arms, particularly desired her brothers to give puss some of their milk every morning, and to save some bits of meat at dinner to carry to it. 'For, my pussy,' added she, 'I am quite sorry to leave you.'

Another affair remained, which was to put away all her playthings; but this she had deferred so long that the carriage was ready before she had concluded, so with that, likewise, she was obliged to entrust her brothers. And, looking round her with a heavy heart upon every object she had been accustomed to, she quitted the room with regret, and after receiving the affectionate kisses of the whole family her father lifted her into the carriage, and, the tears running down her cheeks, she looked out of the window as long as the house was in sight and her brothers continued to stand at the gate, till the road to London turning into a contrary direction they could no[Pg 30] longer see each other. She then, with a melancholy countenance, watched the fields and lanes she passed by, till at last, quite fatigued, she sat down, and soon after fell asleep.

When they stopped at the inn where they intended to rest that night, she was so much fatigued, having been up very early, that she did not wake till she was nearly undressed, when, finding herself in a house where she had never before been, she looked about, but was too good to fret at such a circumstance, though she wished to be at home again. The next morning they renewed their journey, and in two days arrived at Mr. Piner's house about eight o'clock in the evening.

Jemima, who had not seen her cousins since she was two years old, had entirely forgotten them, and, as they expected to find her as much a baby as at their last interview, they appeared like entire strangers to each other. They welcomed their father and mother, and looked at Miss Placid with silent amazement; both parties, indeed, said the civil things they were desired, such as 'How do you do, cousin?' rather in a low and drawling tone of voice; and Miss Sally, who was eight years old, turned her head on one side and hung on her father's arm, though he tried to shake her off, and desired her to welcome Miss Placid to London, and to say she was glad to see her, to inquire after her father, mother, and brothers, and, in short, to behave politely, and receive her in a becoming manner. To do this, however, Mr. Piner found was impossible, as his daughters were not at any time distinguished by the graces, and were always particularly awkward from their shyness at a first introduction.

Our young traveller became by the next morning very sociable with her cousins, and complied with their customs with that cheerful obligingness which has[Pg 31] always so much distinguished her character. She was much surprised at the bustle which she saw in the street, and the number of carriages so agreeably engaged her attention that it was with reluctance she quitted her seat on a red trunk by the window to enjoy the plays in which her cousins were solicitous to engage her. Mrs. Finer had been for some time engaged to dine with a lady of her acquaintance, where she could not conveniently take either of her children, and they both fretted and pined at the disappointment so as to render themselves uncomfortable and lose the pleasure of a holiday, which their mother had allowed them in consequence of their cousin's arrival. Miss Ellen, the eldest, was continually teasing to know the reason why she might not go, though she had repeatedly been told it was inconvenient; and Jemima beheld with astonishment two girls, so much older than herself, presume to argue with their mother about the propriety of her commands, when their duty should have been quiet submission. When her aunt was gone she took all the pains in her power to engage them to be good-humoured, presented them with their toys, and carried to them their dolls; but they sullenly replied to all her endeavours they did not want them, and told her not to plague them so, for they had seen them all a hundred times. At last Sally, taking up a little tin fireplace which belonged to her sister, Miss Ellen snatched it from her, and said she should not have it. Sally caught it back again, and they struggled for it with such passion as to be entirely careless of the mischief they might do each other.

Poor Jemima, who had never disagreed with her brothers nor been witness to such a scene in her life, was terrified to see them engage with a degree of violence which threatened them with essential hurt. She endeavoured[Pg 32] to appease their fury, and ventured, after she had stood still for some time between two chairs, to try if, by catching hold of one of their hands, she could be able to part them, but they only gave her some blows, and said she had no business in their quarrel. She then retired to the farther part of the room, and ardently wished herself at home. When spying another fireplace under the table, she took it up with good-natured transport, and running to Miss Finer, told her there was one for her, which she hoped would put an end to the dispute. This, however, proved to be the property of Miss Sally, who declared, in her turn, that her sister should not touch any of her playthings; and finding she was not strong enough to retain it, she threw it with all her force to the other end of the room, and unfortunately hit Miss Placid a blow with one of the sharp corners, just above her temple. This at once put an end to the battle, for the blood immediately trickled down her cheek, and alarmed the two sisters, who, forgetting the subject of the debate, began to be uneasy at the effects of it; only Ellen, who considered herself as more innocent (merely because she had not been the immediate cause of the accident), with a recriminating air, said:

'There, miss, you have done it now! You have killed your cousin, I believe!'

Jemima, though in a great deal of pain, and much frightened, did not cry; as she seldom shed tears, unless from sensibility, or at parting with her friends. She held her handkerchief to the place, and became more alarmed in proportion as she saw it covered with blood, till at last, finding it was beyond their art to stop the effusion, Ellen, with trembling steps, went upstairs to tell the servant of their misfortune. Dinah, which was the maid's name, had been so often accustomed to find[Pg 33] her young ladies in mischief, that she did not descend in very good humour, and upon her entrance exclaimed that they were all the naughtiest girls in the world, without inquiring how the accident happened, or making any exception to the innocence of Jemima, who could only again most sincerely wish to be once more at Smiledale with her mother. Dinah, after washing her temple with vinegar, which made it smart very much (though she did not complain), told them they had been so naughty that they should not go to play any more, nor would she hear Miss Placid's justification, but crossly interrupted her by saying:

'Hold your tongue, child! and do not want to get into mischief again; for my mistress will make a fine piece of work, I suppose, about what you have done already.'

Jemima was too much awed by the ill-nature of her looks and the anger of her expressions to vindicate her conduct any further, but quietly sitting down, she comforted herself with the reflection that her displeasure was undeserved, and that to fret at what she could not avoid would not make her more happy, and therefore, with great good humour, took up a bit of paper which contained the rough drawing of a little horse which Charles had given her on the day of her departure, and which she had since carefully preserved.

In justice to Mrs. Dinah I must here observe that she was not naturally ill-natured, but the Misses Piner were so frequently naughty as to give her a great deal of trouble, and tire out her patience; and their mother, by not taking the proper methods to subdue the errors of their dispositions, had made them so refractory that it soured her own temper, and occasioned her to blame her servants for the consequence of those faults which it was her duty to have prevented. So you see, my dear[Pg 34] Eliza, from such instances, how mistaken is that indulgence which, by gratifying the humours of children, will make them impatient and vindictive, unhappy in themselves, and a trouble to everyone with whom they are connected. The amiable Jemima was always contented and good-humoured, even when she was not in a state agreeable to her wishes, and, by learning to submit to what she did not like, when it could not be altered, she obtained the love of everybody who knew her, and passed through life with less trouble than people usually experience; for, by making it a rule to comply with her situation, she always enjoyed the comforts it afforded, and suffered as little as possible from its inconvenience In the present case her cousins, by their ill-temper and fretfulness, had quarrelled with each other; and when Dinah would not let them play—as, indeed, they justly deserved to be punished—they did nothing but grumble and cry the whole day, and were so conscious of their bad behaviour as to be afraid of seeing their mother; while Miss Placid, serene in her own innocence, entertained herself for some time with looking at the horse above mentioned, and afterwards with pricking it, till Dinah set her at liberty, which, seeing her good temper, she soon did, and gave her besides some pretty pictures to look at and some fruit to eat, of all which her cousins were deprived. By the next morning Jemima's temple had turned black, and Mrs. Piner inquired how she had hurt herself. She coloured at the question with some confusion, not willing to inform her aunt of anything to Miss Sally's disadvantage, but, as she was too honest to say anything but the truth, she begged Mrs. Finer would not be angry if she informed her, which she, having promised, Jemima told her, adding that her cousin had no intention to hurt her.[Pg 35]

Mrs. Piner kissed and commended Jemima very much, and Dinah having likewise given a high account of her goodness, she told her daughters she was much displeased with them, but in consequence of their cousin's intercession would not punish them that time, and desired them for the future to imitate her example.

As soon as breakfast was over they were dismissed to school, while Jemima remained with her aunt, who, after having heard her read, gave her a handkerchief to hem, which she sat down by her to do, and when she had done work very prettily, entered into conversation.

'I should be much obliged to you, madam,' said she, 'as I do not know my way about London, if you would go with me to buy some things for my brothers, which I promised to carry back when I return. I have got some money to pay for them, for Charles gave me a sixpence, and three halfpence, and a farthing; and William gave me threepence; and I have got a silver penny and a twopence of my own, all screwed safely in a little red box.'

Mrs. Piner inquired what the articles were which she wished to purchase, and smiled on perusing the list which Charles had written.

'And pray, my dear,' said she, 'how do you intend to carry the coach-whip, for you will not be able conveniently to pack it up? And as to the skates, I do not think your father would choose your brothers should make use of them till they are much older, as they are very dangerous, and particularly so to little boys. The other things I will endeavour to procure, and you shall take a walk with me to buy the books and choose them yourself, and I will pay for them; so you may save your money in the little box, for you are a very good girl, and therefore deserve to be encouraged.'

Jemima thanked her aunt for her kind intentions,[Pg 36] and said if she could get a coach-whip, she thought she could carry it to Smiledale in her hand; and as her brothers were always kind to her, she wished to do everything in her power to oblige them.

The next day was to be a holiday at her cousins' school, on account of their dancing-master's ball, to which the Misses Piner were invited; and Mrs. Piner had promised Jemima she should be of the party. They rose in the morning with the pleasing hopes of enjoying a dance in the evening; and Ellen went a dozen times in the day to look at her new cap, wishing it was time to put it on (for she was a silly, vain girl), and was so foolish as to imagine herself of more consequence, because she was better dressed than other children.

'Oh, Miss Placid,' said she, 'you will look so dowdy to-night in your plain muslin frock, while all the rest of the ladies will wear either gauze frocks or silk coats full trimmed. Have you seen how handsome our dresses will be? Do, pray, look at them,' added she, opening the drawer and extending the silk, and then, glad of an excuse to survey it, she went to a box, and, taking out her cap, held it on her hand, turning it round and round with a degree of pride and pleasure which was very silly.

Jemima good-naturedly admired her cousin's finery without wishing for any addition to her own.

'I am sure,' replied she, 'my mother has provided what is proper for me, and is so kind as to afford me everything necessary; and my frocks are always clean, and will do extremely well for the present occasion, or else my aunt would have bought me another.'

'But should not you like such a cap?' said Miss Ellen, putting it on Jemima's head. 'You look very pretty in it indeed.'[Pg 37]

Ellen went a dozen times in the day to look at hey new cap.—Page 36. Ellen went a dozen times in the day to look at hey new cap.—Page 36.

[Pg 39]

'No; I think it is too large for me,' returned Miss Placid; 'and there is a piece of wire in it which scratches when you press it down. You should alter that, or it will be very uncomfortable.'

In short, the ball was the only subject of conversation during the whole day; and although Miss Piner felt an uncommon headache and sickness, yet she would not complain, for fear her mother should think proper to leave her at home. The pain, however, increased greatly, and she frequently left the parlour to give vent to her complaints and avoid her mother's notice. The heaviness of her eyes and alternate change of countenance from pale to red, at last took Mrs. Piner's attention, and she tenderly inquired after her health; but Ellen affected to treat her indisposition as a trifle, though, as she was by no means patient in general, she would at any other time have made incessant complaints. She attempted to laugh and play, but to no purpose, for her illness became too violent to be suppressed. However, upon her father's hinting at dinner that she seemed to have no appetite, and had better, if not well, go to bed, she forced herself, against her inclination, to eat some meat and pudding, and went up afterwards to conceal her uneasiness, and put on her clothes, thinking that if she was in readiness it would be an additional reason for her going. But, alas! so foolish is vanity, and so insignificant are outward ornaments, that when Miss Ellen was decked out in the gauze frock which had so long engaged her thoughts, she felt such a degree of uneasiness from her sickness as to make her disregard what she had before wished for with such ill-placed ardour.

Having eaten more than was proper for her stomach in such a disordered state, it increased her illness very much; but being determined to go, though her mother advised her to the contrary, and pretending she was[Pg 40] somewhat better, she stepped into the coach, the motion of which soon produced a most terrible catastrophe; and before she could speak for assistance, occasioned such a violent sickness as totally spoiled her own and her cousin's clothes, who sat opposite to her; nor did Sally's quite escape the disaster, for as she had spread them over Jemima, with an intent to display their beauties, they shared in part that calamity which had so unfortunately overtaken the others.

Mrs. Piner, though she was grieved at her daughter's indisposition, was likewise extremely angry at the consequence of her obstinacy.

'If you had stayed at home, as I bade you,' said she, somewhat angrily, 'nothing of this would have happened,' and, pulling the check-string, added, 'we must turn about, coachman, for we cannot proceed in this condition.'

Sally, notwithstanding her sister's illness, continually teased her mother to know whether they should go when Ellen was set down and her own dress wiped, without attending to her sister's complaints. When the carriage reached Mr. Piner's, he came himself hastily to the door to know what accident had occasioned their unexpected return, and upon being informed, lifted poor Ellen into the house, while her sister declared she would not walk indoors, as she wanted to go to the ball. Dinah was, however, called down, and with much resistance conveyed the young lady crying and kicking upstairs.

Jemima stood by unnoticed in the general confusion, and Miss Piner was undressed with the utmost expedition, and sincerely rejoiced to be rid of the encumbrance of that finery which in another situation would have excited her envy. Our little heroine, whose sense as well as serenity was uncommon, reflected that gay clothes must, certainly in themselves be of little value, since they[Pg 41] could not prevent the approach of disease, or suspend for a moment the attacks of pain; that the pleasure they bestowed, as it was ill-founded, was likewise extremely transient, as Sally's passion on her disappointment was sufficient to prove, since she was now mortified in proportion as she had before been elated. And though her sister's reflections were for the present suspended by the violence of pain, yet her vexation, when she was restored to the ability of contemplating the state of her clothes, would be equally poignant and without remedy.

While Miss Placid, in obedience to her aunt, took off the frock which had suffered so much in its short journey, Sally sat screaming and crying in an easy-chair, into which she had thrown herself, declaring she would go, and pushed Dinah away as often as she attempted to take out a pin. Nor would she be pacified by any endeavours which were used to please and amuse her, till her mother, quite tired with her noise and ill-humour, declared she would send word to her governess the next morning if she did not do what she was desired; upon which threat she submitted to be undressed, but petulantly threw every article of her attire upon the ground, and afterwards sat down in one of the windows in sullen silence, without deigning an answer to any question that was proposed to her. Jemima was as much disappointed as her cousin could be, and had formed very high expectations of the pleasure she should receive at the ball; but she had been always accustomed to submit to unavoidable accidents without repining, and to make herself happy with those amusements in her power when she was deprived of what she might wish for but could not procure.

Some time after this Mr. Steward, a gentleman who lived at Smiledale, came up to town about business, and called upon Mr. Piner with an intention of seeing Miss[Pg 42] Jemima, who was much distressed that she happened to be absent, as she wished to hear some news of her father and brothers. However, he returned again the next day, and Miss Placid very gracefully paid her respects to him, and inquired after the friends she had left. He satisfied her as to their health, and presented her with a letter from her brother Charles, which, as soon as she could find an opportunity, she retired to read. The contents were as follow:

To Miss Placid.
'My Dear Sister,

'As William writes so very slowly, and as father does not think he should scribble at all, he has desired me to inform you of everything that has passed since you left us. And first I must acquaint you with a sad accident which will render one of your commissions useless. Poor Hector, the day after you went away, was lost for several hours. We went to every house in the village, and hunted behind every tomb in the churchyard; called Hector! Hector! through all the fields, and then returned and sought him in our own garden again; looked under the bench in the poultry-yard, nay, even in the cellar and coal hole; but no Hector returned. We sat down together on the bottom stair in the hall, and William cried ready to break his heart. Father said he was sorry, but told us our tears would not bring him back, and advised us to bear the loss of him with more fortitude, took William on his lap, and read a story to divert him. We got tolerably cheerful and went down to tea; but as soon as my brother took up his bread and butter, the thoughts of Hector always jumping up to him for a bit, and how he would bark and snap in play at his fingers, quite overcame his firmness, and he could[Pg 43] not touch a morsel. Well, to make short of the story, the next morning John came in and told father that Squire Sutton's gamekeeper, not knowing to whom he belonged, had shot him for running after the deer. "Why now," said I, "if he had but stayed away from the park till Jemima had brought him a collar he would not have been killed. Poor Hector! I shall hate Ben Hunt as long as I live for it." "Fie, Charles," said my father. "Hector is dead, sir," said I; and I did not then stay to hear any further. But since that we have talked a great deal about love and forgiveness; and I find I must love Ben Hunt, even though I now see poor Hector's tomb in the garden. For John went to fetch him, and we buried him under the lilac-tree, on the right hand side, just by the large sun-flower. And we cried a great deal, and made a card tomb-stone over his grave; and father gave us an old hatband and we cut it into pieces and we went as mourners. His coffin was carried by Tom Wood, the carpenter's son, whose father was so kind as to make it for us, while James Stavely (the clerk's nephew), my brother, and I, followed as chief mourners, and old nurse and Peggy put on their black hoods which they had when Jane Thompson died, and went with us, and we had the kitchen table-cloth for a pall, with the old black wrapper put over it which used to cover the parrot's cage; but we did not read anything, for that would not have been right, as you know. After all, he was but a dog. Father, however, to please us, wrote the following epitaph, which I very carefully transcribed and affixed over his grave:

'"Here Hector lies, more bless'd by far
Than he who drove the victor's car;
Who once Patroclus did subdue,
And suffer'd for the conquest too.[Pg 44]
Like him, o'ercome by cruel fate,
Stern fortune's unrelenting hate;
An equal doom severe he found,
And Hunt inflicts the deadly wound.
Less cruel than Pelides, he
His manes were pursuits to be;
And satisfied to see him fall,
Ne'er dragg'd him round the Trojan wall."

'I am very sorry for the poor fellow's untimely end, and so, I daresay, you will be. Our rabbit has kindled, and we have one in particular the skin of which is white with black spots, the prettiest I ever saw, and which we have called Jemima, and will give to you when you return. Peggy has sprained her ankle by a fall downstairs. I forgot my wooden horse and left it in the way, and she came down in the dark and stumbled over it. I was very sorry, and my father was much displeased, as it is what he has so often cautioned us against. Jack Dough, the baker's boy, brought me a linnet yesterday, which I have placed in a cage near your canary-bird, who is very well. I do not think I have much more to say, for writing is such tedious work that I am quite tired, though what I have done has been a fortnight in hand. I have a great many things which I want to tell you if we could meet, and I should wish to know how you like London. Good-bye! William desires his love to you, and bids me say that he, as well as myself, will ever be

'Your affectionate brother,
'Charles Placid.'

You may be sure that the intelligence of Hector's death gave Jemima some uneasiness; more especially as, at the first time Mr. Steward had called, she was out with her aunt and actually purchased a collar for him, which, before the receipt of her letter, she had contemplated[Pg 45] with great satisfaction, in the idea of having so well executed her brothers' commission, and the pleasure it would afford them.

When Miss Placid had been in town about four months, and her mother was returned from Bristol, Mr. Placid came up to fetch her home, and invited her cousins to accompany her to Smiledale, promising to take great care of them and to teach them to read and write, and that Mrs. Placid would instruct them in every other part of their learning. To which Mr. and Mrs. Piner consented. The pleasure which Jemima felt at seeing her father after so long an absence can be better imagined than described. She looked at him with such transport that the tears started to her eyes, and, wanting words to declare the feelings of her heart, could only express her joy by stroking and kissing his hand as she sat on a stool by his side, and pressing it with fervour between both hers, she exclaimed that she was glad to see him. Her uncle and aunt gave her the highest praise for her good behaviour, and assured her father that they had never during the whole time of her visit seen her once out of humour, or at all fretful upon any occasion. Mr. Placid said he was extremely happy to hear so good an account of his little girl, but that he had expected everything amiable from the sweetness of her disposition, adding, 'It would be very strange if she had behaved otherwise with you as, I assure you, she is at all times equally tractable and engaging.'

The evening before her departure her aunt was so obliging as to present her with a new doll, which she had taken great pains to dress, and had made for it two dimity petticoats, with a nice pair of stays, a pink satin coat, and a muslin frock. She had likewise purchased some cotton stockings and a pair of red shoes with white roses, white gloves tied with pink strings, and a gauze cap with[Pg 46] pink satin ribbons. Jemima, with a graceful courtesy, paid her acknowledgments to Mrs. Piner for that favour, and all the kind attentions she had received since she had been in town, and saw it packed up with great care in a box by itself, pleasing herself with the joy it would afford her to show it to her mother. She then busied herself in putting up the Indian glue, and a great quantity of pictures which had been given her, poor Hector's collar, and several books which she had bought and had already perused with much delight, particularly 'A Course of Lectures for Sunday Evenings,' 'The Village School,' and 'Perambulation of a Mouse,' 2 vols. each, together with the 'First Principles of Religion,' and the 'Adventures of a Pincushion.' All these mighty volumes she took with her to Smiledale, and Mr. Placid was so much pleased with them as to send for an additional supply to present to his friends. As to the skates, he had desired her not to think about them, as he should by no means approve of her brothers using them; nor would they have occasion for a coach-whip, but as he knew Charles had broken his bat she might carry him one instead. Jemima entreated permission to convey to them a drum, as she thought it would be a plaything they would much enjoy. To this he immediately consented, and went himself to procure one.

The Misses Piner, who were in as great a hurry with their preparations as Jemima, behaved with less composure on the occasion. They tossed everything out of their drawers in search of such toys as they could possibly take with them, and wanted to pack up their whole stock of playthings (which, indeed, was a very large one), and then, as fast as Dinah put what they desired into their trunk, Ellen snatched it out if it belonged to her sister, and Sally did the same unless it happened to be her own.[Pg 47] So that, quite tired with their teasing, naughty behaviour, she turned it topsy-turvy, and declared she would not put up any one thing except their clothes, and added she wished they were gone with all her heart.

I shall not take up your time with any account of their journey, nor endeavour to describe the places which they passed through on their way to Smiledale, whither they arrived about five o'clock in the afternoon. Jemima ran to her mother with a degree of rapture which evinced the sincerity of her joy in returning to her embraces as soon as her brothers would permit her to disengage herself from their caresses, for, as they knew the day which was fixed for their return, and could nearly guess at the time she would arrive, they had taken their stand at the very place where they had parted with her, and, as soon as the carriage came in sight, they ran with their utmost speed to meet it, and came back again, jumping by the side, and when the coach stopped, were so eager to welcome their sister that they would scarcely leave room for her to get out, and they were in such a hurry to show her every new acquisition they had made since her departure that they would not allow her time to speak to anybody but themselves.

[Pg 48]

Two Trials


Sally Delia

Silence being demanded, the secretary opened the trial.

Secretary. Lucy Sterling against Sally Delia, for raising contention among her schoolfellows, and disturbing the general peace.

Judge. If I was unhappy in being appointed to sit in judgment on Billy Prattle, how much more so must I now be when I am bound to inquire with impartiality into every particular which may tend to convict Sally Delia of the charge laid against her. I would, however, recommend you to go through this business with the utmost candour, to advance nothing through prejudice, to conceal nothing through a mistaken tenderness; and to you, ladies of the jury, to divest yourselves of everything but truth, to weigh nicely the force of the evidence, that, in giving your verdict, you may convince everyone present you have acted upon upright principles.

Secretary. Lucy Sterling, please to support the charge.[Pg 49]

Judge. I would beg leave, Lucy Sterling, before you proceed to give your evidence, to ask you whether either of the ladies on the jury were anyways concerned in this quarrel.

Lucy Sterling. Sally Delia left the choice of her jury to me. It therefore became my business, though a principal evidence against her, to choose such young ladies as were absent at the time of the fray.

Judge. Happy, indeed, is that young lady in whom friends and enemies confide!

Lucy Sterling. A few evenings ago, when all the young ladies had finished their labours for that day, they were allowed to amuse themselves in what innocent manner they pleased in our garden. Our governess, solicitous for our felicity, thought to add to our pleasures by sending us a basket of sweetmeats, which she intended to be equally divided; but an unlucky accident turned this kind intention into a scene of sorrow, and raised in their hearts nothing but strife. There happened to be a piece of candied angelica, which seemed very beautiful. On this they all placed their attention, and all begged for that. Every one endeavoured to show her superior right. Sally Delia urged her superior strength. But as they were all speaking together it was almost impossible to distinguish what one said from the other.

Judge. Was Sally Delia the first who talked of committing violence?

Lucy Sterling. I heard nobody else mention any such thing. I endeavoured to quiet them, but they would not listen to me. Their minds were so bent upon this piece of sweetmeat that all the rest were disregarded. I offered to divide it amongst them to pacify them; but they all talked together, and had no time to listen to what I said. Then, as the only method to quiet the[Pg 50] disturbance, I threw the bone of contention into a ditch, from whence it was impossible for either of them to get it. A profound silence ensued, and I took that opportunity to reason with them on the folly of quarrelling about such trifles. My admonitions were in vain, for the contention broke out more violently, and the dispute now was, not who should have it, but who ought to have had it. Sally Delia was the first who renewed the strife, and not being able to give vent to her passion in words alone, gave Nancy Graceful a slap on the face. The other returned the blow, and the scuffle became general. Many blows, indeed, did not pass between them, for they aimed only at tearing each others' clothes. One had her cap torn to pieces, and her hair pulled all about her shoulders; a second had her frock torn down the middle; and, in short, there was hardly one among them who had not some mark to show of having been concerned in this unfortunate affair.

Judge. What part did you act in this fray, and how did it end?

Lucy Sterling. I endeavoured to part them, and in endeavouring so to do, received several scratches on the hands and arms. I know not where all this would have ended had not our governess come to my assistance. After hearing her voice, everything was quiet, excepting with Sally Delia, who, in the presence of her governess, tore two handkerchiefs and an apron. The fear of punishment now began to take place of anger, and each, ashamed of the trophies of victory she held in her hands, let them fall to the ground. Our governess for some time stood astonished, little thinking that what she had given them to increase their felicity should be the cause of so much animosity. Madame inquired of me the cause of this disaster, which I explained as well as I was able.[Pg 51] They were all examined separately, their tears pleaded their pardon; but Sally Delia remained obdurate and inflexible.

Secretary. Polly Artless, please to come and give evidence.

Judge. What do you know, Polly, of this quarrel?

Polly Artless. I was not present when it happened; but the next morning I attended Sally Delia's examination before Lucy Sterling. Her governess had ordered Lucy Sterling to examine her, and in case she could not bring her to repentance, then to confine her, and order her to be brought to trial.

Judge. Relate what passed at this examination.

Polly Artless. Lucy Sterling asked her in the most kind manner what she could think to get by her contention about a piece of sweetmeat. Sally Delia replied that she should not answer her question; that she did not like to have more than one governess, and if she obeyed her she thought she did enough.

Judge. What reply did Lucy Sterling make to this?

Polly Artless. Lucy Sterling reminded her of the authority with which she herself had contributed to invest her; that she did not set up to govern others, or to prove herself wiser than they; that she only wanted to persuade her to learn to be peaceable and happy. She therefore begged leave to repeat the question whether she got anything by this last quarrel?

Judge. Did Sally Delia make any answer?

Polly Artless. She replied that she could not say she did get anything by it but the displeasure of her governess and having her clothes torn; that she did not value the sweetmeat, but that she had too much spirit to be imposed on, and that she was sure she had as much right to it as any of them.[Pg 52]

Judge. Did Lucy Sterling endeavour any further to convince her of her fault?

Polly Artless. Yes. Lucy Sterling told her that she would have shown a greater spirit in giving up the matter of contention than in fighting for it; that then she would have proved herself a young lady of moderation and sense, nor would she have incurred the high displeasure of her governess. Sally Delia was at a loss for an answer, but she was so obstinate that she did not care to own herself in the wrong. At last she replied: 'I think I am as capable of judging what is right as you are of teaching me.' Then, finding herself overpowered by reason, she burst into tears. Lucy Sterling did everything in her power to bring her to confess her fault, but all was to no purpose. She therefore left her in custody till her trial.

Judge. What is the character of Sally Delia among her schoolfellows?

Polly Artless. She is too apt to be quarrelsome, too full of her high birth, and dissatisfied with everything.

Secretary. Betsy Friendly, please to come and give evidence.

Judge. What do you know, Betsy Friendly, concerning this quarrel?

Betsy Friendly. I accompanied Polly Artless on the examination of the accused before Lucy Sterling, and, to the best of my remembrance, Polly Artless has told the truth.

Judge. Do you know anything further?

Betsy Friendly. I called this morning on Sally Delia, before she came on her trial. I found her divided between obstinacy and contrition, but I thought more inclinable to the latter.

Judge. Relate what passed at this visit?

Betsy Friendly. As soon as I entered the chamber, I[Pg 53] saw her sitting on a sofa in a pensive posture, and tears in her eyes. I asked her what she thought of Lucy Sterling's advice, and whether it would not have been better to have followed it than suffer her conduct to be exposed in a public manner?

Judge. What reply did she make?

Betsy Friendly. Sally Delia said that she began to see a good deal of truth in Lucy Sterling's observations, and she seemed to fear that her reason would at last oblige her to own it. This last thought seemed to fill her with the most painful reflections.

Judge. Did you not endeavour to convince her of the folly of her obstinacy?

Betsy Friendly. I said all I could think of to persuade her to conquer her spirit. She would not, at last, give me a word of answer to anything I said. I then turned from her and left her.

Judge. What have you observed with respect to her general behaviour?

Betsy Friendly. She is too often obstinate and quarrelsome, but at other times free, easy, and good-natured.

Secretary. Susan Lenox, please to give evidence.

Judge. What do you know in respect to this fray?

Susan Lenox. I have too much reason to remember it, for my cambric apron, which had cost me three months' working, was torn to rags.

Judge. What is your opinion of the general behaviour of Sally Delia?

Susan Lenox. She is sometimes well enough—at least, so long as you will listen to her tales about her illustrious family.

Secretary. Anne Graceful, please to give evidence.

Judge. Please to inform the court, Anne Graceful, of what you know concerning this affair.[Pg 54]

Anne Graceful. I have reason to complain of my loss; my muslin frock was entirely destroyed.

Judge. Please to inform the court who gave the first blow?

Anne Graceful. Though I did not see Delia give the first blow, I have no reason to doubt she was the person from whom I received it. When we were disputing who ought to have had the favourite sweetmeat, Sally Delia urged her high birth and fortune, and concluded that if reason could not strength should have obtained it. Hearing this, I turned my back on her as a mark of contempt, when I instantly received a violent slap on the head.

Judge. How did you act on that occasion.

Anne Graceful. I instantly turned about, and in my anger, mistaking Susan Lenox for Sally Delia, I treated her very rudely.

Judge. This ought to teach us that passion is not only ill-becoming a young lady, but that it may lead into such mistakes as may be attended with serious consequences. But when you found your mistake, how did you behave towards Susan Lenox?

Anne Graceful. As soon as peace was restored, I begged pardon, and offered to repair all injuries. The former was granted, but the latter she would not accept.

Judge. I have only one more question to ask, which you will please to answer me on your word. Was there not some old grudge subsisting between you and Sally Delia?

Anne Graceful. I must own that I never liked her; there was something in her so proud and overbearing as gave me a disgust.

Judge. But were Delia to alter her conduct, should you forget what is past?

Anne Graceful. When she begins to act like a reasonable[Pg 55] girl, she will become dear to me and the rest of her schoolfellows.

Secretary. Henry Lenox, come forward and give evidence.

Judge. What do you know, Henry Lenox, of this fray?

Henry Lenox. I saw all the finest part of it. I happened to be looking after a bird's nest in a field next to the garden: I heard the young ladies in high chat: but, as the sound did not seem to be very harmonious, curiosity led me to see what they were at. I instantly climbed up into a tree, and scarce had I taken my seat, when the engagement began. I saw Sally Delia strike Anne Graceful in the face; that young lady turned about and pulled off my sister's cap, and part of her hair with it. The battle soon became general, and it was impossible for me to distinguish friends from foes. Such a havoc ensued among caps, gowns, and frocks, as I never before beheld. This is the truth of what I know of this terrible disaster.

Judge. Do you, on your word, declare that Sally Delia gave the first blow?

Henry Lenox. I am certain she did.

Judge. Sally Delia, what have you to say in your defence?

Sally Delia. I am now brought to a public trial, as though I were some mean-born wretch; but out of conformity to your customs I submit to it. I deny the whole of the charge, and will wait for the verdict.

Judge. Young ladies of the jury, Sally Delia now stands before you, accused of raising strife and contention among her schoolfellows, and disturbing the general peace. Lucy Sterling affirms that the governess having presented the young ladies with a basket of sweetmeats to regale them, a quarrel arose among them with respect to the preference of choice of one part of it. Disputes[Pg 56] ran high, and at last Sally Delia was so imprudent as to lift up her hand against one of her schoolfellows, which created a general confusion. The part Lucy Sterling acted in endeavouring to pacify them is no small addition to that character for which she is so justly admired. This young lady says positively that she saw Sally Delia give the first blow; that the contention was no sooner over than all of them were sorry for what they had done, except Sally Delia, who persisted in her fault, and was to be prevailed on by no entreaties or arguments. Polly Artless says that she was not present at the fray, but attended Sally Delia on her examination before Lucy Sterling, and corroborates everything which that young lady had advanced, but more particularly points out the care Lucy Sterling took to bring her to reason. I may add, the character this evidence gives Sally Delia is not at all to her reputation. Betsy Friendly, who visited the accused before her trial, seems to speak something in her favour by saying she showed some marks of contrition, but at last left her in an obstinate condition. Susan Lenox stood next to the accused at the time she struck Anne Graceful, and became herself a sufferer thereby. Anne Graceful cannot take upon herself positively that Sally Delia was the person that struck her, though circumstances are strong against her; but Henry Lenox declares he saw Sally Delia give the blow. Sally Delia, in her defence, contents herself with denying the whole of the charge, and rests on her innocence. I will only observe that I cannot see how you can acquit her when there are so many convincing proofs of her guilt. The principal point to be considered is what punishment you will inflict: it ought not to be so slight a one that the remembrance of it may leave no impression behind, nor so heavy that it may anyways be deemed insupportable. After[Pg 57] all, I only give my opinion freely, which, above all, is to do justice and love mercy.

(The jury went out, and returned again in about half an hour.)

Judge. Are you all agreed in your verdict?

Jury. Yes.

Judge. Is Sally Delia guilty or not guilty?

Jury. Guilty.

Judge. What punishment do you inflict?

Jury. To be confined one month to her chamber; to be allowed neither sweetmeats nor fruit, nor to receive any visits; but, that her health may not be impaired, that she be allowed to walk twice a day in the garden, at those times when none of the scholars are there; that, after that time is expired, she be brought into the large hall, and there be obliged to ask a general pardon of all her schoolfellows; and that, in case she refuses to comply with these injunctions, that her parents be then prayed to take her home.

Sally Delia, who had made no doubt that she should be acquitted, no sooner heard this hard judgment given against her than she burst into tears. The judge seeing it, thus spoke to her: 'I should be glad, Sally Delia, if you would inform me and the whole court from what source those tears flow: whether from a just sense of your crimes, or only from the apprehensions of your punishment? Why should you delay to humble that haughty spirit, to acknowledge your error, and beg for a mitigation of your punishments? I will myself then plead for you. But remember, if you continue obstinate till the court is broken up, your repentance afterwards will come too late.'

Sally Delia then fell upon her knees, acknowledged her fault, and begged a mitigation of her punishment. The[Pg 58] judge recommended her to the jury, who left the matter entirely to him. He ordered her to be confined only three days, and even during that time to have the liberty of receiving visits from the rest of the scholars.

The trial being now ended, Sally Delia's schoolfellows, who just before had been evidences against her, ran to her and tenderly embraced her.

She promised to lay aside all her haughty actions, and, instead of being hated by her companions, to obtain the love of them all. She kept her word, and is now become one of the most amiable young ladies in the school.

The whole court was extremely well satisfied with the candid manner in which every part of the trial was supported.


Harry Lenox


Harry Lenox little thought, when he was giving evidence against Sally Delia, that he should himself be soon brought to public trial. He was in many respects of a good disposition; he loved his books, was affable and obliging to his schoolfellows, and subservient to his tutor; but then he was fond of getting into mischief, such as breaking church-windows, laying traps to throw people down, and was very ingenious at inventions of this kind. Whenever he was accused of anything of this sort, he would not only deny it, but[Pg 59] stoutly stand to it; and this, at last, brought him to a trial.

The young gentlemen in general were very much vexed at Harry's disgrace, and would have bought off the complaint but that this would have been deemed bribery and corruption. The ladies were, most of them, well pleased that he was himself now brought into the same dilemma. In the meantime the judge took his seat, the jury assembled, and the prisoner was brought to the bar.

Secretary. Sammy Halifax against Harry Lenox, for a robbery and telling a fib.

Judge. Call up the evidence.

Secretary. Sammy Halifax, support the charge.

Judge. What have you to say, Sammy Halifax, against the prisoner?

Sammy Halifax. A few days ago, having given my tutor satisfaction in the performance of my exercises, he ordered me a plum-tart as a reward. It was baked in a tin pan, which I was ordered to bring back as soon as I had eat the tart. Henry Lenox was remarkably taken with the look of this tart, and offered to keep it for me till I wanted it, alleging that his room, which was a north light, would keep it much better than mine, on which the sun shone the hottest part of the day. I accepted the offer, and saw him put it into his cupboard. I went immediately to invite two or three of my intimates to partake of it in the evening in my own room, and thought I could do no less than ask Harry Lenox to make one of the party, in consideration of his kindness; but he excused himself. In the evening we all met, and Harry Lenox brought the tart and set it down, and begged leave to be excused, as he had promised to take a walk with his sister. It was a long time, so charming did it look, before we could persuade ourselves to spoil the sight[Pg 60] of it. At last I stuck my knife into it; but how shall I express our disappointment when, instead of fine plums and rich juice, we found only pebbles and water! We all vowed revenge for this piece of treachery, and would have beat him soundly could we have then found him; but he had taken care to get out of the way. When our first warmth was over, we concluded it would be better to treat him in a judicial manner; and he is now before this court for that purpose.

Judge. You have said that you saw him put the tart into the cupboard; can you take upon you to say whether or not there was any lock to it?

Sammy Halifax. I am certain there was no lock on the cupboard; for he said to me when he put the tart into it that he had no lock, and he hoped nobody would get at it.

Judge. By what reason do you then conclude that he was the thief?

Sammy Halifax. Because he had the care of it, and refused to come and partake of it.

Secretary. George Bobadil, come and give evidence.

Judge. What do you know of this matter, George Bobadil?

George Bobadil. I was one invited by Sammy Halifax to eat part of this tart; but on cutting it up, instead of plums, we found only stones. It was instantly concluded that Henry Lenox was the traitor.

Judge. Had you any other reason to suppose that Henry Lenox was such?

George Bobadil. There was reason to think so; besides, I met him as I was going to the feast, stopped him, and told him where I was hastening; when he replied, as I thought, with a sneer, 'You will have a delicate repast!' I did not then know that he was entrusted with the care of it, and concluded that this manner of answering me arose[Pg 61] from my supposition of his not being invited; but the tart was no sooner cut up than his reason for answering me thus was evidently apparent.

Judge. You cannot take upon you to say that you positively know him to be guilty of the charge?

George Bobadil. I cannot, but there is the strongest presumption of it.

Secretary. Samuel Evelyn, come and give evidence.

Judge. What have you to say, Samuel Evelyn, to this matter?

Samuel Evelyn. I was one invited by Sammy Halifax to partake of this tart, which, when cut up, produced nothing but stones. I had been walking after dinner in the garden before I went into the school; and when I got to the bottom of it I saw Henry Lenox and three or four more sitting on the grass under a rose-bush. As soon as I came within sight of them, I saw them all in a bustle; and when I came up to them, though I did not see them eating anything, yet their mouths were so clammy that it was with difficulty they could answer me. As I had then no reason to suspect anything, and finding myself an unwelcome guest, I left them and went into the school.

Judge. You do not, then, pretend to say what they had been eating.

Samuel Evelyn. I cannot take upon me positively to say what they had been eating, but I afterwards made no doubt of its being Sammy Halifax's tart.

Secretary. Come, Edward Harris, and give evidence.

Judge. What have you to say, Edward, with respect to this tart?

Edward Harris. I was invited to partake of it, and was, like the rest, disappointed; for there was nothing left but the top crust, the side and bottom crust, all the plums being taken away, and stones and water put in their place.[Pg 62]

Judge. Who do you suppose did it?

Edward Harris. I make no doubt that it was Henry Lenox. It being left in his custody, and his refusing to come and partake of it, seem to corroborate the guilt of Henry Lenox.

Judge. Have you any other circumstance to allege against him?

Edward Harris. Yes; after he came out of the garden, and had been some time in the school, he was called out to construe. Before he left his form, he pulled out his handkerchief to blow his nose, when three or four plumstones fell on the ground. After he was gone I picked them up, for I love the bitter of the kernel.

Judge. Did you observe these plumstones, whether they were of a pale or a red colour?

Edward Harris. I had put them into my pocket, and forgotten them; but, on meeting with my disappointment in the tart, and finding there was so much room to suspect that Henry Lenox was the culprit, I pulled out the stones, and found by their colour they had been baked, for they were of a deep red. We concluded likewise that they must that day have been taken out of some tart, as they were still clammy.

Judge. Did you ask Henry Lenox how he came by those stones?

Edward Harris. I did not, for I well knew, if I had, he would not have answered me.

Judge. Did you take any method to discover who was the person that robbed Sammy Halifax?

Edward Harris. Yes; we agreed among ourselves, with our tutor's leave, to stick up a paper in the school, offering one shilling reward to any of the party who would turn evidence, and give information of the person who committed the fact. As we had great reason to suppose[Pg 63] several were concerned in the eating of it, we were in hopes by this means to make a discovery; but we were disappointed, for not any spoke a word about it, and all in general pleaded ignorance.

Secretary. Hannah Careful, please give evidence.

Judge. Pray, what have you to say to this matter?

Hannah Careful. I am a half-boarder, and was ordered by my governess to attend here, in order to prove that the tart I delivered to Sammy Halifax was filled with plums, and not stones.

Judge. That is a material point; pray proceed.

Hannah Careful. My governess instructs me in the art of pastry and confectionery; I that day made all the tarts myself, and was ordered to give Sammy Halifax one of the best. Before I gave it him, I raised one side of the crust, to see if the syrup might not have boiled out, when I found it had not; and I am certain it was filled with plums when I delivered it to Sammy Halifax.

Secretary. Sally Delia, please to give evidence.

Judge. What do you know of this affair?

Sally Delia. Your lordship cannot have yet forgotten that I was myself so unfortunate as to fall under the censure of this court. I am sorry for the crime which then brought me before you, but I shall ever consider that day as the happiest period of my life—a day in which I was convinced of my folly, obstinacy, and self-conceit; a day to which I owe all the happiness of a calm and peaceful life, free from the passions of thoughtless girls who place enjoyments in the gratification of unreasonable desires.

Judge. Pray, Sally, proceed, and do not imagine you will be troublesome to the court; there is nothing we can listen to with so much pleasure as the language of reformation.[Pg 64]

Sally Delia. I do not mention this out of vanity; only to induce the court to believe that I do not this day appear here against Henry Lenox out of any grudge whatever to his having been a witness against me. So far from it, I consider him as my benefactor; I consider him as one of those to whom I am indebted for my reformation. Happy shall I think myself if I shall in any way contribute to his.

Judge. Your evidence cannot be disputed, and I doubt not the jury will lay much stress on what you shall advance.

Sally Delia. It has lately been my custom in the evening to retire to a little arbour behind the summer-house in the bottom of the garden. I had this evening been so intent on what I was reading that I had stayed longer than usual. In the midst of my thoughts I was interrupted by the noise of somebody breaking through the bushes. I soon heard Henry Lenox's voice, and that of some others whom I well knew. I soon found the cause of their thus breaking out of their own bounds. They had some secret to talk of. I sat as still as possible, fearing I might be discovered, and heard Henry Lenox say, 'If you blow me, I never will forgive you; besides, you will come in for a flogging as well as me.' They all promised they never would puff; one said he never ate anything sweeter in his life; another said it was sweeter because it was stolen; and a fourth laughed heartily on thinking, when it was opened, how foolish they must all look; it was, says the fifth, one of the best——Here he stopped, for the foot of a person was heard coming down the garden, when they all flew away, and got off unperceived by anyone but myself. It was one of the maids, who was coming to look after me; and my governess chid me for staying beyond the time allowed me. My acknowledging my fault and asking pardon was thought a sufficient atonement.[Pg 65]

'I was reading, and was interrupted by Henry Lenox and three others talking over a secret.'—Page 64. 'I was reading, and was interrupted by Henry Lenox and three others talking over a secret.'—Page 64.

[Pg 67]

Judge. Can you, from what you heard in the garden, take upon you to say that Henry Lenox is certainly guilty of what is laid to his charge?

Sally Delia. Had not the maid disturbed them by coming to call me, I doubt not but I should have been able to answer in the affirmative; at the present, I only say that I believe so, and that upon the strongest presumption.

Henry Lenox. I am happy in being tried by a judge and jury who have too much sense to convict me on mere conjecture, and there is far from any positive proof. To give a verdict against me in this case would be opening a way to the greatest errors. How many, through the hasty determination of a jury, on mere conjecture, have suffered unjustly! But should I meet with that fate, I will never find fault or repine, since I am sensible I shall not be the first, and I trust that my innocence will support me under the unmerited disgrace. Sammy Halifax came to me, brought a tart in his hand, and for safety, to oblige him, I put it into my cupboard. I brought it from thence, and gave it him. If anyone got to it, and treated it in the manner he describes, I am sorry for it; but it cannot be imputed to my fault. My reason for declining taking part of it is well known to my sister, whom I had promised to take a walk with in the evening. She is now in court, and I apprehend her word will not be doubted. As for the sneering words I made use of to George Bobadil (for that was the term he gave them), if they had any particular meaning at all, it could only serve to show what little consideration I made of mere matters for the tooth. As for the evidence which Samuel Evelyn has given against me, it can be of no weight, since[Pg 68] it is well known that each has his confidant, and that each has some mighty secret to reveal to another. As to what Edward Harris advances with respect to the plumstones, they might as easily have fallen from the pocket of another as from mine, and there is even a possibility that these very plumstones may have come out of the tart after they themselves had eat it. Upon the whole, I leave it to your lordship and this honourable court whether there be any other view in this trial than that my accusers may obtain another tart at the expense of my credit.

Secretary. Susan Lenox, please give evidence.

Susan Lenox. My brother came to me in the evening in which the tart was eat, agreeable to my invitation; and I did not hear him mention the least syllable that could indicate his guilt in this matter. He mentioned the tart, indeed, by saying he was invited to eat part of it, but added that his appetite was the least of his concern.

Judge. Did he appear more cheerful or dejected than usual?

Susan Lenox. I perceived no change in him; he had nothing more or less of his natural gaiety and cheerfulness.

Stephen Brooks. I have known the prisoner a long time, and have always found him more ready to give than receive, and far from taking anything from anyone.

Richard Richards. The prisoner has been my intimate playmate for four years, and I never once quarrelled with him in my life.

Benjamin Blunt. The whole is a contrivance to bring Henry Lenox into disgrace, and to make you believe they have been ill used.

Judge. You have said, Sally Delia, that there were some[Pg 69] voices you heard in the summer-house besides that of Henry Lenox. Do you imagine that either of these last young gentlemen were there?

Sally Delia. I am certain they were all three there.

Judge. Young gentlemen of the jury, I will not take up your time in recapitulating the evidence given; every part of it seems to agree so well that you cannot mistake it. The two principal points to be considered are these: If you are determined to find him guilty only on positive proofs, then you must acquit him, for there does not appear to be any throughout the whole trial; but if you will be contented with circumstances, supported by the strongest evidence that can be given, then you must find him guilty. It is, indeed, a just observation of the prisoner, in his defence, that many have suffered innocently, though on the strongest presumptions, and I must add that the character of a young gentleman is too tender a thing to be sported with. After all, I do not presume to direct you. I would only advise you to think of the matter impartially; a verdict given from such principles of action, though it may tend to lead to a mistake, can never be attended with reproach.

(The jury then went out of court, and returned in about an hour and a quarter.)

Judge. Gentlemen of the jury, are you agreed in your verdict?

Jury. We cannot determine, and therefore beg to leave it special.

The judge immediately quitted the chair, which was soon after filled by the tutor, and the judge took the place of the secretary. Henry Lenox, who had not doubted, as there was no positive proof against him, but that he should be acquitted, as soon as he found the jury left it special, and that his tutor had taken the chair against him,[Pg 70] his heart instantly failed him, and everyone took notice of the alteration of his countenance. Judge Meanwell then went all through the evidence, which, being finished, the tutor thus addressed Henry Lenox:

'Henry Lenox, I am unhappy for you in finding that to the crime of theft you have added the grievous guilt of a lie. By your artful defence, you have so far baffled the jury as to make them doubtful of the clearest thing in the world. Do not foolishly imagine that you have any compliment to pay yourself on this score; the most shining abilities, when used to deceive and mislead, to trick and cozen mankind, and to persuade them out of their lawful property, become the most dangerous possessions, and are as mischievous as plagues, pestilence, and famine. How can you dare to arrogate to yourself that part of philosophy which teaches you to look upon the luxuries of life with indifference, while your heart must tell you that you have not the least claim to it, and that you sacrifice your character and reputation to obtain luxurious trifles? They who are capable of deceiving in small concerns will not scruple to be guilty of injustice in matters of the highest moment. No one is wicked all at once; they harden their hearts by degrees against the truth, and at last are totally blind to it. Such conduct as yours promises nothing but the most fatal events; but it is my place to destroy it in its bud; and be assured that, though the jury could not see into your guilt, I can most clearly; and I do further tell you that unless you confess your fault, ask pardon, promise to do so no more, and make it your study to keep your word, I will treat you with the utmost severity. I will abridge you of every kind of amusement, and will confine you from the rest of your schoolfellows, that you may not corrupt them. On the other hand, if you confess your crime, I will lessen[Pg 71] your punishment, and may, perhaps, restore you to my favour.'

Henry Lenox then fell on his knees, and, with tears in his eyes, confessed he was guilty, but mentioned nothing of those that ate part of it. His master then forgave him, on his most faithful promises of future amendment; and those who had been evidences against him shook hands with him, and they were all friends immediately.

[Pg 72]

Prince Life

Chapter I


Once upon a time there was a young Prince who met with a very curious kind of misfortune. Most people want something which they cannot get; and because they cannot get it, they generally desire it more than anything else, which is very foolish, for it would be much better to be contented with what they have.

He was a wise fox, my dear Charlie, who thought the grapes were sour when he could not reach them. Now the Prince's misfortune consisted in this, that he had everything on earth he could want or desire, and a little more. He had a fine palace and a fine country, obedient subjects and servants, and true friends. When he got up in the morning, there was someone ready to put on his clothes for him; when he went to bed at night, someone to take them off again. A fairy called Prosperity gave him everything he desired as soon as he desired it. If he wanted peaches at Christmas, or cool air at mid-summer, the first came instantly from his hothouses,[Pg 73] and the second was produced by an enormous fan, which hung from the top of the room, and was moved by two servants.

But strange to say, the Prince got weary of all this; he was tired of wanting nothing. When he sat down to dinner he had but little appetite, because he had had such a good breakfast; he hardly knew which coat to put on, they were all so beautiful; and when he went to bed at night, though the bed was as soft as a white cloud, he could not sleep, for he was not tired.

There was only one ugly thing in the whole palace, which was a little, drowsy, grey dwarf, left there by the fairy Prosperity. He kept yawning all day, and very often set the Prince yawning, too, only to look at him. This dwarf they called Satiety, and he followed the Prince about wherever he went.

One day the Prince asked him what he was yawning for, and Satiety answered:

'Because I have nothing to do, and nothing to wish for, my Prince.'

'I suppose that is the reason why I yawn, too,' replied the Prince.

'Rather is it having me always with you,' answered Satiety.

'Then get away and leave me,' said the Prince.

'I cannot do that,' answered Satiety. 'You can go from me, but I cannot go from you; I can never leave you as long as you remain in the palace of Prosperity.'

'Then I will have you turned out,' said the Prince.

'No one can do that,' said Satiety, 'but Misfortune, and he is a very capricious person. Though he is a very disagreeable monster, some people seem to court him, but cannot get him to come near them; while to a great many he comes unawares, and catches them, though[Pg 74] they fly from him eagerly. I tell you, Prince, you can go from me, but I cannot go from you as long as you remain in the palace of Prosperity.'

That night, when he went to his soft bed, the Prince thought very much as to the conversation he had held with Satiety, and he resolved to go out of the palace for a time, just to get rid of the ugly little grey, yawning dwarf.

The very resolution seemed to do him good, and he slept better that night after he had made it than he had done for many a night before.

Chapter II

The next morning when he rose he felt quite refreshed, and he said to a groom: 'Bring me my stout horse, Expedition; I am going out to take a ride all alone.'

The groom answered not a word, for in that palace everyone obeyed the Prince at once, and nobody troubled him but the ugly little dwarf, Satiety. As he went away, however, the groom said to himself with a sigh: 'It is a sad thing to be in the wide world all alone. My Prince does not know what it is. But let him try; it may be better for him.'

He accordingly brought the horse to the palace-door. But when the Prince came down he felt quite well, and, looking about amongst all his attendants, he could only catch a distant glimpse of Satiety standing yawning behind. For a minute he was half-inclined not to go, for he did not mind seeing Satiety at a distance if he did not come near. But the groom, whose name was Resolution, seeing him hesitate, said: 'You had better[Pg 75] go, my Prince, as you determined; it may do you good.' And a chamberlain called Effort helped him on his horse.

At first, as the Prince rode along, everything was quite delightful to him. He seemed to breathe more freely now that he was no more troubled with Satiety. The flowers looked bright, and the sky beautiful, for a cloud or two here and there only gave variety. The very air seemed fresher than it had been in the sheltered gardens of the palace, and the Prince said to himself: 'What a delightful country this is, just on the verge of the land of Prosperity.'

Just then he saw a countryman gathering grapes in a vineyard, and every now and then putting some into his mouth, and the Prince asked him whose fine estate it was that he was passing through.

'It belongs to a gentleman and lady equally, sir,' replied the good man; 'they are called Activity and Ease. They are the happiest couple ever seen. When Activity is tired, Ease takes his head upon her lap; and soon as she is weary of her burden, Activity jumps up and relieves her from it.'

'But to whom does that more barren country just beyond belong?' asked the Prince. 'And what is that great thick wood I see farther on still?'

'That is the land of Labour and the Forest of Adversity,' said the man. 'I would advise you to get through them as soon as possible, for the first you will find very wearisome, and the second exceedingly unpleasant, although people do say that there is a great deal of very good fruit in the forest; only one gets well-nigh torn to pieces with the thorns before one can reach it.'

The Prince determined to follow his advice, and rode on. There was not anything very tempting to him as he passed through the land of Labour, and it seemed a long[Pg 76] and weary way from the beginning to the end of it. But the forest, even at its entrance, was very dark and gloomy indeed. Thick trees crossed each other overhead, and shut out the bright, cheerful daylight. He could hardly see his way along the narrow, tortuous paths, and the thorns which the peasant had spoken of ran into him continually, for they grew high as well as thick, and crossed the path in every direction. He began heartily to repent that he had quitted the palace of Prosperity, and wished himself back again with all his heart, thinking that he should care little about yawning Satiety if he could but get out of the thorns of Adversity. Indeed, he tried to turn his horse back; but he found it more difficult than he imagined, for, as I have told you, the road was very narrow and those thorns hedged it on every side. There was nothing for it, in short, but to try and force his way on through the wood, in the hope of finding something better beyond.

The Prince did not know which way to take, indeed, and he tried a great number of paths, but in vain. Still there were the same thorns and the same gloomy darkness. He was hungry and thirsty, and he looked round for those fruits he had heard of; but he could see none of them at the time, and the more he sought his way out, the deeper he seemed to get into the forest. The air was very sultry and oppressive, too; he grew weary and faint, quite sick at heart, and even the limbs of his good horse seemed to be failing him, and hardly able to carry him on.

Dark as it all was, it at length begin to grow darker, and he perceived that night was coming, so that the poor Prince began to give up all hope, and to think that there would be nothing for him but to lie down and die in despair, when suddenly he caught a sort of twinkling[Pg 77] light through the thick bushes, which seemed to lie in the way he was going, and on he went, slowly enough, poor man! But still the light was before him, till suddenly he came to a great rock, overgrown in many places with briars and brambles. In the midst of it, however, was the mouth of a large cave, with great masses of stone hanging over, as if ready to fall on a traveller's head. It was a very stern and gloomy-looking place indeed, with clefts and crevices and ragged crags all around. But a few steps in the cave someone seemed to have built themselves a house; for it was blocked up with large, unhewn boards of wood, and in this partition there was a door and a window, through which came the light he had seen. The Prince dismounted from his horse, and though he did not know who might be within, he thought it best to knock at the door, and ask for food and shelter.

The moment he knocked a loud, hoarse voice cried:

'Come in!' and tying his horse to a tree, he opened the door.

Chapter III

Now, whatever the poor Prince had expected to find, he was certainly disappointed; for that thicket of Adversity is full of disappointments, as everyone knows who has travelled through it. He had thought he should see some poor woodman or honest peasant, who would welcome him to his homely hut in the rock with kindness and benevolence; but instead of that he beheld, seated at the table, carving away at a piece of stick by the light of a very small twinkling candle, one of the most tremendous monsters ever man's eyes lighted upon. In shape he[Pg 78] was like a man, but he was a great deal stronger than any man. His face looked as if it were cast in iron, so hard and rigid were all the features; and there was an everlasting frown planted on his brow. His hands were long and sinewy, with terrible sharp claws upon them; and his feet were so large and heavy that they seemed as if they would crush anything they would set upon to pieces.

The poor Prince, though he was a very brave young man, stopped and hesitated at the sight of this giant; but the monster, without ever turning his head, cried out again: 'Come in! Why do you pause? All men must obey me, and I am the only one that all men do obey.'

'You must be a mighty monarch, then,' said the young Prince, taking courage. 'Pray, what is your name?'

'My name is Necessity,' answered the other in his thundering voice; 'and some people give me bad names, and call me "Hard Necessity" and "Dire Necessity"; but, nevertheless, I often lead men to great things and teach them useful arts if they do but struggle with me valiantly.'

'Then I wish you would lead me to where I can get some rest,' said the Prince, 'and teach me how I can procure food for myself and my poor famishing horse.'

The monster rose up almost as tall as a steeple and suddenly laid his great clutches upon the Prince's shoulders, saying: 'I will do both, if you do but wrestle with me courageously. You must do it, for there is no other way of escaping from my hands.'

The Prince had never been handled so roughly before, and as he was brave, strong, and active, he made a great effort to free himself, and tried a thousand ways, but to no purpose. The giant did not hurt him, however,[Pg 79] though he pressed him very hard, and at length he cried out: 'Ho, ho! you are a brave young man! Leave off struggling, and you shall have some food and drink, such as you would never have tasted had you not come to me.'

Thereupon he led him to his own coarse wooden table, and set before him half of a hard brown loaf and a pitcher of water; but so hungry and thirsty was the Prince that the bread seemed to him the best he had ever eaten, and the water sweeter than any in the world.

'Unfasten your horse's bridle,' said Necessity, when the Prince had done, 'and I will soon teach him where to find something to feed upon.'

The Prince did as the giant told him at once, and then his stern-looking companion pointed to a wooden bedstead in a dark corner of the cave, which looked as hard as his own face, saying: 'There, lie down and sleep.'

'I can never sleep on that thing,' said the Prince.

'Ho, ho!' cried the other; 'Necessity can make any bed soft,' and taking a bundle of straw, he threw it down on the bedstead.

Chapter IV

Sleep was sweeter to the Prince that night than it had ever been upon a bed of down, and when he rose the next morning the monster's features did not seem half so stern and forbidding as they had done at first. The inside of the cave, too, looked much more light and blithesome, though it was a dark and frowning place enough still, with hard rock all round, and nothing but one window to let in a little sunshine.

Necessity, however, did not intend to keep the Prince[Pg 80] there, and as soon as he was up the giant said to him: 'Come, trudge; you must quit my cave, and go on.'

'You must open the door for me, then,' said the Prince; 'for the bolt is so high up I cannot reach it.'

'You cannot get out by the door through which you came in,' said the giant, 'for it is the door of Idleness. There is but one way for you to get out, and that I will show you.'

So, taking him by the hand, he led him on into a very dark part of the cave, which went a long way under ground, and then said to him: 'You must now go on until you come to a great house, where you will find an old woman, who will give you your meals at least.'

'But I want to return to my own palace of Prosperity,' replied the Prince.

'She will show you the way,' replied the monster, 'and without her you will never find it. Go on at once, and don't stand talking.'

'But I cannot see the path,' said the Prince.

'You must find it,' said Necessity, and gave him a great push, which sent him on at a very rapid rate.

For some time he continued to grope his way almost in darkness, but soon a light began to shine before him, which grew bigger and bigger as he advanced, and he perceived that he was coming to another mouth of the cave, leading to an open, but very rough country. The Prince was very glad indeed to issue forth and breathe the fresh air, and he looked at the clear sky with great satisfaction. Just before him, however, there was a large house, with a great number of doors and windows; and as he felt very hungry, he determined to knock, and see if he could get any breakfast.

Almost as soon as he had touched the knocker the door was opened by a little old woman, plainly dressed, but[Pg 81] neat and tidy; and when the Prince told her who he was, and what he wanted, she answered him with a good-humoured smile, very different from the frown of stern Necessity: 'Everyone can have food in my house who chooses to work for it; nobody without. I can help you on your way, too; and as for your poor horse you talk about, he shall be provided for. My name is Industry, and Industry always takes care of her beasts. Come in, young man; come in.'

The Prince went in with a glad step, and found the house quite full of people, all as busy as bees in a field of clover, and all looking as bright and cheerful as if they had washed their faces in sunshine.

It would take me an hour to tell you all the different things they were employed in, everyone working by himself on his separate task, although two or three were often seen doing different pieces of the same work. But there were two very nice, pretty girls there whom I must speak of, who seemed to be handmaidens to the mistress of the house. One was a thoughtful-looking, careful girl, who was busy in every part of the room alternately, picking up all the little odds and ends which were left after any piece of work was completed—little bits of string, ends of tape or thread, stray nails, chips of wood, or pieces of paper. These, as soon as she had gathered them up, she put safely by, where she could find them again; and it is wonderful how often she was called upon by the workmen for some little scrap or another, just sufficient to complete what they were about. Her name was Economy.

The other was a brighter, quicker-looking person, with very clear eyes, like two stars, who went continually through the room, putting everything to rights. If a chair was out of its place, or a table turned awry, or a[Pg 82] tool put down where it should not be she could not bear to see it for a minute, but put all things straight again, so that nobody was at a loss where to find anything. She was called Order.

The hungry Prince was somewhat mortified to find a good, large piece of work assigned him to do before he could get his breakfast, and at first he was exceedingly awkward, and did not know how to set about it; but Industry showed him the way, Order helped him a good deal, and Economy supplied him with the materials.

Chapter V

At the end of an hour he had completed his task, and the old lady patted him on the shoulder, saying, 'Well done; you are a very good young man. Now Industry will give you your breakfast, and help you on the way to a very nice place, where you will get all you desire.'

Thus saying, she led him into a great hall, where there was a vast number of people, all eating rich fruits, with a somewhat hard-favoured dame, whom they called Labour, scattering sugar on the different dishes.

When the Prince heard her name, he asked one of the people near if that was really Labour, saying, 'I passed through her land not long ago, and it seemed so poor and hard a country that I should have thought it produced nothing good.'

'That is a mistake,' said the other. 'That is the land where grows the sugar-cane, and Labour always sweetens the food of Industry.'

As soon as his breakfast was over, the Prince was taken to another door, and shown a road which was very narrow at first, but seemed to grow wider and wider as it went on.[Pg 83]

'You have nothing to do but to walk straight forward,' said Industry, 'neither to turn to the right nor to the left. Keep yourself upright, so that you may have that distant mountain peak before your eyes, and don't suffer yourself to grow faint or get tired. If you should have any doubt or difficulty, you will find someone on the road who will show you the way. But only remember always to keep straight forward, and don't be tempted to turn aside.'

'What is the name of this road?' asked the Prince.

'It is called the "Right Path,"' was the reply; and on he set upon his way with a stout heart. Nevertheless, he began to get somewhat tired before an hour was over, although the road was pleasant enough to walk in. There were beautiful green meadows on every side, and richly-coloured flowers, and what seemed very delicious fruit; and here and there, at a little distance, were pleasant groves, with a number of gay birds, singing very sweetly.

At the end of an hour and a half the Prince became hungry and thirsty again, as well as tired, and he said to himself, 'There could be no great harm surely in going across that meadow and gathering some of that fruit, to eat under the shade of the trees, while the birds sing over my head. I do not know how far I have to go. I see no end to this long, straight road. I think I will try and rest for a little under those trees. I can easily find my way back again.'

But just at that moment, luckily for himself, the Prince spied a man trudging on before him, and he hurried after, saying to himself, 'I will ask him how far I have to go, and whether I have time to stop.'[Pg 84]

Chapter VI

The man did not walk very fast, but he kept steadily on, with a great pike-staff in his hand; and though the Prince called after him as soon as he was within hearing, he did not halt for a moment, or even turn his head, but trudged onward, saying, 'Come along, come along; one never gets to the end of one's journey if one stops to chatter by the way.'

At length the Prince came up with him, and said in a civil tone, 'Pray can you tell me whither this road leads, and if it will be very long before I get to some house where I can find rest and food.'

'It leads to a very fine and beautiful castle,' replied the other somewhat doggedly, and still walking on. 'I think, if you come along with me, you will get there in time. I am generally well received there, and in some sort may call myself the master of the house, so that those who go with me are generally made welcome by my lady, who, though she is sometimes a little whimsical, is the most charming person in the world when she smiles upon me. But you must keep on steadily with me; for if you stop or turn aside, a thousand to one you will be lost.'

When the Prince found him so communicative, he asked him if they could not cross one of the meadows to refresh themselves a little, and told him how he had been tempted to do so just before he saw him.

'Lucky you did not,' answered the other; 'for those meadows are full of swamps and quagmires, the groves filled with snakes, and many of the fruits poisonous. You might have got yourself into such troubles that not even I could have helped you out of them.'

'If it is not improper, may I ask your name?' said the Prince.[Pg 85]

'Come along,' answered the other. 'Names matter little; but if you want to know mine, it is Perseverance.'

Not long after the Prince began to think he saw several tall towers glittering before him in the distance, with some misty clouds round about them, which only seemed to make them look the more beautiful.

'What a fine castle!' he exclaimed.

'That is where I am leading you,' answered the other; and the first prospect is always very charming. But we have some way to go yet, I can tell you, and not a little to overcome. You would never get there without me; so come on, and do not be daunted at anything you see.'

The Prince soon found that his companion's warning was just. The way did seem very long; and sometimes, as they went over hill and dale, the sight of the beautiful castle, which cheered him so much, was quite shut out from his eyes, and at length, when they were coming very near it, with nothing but one valley between them and the building, he perceived that the road went over a narrow drawbridge, and saw two terrible monsters lying close beside the way. Their bodies were like those of lions, very large and very strong, but they had necks like that of a snake, and from each neck issued a hundred horrible heads, all differing in kind from one another.

The poor Prince was alarmed, and said to his companion: 'Do you see those horrible brutes? Is there no other way into the castle but between them?'

'There are a thousand ways into the castle,' replied his companion, 'but every way is guarded by monsters just like those. But do not be alarmed. Go on with me, and I will help you. Besides, someone will come out of the castle, most likely, to give us assistance.'[Pg 86]

Chapter VII

Upon these words, the Prince went on more cheerfully, especially when he saw a man come running down from the gate of the castle as they approached the drawbridge.

'Ay,' said his companion, stepping on without stopping a moment, 'there comes my friend Courage to help us. He is a good, serviceable fellow.'

Just as he spoke, the two monsters sprang forward, and the one which was nearest to Perseverance growled terribly at him; but he struck him a blow with his pike-staff, which knocked him down and cowed him entirely; and there he lay, with all his hundred heads prostrated in a manner which the Prince could hardly have thought possible. The other brute sprang right at the Prince himself, as if to destroy him, so that he was inclined to draw back; but the man Courage, who had run down from the castle, put his foot upon the creature's snaky neck, and crushed it into the earth.

'Go on, go on, young man!' he cried. 'These are terrible monsters truly, but you see our friend Perseverance has vanquished Difficulty, and I have trampled upon Danger.'

As he spoke, the Prince passed on rapidly over the drawbridge; and when he stood under the gate of the castle, Perseverance took him by the hand with a smiling air, and led him in, saying: 'Now I will conduct you to my lady, Success.'[Pg 87]

The Prince slays the monster with a hundred horrible heads.—Page 86. The Prince slays the monster with a hundred horrible heads.—Page 86.

[Pg 89]

At the very sound the poor Prince seemed quite refreshed, forgot all the weary way he had travelled, the dark forest of Adversity, the grim frown of Necessity, the faintness and the weariness, and hundred-headed Difficulty and Danger. But he was more rejoiced still when, on entering the building, he found himself suddenly, all at once, in the great hall of his own palace of Prosperity, with a beautiful lady, all smiles, standing ready to receive him with a crown in her hand.

'Come hither, Prince,' she said, 'and receive this crown, which I never bestow on any but my greatest favourites. It is called the crown of Contentment. I reserve it for those who, led on by Perseverance, come to me by the Right Path, in spite of Difficulty and Danger. Those who arrive at my presence by any of the many other roads that are open to mankind I give over to the charge of some of my inferior attendants, such as Pride, Vanity, or Ambition, who amuse themselves by making them play all manner of strange tricks.'

Thus saying, she put the crown upon his head, and the Prince found the most delightful tranquil feeling spread through his whole body. Nevertheless, he could not help looking about almost instantly for the figure of the ugly little grey dwarf; and, as he could not see him anywhere, he said to the beautiful lady: 'Where is that hideous, yawning Satiety? I hope he has left the palace.'

'He may be hanging about in some dark corners of the palace,' answered the lady, 'or hiding amongst the roses in your garden of Pleasure; but he will never appear in your presence again, so long as you wear that crown upon your head; for there is a rich jewel called Moderation in the crown of Contentment which is too bright and pure to be looked upon by Satiety.'

[Pg 90]

The Farm-Yard Journal


Dear Tom,

'Since we parted at the breaking-up, I have been for most of the time at a pleasant farm in Hertfordshire, where I have employed myself in rambling about the country, and assisting, as well as I could, at the work going on at home and in the fields. On wet days, and in the evenings, I have amused myself with keeping a journal of all the great events that have happened among us; and hoping that when you are tired of the bustle of your busy town you may receive some entertainment from comparing our transactions with yours, I have copied out for your perusal one of the days in my memorandum-book.

'Pray let me know in return what you are doing, and believe me,

'Your very affectionate friend,
'Richard Markwell.'

[Pg 91]

She kicked up her hind legs, and threw down the milk-pail.—Page 93. She kicked up her hind legs, and threw down the milk-pail.—Page 93.

[Pg 93]

'June 10.—Last night we had a dreadful alarm. A violent scream was heard from the hen-roost; the geese all set up a cackle, and the dogs barked. Ned, the boy who lies over the stable, jumped up and ran into the yard, when he observed a fox galloping away with a chicken in his mouth, and the dogs on full chase after him. They could not overtake him, and soon returned. Upon further examination, the large white cock was found lying on the ground all bloody, with his comb torn almost off, and his feathers all ruffled; and the speckled hen and three chickens lay dead beside him. The cock recovered, but appeared terribly frightened. It seems that the fox had jumped over the garden hedge, and then, crossing part of the yard behind the straw, had crept into the hen-roost through a broken pale. John, the carpenter, was sent for to make all fast, and prevent the like mischief again.

'Early this morning the brindled cow was delivered of a fine bull-calf. Both are likely to do well. The calf is to be fattened for the butcher.

'The duck-eggs that were sitten upon by the old black hen were hatched this day, and the ducklings all directly ran into the pond, to the great terror of the hen, who went round and round, clucking with all her might, in order to call them out, but they did not regard her. An old drake took the little ones under his care, and they swam about very merrily.

'As Dolly this morning was milking the new cow that was bought at the fair she kicked with her hind legs, and threw down the milk-pail, at the same time knocking Dolly off her stool into the dirt. For this offence the cow was sentenced to have her head fastened to the rack, and her legs tied together.

'A kite was observed to hover a long while over the yard with an intention of carrying off some of the young chickens; but the hens called their broods together under their wings, and the cocks put themselves in order of[Pg 94] battle, so that the kite was disappointed. At length one chicken, not minding its mother, but straggling heedlessly to a distance, was descried by the kite, who made a sudden swoop, and seized it in his talons. The chicken cried out, and the cocks and hens all screamed, when Ralph, the farmer's son, who saw the attack, snatched up a loaded gun, and just as the kite was flying off with his prey, fired and brought him dead to the ground, along with the poor chicken, who was killed in the fall. The dead body of the kite was nailed up against the wall, by way of warning to his wicked comrades.

'In the forenoon we were alarmed with strange noises approaching us, and looking out we saw a number of people with frying pans, warming pans, tongs and pokers, beating, ringing, and making all possible din. We soon discovered them to be our neighbours of the next farm in pursuit of a swarm of bees which was hovering in the air over their heads. The bees at length alighted on the tall pear tree in our orchard, and hung in a bunch from one of the boughs. A ladder was got, and a man ascending with gloves on his hands, and an apron tied over his head, swept them into a hive, which was rubbed on the inside with honey and sweet herbs. But as he was descending, some bees which had got under his gloves stung him in such a manner that he hastily threw down the hive, upon which the greater part of the bees fell out, and began in a rage to fly among the crowd, and sting all whom they lit upon. Away scampered the people, the women shrieking, the children roaring; and poor Adam, who had held the hive, was assailed so furiously that he was obliged to throw himself on the ground, and creep under the gooseberry bushes. At length the bees began to return to the hive, in which the queen bee had remained; and after a while, all being quietly settled, a[Pg 95] cloth was thrown over it, and the swarm was carried home.

'About noon three pigs broke into the garden, where they were rioting upon the carrots and turnips, and doing a great deal of mischief by trampling the beds and rooting up the plants with their snouts, when they were spied by old Towzer, the mastiff, who ran among them, and laying hold of their long ears with his teeth, made them squeal most dismally, and get out of the garden as fast as they could.

'Roger, the ploughman, when he came for his dinner, brought word that he had discovered a partridge's nest with sixteen eggs in the home field, upon which the farmer went out and broke them all, saying that he did not choose to rear birds upon his corn which he was not allowed to scratch, but must leave to some qualified sportsman, who would besides break down his fences in the pursuit.

'A sheep washing was held this day at the mill-pool, when seven score were well washed, and then penned in the high meadow to dry. Many of them made great resistance at being thrown into the water, and the old ram, being dragged to the brink by a boy at each horn, and a third pushing behind, by a sudden spring threw two of them into the water, to the great diversion of the spectators.

'Towards the dusk of the evening the Squire's mongrel greyhound, which had been long suspected of worrying sheep, was caught in the fact. He had killed two lambs, and was making a hearty meal upon one of them, when he was disturbed by the approach of the shepherd's boy, and directly leaped the hedge and made off. The dead bodies were taken to the Squire's, with an indictment of wilful murder against the dog. But when they came to[Pg 96] look for the culprit, he was not to be found in any part of the premises, and is supposed to have fled his country through consciousness of his heinous offence.

'Joseph, who sleeps in the garret at the old end of the house, after having been some time in bed, came downstairs in his shirt, as pale as ashes, and frightened the maids, who were going up. It was some time before he could tell what was the matter. At length he said he had heard some dreadful noises overhead, which he was sure must be made by some ghost or evil spirit. Nay, he thought he had seen something moving, though he owned he durst hardly lift up his eyes. He concluded with declaring that he would rather sit up all night in the kitchen than go to his room again. The maids were almost as much alarmed as he, and did not know what to do; but the master, overhearing their talk, came out and insisted upon their accompanying him to the spot, in order to search into the affair. They all went into the garret, and for a while heard nothing, when the master ordered the candle to be taken away, and everyone to keep quite still. Joseph and the maids stuck close to each other, and trembled in every limb. At length a kind of groaning or snoring began to be heard, which grew louder and louder, with intervals of a strange sort of hissing. "That's it!" whispered Joseph, drawing back towards the door. The maids were ready to sink, and even the farmer himself was a little disconcerted. The noise seemed to come from the rafters near the thatch. In a while, a glimpse of moonlight shining through a hole at the place plainly discovered the shadow of something stirring, and on looking intently somewhat like feathers were perceived. The farmer now began to suspect what the case was, and ordering up a short ladder, bid Joseph climb to the spot, and thrust his hand into[Pg 97] the hole. This he did rather unwillingly, and soon drew it back, crying loudly that he was bit. However, gathering courage, he put it in again, and pulled out a large white owl, another at the same time being heard to fly away. The cause of the alarm was now made clear enough, and poor Joseph, after being heartily jeered by the maids, though they had been as much frightened as he, sneaked into bed again, and the house soon became quiet.'

[Pg 98]

The Fruits of Disobedience


The Kidnapped Child


In a beautiful villa, on the banks of the Medway resided a gentleman whose name was Darnley, who had, during the early part of life, filled a post of some importance about the Court, and even in its decline preserved that elegance of manners which so peculiarly marks a finished gentleman.

The loss of a beloved wife had given a pensive cast to his features, and a seriousness to his deportment, which many people imagined proceeded from haughtiness of disposition, yet nothing could be further from Mr. Darnley's character, for he was affable, gentle, benevolent, and humane.

His family consisted of an only sister, who, like himself, had lost the object of her tenderest affection, but who, in dividing her attention between her brother and his amiable children, endeavoured to forget her own misfortunes.[Pg 99]

Mr. Darnley's fortune was sufficiently great to enable him to place his daughters in the first school in London, but he preferred having them under his immediate instruction, and as Mrs. Collier offered to assist him in their education he resolved for some years not to engage a governess, as Nurse Chapman was one of those worthy creatures to whose care he could securely trust them.

An old friend of Mr. Darnley's had recently bought a house at Rochester, and that gentleman and his sister were invited to pass a few days there, and as Emily grew rather too big for the nurse's management Mrs. Collier resolved to make her of the party, leaving Sophia, Amanda, and Eliza under that good woman's protection.

It was Mr. Darnley's wish that the young folks should rise early and take a long walk every morning before breakfast, but they were strictly ordered never to go beyond their own grounds unless their aunt or father accompanied them. This order they had frequently endeavoured to persuade Nurse Chapman to disregard, but, faithful to the trust reposed in her, she always resisted their urgent entreaties.

The morning after Mr. Darnley went to Rochester the poor woman found herself thoroughly indisposed, and wholly incapable of rising at the accustomed hour. The children, however, were dressed for walking, and the nursemaid charged not to go beyond the shrubbery, and they all sallied out in high good humour.

'Now, Susan,' said Sophia, as soon as they entered the garden, 'this is the only opportunity you may ever have of obliging us. Do let us walk to the village, and then you know you can see your father and mother.'

'La, missy!' replied the girl, 'why, you know 'tis as much as my place is worth if Nurse Chapman should find out.'[Pg 100]

'Find it out indeed,' said Amanda; 'how do you think she is to find it out? Come, do let us go, there's a dear good creature.'

'Yes, dear, dear Susan, do let us go,' said Eliza, skipping on before them, 'and I'll show you the way, for I walked there last summer with father.'

Whether it was the wish of obliging the young ladies, or the desire of seeing her parents, I cannot pretend to say, but in a luckless hour Susan yielded, and the party soon reached the village.

Susan's mother was delighted at seeing her, and highly honoured by the young ladies' presence.

'Oh, sweet, dear creatures!' said the old woman, 'I must get something for them to eat after their long walk, and my oven's quite hot, and I can bake them a little cake in a quarter of an hour, and I'll milk Jenny in ten minutes.'

The temptation of her hot cake and new milk was not to be withstood, and Susan began taking down some smart china cups, which were arranged in form upon the mantelpiece, and carefully dusted them for the young ladies' use.

Eliza followed the old woman into the cowhouse, and began asking a thousand questions, when her attention was suddenly attracted by the appearance of a tame lamb, who went up bleating to its mistress with a view of asking its accustomed breakfast.

'You must wait a little, Billy,' said the woman, 'and let your betters be served before you. Don't you see that we have got gentlefolks to breakfast with us this morning?'

Eliza was so delighted with the beauty of the little animal that she wanted to kiss it, and attempted to restrain it for that purpose, whilst Billy, ungrateful for[Pg 101] her intended kindness, gave a sudden spring and frisked away.

Eliza followed in hopes of being able to catch him, but he ran baaing along into the high road.

A woman whose appearance was descriptive of poverty but whose smiling countenance indicated good nature, at that moment happened to pass, and, accosting Eliza in a tone of familiarity, said: 'That's not half such a pretty lamb, miss, as I have got at home, and not a quarter so tame, for if you did but say, Bob, he'd follow you from one end of the town to the other, and then he'll fetch and carry like a dog, stand up on his hind legs, when my husband says "Up" for the thing, and play more tricks than a young kitten.'

'Oh, the pretty creature,' replied Eliza, 'how I should like to see it!'

'Well, come along with me, miss,' said the woman, 'for I only lives just across the next field, but you must run as hard as you can, because my husband is going to work, and he generally takes Bob with him.'

'Well, make haste, then,' said Eliza.

'Give me your hand, miss,' replied the woman; 'for we can run faster together. But there goes my husband, I declare; and there's Bob, as usual, skipping on before.'

'Where? where?' exclaimed Eliza, stretching her little neck as far as she possibly could, to see if she could discern the lamb.

'You are not tall enough,' said the artful creature; 'but let me lift you up, miss, and then I dare say you will see them;' and, instantly catching her up, she cried out: 'Look directly towards the steeple, miss; but I'll run with you in my arms, and I warrant we'll soon overtake them.'

Eliza looked, but looked in vain, and, perceiving the[Pg 102] woman had soon carried her out of sight of the cottage, begged she would set her down, as she dare not go any farther.

The vile creature was absolutely incapable of replying, for her breath was nearly exhausted by the rapidity of the motion, and Eliza continued entreating her to stop, and struggled violently to elude her grasp.

At length, after a quarter of an hour's exertion, the woman found herself incapable of proceeding, and stopped suddenly, sat down on a bank, keeping tight hold of Eliza's arms, who cried dreadfully, and besought her to let her go.

'Let you go!' she replied; 'what, after all the plague I've had to knap you? No, no, you don't catch me at that, I promise you; but be a good girl, and don't cry, and then you may see Bob by-and-by, perhaps.'

'Oh, my sisters! my sisters! Let me go to my sisters!' cried the child.

'I'll find plenty of sisters for you in a few days,' said the vile creature; 'but they won't know you in them there fine clothes; so let's pull them off in a minute, and then we'll have another run after Bob.'

So saying, she stripped off the white frock, hat, and tippet. The rest of the things shared the same fate, and she was compelled to put on some old rags which the inhuman creature took out of a bag she carried under her petticoat; then, taking a bottle of liquid from the same place, she instantly began washing Eliza's face with it, and, notwithstanding all her remonstrances, cut her beautiful hair close to her head.

Thus metamorphosed, it would have been impossible even for Mr. Darnley to have known his child, and they proceeded onward until her little legs would carry her no farther. At this period they were overtaken by the Canterbury waggon, and for a mere trifle the driver consented to let them ride to London. Eliza's tears continued to flow, but she dared not utter a complaint, as her inhuman companion protested she would break every bone in her skin if she ventured to make the least noise.[Pg 103]

Cut her beautiful hair close to her head.—Page 102. >Cut her beautiful hair close to her head.—Page 102.

[Pg 105]

When they arrived in town, she was dragged (for to walk she was unable) to a miserable hole down several steps, where they gave her some bread and butter to eat, and then desired her to go to bed.

The bed, if such it might be called, was little else than a bundle of rags thrown into a corner of the room, with a dirty blanket spread across it; and there she was left by her inhuman kidnapper to mourn her misfortunes and lament having disregarded her father's injunctions.

The next morning she was forced to rise the moment it was light, and to walk as far as her little legs would carry her before they stopped anywhere to take refreshment. The second night was passed in a barn, and about five o'clock the third afternoon they knocked at the door of a neat-looking cottage, where nine or ten children were sitting in a little room making lace.

'Why, Peggy,' said the woman, as she opened the door, 'I thought you never would have come again! However, I see you have got me a hand at last, and God knows I'm enough in want of her; for two of my brats have thought proper to fall sick, and I have more to do than ever I had in my life.'

On the following day Eliza's filthy rags were all taken off, and she was dressed in a tidy, brown stuff gown, a nice clean round-eared cap, and a little coloured bib and apron; and she was ordered, if any person asked her name, to say it was Biddy Bullen, and that she was niece to the woman who employed her.

The severity with which all this wretch's commands were enforced wholly prevented any of the helpless victims[Pg 106] who were under her protection from daring to disobey them; and though most of them were placed under her care by the same vile agent who had decoyed Eliza, yet they were all tutored to relate similar untruths.

But I now think it is high time to carry my little readers back to the cottage scene, where Susan was arranging things in order for breakfast, and Sophia and her sister were anxiously watching the moment when the cake was pronounced completely ready.

The old woman soon returned with the milk-pail on her arm, and Susan eagerly demanded: 'Where's Miss Eliza?'

'Oh, the pretty creature!' replied her mother, 'she'll be here in a minute, I warrant her; but she has gone skipping after our Billy, and the two sweet innocents they are together.'

She then went to the oven, produced the cake, and began buttering it with all expedition, whilst Sophia joyously ran to the door of the cowhouse, and began loudly calling her sister Eliza.

No answer being returned, Susan began to feel alarmed, but the young ladies told her not to be frightened, as they knew it was only one of Eliza's pranks. But, alas! too soon were they convinced it was no joke, but some dreadful misfortune must have happened.

'Miss Eliza! Miss Eliza!' was vociferated through the village, not only by Susan and her mother, but by all the neighbours who had heard of the calamity, whilst her sisters ran about frantic with grief, crying, 'Eliza, my love! my darling! Oh, if you are hid, for pity's sake speak!'

Nurse Chapman got up about half-past nine, and, hearing the children were not returned from their walk, sent the housemaid directly after them.[Pg 107]

The garden, the shrubbery, and the lawn were all searched without success; and just as Betty was returning to inform the nurse they were not to be found, she perceived Susan and the two children enter a little green gate at the bottom of the shrubbery.

'Where's Miss Eliza?' called Betty, in a voice as loud as she could articulate.

'God knows! God knows!' replied the careless girl, sobbing so loud she could scarcely speak.

'How! where! when!' said the others. 'Why, poor nurse will go stark, staring mad!'

By that time the poor woman had quitted her room, and walked into the garden to see what had become of her little charges; and, not directly missing Eliza from the group, which was then fast approaching towards the house, she called out:

'Come, my dear children—come along! I thought you would never have returned again.' And, observing Eliza was not with them, she continued: 'But, Susan, what's become of my sweet bird? Where's my little darling, Miss Eliza?'

'Oh, nurse! nurse!' said Sophia, 'my sister's lost! indeed she's lost!'

'Lost!' exclaimed the poor old woman—'lost! What do you tell me? What do I hear? Oh, my master! my dear master! never shall I bear to see his face again!'

Susan then repeated every circumstance just as has been related, and with sighs and tears bewailed her own folly in suffering herself to be over-persuaded. And the children declared they dare not encounter their father's displeasure.

The menservants were instantly summoned, and sent on horseback different ways. That she had been stolen admitted of no doubt, as there was no water near the[Pg 108] cottage; and had any accident happened, they must have found her, as they had searched every part of the village before they ventured to return home.

One servant was sent to Rochester, another towards London, and a third and fourth across the country roads; but no intelligence could be obtained, or the slightest information gathered, by which the unfortunate child could be found, or her wicked decoyer's footsteps traced.

When Mr. Darnley was apprised of the calamitous event, the agitation of his mind may be easily conceived, but can never be described.

Handbills were instantly circulated all over the country, the child's person described, and a reward of five hundred guineas offered for her restoration.

Sophia and Amanda were inconsolable, and Susan was ordered to be discharged before Mr. Darnley returned home, which he did not for more than a month after the melancholy circumstance happened, as he was not satisfied with sending messengers in pursuit of his lost treasure, but went himself to all those wretched parts of London where poverty and vice are known to dwell, in the hope of meeting the object of his solicitude, and at length gave up the interesting pursuit, because he found his health rendered him incapable of continuing it.

Nine tedious months passed away without any intelligence of the lost Eliza; and time, which is a general remedy for all misfortunes, had not softened the severity of their affliction. Mrs. Collier had engaged a lady to be governess to her nieces, as her attention had been wholly devoted to her unfortunate brother, whose agitated state of mind had produced a bodily complaint which demanded her unremitting care and tenderness.

Although Emily loved Eliza with the fondest affection, yet her grief was much less poignant than either of her[Pg 109] sisters', as she could not accuse herself with being accessory to her loss.

'Never, never shall I forgive myself,' Sophia would often say, 'for having deviated from my dear father's command! Oh, so good and indulgent as he is to us, how wicked it was to transgress his will! I was the eldest, and ought to have known better, and my poor Eliza is the sufferer for my crime!'

Thus would she bewail her folly and imprudence, until, agonized by the torture of her own reflections, she would sink down in a chair quite exhausted, and burst into a flood of tears.

While the family at Darnley Hall were thus a prey to unavailing sorrow, the lovely little girl who had occasioned it was beginning to grow more reconciled to the cruelty of her destiny, and to support her different mode of life with resignation and composure. She had acquired such a degree of skill in the art of lacemaking (which was the business her employer followed) as generally to be able to perform the tasks which were allotted her; and if it so happened she was incapable of doing it, Sally Butchell, a child almost two years older than herself, of whom she was very fond, was always kind enough to complete it for her.

The cottage in which the vile Mrs. Bullen resided was situated about a quarter of a mile from High Wycombe; and whenever she was obliged to go to that place, either to purchase or to dispose of her goods, she always went either before her family were up, or after they had retired to rest, locking the door constantly after her, and putting the key in her pocket, so that the poor little souls had no opportunity of telling their misfortunes to any human creature.

One intense hot afternoon, in the month of August,[Pg 110] as the children were sitting hard at work with the door open for the sake of air, an elderly lady and gentleman walked up to it, and begged to be accommodated with a seat, informing Mrs. Bullen their carriage had broke down a mile distant, and they had been obliged to walk in the heat of the sun.

The appearance of so many children, all industriously employed, was a sight particularly pleasing to the liberal-minded Mrs. Montague, and she immediately began asking the woman several questions about them; but there was something of confusion in her manner of replying that called forth Mrs. Montague's surprise and astonishment.

'They really are lovely children, my dear,' said she, turning to Mr. Montague, who had stood at the door watching the approach of the carriage, which he perceived coming forward; 'and as to that little creature with the mole under her left eye, I declare I think it is a perfect beauty.'

Mr. Montague turned his head, and regarded Eliza with a look that at once proved that his sentiments corresponded with those of his lady.

'What is your name, my love?' said he, in a tone of kindness which poor Eliza had long been a stranger to.

The child coloured like scarlet, and looked immediately at her inhuman employer, who, catching the contagion, replied with evident marks of confusion:

'Her name is Biddy Bullen, sir; she's my niece; but 'tis a poor timid little fool, and is always in a fright when gentlefolks happen to speak to her. Go, Biddy,' she continued—'go up into my bedroom, and mind that thread which you'll find upon the reel.'

'You should try to conquer that timidity,' said Mr. Montague, 'by making her answer every stranger who speaks to her; but by taking that office upon yourself,[Pg 111] you absolutely encourage the shyness you complain of. Come hither, my little girl,' continued he, observing she was retiring upstairs, 'and tell the lady what your name is.'

Encouraged by the kindness of Mr. Montague's address, the agitated child obeyed the summons, although Mrs. Bullen attempted to force her into resistance.

'Well,' continued the old gentleman, patting her on the cheek, 'and where did you get that pretty mole?'

'My mother gave it me, sir,' replied the blushing child; 'but I did not see her do it, because Nurse Chapman told me she went to heaven as soon as I was born.'

'Your mother! And what was your mother's name?' said Mr. Montague.

'Darnley, sir,' said the child, and suddenly recollecting the lesson that had been taught her; 'but my name is Biddy Bullen, and that is my aunt.'

'Darnley!' exclaimed Mrs. Montague—'the very child that has been for these twelve months past advertised in all the papers'—then turning to convince herself of the fact—'and the very mole confirms it.'

Mr. Montague immediately attempted to secure the woman, but her activity eluded his grasp, and darting out at the back door she was out of sight in a few moments.

'Is she really gone? Is she gone?' all the little voices at once demanded, and upon Mr. Montague's assuring them she was really gone for ever, their joy broke out in a thousand different ways—some cried, some laughed, and others jumped. In short, there never was a scene more completely calculated to interest the feelings of a benevolent heart.

Mr. Montague's carriage at this period arrived, and[Pg 112] the footman was desired to fetch a magistrate from Wycombe, whilst the worthy clergyman resolved to remain there until his arrival, and began questioning all the children. Two had been there from so early a period that they could give no account of their name or origin, but all the rest were so clear in their description that the benevolent Mr. Montague had no doubt of being able to restore them to their afflicted parents.

The magistrate soon arrived, attended by the worthy rector of the place, who, hearing from Mr. Montague's servant that a child had been stolen came with the intent of offering his services.

All but Eliza were immediately put under his protection, but Mrs. Montague was so anxious she should be their earliest care that she begged her husband to order a post-chaise directly, and set off immediately for town. This request was willingly complied with, and by three o'clock the next afternoon the party arrived at Darnley Hall.

Mrs. Collier was standing at the window when the carriage stopped, and looking earnestly at her niece suddenly exclaimed in a tone of rapture: 'My child! My child! My lost Eliza!'

Mr. Darnley, who was reading, sprang from his seat, and flew to the door in an ecstasy of joy. In less than a minute he returned folding his Eliza to his throbbing heart. The joyful intelligence ran through the house, and the other children impatiently flew to this scene of transport.

To describe their feelings or express their felicity would require the aid of the most descriptive pen, and even then would be but faintly told, and therefore had much better be passed over.

From that moment the children all unanimously agreed[Pg 113] strictly to attend to their father's orders, and never in the slightest instance act in opposition to his will.

Mr. and Mrs. Montague were laden with caresses, and earnestly entreated to remain Mr. Darnley's guests. The hospitable invitation would have been gladly accepted had not the thoughts of the poor children who were still at Wycombe seemed to claim his immediate attention, and so great was the philanthropy of Mr. Montague's character that he could never rest satisfied if a single duty remained unfulfilled.

[Pg 114]

The Rose's Breakfast


The shrubs and flowers, having heard of the Peacock At Home, the Butterfly's Ball, and Grasshopper's Feast, Elephant's Ball, and many others of equal celebrity, and having been themselves of late much introduced into the assemblies of Ton, grew so vain as to wish to have a gala of their own. They were aware of their want of the organs of speech, but knowing they had plenty of Ladies' Tongue among them, and that crowded parties neither afforded gratification to the mind, or allowed opportunity for conversation, and as they could shake their leaves at each other, as well as fine ladies could their heads, they were perfectly satisfied with their powers to entertain.

As all their refreshments were composed from air, earth, and water it was determined that a fine summer's day after a reviving shower, would afford ample regale for a breakfast, which was to begin, like all fashionable ones, late in the afternoon, that the genteel flowers might be awake. Mrs. Honeysuckle first proposed giving one, but her husband was a Dutchman, and would not agree to the bustle and expense, and not choosing the risk[Pg 115] of separation she for once yielded, and Mrs. Rose, being in high beauty, determined to send out her fragrance to invite the company, provided she could procure the consent of Mr. Pluto Rose; indeed, he never interfered with the pursuits of his wife; he only declared he should not appear, and as he was a very dark-looking rose without any sweet she was delighted at this declaration, but, though much admired in her own little circle, she was unknown in the great World, and she was sensible that unless some of the leaders of the Ton were present her breakfast would be regarded with contempt; she therefore consulted two of her friends, Lady Acacia and Mrs. Larch, and got Mr. Plane from the east to secure the attendance of his party.

Lady Acacia had just got her niece Robina from America, whom she was very solicitous to have properly introduced, having kept very indifferent company in her own country, and being handsome, she aspired to settling her well. She, of course, aided all in her power to promote Mrs. Rose's scheme, and, by being in a higher circle, offered to get all the Forest Trees to attend except Lord Oak; but she knew he never condescended to go to such meetings. Mrs. Larch, from her connections, promised her influence with all the Cedars and Firs, though she was sure her cousin from Lebanon would not come, but all the rest yielded easily to her entreaties. Mrs. Rose was delighted with the success of Lady Acacia and Mrs. Larch in their solicitations with the Forest and Fir Trees, whose majestic appearance and respectable characters she imagined would dignify her fête, never considering her own littleness might appear to them despicable; but from them she had nothing to fear, as they were too well bred to attend any meeting to ridicule it. 'Tis true when they did grace a public entertainment[Pg 116] they kept chiefly together, and never so far forgot their consequence as to oppress a humble flower, or stoop to notice a forward insignificant one even in the gayest attire.

There was an elegant lightness of drapery in Mrs. Birch's dress, but poor Lady Aspen had certainly a very trifling way with her in shaking continually her leaves, which sounded as if she was tittering at everything around. Old Lord Elm was hurt at it, and often hinted to her ladyship how improper such behaviour would have been deemed in former times. It was, poor thing, in her a natural weakness which she could not amend, and it had been copied by some inferior plants who had ignorantly supposed it the height of good breeding.

Mrs. Rose, with all her charms, could not aspire to become one of the Forest set, though she had hopes she might be reckoned a descendant from the famous Roses so well known in the reigns of some of our Henrys, Edwards, and Richard III., though she assuredly was of a very different extraction; indeed, it was said that she was bred up in a cottage garden, but had passed one winter in the hothouse, by which she was greatly elated, and now thought from that circumstance she was secure in having a large party from thence, not knowing the prejudice it was to memory and sight to be constantly for any length of time in such artificial air. Had it not been for this breakfast bringing Mrs. Rose into notice she would have been totally forgotten by them, but her invitation made them soon recollect the dear little creature, and as every offer of accommodation was made to entice them to attend, even to the promise of being placed near the Burning Bush: for that whatever is difficult to obtain is always peculiarly desirable to possess was not unknown in the hothouse. Notwithstanding that most[Pg 117] of its inhabitants, except Lady Sensitive and a few others (who were really too delicate to venture out), all anxiously wished to be at Mrs. Rose's, yet they seemed to make the waiting on her a very great favour, and their terms vexed her greatly—namely, the excluding of many of the common plants or natives as they termed them which prevented her from asking some of her old acquaintance and near connections, with whom till now she had lived in habits of intimacy; besides she had wished to have shown her taste and consequence to them, having thorns enough on her stem to have pleasure in exciting a little envy; but being afraid these connections should be known she excluded every friend she was requested to do, and thus the Sweet Briar and many of that rank were left out, yet several weeds had the effrontery to get in.

As the hothouse plants always keep together when they do come out, they, as usual, did so at Mrs. Rose's, following their constant plan of apparent dissatisfaction at everything they met with, and quizzing most shamefully all the company. The greenhouse plants in winter follow the example of the hothouse in living in their own circle, but at this season mix more generally, though, alas! they were nearly as much inclined as the hothouse party to quizzing. Mrs. Myrtle and Lady Orange-tree promised to chaperon the Misses Heath and the Misses Geranium—that is, such as were properly accomplished by having had a greenhouse education; but the poor relations of these two families, which I am forced to confess were many, were not asked. Lord Heliotropium and Mr. Monkeyplant were their welcome attendants.

The Evergreens of rank were invited, the females of whom are charged with being fond of showing themselves, and are usually to be seen in the front of plantations.[Pg 118] Hitherto they had despised the fickleness of fashion, and had never modernized their dress enough to seem thinly clad even in the winter, and now they could not reconcile themselves to such a change, which, in fact, did them honour, though a few of the weakest and vainest among them rather lamented it, but the wiser valued their foliage as a great addition to beauty and elegance, and justly reprobated the prevailing Ton of transparent clothing as very pernicious to health. Mrs. Arbutus was particularly unlucky in having sent all her jewels away for the summer, but Lady Portugal Laurel and a few others ornamented their usual green dresses very prettily with white, and her ladyship was allowed to make a sweet figure, whilst the correctness of her appearance gained her respect and admiration.

Many Laurels were invited, but in this country they are so numerous, and of such rapid growth, and such flourishing plants, that it was absolutely impossible to collect as many of them as could be desired, and some old veterans declined attending. The Cypresses in general sent excuses, being confined by the loss of a friend, which was thought rather an uncommon reason for confinement. Mr. Stock was also prevented by a pre-engagement in the alley; he was a remarkably rich, showy flower, or he would not have been invited, yet he was known to possess more intrinsic merit before he had acquired so many petals. Dr. Yew would not leave his church, nor Dr. Palma Christi his patients; indeed, their absence was not at all regretted, it being owing to a mistake that they were asked. The Ladies Weeping Willow stayed away with the Misses Weeping Ash to mourn over the vanities of the world, which greatly alarmed and distressed them.

Mrs. Passion-Flower sent her excuses, being enraged she was not consulted on the occasion, as she would have[Pg 119] deferred the meeting until she had regained her bloom. Most of the Shrubs that were invited attended, and the Duchess of Syringa and the Ladies Lilac looked beautiful. It was a disputed point whether Lady White Lilac or her sister was the handsomer, yet some of the party were so ill-humoured as to hint they were fading. Lord Laburnum came with them. Some bulbous roots were admitted, and Mrs. Lily made as engaging a figure as anyone; her headdress was simply elegant, the petals white with yellow stamens forming a very rich coral. The sweet Misses Lily of the Valley could not be tempted from their retreat.

Lord Tulip was particularly noticed, his coral being diversified in a most superb manner, and as dress among Ton beaux now is neglected he made a very surprising appearance, though by it he gained great respect; perhaps he carried it too far, as marked singularity is never advisable, yet a certain attention to dress, consistent with station, is requisite, and had it not been for his coral Lord Tulip would have been passed by in the crowd, or turned out as a weed. He came with the Duchess of Hyacinth, which was rather particular, but it was little regarded, and the Duke was blamed for not properly estimating her Grace's charms.

There were some perennials asked, but Mrs. Rose was obliged to forget many of them, yet Miss Scabious was there, though not yet come out, flirting shamefully with young Lychnis, who was waiting for his ensigncy to get out his scarlet coat. Mrs. Rose made a point of inviting Mr. Monkshood because she would not appear to have any prejudices, though it is well known to be a poisonous plant, but its evil properties were to her and her friends of no consequence as they had never reflected on serious subjects. She also pressed the attendance of several[Pg 120] annuals of showy appearance. Intrinsic merit had no value with her, who had no guide but fashion, and was ambitious only of becoming a leader in dissipation or a patroness of talent, which would be the means of making her ridiculous, and the dupe of presuming ignorance.

The annuals, though they flourished but for a short time, were often during that period greatly caressed, yet never lamented when they disappeared; in short, they were made subservient to the powers of others, which Mr. Coxcomb, the painted Lady Pea, and some more were too vain to discover, and whilst they were frequently amused in quizzing all around never suspected they were deservedly greater objects of ridicule themselves. Very few of the Creepers were invited except those that belonged to the hothouse or greenhouse, and the sharpness of Lady Cereus made Mrs. Rose wish even to have avoided her company, but she would not be put off. Mrs. Bramble was very sharp at not being invited, thinking she had as good a right as Mrs. Ivy, whom she accused as being one of those sycophants that push themselves into high life by clinging to greatness, and thus getting into the first circle without being respected in or out of it; indeed, there was amongst many of the party a good deal of satire. Mrs. Rose herself was a little formed of it, but her sweetness was allowed to blunt the force of her thorn, and made it even regarded as pleasing, whilst Mrs. Holly was disliked for her general sharpness.[Pg 121]

The sweet Misses Lilies of the Valley could not be tempted from their retreat.—Page 119. The sweet Misses Lilies of the Valley could not be tempted from their retreat.—Page 119.

[Pg 123]

All the Auriculas that had been applauded on the stage were wonderfully sought after by Mrs. Rose as being now generally in all Ton assemblies, and they were always ready to accept these invitations, but their season of exhibition was now over, and they were gone strolling about for the remainder of the year. The Ladies Carnation were all asked, and some of their cousins, the Misses Pink, were particularly named (not having accommodations for all the family), and such of the Misses Pink as came were chaperoned by their near relations, Mr. and Mrs. Sweet-William; but the Ladies Carnation were obliged to refuse—they were afraid they should not be come out in time, and if they were must attend a county meeting with their guardian.

There were no invitations sent into the kitchen garden or orchard, notwithstanding the elegant simplicity of many of the inhabitants, and the general propriety of their conduct, but they were all voted quizzes for their usefulness in society and their attention to domestic concerns. They were vain of this neglect, regarding it as a proof of their merit, and as they lived comfortably together were happy and contented, and far more easy and cheerful than the more dissipated societies. Mrs. Onion, it must be allowed, took it as a slight, but she was the only one that did, and she, presuming upon the having been much at great dinners, imagined she must be qualified for any breakfast, not considering she generally was obliged to go to them disguised or hid by a veil, but she was a proof of the errors of self knowledge, as she thought her scent far preferable to Mrs. Rose's.

The rest of the kitchen garden really wished to avoid mixing with the Ton, among whom they justly allowed were many very valuable plants; every class and order in this country may boast of them. The natural soil is good, and much pains is bestowed on proper culture, yet in the circles of dissipation there was reason to fear their health and good habits might be injured, particularly as attempts had been made to disseminate baneful seeds, though hitherto they had been kept down by care and attention. Mrs. Apple-Tree, Mr. Cherry, Miss Currant,[Pg 124] Miss Gooseberry, the Beans, Peas, Potatoes, and Cabbages well knew their own value, and despised the weak ambition of those who force themselves into company they were not designed for.

Mrs. Rose would have liked to have got at the Mint, but it was so well guarded by the Sages that she dared not make the attempt, knowing it would be useless, and she could not presume to ask the Sages, or would have been delighted to have had them—that is, all the family but Common Sage, well imagining how much consequence she might acquire by even the appearance of such an acquaintance, yet it was an absurd idea, as she had not the smallest relish for their taste or anything Sage-like about her, and the wish to be thought to possess talents she did not would, as it always does, have made her contemptible to those who really have them. True knowledge is highly valuable and respectable, but the ignorant pretenders to it only make themselves objects of ridicule. Mrs. Rose was fortunate enough to get some of the Bays brought to her, and she thus trusted to have her breakfast properly celebrated in a poem dedicated to the Rose Unique.

The bog plants had all contrived to be in the Ton, and the Misses Rhododendron and the Misses Kalmia were greatly admired.

The breakfast was given on a beautiful green lawn, tastefully decorated, in the middle of which was a fine piece of water, with a fountain continually playing. Around were heaps of various sorts of soils, many procured at great distances at an enormous expense. The Buttercups and Dandelions waited on the lawn in full yellow liveries, and the Daisies, dressed neatly in a uniform of white with yellow ornaments, were as female servants to give the refreshments to the waiters, and the[Pg 125] Foxgloves in red uniforms presided over the whole. The Trumpet Flowers were numerous; indeed, there was no other music, and there was no regular dancing, though many pretty groups dispersed about.

The crowd was very great, and the company did not leave the lawn till late, many of them exceedingly fatigued, and drooping with their exertions, and poor Mrs. Poppy was so much inclined to sleep as to distress the Misses Larkspur and Lupin that came with her, and Sir Laurus Tinus got much squeezed in getting the Marchioness Magnolia, a most charming creature, and the Miss Phillyreas away, and Lady Cistus left all her petals behind her.

Admiral Flag and Lady Peony were detained much longer than they wished in settling a dispute that had nearly ended in a challenge between Captain Waterdock and Colonel Jasmine about the antiquities of their families, which had so seriously terrified Lady Azorian Jasmine that she would have fainted but for the tender attention of Mrs. Lavender. The Colonel was certainly wrong, as the Water-docks are well known to be a very ancient family in Great Britain. It is much to be regretted that there is so often such a mistaken idea of courage even amongst the most respectable orders, abounding with the truest honour, and noblest spirit, as to cause duels on the most trifling subjects, thus involving their families in distress and themselves in the greatest misery.

There was waiting on the outside of the lawn at Mrs. Rose's many of the Umbellate tribe, that in case sun or rain should be too powerful their Umbels might be useful, and, indeed, many other plants were mixed among them. Mrs. Mignonette, the milliner, a sweet little creature, was there to learn fashions; she had brought with her one[Pg 126] of her favourites, Venus's Looking-glass, whom she found of great service in her shop. The Nettles, Thistles, and Furze were very troublesome. The Thrifts were also on the outside, as Mrs. Rose and they were totally unacquainted, but she had given great offence to many whom she had neglected that she very well knew, some even intimately, and the Misses Crocus, Violet, Jonquil, and Mrs. Almond she did not ask, because their beauty was gone by. She had also her disappointments in receiving excuses from many whose presence she wished for. Amongst these was Mr. and Mrs. Heartsease, most valuable plants; indeed, she had thought herself sure of their company, and they had intended waiting on her. At all entertainments of every kind they are expected, and they generally accept the invitations they receive, but before the day of engagement arrives they are obliged to send their excuses, owing to indisposition, which keeps them confined to a small circle of friends.

Some of the party at Mrs. Rose's were delighted; others only aimed to be thought pleased, but alas! too many were inclined to quiz the breakfast, Mrs. Rose, and everything they saw or met with, yet even these to her pretended the greatest felicity at what they partook of, and the sincerest regard and esteem for her, and were absurdly lavish in the admiration of her taste, and after all poor Mrs. Rose was so fatigued that she was attended for a considerable time by Doctor Gardener, and could associate with no other plant but her maid Valerian, having so completely lost her bloom by her dissipation that she came out no more this season, though she had sufficient foliage to ensure her life, and much more than suited her ideas of Tonish appearance, for, notwithstanding the slights she received in her confinement, when she could be of no use to the gay world, and her own[Pg 127] sufferings, she still possessed so much vanity and lightness of manner that it was with the greatest difficulty the doctor could keep her properly clothed, though he explained to her its necessity, as did Mr. Pluto Rose its propriety, but she was a slave to fashion, and nearly became one of its martyrs.

[Pg 128]

The Three Cakes


There was a little boy named Henry,' said Mr. Glassington, 'about your age. His parents had but lately fixed him at a boarding-school.'

He was a special boy, for ever at his book, and happened once to get the highest place at exercises. His mother was told it. She could nohow keep from dreaming of the pleasure; and when morning came, she got up early, went to speak with the cook and said as follows:

'Cook, you are to make a cake for Henry, who yesterday was very good at school.'

'With all my heart,' replied the cook, and set immediately about it. It was as big as—let me see—as big as—as a hat when flapped. The cook had stuffed it with nice almonds, large pistachio nuts, and candied lemon-peel, and iced it over with a coat of sugar, so that it was very smooth and a perfect white. The cake no sooner was come home from baking than the cook put on her things, and carried it to school.

When Henry first saw it, he jumped up and down like any Merry Andrew. He was not so patient as to wait[Pg 129] till they could let him have a knife, but fell upon it tooth and nail. He ate and ate till school began, and after school was over he ate again; at night, too, it was the same thing till bedtime—nay, a little fellow that Henry had for a playmate told me that he put the cake upon his bolster when he went to bed, and waked and waked a dozen times, that he might take a bit. I cannot so easily believe this last particular; but, then, it is very true, at least, that on the morrow, when the day was hardly broke, he set about his favourite business once again, continuing at it all the morning, and by noon had eaten it up. The dinner-bell now rung; but Henry, as one may fancy, had no stomach, and was vexed to see how heartily the other children ate. It was, however, worse than this at five o'clock, when school was over.

His companions asked him if he would not play at cricket, tan, or kits. Alas! he could not; so they played without him. In the meantime Henry could hardly stand upon his legs; he went and sat down in a corner very gloomily, while the children said one to another: 'What is the matter with poor Henry, who used to skip about and be so merry? See how pale and sorrowful he is!'

The master came himself, and, seeing him, was quite alarmed. It was all lost labour to interrogate him. Henry could not be brought to speak a single word.

By great good luck, a boy at length came forward in the secret; and his information was that Henry's mother had sent him a great cake the day before, which he had swallowed in an instant, as it were, and that his present sickness was occasioned only by his gluttony. On this, the master sent for an apothecary, who ordered him a quantity of physic, phial after phial. Henry, as one would fancy, found it very nauseous, but was forced to[Pg 130] take the whole for fear of dying, which, had he omitted it, would certainly have been the case. When some few days of physic and strict regimen had passed, his health was re-established as before; but his mother protested that she would never let him have another cake.

Percival. He did not merit so much as the smell of such a thing. But this is but one cake, father; and you informed me that there were three, if you remember, in your story.

Mr. G. Patience! patience! Here is another cake in what I am now going to tell.

Henry's master had another scholar, whose name was Francis. He had written his mother a very pretty letter, and it had not so much as a blotted stroke; in recompense for which she sent him likewise a great cake, and Francis thus addressed himself: 'I will not, like that glutton Henry, eat up my cake at once, and so be sick as he was; no, I will make my pleasure last a great deal longer.' So he took the cake, which he could hardly lift by reason of its weight, and watched the opportunity of slipping up into his chamber with it, where his box was, and in which he put it under lock and key. At playtime every day he slipped away from his companions, went upstairs a-tiptoe, cut a tolerable slice off, swallowed it, put by the rest, and then came down and mixed again with his companions. He continued this clandestine business all the week, and even then the cake was hardly half consumed. But what ensued? At last the cake grew dry, and quickly after mouldy; nay, the very maggots got into it, and by that means had their share; on which account it was not then worth eating, and our young curmudgeon was compelled to fling the rest away with great reluctance. However, no one grieved for him.

Percival. No, indeed; nor I, father. What, keep a[Pg 131] cake locked up seven days together, and not give one's friends a bit! That is monstrous! But let us have the other now.

Mr. G. There was another little gentleman who went to school with Henry and Francis likewise, and his name was Gratian. His mother sent him a cake one day, because she loved him, and, indeed, he loved her also very much. It was no sooner come than Gratian thus addressed his young companions: 'Come and look at what mother has sent me; you must every one eat with me.' They scarcely needed such a welcome piece of information twice, but all got round the cake, as you have doubtless seen the bees resorting to a flower just blown. As Gratian was provided with a knife, he cut a great piece off, and then divided it into as many shares as he had brought boys together by such a courteous invitation. Gratian then took up the rest, and told them that he would eat his piece next day; on which he put it up, and went to play with his companions, who were all solicitous to have him choose whatever game he thought might entertain him most.

A quarter of an hour had scarcely passed as they were playing, when a poor old man, who had a fiddle, came into the yard.

He had a very long white beard, and, being blind, was guided by a little dog, who went before him with a collar round his neck. To this a cord was fastened, which the poor blind man held in his hand.

It was noticed with how much dexterity the little dog conducted him, and how he shook a bell, which, I forgot to say, hung underneath his collar, when he came near anyone, as if he had designed to say by such an action, 'Do not throw down or run against my master.' Being come into the yard, he sat him down upon a stone, and,[Pg 132] hearing several children talking round him, 'My dear little gentlemen,' said he, 'I will play you all the pretty tunes that I know, if you will give me leave.' The children wished for nothing half so much. He put his violin in tune, and then thrummed over several jigs and other scraps of music, which, it was easy to conjecture, had been new in former times.

Little Gratian saw that while he played his merriest airs, a tear would now and then roll down his cheeks, on which he stopped to ask him why he wept?

'Because,' said the musician, 'I am very hungry. I have no one in the world that will give my dog or me a bit of anything to eat. I wish I could but work, and get for both of us a morsel of something; but I have lost my strength and sight. Alas! I laboured hard till I was old, and now I want bread.'

The generous Gratian, hearing this, wept too. He did not say a word, but ran to fetch the cake which he had designed to eat himself. He brought it out with joy, and, as he ran along, began: 'Here, good old man, here is some cake for you.'

'Where?' replied the poor musician, feeling with his hands; 'where is it? For I am blind, and cannot see you.'

Gratian put the cake into his hand, when, laying down his fiddle on the ground, he wiped his eyes, and then began to eat. At every piece he put into his mouth, he gave his faithful little dog a bit, who came and ate out of his hand; and Gratian, standing by him, smiled with pleasure at the thought of having fed the poor old man when he was hungry.

Percival. Oh, the good, good Gratian! Let me have your knife, father.

Mr. G. Here, Percival; but why my knife?[Pg 133]

'I will play you all the pretty tunes that I know, if you will give me leave.'—Page 132. 'I will play you all the pretty tunes that I know, if you will give me leave.'—Page 132.

[Pg 135]

Percival. I will tell you. I have only nibbled here a little of my cake, so pleased I was in listening to you! So I will cut it smooth. There, see how well I have ordered it! These scraps, together with the currants, will be more than I shall want for breakfast; and the first poor man that I meet going home shall have the rest, even though he should not play upon the violin.

[Pg 136]



Charles Grant lived in a good house, and wore fine clothes, and had a great many pretty toys to play with; yet Charles was seldom happy or pleased; for he was never good. He did not mind what his mother said to him, and would not learn to read, though he was now seven years old.

He called the servants names, pinched and beat his little sister Clara, and took away her playthings, and was not kind and good to her, as a brother should be. 'Oh, what a sad boy Charles is!' was his mother's daily bitter exclamation.

His father was a proud, bad man, who let Charles have his own way, because he was his only son, and he thought him handsome. But how could anyone be handsome that was so naughty? I am sure that when he was froward, and put out his lip, and frowned, he looked quite ugly. Mother told him so, and said that no one was pretty that was not good; but Charles did not mind his mother, and was so vain he would stand before the looking-glass half the day, instead of learning his lessons; and was so silly he would say, 'What a pretty little boy[Pg 137] I am! I am glad I am not a shabby boy, like Giles Bloomfield, our cowboy.' At such times his mother would say to him: 'I wish, Charles, you were only half as good as Giles; he is not much older than you, yet he can read in the Bible quite well; he works hard for his poor mother, and never vexes her, as you do me; and when he comes home of an evening, he nurses the baby, and is kind to all his sisters. I dare say he never pinched nor beat any of them in his life.'

'Oh!' said that wicked Charles, 'I hate him for all that, for he wears ragged clothes, and has no toys to play with.'

'Oh fie, Charles!' said his mother; 'you are a wicked boy: have not I often told you that God made the poor as well as the rich, and He will hate those who despise them? Now, Charles, if God, to punish you for your pride, were to take away your father and me, and you had no money to buy food, and your clothes became old and ragged, you would then be a poor, shabby boy, and worse off than Giles; for you could not earn your own living, as he does; and you would consequently be starved to death if God did not take care of you. And if, while you were rich, you hated the poor, how could you expect God to care for you when you grew poor, like those you had scorned?'

But Charles, however, was so naughty he would not stay to hear what his mother said, but ran away into the fields.

Then Charles's mother was so vexed that she could not help crying at his being such a wicked, proud boy; and she could not sleep all that night for the grief his conduct had occasioned her. The next day she was forced to take a long journey, to visit a friend who was very ill, and who lived in London. She was very sorry to leave[Pg 138] her children, for she knew if Charles behaved naughty when she was with him, he would be a sad boy indeed when he was left to himself, and had none to correct him and tell him of his faults.

When the carriage that was to take Mrs. Grant to London drove to the door, she kissed her children a great many times, and begged that they would be very good while she was away from them.

'You, my dear Clara, I know, will mind what nurse says to you, and will try to be good while I am gone; for you know that God will see everything you do amiss, if I do not; and I hope you will never forget to say your prayers to Him night and morning.'

Clara kissed her dear mother, and promised that she would attend to all she said; and her mother was satisfied, for she knew that Clara never told stories, though she was but a little girl.

Then Mrs. Grant turned to Charles, and said: 'As for you, Charles, I cannot help feeling great pain at leaving you; for you are such a bad, wilful boy that I shall not have a happy moment whilst I am away from you, lest you should do anything amiss. But if you love me, you will try to be good; and whenever you are about to do anything wrong, say to yourself, "How much this would grieve my poor mother if she knew it! and how much it will offend God, who does see, and knows, not only everything I do, but even my most secret thoughts! And He will one day bring me to an account for all I do or say against His holy will and my kind parents' commands."'

Charles, who knew he was a bad boy, hung down his head, for he did not like to be told of his faults.

Then his mother said: 'My dear Charles, do try and be good, and I will love you dearly.'

'But what will you bring me from London,' said[Pg 139] Charles, 'if I am a good boy? for I never will behave well for nothing.'

'Do you call the love of God and of dear mother nothing?' said Clara; 'I will behave well, even if mother forgets to bring me the great wax doll, and the chest of drawers to keep her clothes in, which she told me about yesterday.'

Mrs. Grant smiled fondly on her little girl, but made no reply to Charles; and soon the coach drove away from the door.

Charles was very glad when his mother was gone, and he said: 'Now mother is gone to London, I will do just as I please: I will learn no ugly lessons, but play all day long. How happy I shall be! I hope mother may not come for a whole month.'

But Charles soon found he was not so happy as he thought he should have been; he did not know the reason, but I will tell you why he was not happy. No one can be happy who is not good, and Charles was so naughty as to resolve not to obey his kind mother, who loved him so much.

Charles brought out all his toys to play with, but he soon grew weary of them, and he kicked them under the table, saying, 'Nasty dull toys, I hate you, for you do not amuse me or make me happy. I will go to father, and ask him to give me something to please me that I am not used to.'

But father was busy with some friends in the study, and could not attend to his wants. Charles was a rude, tiresome boy; so he stood by his father, and shook his chair, and pulled his sleeve, and teazed him so much that his father at last grew angry, and turned him out of the room.

Then Charles stood and kicked at the door, and screamed with all his might, when one of the gentlemen[Pg 140] said to him: 'If you were my little boy, I would give you something to cry for.' So Charles's father told him if he did not go away, he would come out of the study and whip him.

When Charles heard this, he ran away, for he was afraid of being beaten; but, instead of playing quietly with his toys, he went and laid under the great table in the hall and sulked and fretted till dinner-time.

When nurse came to call him to dinner, he said: 'I won't come. Go away, ugly nurse!'

Then said nurse: 'Master Charles, if you like to punish yourself by going without your dinner, no one will prevent you, I am sure.'

Then Charles began to cry aloud, and tried to tear nurse's apron; but nurse told him he was a bad boy, and left him.

Now, when Clara sat down to dinner, she said to nurse: 'Where is brother Charles? Why is he not here?'

'Miss Clara, he is a naughty child,' said nurse, 'and chooses to go without his dinner, thinking to vex us; but he hurts no one but himself with his perverse temper.'

'Then,' said Clara, 'I do not like to dine while Charles goes without; so I will try and persuade him to come and eat some pie.'

'Well, Miss Clara,' said nurse, 'you may go, if you please; but I would leave the bad boy to himself.'

When Clara came to Charles, and asked him if he would come and eat his dinner, he poked out his head, and made such an ugly face that she was quite frightened at him, and ran away.

Nurse did not take the trouble of calling him to tea; and, though he was very hungry, he was too sulky to come without being asked; so he lay under the table, and cried aloud till bedtime. But when it grew dark, he was[Pg 141] afraid to stay by himself, for bad children are always fearful; so he came upstairs and said in a cross, rude tone of voice: 'Nurse, give me something to eat.'

Nurse said: 'Master Charles, if you had been good, you would have had some chicken and some apple-pie for your dinner, and bread and butter and cake for your tea; but as you were such a bad boy, and would not come to your meals, I shall only give you a piece of dry bread and a cup of milk, and you do not deserve even that.'

Then Charles made one of his very worst faces, and threw the bread on the ground, and spilt the milk.

Nurse told him that there were many poor children in the world who would be glad of the smallest morsel of what he so much despised, and that the time would come when he might want the very worst bit of it; and she bade him kneel down and say his prayers, and ask God to forgive him for having been such a wicked boy all day.

But Charles did not mind what she said, and went crying to bed. Thus ended the first day of Charles Grant's happiness.

He awoke very early the next morning, and told nurse to get him his breakfast, for he was very hungry. But nurse said he must wait till eight o'clock, which was the breakfast hour.

He now found it was of no use sulking, as no one seemed to care for his tempers; so he looked about for something to eat, but found nothing but the piece of bread he had thrown on the ground the night before; and he was glad to eat that, and only wished there had been more of it.

As soon as breakfast was over, Clara brought her books, and began to learn her lessons, and nurse asked Charles if he would do the same. But Charles said, 'No, indeed![Pg 142] I do not mean to learn any lessons while mother is away, for I mean to please myself and be happy.'

'You did as you pleased yesterday, Master Charles,' said nurse; 'yet I do not think you were so very happy, unless happiness consists in lying under a table and crying all day, and going without dinner and tea, merely to indulge a sullen, froward temper.'

Now, Charles hated to be told of his faults, so he left nurse, and went into the garden to try and amuse himself. When there, instead of keeping in the walks, as he ought to have done, he ran on the beds, trampled down the flowers, and pulled the blossoms from the fruit-trees.

The gardener's boy earnestly requested Charles not to do so much mischief; but Charles told him he was a gentleman's son, and would do as he pleased. So he again ran over the new-raked borders, and pulled up the flowers; and the poor boy was sadly vexed to see his nice work all spoiled.

Charles did not care for that, and would have behaved still worse, had not the gardener, who then came up, taken him in his arms, and carried him into the house, in spite of his kicking and screaming. He cried for a long time, and made a sad noise; but, finding that no one paid any regard to him, he became quiet, and went into the nursery, and asked Clara to come and play with him.

'I cannot come just now, brother Charles,' said she; 'for I want to finish this frock that I am making for Giles Bloomfield's little sister.'

'I am sure,' said Charles, 'if I were you, I would much rather play than sit still and sew.'

'Not if you knew what pleasure there is in doing good,' said Clara; 'but if you will wait till I have finished it, you shall go with me and give it to the poor woman, and then you will see how pleased she will be, and how nicely the baby will look when she is dressed in this pretty frock, instead of her old faded, ragged one.'[Pg 143]

Had not the gardener, who then came up, taken him in his arms, and carried him into the house, in spite of his kicking and screaming.—Page 142. Had not the gardener, who then came up, taken him in his arms, and carried him into the house, in spite of his kicking and screaming.—Page 142.

[Pg 145]

Charles did not know how to amuse himself, so he sat down on his little stool, and watched his sister while she worked.

When Clara had finished making the frock, she said: 'Thank you, dear nurse, for cutting out and fixing the frock for me.' So she threw her arms round nurse's neck, and kissed her cheek; and nurse put on Clara's tippet and her new bonnet, and walked with Charles and her to Dame Bloomfield's cottage.

The good woman took the baby out of the cradle, and laid it on Clara's lap, and Clara had the pleasure of dressing it herself in the nice new frock; and the baby looked so neat and pretty, and the poor mother was so pleased, that Clara was much happier than if she had spent her time in playing or working for her doll.

While Clara was nursing and caressing the baby, Charles went into the little garden, where he found Giles Bloomfield, who had just returned from working in the fields, with a beautiful milk-white rabbit in his arms, which he had taken out of the hutch, and was nursing with much affection.

'Oh, what a pretty rabbit!' said Charles. 'Giles, will you sell it to me?'

'No, Master Charles,' said Giles, 'I cannot sell my pretty Snowball.'

'And why not?' asked Charles in a fretful tone.

'Because, Master Charles, the old doe, its mother, died when Snowball was only a week old, and I reared it by feeding it with warm milk and bran; and it is now so fond of me that I would not part with it for a great deal.'

So saying, he stroked his pretty favourite, who licked[Pg 146] his hand all over, and rubbed her soft white head against his fingers.

Then Giles said: 'My dear Snowball, I would not sell you for the world.'

'But you shall sell Snowball to me,' said Charles, making one of his ugly faces. 'I will give you a shilling for her; and if you do not let me carry her home this very day, I will tell father of you, and he will turn you out of the cottage.'

When Giles's mother heard Charles say so, she came out of the house, and said: 'Pray, Giles, let Master Charles have the rabbit.'

'Dear mother,' said Giles, 'Master Charles has a pony and a dog, and a great many fine toys to play with, and I have only my pretty Snowball; and it will break my heart to part with her.'

'Then,' said his mother, 'would you rather see your mother and sisters turned out of doors than part with your rabbit? You know, Giles, that I had so many expenses with your poor father's illness and death that I have not paid the rent due last quarter-day; and you know it is in our landlord's power to turn us into the streets to-morrow.

'Well, mother,' cried Giles, bursting into tears, 'Master Charles must have the rabbit. But oh!' continued he, 'he does not love you as I do, my pretty Snowball; he will not feed and take care of you as I have done, and you will soon die, and I shall never see you again.' And his tears fell fast on the white head of his little pet as he spoke.

Clara was quite grieved, and begged her naughty brother not to deprive poor Giles of his rabbit; but Charles was a wicked and covetous boy; he therefore took Snowball from Giles, and carried her home in his[Pg 147] arms, and put her in a box. He went into the fields and gathered some green herbs for her to eat, and said: 'I am glad I have got Snowball; now I shall be quite happy.'

But how could Charles be happy when he had broken God's holy commandment, which says, 'Thou shalt not covet'? Nurse and Clara told him so, and begged him to give Snowball back again to Giles. But Charles said he would not, for he meant to keep her all his life; but the next morning, when he went into the stable to look at her, he found her stretched at the bottom of the box. He called her, but Snowball did not stir; he then took her out of the box to see what ailed her; but she was quite cold and dead.

Oh dear! how Charles did cry! But it was of no use. He had better not have taken her away from Giles, for he did not know what to feed her with, and had given her among the greens he had gathered a herb called hemlock, which is poisonous and will kill whatever eats of it; and it had killed poor Snowball.

The coachman told Charles so when he saw how swollen she was, and Charles cried the more. Giles cried too when he heard what a sad death poor Snowball had died; but he had been a good dutiful boy in parting with her when his mother wished it, though it had cost him much pain and many tears.

Well, Charles's mother was gone a long time, more than a month, and it would quite shock you to be told how naughty Charles was all that time; at last a letter came to say she was very ill, and then another to tell them she was dead.

What would Charles then have given if he had not grieved her so often with his perverse temper and wicked conduct? He now said when he saw her again, he would beg her to forgive him; but when Charles did see his[Pg 148] poor mother again she was in her coffin and could not hear him; and he cried exceedingly, and wished he had been good. Clara, though she cried as much as Charles for her dear mother, was glad she had obeyed her, and been so good while she was away.

'And I will always be as good as if dear mother could see me, and love me for it too,' said she to nurse the day after her mother was buried.

'My dear young lady,' said nurse, 'your mother will see it, and love you for doing your duty.'

'How can dear mother see me? Her eyes are closed, and she is in the dark grave,' said Clara.

'But she will see you from heaven, Miss Clara, where she is gone to receive the reward of her good conduct in this world; for though her body is in the earth, her spirit is in heaven.'

'And shall I never see my own dear mother again?' said Clara.

'Yes, Miss Clara; if you are good, you will go to heaven when you die, and become an angel like her.'

'Then,' said Clara, 'I will pray to God to make me good, and when I am going to do anything wrong I will say to myself, "If I do this, I shall never go to heaven, and see my dear mother when I die."'

'I wish,' said nurse, 'that Master Charles was like you, and would try to be good.'

But though Charles was sometimes sorry for his bad behaviour, he did not try to mend, because he thought it was too much trouble to be good, and said he did not care, because he was the son of a gentleman.

Charles did not know that at this very time his father had spent all his money, and owed a great many debts to different people; and at last he ran away that he might not be put in prison; and the people to whom he[Pg 149] owed so much money came and seized his fine house and gardens, and the coach, and all the furniture, and sold them by auction, to raise money to pay the debts; so Charles found that, instead of being rich, he was now very, very poor.

When the auction was over and all the things were sold, and it was getting quite dark (for it was in the month of November), Clara and Charles stood in one of the empty parlours, and wondered what they should do for supper, and where they should sleep that night; for all the beds were sold, and they saw the servants go away one after another.

At last nurse came in with her bonnet and cloak, and said: 'Miss Clara, I am going away to my own cottage, and as you have always been a kind, good child, you shall go with me, and I will take care of you.'

Then Clara said, 'Thank you; but will you not take Charles also?'

'No,' said nurse; 'he has always been such a proud, bad boy that I will not take him. I have very little to spare, for I am a poor woman, and what I have is not more than will keep my own children and you, Miss Clara.'

Saying this, she got into the cart, and took Clara on her lap, and one of the footmen got in after her, and drove away from the door.

Charles stood on the step of the door, and looked after them till they were out of sight; and then he began to cry as if his heart would break. The servant of the gentleman who had purchased the house came and locked the door, so Charles could not get in any more, and he sat down on the stone steps, and covered his face with his hands, and cried bitterly.

'Unhappy child that I am,' sobbed he; 'what will[Pg 150] become of me? Oh, if I had but been good like Clara, I should have found a friend, as she has; but no one cares what becomes of me, because I have been so wicked. I used to despise the poor, and God, to punish me, has made me poor indeed.'

It was very cold, and the snow began to fall fast, and it grew quite dark. Charles rested his head on his knees, and was afraid to look round; his clothes were almost wet through, and his limbs were benumbed with cold; he had no place where he could ask shelter, for no one loved him; and he thought he should be obliged to stay there all night, and perhaps be frozen to death.

Just then someone softly touched his hand, and said: 'Master Charles, I have been looking for you for more than an hour.'

Charles looked up; but when he saw it was Giles Bloomfield who had come to seek him in his distress, he remembered how ill he had behaved to him, so he hid his face, and began to weep afresh.

Then Giles sat down by him on the steps, and said: 'Dear Master Charles, you must not stay here. See how fast it snows. You will catch your death of cold.'

'Yes, I am very cold and hungry,' sobbed Charles, 'but I have no home now; I have nowhere else to go, and must stay here all night.'

'No, Master Charles,' said Giles, 'you shall come home with me, and shall share my supper and my bed, though it is not such as you have been used to; notwithstanding we are very poor, we will do our best to make you comfortable.'

'Oh, Giles!' said Charles, throwing his arms round Giles's neck, 'I do not deserve this kindness; I have been such a proud, wicked boy, and have treated you so ill. I am sure you can never forgive me for having taken your[Pg 151] pretty Snowball; and if you forgive me, I can never forgive myself.'

'Dear Master Charles, do not think of that now,' said Giles, taking both Charles's cold hands in his. 'Indeed, Master Charles, I should never dare say my prayers if I was so wicked as to bear malice; and, now you are in distress, I would do anything in my power to serve you. So pray come home with me, and warm yourself, and get some supper.'

But Charles hid his face on Giles's bosom, and cried the more; at last he said:

'Giles, I am so ashamed of having behaved so cruelly to you, that I can never go to your home, and eat the food that you are obliged to labour so hard for.'

'Master Charles,' said Giles, 'that is because you are so proud.'

'Oh no, no!' sobbed Charles, 'I am not proud now, and I think I shall never be proud again.' So he kissed Giles, and they both went home to Dame Bloomfield's cottage together.

When Giles's mother saw Charles, she said: 'Why did did you bring this proud, cross young gentleman here, Giles?'

Charles, when he heard her say so, thought he should be turned out again into the cold, and began to cry afresh; but Giles said:

'Dear mother, Master Charles has no home to go to now; he is cold and hungry; I am sure you will let him stay here, and share my bed and my supper.'

'He can stay here if he likes,' said Dame Bloomfield; 'but you know, Giles, we are forced to work hard for what food we have, and I am sure we cannot afford to maintain Master Charles.'

'Then,' said Giles, 'he shall have my supper to-night;[Pg 152] he wants it more than I do, for he has had no food all day.'

'You may please yourself about that, Giles; but remember, if you give your food to Master Charles, you must go without yourself.'

'Well,' said Giles, 'I shall feel more pleasure in giving my supper to Master Charles than in eating it myself.'

So he brought a stool, and, placing it in the warmest corner by the fire, made Charles sit down, and chafed his cold frozen hands, and tried to comfort him; for Charles was greatly afflicted when he saw that everyone hated him; but he knew that it was his own fault, and a just punishment for his pride and bad conduct.

When Giles brought his basin of hot milk and bread for his supper, he could not thank him for crying; and he was ashamed to eat it while Giles went without; but he was so hungry, and the milk looked so nice, that he did not know how to refuse it; and Giles begged him so earnestly to eat that at last he did so, and once more felt warm and comfortable.

Then Giles said to him: 'Now, Master Charles, will you go to bed? Mine is but a coarse, hard bed, but it is very clean.' So he took the lamp to show Charles the way to the chamber in which he was to sleep.

Charles was surprised at seeing no staircase, but only a ladder. Giles laughed when he saw how Charles stared, and he said:

'You have been used to live in a grand house, Master Charles, and know nothing of the shifts the poor are forced to make.'

Then Charles climbed up the ladder, and Giles showed him a little room, not much larger than a closet, with no furniture in it, but a stump bed without any hangings, and covered with a coarse, woollen rug. Charles Grant[Pg 153] had never even seen such a bed before, but he was thankful that he could get any place to sleep in, out of the cold and snow.

Giles helped Charles to undress, for Charles was so helpless he did not know how to undress himself. When he was going to step into bed, Giles exclaimed:

'Will you not say your prayers before you go to bed, Master Charles?'

Charles blushed and hung down his head, for he had been so naughty that he had not said his prayers for a long time past, and had almost forgotten what his dear mother had taught him; and he told Giles so at last.

'Dear, dear!' said Giles, 'I never dare go to bed without saying mine.'

Then Charles said: 'I am sorry I have been so naughty as to forget my prayers; will you teach me yours, and I will never forget them again?'

Then they both knelt down by the side of the little bed, and Giles taught Charles such prayers as he knew, and Charles went to bed much happier than he had been for a long time.

Though the bed was hard, and the sheets brown and coarse, Charles was so weary that he soon fell asleep, and slept so soundly that he did not awake till it was broad day, and Giles was up and gone to work in the fields.

When Charles looked round he thought he had never seen such a shabby room in his life. There was not so much as a chair or table or carpet in it; he could see all the thatch and the rafters in the roof, for the chamber was not even ceiled, but showed the thatch and rafters, and, as I said before, there was not a single article of furniture in the room, except the bed. How different from the pretty little chamber in which Charles used to sleep, with the nice white dimity window-curtains and[Pg 154] hangings and mahogany tent-bed, with such comfortable bedding and handsome white counterpane! However, he now thought himself very fortunate that he had any roof to shelter him, or any bed, however homely it might be, on which he could sleep.

He thought he should like to get up and go downstairs, but he had always been used to have a servant to dress him, and he did not know how to dress himself, so while he was considering what he should do Giles came into the chamber. He had returned to get his breakfast, and not seeing Charles downstairs he concluded the cause of his absence, and came to assist him to dress. Charles observed how this matter was arranged, and resolved to do it for himself the next morning.

When he was dressed they both knelt down by the bedside and said their prayers, for though Giles had said his at the dawn of day, yet he never omitted an opportunity of repeating his thanksgivings and praises to his heavenly Father for the mercies and blessings which he enjoyed through His grace, for Giles possessed a grateful and contented heart, which made him look upon that state of life unto which it had pleased God to call him, as that which was meet and fit for him, so he worked hard, and ate the bread of labour with cheerfulness and satisfaction.

When Charles and Giles joined the family below Dame Bloomfield set a porringer of milk and a piece of brown bread for everyone but Charles, who looked ready to cry, but Giles put his porringer before him, and gave him another spoon, and said: 'Master Charles, we will eat together, for there will be enough for both of us.' The tears came into Charles's eyes, and he whispered: 'Dear Giles, you are very good.' So these boys eat out of the same porringer, and broke of the same bread.[Pg 155]

After breakfast Giles went out to work, and Charles thought it very dull till he returned to dinner. When Dame Bloomfield gave her children their dinners there was a dumpling for everyone but Charles; then Giles cut his dumpling in half, and gave one part to Charles, and eat the other half himself. Now this was very good of Giles, for he was very hungry himself, but he could not bear to see Charles sad and hungry while he was eating, and Giles liked to do good because he knew it was pleasing to God.

As soon as dinner was over Giles went out to work again, and Charles was as dull as he had been in the morning, for all the family were at work in some way or other, and could not spare time to amuse or talk to him, and he did nothing but sigh and fret to himself till evening, when Giles came home from work.

Giles's eldest sister made a bright fire, and they all sat round it and talked and told stories, and Giles nursed the baby, and played with the other little ones, and seemed quite happy, and so he was, for he had done his duty, and everyone loved him for being so good.

After supper Giles taught those of his sisters who were old enough to read and write, and when they had finished learning their tasks Charles took up the book, and said: 'Giles, will you teach me to read?' and Giles said: 'Certainly, Master Charles, I will, but I am sure you must know how to read a great deal better than such a poor boy as I am.'

'I might have done so,' said Charles, 'but, Giles, I was a sad, naughty, perverse boy, and hated to learn any thing that was good; but I hope I know better now, and if you will only take the trouble of teaching me I will try and make up for my lost time.'

So Giles gave Charles a lesson that very night, and[Pg 156] every evening after supper he heard him read and spell what he had learned during the day, and Charles took such pains that he soon began to read so well that he used to amuse himself by reading pretty stories, and by teaching little Betty, one of Giles's youngest sisters, to read.

Still Charles used to be exceedingly hungry, for he had not more than half the quantity of food he was used to eat, and Giles was hungry too, and grew pale and thin.

Then Charles said to himself: 'It is not right for me to eat the bread which poor Giles works so hard to earn; I will try and get my own living, for why should I not do so, as well as Giles?' So one morning, when Giles rose, as usual, at five o'clock, Charles got up too. Then Giles said:

'Why do you rise so early this cold morning, Master Charles?'

'Because I am going out to work with you, Giles, if you will permit me,' answered Charles.

'Oh, Master Charles, such work as I do is not fit for a young gentleman like you,' said Giles.

'You must not call me a young gentleman now, for I am only a poor boy, and poorer than other poor boys, for they can earn their own living, while I should have been starved to death had not you given me half of the bread you work so hard for. But I will not be a burthen to you any longer, but learn to work and get my own living as you do.'

Charles now meant to keep his word, and they both went out into the fields, and worked together at picking stones off the young crops of wheat and clover, and before breakfast Giles had picked up two bushels of stones and Charles one, and the farmer gave them a penny per bushel for gathering them up.

Then they made haste back to the cottage, and Giles gave his mother the money he had earned, and Charles[Pg 157] did the same, and when the dame poured out the milk for the family Charles saw that she filled a porringer for him also, and they had all a good breakfast that morning, and Charles felt quite happy because he had not eaten the bread of idleness. So he went out to work with Giles again, and earned twopence before dinner.

When Dame Bloomfield took up the dumplings Charles saw there was one for him, and he felt happy that poor Giles had not to deprive himself of half his food that he might eat.

Charles went out to work every day with Giles, and in the evening he learned to read and write. He became quite good and gentle, and enjoyed more happiness than he had experienced in his life before. And why was Charles happy? I will tell you, my dear children. Because he was no longer a proud, froward boy as he had been, but was kind and sweet-tempered to everyone, and did his duty both to God and himself.

The winter passed swiftly away, and the spring came, and the birds began to sing, and the trees looked green and gay, and the pretty flowers bloomed in the gardens and covered the meadows all over, and scented the air with their fragrance, and Charles thought it very pleasant to work in the fields, and hear the birds sing as they tended their young, or built their nests among the green boughs or in the hedges.

One day Giles said to Charles: 'Master Charles, we cannot work together in the fields any more; I have got a new employment.'

'But why cannot I work with you?' asked Charles.

'Because, sir, you will not like to work where I am going,' answered Giles. Charles asked where that was. 'In the garden of the great house, Master Charles, where you used to live,' said Giles.[Pg 158]

Charles looked very sorrowful, and remained silent for some minutes; at last he said: 'Well, Giles, I will go with you; my clothes are grown shabby now, and nobody will know me, and if they did I hope I am too wise to be ashamed of doing my duty, so let us go directly.'

Then Giles took Charles into the garden, and the gardener gave them each a hoe and a rake, and told them to hoe up the weeds on the flower borders, and then rake them neatly over, and promised if they worked well he would give them eightpence per day.

Now this was much pleasanter than picking stones in the field, but Charles was very sad, and could not refrain from shedding tears when he thought of the time when he used to play in that very garden, and he thought, too, of his dear mamma who was dead, and of his sister Clara, whom he had not seen for so many months, but he worked as hard as he could, and the gardener praised them both, and he gave them a basket to put the weeds in, and showed them how to rake the borders smooth.

Just as they had finished the job, and Charles was saying to Giles, 'How neat our work looks!' a little boy, dressed very fine, came into the garden, and, as he passed them, said: 'I am glad I am a gentleman's son, and not obliged to work like these dirty boys.'

When Charles thought the little boy was out of hearing, he said to Giles: 'That little boy is as wicked as I used to be, and I doubt not but that God will punish him in the same way if he does not mend his manners.'

The little boy, who had overheard what Charles said, was very angry, and made ugly faces, and ran into the newly-raked beds, and covered them with footmarks. Then Charles said: 'I am sorry for you, young gentleman, for I see you are not good.'

'How dare you say I am not good?' said this naughty[Pg 159] child. 'I am a great deal better than you, for I am a gentleman, and you are only a poor boy.'

'Yes,' said Charles, his eyes filling with tears as he spoke, 'I am, indeed, only a poor boy now, but I was once rich like you, and lived in this very house, and wore fine clothes, and had plenty of toys and money, and was just as proud and naughty as you are, but God, to punish me, took away my parents and all those things that I had been so proud of, and that I had made such a bad use of, and reduced me to a poor boy, as you see.'

When the little boy heard this he looked very serious, and said: 'I have been very naughty, but I will do so no more,' and he went into the house, and never teased Charles or Giles again.

A few months after this, when Charles and Giles were working as usual in the garden, they saw a gentleman come down one of the walks, leading by the hand a little girl dressed in a black silk frock and bonnet trimmed with crape.

'Ah, Giles,' said Charles, 'how like that young lady is to my sister Clara. I wonder whether I shall ever see my dear sister Clara again.'

'Brother Charles, dear brother Charles, you have not then quite forgotten your sister Clara,' said the little girl, throwing her arms round his neck as she spoke.

When Charles saw that it was, indeed, his own dear sister Clara, he kissed her and cried with joy.

Then he told Clara all that had happened to him since the day they had parted, and how sorry he had been for all his past conduct, and he asked her who the gentleman was that had brought her into the garden.

'It is our uncle, dear Charles. You know our dear mother had a brother who lived in India that she used frequently to talk about. Well, when he came home,[Pg 160] and heard that mother was dead, and we were in distress, he came to nurse's cottage, and took me home to his house, and has now come to find you, for he is very good and kind, and loves us both for our dear mother's sake.'

'And will he take me home too?' said Charles.

'Yes, my boy,' said Charles's uncle, taking him by the hand, 'because you are good and kind, and are no longer cross and proud, as I heard you used to be. You shall come home with me this very day, if you please, and I will teach you everything that a young gentleman should know, and you and Clara shall be my children so long as you continue to be deserving of my love, and are not unkind, nor despise those who are beneath you in situation.'

'Indeed, uncle,' said Charles, 'I can now feel for the poor, and I would rather remain as I am than be rich if I thought I should ever behave as I used to do.'

'My dear child,' said his uncle, kissing him with great affection, 'continue to think so, and you will never act amiss. The first and greatest step toward amendment is acknowledging our faults. What is passed shall be remembered no more, and I doubt not but that we shall all be happy for the time to come.'

'But, uncle,' said Charles, laying his hand on his uncle's arm, 'I have something to ask of you.'

'Well, Charles, and what would you have of me?' said his uncle.

Then Charles led Giles to his uncle, and related all he had done for him; how he had taken him to his own home, and given him half of his food and his bed, and taught him to read and to work; he, likewise, told his uncle how ill he had behaved to Giles in depriving him of his pretty Snowball, and he said: 'Dear uncle, will you allow Giles to share my good fortune, for I cannot be[Pg 161] happy while he is in want, and he is better than me, for he returned good for evil.'

Then his uncle said: 'Charles, I should not have loved you had you forgotten your kind friend.' And he asked Giles if he would like to go to his house and live with him, and spend his time in learning to read and write, and in improving his mind, instead of hard labour.

'I should like it very much indeed, sir,' said Giles, 'but I cannot accept your kind offer.'

'And why not, my good little friend?'

'Because, sir,' said Giles, bursting into tears, 'my poor mother and sisters must go to the workhouse or starve if I did not stay and work for them, and I could not be happy if I lived in a fine house, and knew they were in want of a bit of bread to eat.'

'Then,' said the gentleman smiling, 'for your sake they shall never want anything, for I will put them into a cottage of my own, and will take care of them, and you shall live with me, and I will love you as if you were my own child, and remember, Giles, I do this as a reward for your kindness to Charles when he was unhappy and in great distress.'

Charles's uncle was as good as his word, and Giles received the blessings of a good education, while his mother and sisters were maintained by the benevolence of his benefactor.

Charles was so careful not to relapse into his former errors that he became as remarkable for his gentleness and the goodness of his heart as he had formerly been for his pride and unkindness, and in the diligent performance of his duty, both to God and man, he proved to his uncle the sincerity of his amendment.

[Pg 162]

Scourhill's Adventures


There was a review of a regiment of horse at a small distance from the Academy, and several of the boys were allowed to be present. On the road they fell in with a man who was walking, and leading a horse with two empty panniers suspended on each side of it. Scourhill requested a ride; the man consented, and the youth mounted upon the horse.

The animal had long been a dragoon horse, and when it became old it was sold to a farmer. But it had not forgot its early habits, for on arriving within sight of the cavalry the old charger pricked up its ears, and seemed to resume the fire of youth. The young men laughed, and complimented Scourhill on the appearance he made upon his war-horse; but while they were yet speaking the trumpet sounded, and the animal, roused into spirit, set off at a full trot, and fell into the front rank. Immediately the signal was given for a charge, and Scourhill and his horse, with the baskets dangling by its sides, flew off at full speed, amid the shouts and huzzas of the whole crowd. The instant that the regiment halted the[Pg 163] youth slid off the horse, which he delivered to its owner, and, completely mortified with his military exhibition, he sunk into the crowd, and regained his companions.

The young men, on their return home, as they were about to enter the village, saw an ass feeding by the roadside. 'What a fine appearance,' said Falsesight to Scourhill, 'you would make upon this noble animal, at the head of the regiment!' Saying this, he attempted to leap upon its back, but was not able. Scourhill, in order to show his agility, made a spring, and easily accomplished what his companion had tried in vain. Instantly Falsesight took off his hat, and gave the animal a few slaps, and away it cantered into the village, pursued by the young men, urging it to full speed, while every boy whom they met joined in the pursuit, and every cottage poured out its matrons and children and dogs.

In the midst of this uproar, the Rector entered the village, and was coming full upon Scourhill and his retinue when the ass made a sudden halt before the door of a tinker, its master, and threw its rider upon a large heap of mire. The youth instantly started up, and, without ever looking behind him to thank his attendants for the procession, he ran home to the Academy.

He retired, and some time after his arrival he wrote a small note to the Rector, expressive of sorrow for his conduct, and requesting permission to keep his room for the evening. Mr. Macadam granted the request, and at the same time desired the servant to say that he was assured that Master Scourhill would find himself much fatigued after his brilliant display of assmanship, which so much astonished the village.

The errors of a boy must be corrected by corporal punishment, or by the deprivation of something which he values, or by his own self-reproach. The whole aim of[Pg 164] Mr. Macadam, in the education of his pupils, was to raise them to that dignity of character which renders the last mode of punishment efficient for right conduct. To raise youth, however, to such a character requires knowledge, vigilance, affectionate severity, and prudent indulgence; and if few boys possess it, let us not complain of human nature. Will the husbandman who in spring has neglected his fields meet with commiseration when he complains that his harvest has failed?

Scourhill received no punishment, excepting what arose from his own sense of shame; but next day the Rector spoke to his pupils, and he particularly cautioned them against those pursuits which tend to debase the character. 'The rich,' said he, 'owe their virtues and talents to society as much as the poor man does his industry; and if the former fall into low amusements, they do not become useless only; they frequently become vicious, and sometimes they make as honourable an exhibition as did Master Scourhill on the ass pursued by the boys and dogs of the village.'

The youth was advised to make some reparation or apology to the tinker, the particular nature of which was left to his own discretion; and for this purpose he was permitted to leave the Academy for the evening.

The tinker had a child, and Scourhill thought that an apology to the father and a present to the son would amply atone for his imprudence.[Pg 165]

Every boy ... joined in the pursuit, and every cottage poured out its matrons and children and dogs.—Page 163. Every boy ... joined in the pursuit, and every cottage poured out its matrons and children and dogs.—Page 163.

[Pg 167]

Before entering the village, Scourhill had to pass a mill. A child playing on the margin of the stream that supplied it with water fell in, and was floating toward the mill-wheel, when the youth, seeing its danger, rushed forward, and caught it by the clothes just as it was on the point of destruction. Several people witnessed the event, and the report that a child was carried into the mill-wheel flew through the village, and every mother came running to the place. The woman to whom the child belonged soon heard its name, and, pushing in a frantic manner through the crowd, she flew to it, and, taking it in her arms, cried, clasping it to her bosom, 'My child, my child!' She then silently gazed upon its face, apparently to see whether it was really alive, and, shedding tears, she exclaimed, 'Heaven be praised!'

After her mind became somewhat more composed, Scourhill was pointed out to her; she in a moment put the child out of her arms, and, hastily making up to the youth, she embraced him, and gratefully thanked him for rescuing her child.

Scourhill, as soon as the general attention was withdrawn from him, retired from the crowd, and went to the cottage of the tinker. He entered, and, finding the man at work, he took off his hat, and in an obliging manner apologized for his conduct. The tinker said, smiling: 'To be sure, you had a grand procession, but my ass is nothing the worse for it, and I freely forgive you.' The youth politely thanked him, and just as he was about to retire, he slipped a little money into the hand of the tinker's son.

The child, proud of its present, showed it to its father, who instantly threw down his tools and ran out of the house after the youth. The crowd were returning from the mill; Scourhill had to pass through it, and the matrons were not a little surprised to see the deliverer of the child pursued by the mender of kettles. The tinker soon overtook him, and, having thanked him for his polite and generous conduct, he turned about and satisfied the curiosity of those who surrounded him. Scourhill received much applause, and while he continued his course every eye pursued him in admiration.[Pg 168]

Mr. Macadam wrote an account of the preceding adventures to Scourhill's father, and the old gentleman returned an answer, in which he says: 'Your letter rejoices my heart. Make my son Joseph a scholar, but, above all, make him an honest man. I know little about your Latin and Greek, as being things very much out of my way; but this I know—that a man, if his heart is right, can look a fellow-creature in the face; but without being an honest man, why, he had better not live.

'When your letter came to hand, I was sitting at dinner, after a most noble chase, in the midst of my friends, all men of the right sort, downright hearty good fellows. The cloth was removed, and we had just sung, Bright Phœbus had mounted his chariot of day, when my servant Jonathan came in with your letter.

'But you must know my servant. Jonathan is none of your flighty, bowing footmen that whip in upon you with the spring of a fox. No, Jonathan is better trained. He opens the door leisurely, and marches slowly to within four yards of my chair, and there he halts, his eye resting upon me. If the conversation is general, he comes forward, and delivers his message; but if I am telling one of my hunting stories, he must neither speak nor move till he receives my orders. Well, as I said, Jonathan came in with your letter. I was in the middle of one of my best stories, and, according to custom, he took his station. I came to a pause and looked at him. He made his bow, but I continued my story. I made a second pause, and again turned my eye toward him. He bowed. "I see you, Jonathan," said I, and went on with my story. At the third pause I took a few seconds to breathe. The honest fellow made one of his lowest bows. I said to him, "Come hither. A letter you have for me? Let me see it." (I know your handwriting.) "Carry it, honest[Pg 169] Jonathan, to your mistress," said I; "for my story is not yet finished. It is from the worthy man, the Rector; it is about Joseph; return, and let me know whether the youngster continues to behave well."

'One of the company remarked the peculiar manner of Jonathan, and this brought on a conversation concerning servants. "I have an Irish one," said Squire Danby, "a fellow with a sly, blunt countenance; but his heart is honest and affectionate. Yesterday I sent him with a message; he stayed too long, and on his return I was much displeased. 'Where do you come from?' I cried in an angry tone. 'From Belfast,' he calmly replied. 'What!' exclaimed I, raising my voice, 'you are still the old man in your answers!' 'Old man,' replied he, with a blunt but respectful air; 'that is just what my father used to say. "Pat," says he, "were you to live to the age of Methuselah, you would still be Patrick O'Donnar."' I lost all patience. 'Sirrah!' cried I, 'to whom do you speak?' 'Sir, did you not know,' answered he, 'I would tell you.' I was extremely provoked; I gave him a push from me, and he fell upon a favourite dog, which set up a loud howl. Pat leisurely arose, muttering, 'Ay, Towler, I see you are ashamed,' and he walked slowly away. He soon returned, and, coming up to me, said with a grave countenance that he was determined to quit my service. My anger had subsided, and I, smiling, said, 'Why, Pat, leave my service?' 'Because, sir,' replied he, 'there is no bearing with your anger.' 'Tut, my anger,' I cried, 'it is a mere blast, which is quickly over.' 'Yes,' said he, with one of his vacant stares, 'it is a blast; but it is the blast of a hurricane which knocks me down.' I easily reconciled him to his situation."

'In a short while Jonathan came back, and in a fluttered[Pg 170] manner said that his mistress wanted to speak with me. Immediately I left the table, and went to my wife. As I entered the door of the apartment, I saw that she was in tears; my heart sunk; my limbs trembled, and, walking up to her, I took her hand, and kissed her cheek; for we have ever lived in a loving manner, and I cried, "My dear, be comforted. Is our son Joseph dead?" She in a hurried tone talked of a dragoon horse, an ass, a child, and a tinker. "What!" cried I, "my dear, has our son Joseph to do with dragoon asses and horses?" I unwittingly put the asses first. She laughed. I stared at her, and, shaking my head, I said to myself, "Ah! my poor wife!" For I really thought that she was touched in the brain.

'She then thrust the letter into my hand; I read it, and when I came to the last part I felt that I was a father. When I saw my boy catching the child, when I saw the mother embracing him, when I saw them all blessing him, my heart overflowed with tenderness, and I exclaimed, "He is indeed my son Joseph." My wife, who saw that I was affected, wept, and, while I was drying my own eyes, I always cried to her, "My dear, do not weep."

'I then descended to the company, with the letter in my hand, and told them that I should let them hear a story about my son. I then gave the letter to my friend, Squire Sleekface, and requested him to read it. My friend, who is almost as broad as long, has a jolly round countenance, and when he is merry he shakes the whole house with his laughter. The Squire read with decent composure till he came to the old horse at full charge, with the paniers dancing by its sides. Here he made a full stop; the letter fell upon his knee, and his sides were convulsed with laughter. He began again, and got tolerably well through with the ass race, till he arrived[Pg 171] at the turning-post, where Joseph was laid in the mire. At this place my friend, with his immoderate laughter, slid off his chair, and fell with his back flat upon the floor, and there he lay rolling from one side to another, while we all stood round him shaking our sides with laughter. At this moment honest Jonathan stalked in with his solemn pace, and took his station waiting my orders. His appearance added still more to our mirth.

'At length said I, "Honest Jonathan, lend us a hand." We got the Squire placed upon his chair; we all dried our eyes, and again took our seats. When the last part of your letter was read, all was silence and attention, and at the end of it my friend Sleekface called, "A bumper!" He then gave the toast, "May Joseph honour his father by being an honest man!" The second toast was, "May we, without being philosophers, embrace every man as a brother; and, without being courtiers, may we ever smile upon a friend!" We then drank the land o' cakes, and we concluded the whole with singing "Rule Britannia."'

[Pg 172]

The Journal


It was the custom in Mr. Pemberton's family for the children and their governess, Miss Lambert, to assemble in the parlour every Saturday evening that she might read a journal of their behaviour during the past week in the presence of their father and mother. Those who were conscious of having acted rightly longed for the time of examination, as they were sure not only of receiving applause, but also of being admitted as guests to supper, when an agreeable entertainment was provided for them.

The countenances of the guilty were easily distinguished. Gladly would they have avoided the eye of their parents on these occasions, but that was not allowed; they were obliged to appear. Indeed, their attendance constituted part of their punishment.

Mr. and Mrs. Pemberton always invited company to be present when they had received an intimation from Miss Lambert that no faults were registered in the journal, which frequently happened, as they were children of docile dispositions, though sometimes they acted without consideration. Several ladies in the neighbourhood took[Pg 173] particular pleasure in bringing their sons and daughters to be spectators of those joyful evenings.

After the journal was read, rewards were bestowed on those who had deserved them. Supper was then served up, which generally consisted of dried fruits, milk, with blanc-mange, jellies, etc., placed with great taste by Miss Pemberton, who was always required to set out the table on those nights.

The repast being over, the time was spent pleasantly, either in cheerful conversation, or some amusement suitable to the festivity of the occasion.

Charlotte Somenors, one of their intimate companions, was frequently invited to partake of their pleasure on a happy Saturday, for so they termed those days when none of them had reason to be oppressed by the fear of punishment.

The last time she attended one of those meetings I requested her to give me an account of the transactions of the evening, with which I was so much pleased that I committed it to writing, lest the circumstances should escape my memory; and as I suppose it is likely to amuse my young readers, and at the same time to furnish them with instructive examples, I transcribe it for their use. The company being met, Miss Lambert introduced her pupils—Caroline, Emma, Lucy, and George—after which she sat down and began to read as follows:

'It is with great pleasure I recall the events of the last few days. Although they will not present a perfect model of virtue and obedience, they at least prove that the dear children entrusted to my care are willing to repair the faults which they have inadvertently committed. I trust that the errors which this journal records will be considered as wholly effaced by the repentance and confessions they have occasioned.[Pg 174]

'Monday.—Morning lessons particularly well attended. George learned a hymn of Mrs. Barbauld's at his own request. A dispute arose between the two young ladies in the afternoon on the subject of choosing a walk.

'Miss Pemberton was desirous of winding along the banks of the river, as far as the church, that she might see the fine new monument raised to the memory of Lady Modish. Her sisters insisted on going to the next village, as they wanted to buy muslin for a doll's frock. After some little altercation on each side Caroline, with affectionate condescension, gave way to her sisters' inclination, though, as eldest, she had the right of choice, saying she could see the monument another time. I thought her conduct deserved a reward; therefore, after purchasing the articles her sisters wanted, I indulged her by extending our walk to the church.

'Tuesday.—George came running in out of breath to show me a birds'-nest he had just taken. It belonged to the blackbirds that used to amuse us with their song in the grove. "Alas! George, you have robbed my favourite birds of their eggs. We shall no longer be charmed with their warbling; they will droop, and perhaps die of grief."

'"The gardener told me where to find the nest. He lifted me up to take it, and I thought there was no harm in it, as the young ones were not hatched, and intended to make my sisters a present of the eggs."

'The young ladies cried out with one voice that they never could accept a gift procured by such cruelty, and desired him to make haste and replace it where he found it.

'At first he was reluctant to comply with this proposal, but after I had convinced him of the affection of the old ones, even towards their eggs, and the pains it had cost them to build the nest, he repented that he had taken it, and was as desirous as any of us that it should be[Pg 175] returned to its former situation. He has now the satisfaction of daily watching the solicitude and tenderness of the hen, which sits close, and we hope will hatch in a few days.

'Wednesday.—I was surprised on entering Lucy's apartment to hear her command Betty in a very imperious tone to wash out all her doll's linen immediately.

'The poor girl remonstrated that she had a great deal of business to do, and should have no time; but that she would wash it the first opportunity with pleasure. Lucy repeated her commands, and would receive no excuse. When she saw me she blushed, conscious that her behaviour would not meet my approbation. I sent Betty downstairs, and explained to Lucy the impropriety of such conduct. "Gentleness to inferiors," said I, "is the mark of a good understanding, as well as of a sweet disposition. Servants are our fellow-creatures. Though situated less fortunately than ourselves, are we to increase the unhappiness of their lot by the tyranny of our treatment towards them? Circumstances may change. Your father may become poor, and you may be reduced to the conditions of a servant. Consider how unkind harsh words would appear to you, and never say that to a domestic which would wound you in their situation. Merit is confined to no rank. Betty is a worthy young woman, and entitled to your respect as well as tenderness, for the many kind offices she performs for you. What a helpless being would you be without her assistance! She makes your clothes, and aids you to put them on; she nurses you when you are sick, and attends you on all occasions. Can you forget the obligations you owe her, and command her with haughtiness? There is but one way to repair your fault. You have insulted her; ask her forgiveness."[Pg 176]

'"That I will do most willingly," replied Lucy. "I love Betty, and should be very sorry to have said anything to vex her. I spoke without reflection."

'She ran downstairs directly and made a proper apology to Betty, and I have the pleasure to add has since bought a pretty ribbon with her pocket-money, which she has given her as a token of her regards.

'Thursday.—Emma is extremely fond of keeping animals of different kinds in a domestic state, and I laid no restraint upon this inclination whilst I observed her attentive to supply the daily wants of each. On Thursday morning I had the mortification to find her bird-cages dirty, and the glasses for food and water almost empty. I made no remark, but proceeded to the room where she keeps her silk-worms. The trays were filled with dead leaves, which the poor insects crawled over, vainly endeavouring to find a piece sufficiently moist to satisfy their craving appetite. From thence I went to the rabbits, and found them without victuals, and so hungry that they had begun to gnaw the belts of the hutches. I inquired for Emma, but was some time before I could discover where she was. At length I found her very busy in making a garden with her brother George, so much taken up with her new employment that she had totally forgotten to clean or feed her poor prisoners. When I told her the situation they were in she shed tears and reproached herself with great neglect. She did not lose a moment in making all the reparation in her power, but immediately left the garden that had so much engrossed her thoughts and supplied her dumb family with suitable food and attendance. This circumstance afforded me an opportunity of expressing my sentiments on depriving birds of their liberty, and confining them in cages, a custom I cannot approve, as it not only subjects them to suffer much when they are first caught, but frequently exposes them to a cruel death from the negligence of those who have the care of them.[Pg 177]

George was despatched to desire one of the servants to bring a basket, in which we carried the poor sufferer.—Page 179. George was despatched to desire one of the servants to bring a basket, in which we carried the poor sufferer.—Page 179.

[Pg 179]

'Cowper has written some pleasing lines on a goldfinch starved to death in a cage, which Emma has learned by heart, and will repeat when I have finished reading. Her concern was so great for her carelessness that she offered to let her birds fly, and turn the rabbits out on the common. Pleased with her intention to do right, I gave her high commendations; but informed her that they were rendered unable to provide for themselves by being kept in a state of confinement, and therefore even liberty would be a barbarous gift to them now. Punctuality in supplying them with everything necessary was the only kindness that can be shown to them, since they have forgotten the habits of their state of Nature. She has been very exact since this conversation in feeding and cleaning them, and does everything in her power to make amends for their loss of freedom.

'Friday.—As we were walking through the meadows Caroline observed something white lying near a hedge. Curiosity tempted us to approach it. As we drew near we found it was a young lamb almost dead, by some accident abandoned by its dam. Its helpless condition called forth our pity, and we consulted how we should contrive to carry it home. After much deliberation George was despatched to desire one of the servants to bring a basket, in which we carried the poor sufferer. Cold and hunger were its principal disorders, which were soon relieved by the assiduity of my humane companions. We chafed it by the fire, whilst another prepared bread and milk, that it might suck through a quill. Caroline could not sleep, lest the lamb should suffer for want of food, but rose several times in the night to give it nourishment.[Pg 180] Such kind treatment soon restored it to health. It is decorated with a blue ribbon about its neck, and is already become a general favourite.

'Saturday.—George has been so much taken up in playing with the lamb this morning that he has suffered himself to be called three times to attend Mr. Spicer, his writing-master, before he made any reply, and when he did come, I am sorry to say that the blots in his copy-book showed that his attention was not fixed upon his employment. After some reproof he acknowledged his fault, and wrote another copy in his very best manner.

'I have now finished the account of the most remarkable transactions of this week, and though I am sensible that it exposes the levity and thoughtlessness of my pupils, I flatter myself that there are some marks in the disposition of each which promise improvement and more caution for the time to come.'

[Pg 181]

Ellen and George


The Game at Cricket

Sit down, Ellen,' said Mrs. Danvers to a lovely little girl of seven years of age, who was constantly jumping up to the window, instead of continuing to look at the book she was holding in her hand, but Ellen continued to look anywhere rather than at her book, and her mother began to feel angry.

The sun shone very brightly; it was a fine day in the month of June, and little Ellen thought it very hard that she was obliged to sit in the house instead of running about the fields with her brother George.

George was at home for the holidays; he was a fine boy of about nine years of age, and very fond of his sister Ellen; he would very often leave his companions to play with Ellen at quieter games than such as he engaged in with them, and Ellen was delighted when he would thus indulge her; but on this morning George was with a party of young lads, somewhat older than himself, who[Pg 182] were engaged in a game of cricket, and poor Ellen was obliged to go through her morning's task without him.

'Should you not like to go and see George play by-and-by?' said Mrs. Danvers.

'I should like it very much, mother,' replied Ellen in a tone of delight.

'Then mind your book now,' said her mother, 'and we will afterwards walk down to the cricket-field together. Father will be at home then, perhaps, and we shall have a nice walk together.'

For a few minutes Ellen looked in her book; she was very fond of her father and of walking out with him, but not even this promised scheme of pleasure could prevent her eyes from wandering every five minutes to the window, and at length a shout from the boys, who were in the field adjoining the house, entirely overcame her resolution, and again she made a sudden spring to the window.

The book was a sad drawback to Ellen's happiness, for she never looked in it unless obliged, and her mother had always great difficulty in fixing her attention on it when she wished to do so.

Mrs. Danvers rose from her seat, and quietly lowered the venetian blind, and Ellen again stole back to her seat. She looked out of the corner of one of her little blue eyes to see if her mother was angry, and again for a few minutes was very assiduous. Presently the room door opened, and a servant entered to say that a poor woman wished to speak to his mistress. Mrs. Danvers desired that the woman should be shown into the room, and she entered, leading in her hand a little girl about the age of Ellen. Ellen's eyes were immediately diverted from her book, but her mother on this occasion said nothing.

The poor woman came to entreat assistance for her[Pg 183] sick husband, who was unable to go to his work, and for her little girl, who had cut her finger very badly. The child's finger was covered with a piece of rag, which was soaked with blood, and tears streaming from her eyes showed that she was in pain.

'How was the finger cut?' said Mrs. Danvers.

'In helping father cut a piece of wood to mend Charley's hayfork,' replied the child. 'Father fell down in a fit, and let the knife fall upon my finger.'

'It is a bad cut,' said Mrs. Danvers. 'Run, Ellen, and ask Sarah for some rag, and we will tie it up for her.'

Ellen was out of the room in a minute, for she liked running about and waiting upon anyone in distress. Indeed, Ellen was on the whole a good little girl, though she could not be made to like either her book or her work. She soon returned with the rag, and Mrs. Danvers tied up the little girl's finger, and gave her a nice slice of cake to divert her attention from the pain she was suffering.

'Is it painful now?' said Mrs. Danvers.

'No, madam,' replied the child, but she still continued to cry.

'Then do not cry any more, and it will be soon well.'

'Mary does not cry so much about the pain, madam,' said the poor woman, 'as because you see it is her thimble finger;' and she held the little girl's hand up.

Ellen thought this could be no very great misfortune, but Ellen was a silly little girl to think so, and so she was convinced when the poor woman said that Mary did needlework enough to keep her in shoes, and with the pennies she got by reading her book well at school she had bought two nice pinafores out of her own money.

Ellen looked a little foolish and hung her head. The poor woman and the industrious little girl left the room[Pg 184] after Mrs. Danvers had promised to call on the sick man in the evening, and Ellen again took up her book.

'I am afraid you will never get any pennies for reading well,' said Mrs. Danvers in a few minutes, for again Ellen's eyes were off her book. The kitten had frisked into the room; it was playing with a cork under the sofa, and Ellen laughed aloud as she saw it turn round, and over and over.

'If you like the kitten better than George,' said Mrs. Danvers, 'you may continue looking at it, and stay at home and read when your father and I go out into the fields by-and-by.'

'Then pray, mother, put the kitten out of the room,' said Ellen. Mrs. Danvers did so, and again Ellen seated herself on her little stool with her book.

Ellen now really applied to her book, for she was very much afraid of being left at home when her father and mother went out for their walk. It was very little trouble to her to learn when she gave her attention to her lessons, and at length she got over them very creditably and without another word of reproof from mother.

'Now, Ellen,' said Mrs. Danvers, when the book was closed, 'if you had attended to your lessons at once it would have been over long since, and by this time you might have finished your work, and have been running in the field or garden. It is twelve o'clock, but I must have this handkerchief hemmed before you move.'

'Oh dear,' said Ellen, with a most sorrowful look, 'I thought I should have gone out now. What a happy boy George is. Oh dear, I wish I was a boy, and then I should be running about all day, and should not be obliged to work.'

'You would not be obliged to work with your needle,[Pg 185] Ellen,' said Mrs. Danvers, as she turned down the hem of the handkerchief, 'but you would have a great many things to learn much harder than you have now, and which would take you a great deal of time to get by heart unless you were more attentive than you frequently are.'

'Oh, I am sure I could learn them, mother,' answered Ellen; 'besides, George has nothing to do—nothing but to play and amuse himself all day long.'

'This is not the case when George is at school, I can tell you, Ellen,' replied Mrs. Danvers, 'nor is it always the case, you know, at home, and I much question whether the days that George sits down with his father for a few hours after breakfast are not happier days generally than those which he spends exactly in the manner he himself chooses.'

'Oh, I think he is generally laughing and merry,' said Ellen, 'when he sets off after breakfast into the hayfield, or the cricket meadow; much more so than when he walks with his grave face and his book under his arm into father's study.'

'And I very well remember, Ellen,' replied Mrs. Danvers, 'that this merry mood of his, which you think so delightful, has more than once ended in a flood of tears before night, while, on the contrary, I think the grave study countenance is generally turned into lasting smiles by dinner-time. But if you continue chatting the work will never be done. Sit quietly, and be industrious for half an hour, and then we will go into the garden together, and see if the gardener has any strawberries for us; I dare say George's companions will like some strawberries and milk after their game.'

While Ellen is attending to her mother's directions, and industriously performing the task required of her; we will take a view of George and his young companions,[Pg 186] and see whether or not he is likely to be tired of his day of idleness.

George had got up very early in the morning to prepare the wickets for the game of cricket, which had been proposed to him by several lads living in the neighbourhood. If the young reader is a little girl and not a cricket player herself, she must ask her brothers or cousins to describe to her what are wickets, and if neither of these are near her she must ask her father, who will no doubt be very happy to give her the desired information. George had been awake very early indeed, but as he had had a strict injunction never to be out of doors before the gardener and groom were at their work, he had lain in bed till he heard the stable-door opened, and then, hastily jumping up and dressing himself, had said his prayers, and was downstairs before the clock struck five. He then went to what he called his toolhouse, which was a little shed by the side of the greenhouse, where the gardeners kept their watering-pots, and where he had a box containing a hammer, a saw, and a plane adapted to the use of young hands, and a small box containing nails. He had also here a repository of pieces of wood thrown aside by the carpenter, and old sides and covers of boxes, which were no longer of any service for the uses for which they were designed, and here it was that George's day of pleasure commenced. He hammered and chopped and sawed like any workman toiling for his bread till eight o'clock, which was the hour for breakfast, when, being somewhat hot and tired, he was not very sorry to hear the summons to a good plateful of bread and butter, and a fine sweet draught of new milk. Young spirits are soon refreshed, and George did not sit long at his breakfast; the meal was soon despatched, and George again was out of doors and in his toolhouse. Hither Ellen had accompanied him for a few minutes to see the wickets completed, and, when finished, she had left him, longing to make one of the party who were now assembling to their play, and with whom she left him to return into the house, and join her mother in the drawing-room.[Pg 187]

Hither Ellen accompanied him to see the wickets completed.—Page 186. Hither Ellen accompanied him to see the wickets completed.—Page 186.

[Pg 189]

The boys soon began to play, and for some time the game went on very well—all was high good humour; but George was the least of the party, and not having played so frequently, and not being so strong, did not get as many notches as many of his companions. At school he had been more accustomed to play with less boys, and perhaps with boys even less than himself, where he was the best player of the set, and he could not help feeling mortified now that he found himself the worst player, and not being able to keep in at all against boys who played with so much more skill than he did. Sometimes he would not have minded this, but the day was very hot, George had risen early, began to be tired, and, as the truth must be told on these occasions, rather cross and pettish. Several games had been played, all of which had been won by the set of boys of the side opposite to that of George, for as four of the lads with whom he played were good players, and the fifth, Tom Fletcher, a much better player than George, the consequence was that Tom and his two companions were always on the successful side. One of the best players, Charles Wilson, then proposed to make an alteration in the sides; he asked George to come over to him and his companions, and let Tom Fletcher take his place; 'And then we shall see,' he added, 'which plays the best, you or Tom.'

'Oh, you think you know already,' said George, not in the best of humours, and throwing down his bat. 'I don't want to play at all, and I know I go for nothing.'

'The young man is up,' said Wilson's companion,[Pg 190] Stevens. 'Never mind, let him go; we shall do very well without him,' and he was taking up the discarded bat; but Wilson, who was a very good-natured boy, said:

'We do not think you go for nothing, George; but it is not likely you should play so well as we do, who are so much bigger than you, or than Tom Fletcher, who lives with a bat in his hand, and always plays amongst the great boys. I only wanted to make the game more even, for it is very tiresome for one party always to win, and the others to lose. Come, let us play on again as we were, and perhaps you may be more lucky. Come, Tom, take up the bat.'

Stevens looked very angry, and was about to make some provoking reply; but the other boys reminded him that they were playing in Mr. Danvers' ground, and there was no ground like his in the neighbourhood, so the ball was again bowled, and the bat once more sent it whirling back through the long field.

'Well done, little fellow!' said Wilson, as George again took the bat, and gave a pretty good hit. 'Well done; you'll soon play very well. Tom, take care of yourself, and mind your play, or we shall lose a game against them now.'

'Not if you mind your play,' replied the sharp Tom Fletcher, who saw that Wilson in bowling favoured George, and gave him balls that he could hardly help hitting. George exerted himself to the uttermost, and really did play better than he had done before; but his party would not have got the game but for the good-nature of Wilson, who did not put out his best play, and whose party for the first time were losers. Wilson was not right in doing this, because, even in a game of cricket, he ought to have been true to his side, and played his best. It was practising deceit, and deceit is never to be[Pg 191] practised harmlessly. Neither was George much gratified by his success, for he felt he had gained it in a childish manner, and it would have been more honest to have lost the game. Tom Fletcher and Stevens were both extremely angry, and both declared they would not be beat in that way to please the humours of any young pet. Tom said he would be matched singly against George, and the other two boys agreed it would be the fairest way, and also for them to be matched against Stevens and Wilson, and then they should see where all the strength lay. Everybody agreed to this, and the two younger boys were to have the first game. Tom was to give George two notches to begin with, to which George had no objection, as Tom was allowed to be a very capital player for his age, and the two young antagonists commenced their game. For some time they went on pretty evenly. Tom was very cool and cautious, and George, who put out all his strength, got several notches, and continued ahead of his rival. It almost seemed doubtful whether George was not a better player than he had been taken for, and as the lads who were looking on cried out, 'Now, George,' 'Now, Tom,' George seemed to have as good a chance of the game as Tom. But Tom was not fagged as George was, nor was he so hasty in his temper. He was not at all moved at the show of adverse fortune against him, while George was in a complete agitation, and on the very first reverse so put out that he bit his lip with anger, and flung at the bowler with great violence the ball which he had missed. It took the direction of Tom Fletcher's eyebrow, narrowly escaping his eye, and the boy put up his hand in agony to his enlarged forehead.

'Oh, I am very sorry, Tom,' said George, who had most unintentionally done the mischief.[Pg 192]

'Oh, I don't mind a bit,' replied Tom, who was a very hardy boy. 'Stand to your bat, man.' And with one hand held to his aching head, he bowled sharply with the other, and dashed away the wickets.

'It is hardly fair play, for he was off his guard,' said one of the other boys.

'If Tom could bowl with that black eye,' said Stevens, 'I think George has no right to complain.'

'I don't complain,' said George, throwing down his bat. 'It's my own fault; I was in a passion. The game is yours, Tom.'

'No, the game is not mine yet, George,' said Tom, 'even if you go out now, for though you sent the ball in a passion, I had no right to take you in as I did. I was in a passion, too, or I should not have bowled upon you so sharp. Come, give me your hand, and then take up the bat, man, and we will see what we can do.'

'Then take back your two notches to set against the black eye,' said George, giving his hand. Tom, however, would not agree to this, and it was at length settled that they should go on as if nothing had happened. George took up the bat, and Tom returned to the bowling place. George's notches increased rapidly, but it was evident the cause of this was in Tom's eye, which by this time was almost closed, though the spirited boy did not once complain of pain. George requested him not to go on, but he persisted in bowling till his opponent threw down the bat, declaring it was not fair play, and he did not want to beat in that mean way.

All the boys agreed that George was right, and it was determined that the two young ones should defer their trial of skill till Tom had recovered the use of his eye, and the bigger boys then commenced their game.

It was at this period of the day that Mrs. Danvers and[Pg 193] Ellen, after having taken a walk round the garden, and collected plenty of strawberries and cherries from the gardener, arrived in the cricket-field to inquire if the lads wished for any refreshment. George felt ashamed, as he remembered Tom Fletcher's eye, and the good-natured boy stepped forwards to speak to Mrs. Danvers, and draw attention from Tom to himself. The accident, however, could not be concealed; and though Tom declared that it was nothing, Mrs. Danvers was sure that he must be suffering great pain, and begged of him to go into the house and have his eye bathed. Fletcher replied that he had better go home, for his mother had a lotion that cured all sorts of bruises; and saying that he would be up in the cricket-field again before the other game was over, he bounded over the stile that separated one field from the next, and was out of sight in a minute. The other lads, who were just beginning their game, took some fruit of Mrs. Danvers, but declined at present going into the house; and after standing a few minutes with Ellen to look at the players, Mrs. Danvers persuaded George to accompany her into the house, for she saw that he was not very comfortable, and the day was intensely hot.

As they walked along, Mrs. Danvers said nothing about the black eye, for she thought that it had happened through some hastiness of George. She found by his manner he was ashamed of himself for something, and she knew, as he was an honest boy, that when he was in a little better humour than he appeared at present he would relate to her everything that had passed. On arriving in the house, Mr. Danvers met them, and requested Mrs. Danvers to walk down into the village to see the poor man who had fallen down in a fit, and inquire if he wanted any assistance. Mrs. Danvers immediately[Pg 194] complied, and recommending George to amuse himself with his sister during the rest of the morning, she left the house, and took the road to the village.

'John has not taken that donkey home,' said Mrs. Danvers, as they passed through a small field where there was one picking in the hedges.

'No,' replied Mr. Danvers, 'but I wish he would do so, for the animal only destroys the beauty of the hedges, and endeavours to make ugly gaps in them. It is not at all fit for the children to ride.' And they proceeded in their walk.

As soon as his father and mother were gone, George threw himself upon the carpet on his back, for he was very tired, very cross, and very stiff.

'Oh dear, what a tiresome day this is!' said he, as he rolled over on the carpet. 'I wish it was over and bedtime was come.'

'Why, you have done nothing but play all day,' said Ellen. Now Ellen felt as brisk and as merry as she had done the very earliest part of the morning, and could not help wondering what could be the matter with George that he was not equally so.

'It is so hot—so very hot,' said George. The kind little Ellen took her stool, and, standing on tiptoe, and reaching up to the top of the blinds, at the risk of her neck, at length succeeded in pulling them down, and prevented the sun from shining into George's eyes.

'Oh, how dark you have made the room, child,' said George.

'I thought you would like to have the sun shut out, George,' said the affectionate little Ellen, with a tear starting into her eyes, because George would not be pleased with her.

George saw the tear, and was vexed with himself that[Pg 195] he had caused it; but at present he was not sufficiently subdued to say he was sorry, and he continued to roll upon the carpet backwards and forwards, till he rolled over against a small rose-wood cabinet which stood in one corner of the apartment. The slender fabric shook, and down rolled a beautiful little vase, which had been sent for Mrs. Danvers by a particular friend, and on which both the children knew she set a great value. George started up, and he and Ellen looked at each other. The vase was broken into twenty pieces. Ellen burst into tears, and George looked very sorrowful; but the vase was broken, and could not be restored. At this moment the door was opened, and a little favourite terrier dog bounded into the room, and began to play amongst the scattered fragments. He was followed by a servant, from whom he had made his escape, for she had been ordered to wash the dog, and the dog had resisted, and ran away from the bath designed for him.

'Why, what a piece of work is here,' said the servant. 'Pompey, you little tiresome thing; now to come bouncing in here, and making all this mischief. What will mistress say when she sees her china broken, and all through you, you little tiresome puppy?'

George and Ellen looked at each other for a moment. Had they not been well instructed to abhor a lie, and speak the truth, the temptation was a strong one, and they might have yielded to it; but they knew that although they might deceive the servant, there was One who could not be deceived, and by an instantaneous movement of honesty they both at once exclaimed:

'It was not poor Pompey, Ann; it was——' Here Ellen stopped, unwilling to accuse her brother; but George with great firmness added: 'It was I, Ann.'

'Well, it's a sad business,' said Ann, 'but I dare say[Pg 196] my mistress will not be very angry. I am sure I should not have known but what it was Pompey;' and in saying this Ann, who was herself a good well-principled girl, silently resolved that her mistress should certainly know how the young gentleman and lady 'scorned,' as she said, 'to tell a lie.'

Pompey was now removed, and George and Ellen were again left together. Ellen picked up the broken pieces, and then asked George if he had not better go and dress himself. 'His nice clean trousers,' she said, 'were quite green and dirty from rubbing about upon the grass, and the flue of the carpet was come off upon his jacket.' George, however, was not yet quite himself, though he was very much softened by the last misfortune. Ellen then asked him if she should get some quiet play for him—maps, puzzles, or bricks? But nothing would go right with George this day; all Ellen's efforts to amuse him were in vain, and at length he resolved upon going out of doors again. Ellen reminded him that mother had recommended him to stay indoors.

'Yes, but she did not order me,' said George; 'besides, I think I ought to go down and ask how Tom Fletcher is, for I gave him that horrible blow in his face.'

'But you could not help it, I am sure,' said Ellen.

'I did not do it on purpose,' said George, 'but I did it in a passion, and that is as bad.'

'Oh, this unlucky day,' said Ellen, 'and this morning I thought you so happy, but I think you had better stay till evening before you go down to Mr. Fletcher's. I am sure mother thought you had better stay quiet this morning, and mother is always so kind.'

George felt all this, and went out of the room, and returned into it several times, from irresolution and dissatisfaction with himself. He kissed Ellen, and told her[Pg 197] not to mind his being cross, upon which she threw her arm across his shoulder, and entreated him to sit quietly at home, and not to go out and heat himself and make himself uncomfortable just as he was beginning to get cool.

George seemed to long to stay with Ellen, and even when he got to steps which led from the hall into the pleasure-grounds, he went very slowly down, dragging one leg after the other, half inclined to return, but at this moment that frisking little Pompey came by looking very bright and clean after his washing, and he jumped upon George, and invited him to play. George then gave him a call, and they bounded together over the fields and hedges, and were very soon lost to the sight of Ellen, who returned into the house, and could scarcely refrain from shedding tears.

George passed with his frolicsome companion through the same field where Mr. and Mrs. Danvers had noticed the donkey browsing in the hedges, and the animal was still browsing, and picking up nettles and flowers, and enjoying his freedom. George might just as well have walked quietly through the field, and have left the poor donkey to his repast, but he was in a very odd sort of a humour still, and thought it would be very good fun to have a little scamper round the field upon the donkey's back. He had heard his father and mother say that the donkey had never been properly broken in, and that he was not fit to be ridden, but George thought that if he could ride a pony, which he sometimes did, he certainly could ride a donkey, and at any rate he was determined to try. He went back to the stable therefore to ask the groom for a halter, but the groom was not in the stable, unfortunately, or he would have known better, it is to be hoped, than to have encouraged the young gentleman[Pg 198] in what he knew to be wrong. So George helped himself to an old piece of rope which he found under the cartshed, and, taking a small hunting-whip of his own, returned to the field with the intention of having a good ride. He had some difficulty in catching the animal, which was better pleased to graze at liberty than to be confined, and have a burthen put upon his back. It must be owned, nevertheless, that it was not a very heavy burthen preparing for him, nothing compared to the great weights many, many poor donkeys are compelled to toil under, and never stopping to rest, perhaps, from morning till night. Still, the donkey had rather been left in the hedges, and many a race round and round the field did he give George, and many a time did he kick up his hinder legs in defiance before George at length succeeded in throwing the halter over his head. The mighty feat, however, was, after repeated failures, accomplished, and George felt not a little satisfied when he found himself safely seated on the animal. He certainly was seated, but as to riding, it was what the donkey seemed resolved he should not do, and there he continued to sit, perfectly still and quiet, for some minutes, for although the animal had shown great fleetness and alacrity when George was attempting to stop him, it was very different now George was endeavouring to make him go on. George kicked as hard as he could kick with both his heels, and flogged with all his might, but the stubborn beast would not stir an inch. He then got off his back, and led him into the road, which he had some difficulty in accomplishing, and when there he would not go a bit better than in the field. He had no preference to the turnpike road, and George, after fatiguing himself, and getting into a violent heat by beating and thumping the animal's impenetrable skin, considered that he had better get him back again into[Pg 199] the field, and there leave him. But here again the stubborn beast perplexed him; he would not budge an inch, no, not even when George pulled and dragged him by the halter till his arms ached so much he was obliged to desist. Now what was to be done? The donkey was not his father's; it was borrowed. If he left it on the road it would be lost or stolen, and as to riding it or leading it away it seemed entirely impossible. He was standing in not a very happy mood, and leaning against the donkey's neck, when a butcher's boy came jogging along upon his shaggy and bareboned pony.

'Do you want to get him on, sir?' said the boy.

'Yes, but he won't stir,' said George.

'Oh, trust me to making him stir,' replied the hatless, greasy-haired lad. 'Get upon his back, sir, and I'll send him on for you.'

George was upon his back in a minute, but with all the famed prowess of the butcher's boy as a donkey driver, and with all George's renewed thumps and kicks, the animal would not move from the spot where he had fixed himself. The butcher's boy was quite in a rage, and he was venting his spleen upon the stubbornness of all donkeys, and of this donkey in particular, when the sudden sound of a horn made both the donkey and the pony prick up their ears. In a few moments a stage coach was in sight, and in a few more the horn and the rattling wheels approached with great velocity towards the two equestrians. George would have jumped off to save himself from being run over, but the donkey saved him for the present the trouble. All his energies were suddenly roused, and he darted forward in a pelting gallop; the butcher's pony did the same. Away they both flew before the leaders of the stage, scarcely distancing them by a horse's length, and all the passengers[Pg 200] thought that mischief was inevitable. A gentleman on the box begged the coachman to pull in, but the coachman seemed to enjoy the fun, and only whipped on his horses. The pony and the donkey were still galloping furiously, both their riders keeping their seats. Butchers' boys always seem glued to their saddles, so that there appeared nothing astonishing in Jem Rattle's not getting a fall; but how George, without his saddle, and not much accustomed to riding, sat so long was something more remarkable. Whether he might have got to the end of his race without accident if his father and mother had not now appeared by the side of the road it is impossible to say; but certain it is that the sight of them diverted the attention which had before been entirely given to keeping his eye steadily before him. At the same instant the donkey gave a little curve out of the line in which he had been going, and most providential was it that he did so, for by this inclination George was thrown sufficiently to the right of the road to clear the wheels of the coach. The pony had given in some few minutes before, and the donkey, having once checked himself, stopped suddenly, and stood quietly by the roadside as if nothing had happened. The gentleman on the box now insisted upon the coachman's drawing up, to see if the young gentleman had sustained any injury; and Mr. and Mrs. Danvers, in a state of harassing alarm, also hastened to approach the spot.

Mr. and Mrs. Danvers were more alarmed than George was hurt; he certainly got a few bruises, but he received no serious injury. He immediately jumped on his legs, and relieved the anxiety of his parents, when, after Mr. Danvers had thanked the gentleman for his kind interference, and joined with him in condemning the coachman for not having before checked his horses, the[Pg 201] coach drove on, and George joined his father and mother. The butcher boy was commissioned, with the promise of a shilling, to bring back the donkey to Mr. Danvers' field, and George looked not a little foolish as he began his walk home by the side of his father.

'I thought you had been remaining quietly at home, George,' said Mrs. Danvers.

'And certainly, if you had been out,' added Mr. Danvers, 'you had no business to have been riding that donkey. You must have heard me say that it was not fit to be ridden, for it is always playing tricks of some sort. And you may be very thankful that you did not get either a broken limb or a severe blow on your head.'

George made no reply, but he burst into tears, for his ill-humour had now entirely given way to sorrow; and he continued crying as he walked by the side of his father.

'I am afraid you have too much indulgence,' said Mr. Danvers, 'and too much liberty in disposing of your time; you are not the happier for it, you see. When left to yourself to amuse yourself as you please the whole day, you almost constantly get into some trouble or other before the day is over. In future I shall take care that your time is better employed than in riding races with butchers' boys, and trying to tame incorrigible donkeys.'

Here George tried to put his father right as to his riding with the butcher's boy being entirely accidental; but his sobs prevented his speaking articulately, and they had nearly arrived at home before Mr. and Mrs. Danvers could exactly understand how the accident had happened.

'And how came Fletcher by his black eye?' said Mr. Danvers.

'Oh, that was done in a passion,' replied George.[Pg 202] 'I was tired before I began to play, and I did not like to be beat by a boy so near my own size.'

'And how would you have felt,' said Mr. Danvers, 'had you deprived your companion of the sight of his eye, which was very near being the case? Accidents of this sort have sometimes happened from cricket-balls; but this, instead of accidental, would have been the consequence of pettish ill-humour. I shall allow no more cricket for some days; indeed, I fear it will be some days before Fletcher will be well enough to play; and certainly I shall allow no more whole days of play.'

'I wish you would not, father,' said George, 'for they always end unhappily; and you have not heard all the unhappiness of this.'

George was endeavouring to commence his relation of the broken vase, when the lads from the cricket-field, who had just finished their game, approached to bid Mr. and Mrs. Danvers a good-morning, and inquire of their young companion why he and Tom Fletcher had not again joined them. In pity to the confusion visibly stamped on George's countenance, Mr. Danvers undertook to explain the cause of their absence, and begged that they themselves would come, whenever it was pleasant to them, to play in his field. As to Tom, he thought he would not be able to play again within a week; but on that day se'nnight, if his eye was well enough to allow of his playing, Mr. Danvers would himself take a part in the game, and he invited all the party to take tea and refreshments after its conclusion. The boys seemed delighted with this proposition, and took their leave, when George accompanied his father and mother into the house, where they were joined by little Ellen. The accident of the broken vase was related, at which Mrs. Danvers expressed great regret; but her vexation[Pg 203] was accompanied with the pleasing reflection that the word of her children might be taken without scruple, for the good-natured Ann was not easy till she had informed her mistress of all that she knew respecting the accident.

From this day, Ellen never wished that she was a boy to do nothing but play from morning till night. She saw, in the example of her brother George, that idleness generally leads to mischief, and consequently to unhappiness; and she felt how necessary it was to have performed her duty well before she could enjoy her play.

[Pg 204]

Waste Not, Want Not


Two Strings to Your Bow


Mr. Gresham, a Bristol merchant, who had, by honourable industry and economy, accumulated a considerable fortune, retired from business to a new house which he had built upon the Downs, near Clifton. Mr. Gresham, however, did not imagine that a new house alone could make him happy. He did not propose to live in idleness and extravagance; for such a life would have been equally incompatible with his habits and his principles. He was fond of children; and as he had no sons, he determined to adopt one of his relations. He had two nephews, and he invited both of them to his house, that he might have an opportunity of judging of their dispositions, and of the habits which they had acquired.

Hal and Benjamin, Mr. Gresham's nephews, were about ten years old. They had been educated very differently. Hal was the son of the elder branch of the family. His father was a gentleman, who spent rather more than he[Pg 205] could afford; and Hal, from the example of the servants in his father's family, with whom he had passed the first years of his childhood, learned to waste more of everything than he used. He had been told that 'gentlemen should be above being careful and saving'; and he had unfortunately imbibed a notion that extravagance was the sign of a generous disposition, and economy of an avaricious one.

Benjamin, on the contrary, had been taught habits of care and foresight. His father had but a very small fortune, and was anxious that his son should early learn that economy ensures independence, and sometimes puts it in the power of those who are not very rich to be very generous.

The morning after these two boys arrived at their uncle's they were eager to see all the rooms in the house. Mr. Gresham accompanied them, and attended to their remarks and exclamations.

'Oh, what an excellent motto!' exclaimed Ben, when he read the following words, which were written in large characters over the chimneypiece in his uncle's spacious kitchen—


'"Waste not, want not!"' repeated his cousin Hal, in rather a contemptuous tone; 'I think it looks stingy to servants; and no gentleman's servants, cooks especially, would like to have such a mean motto always staring them in the face.'

Ben, who was not so conversant as his cousin in the ways of cooks and gentleman's servants, made no reply to these observations.

Mr. Gresham was called away whilst his nephews were looking at the other rooms in the house. Some time afterwards he heard their voices in the hall.[Pg 206]

'Boys,' said he, 'what are you doing there?'

'Nothing, sir,' said Hal. 'You were called away from us, and we did not know which way to go.'

'And have you nothing to do?' said Mr. Gresham.

'No, sir—nothing,' answered Hal in a careless tone, like one who was well content with the state of habitual idleness.

'No, sir—nothing,' replied Ben, in a voice of lamentation.

'Come,' said Mr. Gresham, 'if you have nothing to do, lads, will you unpack those two parcels for me?'

The two parcels were exactly alike, both of them well tied up with good whipcord. Ben took his parcel to a table, and, after breaking off the sealing-wax, began carefully to examine the knot, and then to untie it. Hal stood still, exactly in the spot where the parcel was put into his hands, and tried, first at one corner and then at another, to pull the string off by force.

'I wish these people wouldn't tie up their parcels so tight, as if they were never to be undone!' cried he, as he tugged at the cord; and he pulled the knot closer instead of loosening it. 'Ben! why, how did you get yours undone, man? What's in your parcel? I wonder what is in mine. I wish I could get this string off. I must cut it.'

'Oh no,' said Ben, who now had undone the last knot of his parcel, and who drew out the length of string with exultation, 'don't cut it, Hal. Look what a nice cord this is, and yours is the same. It's a pity to cut it. "Waste not, want not!" you know.'

'Pooh!' said Hal, 'what signifies a bit of packthread?'

'It is whipcord,' said Ben.[Pg 207]

'Oh, what an excellent motto!' exclaimed Ben.—Page 205. 'Oh, what an excellent motto!' exclaimed Ben.—Page 205.

[Pg 209]

'Well, whipcord. What signifies a bit of whipcord? You can get a bit of whipcord twice as long as that for twopence, and who cares for twopence? Not I, for one! So here it goes,' cried Hal, drawing out his knife; and he cut the cord precipitately in sundry places.

'Lads, have you undone the parcels for me?' said Mr. Gresham, opening the parlour door as he spoke.

'Yes, sir,' cried Hal; and he dragged off his half-cut, half-entangled string. 'Here's the parcel.'

'And here's my parcel, uncle; and here's the string,' said Ben.

'You may keep the string for your pains,' said Mr. Gresham.

'Thank you, sir,' said Ben. 'What an excellent whipcord it is!'

'And you, Hal,' continued Mr. Gresham—'you may keep your string, too, if it will be of any use to you.'

'It will be of no use to me, thank you, sir,' said Hal.

'No, I am afraid not, if this be it,' said his uncle, taking up the jagged knotted remains of Hal's cord.

A few days after this Mr. Gresham gave to each of his nephews a new top.

'But how's this?' said Hal. 'These tops have no strings. What shall we do for strings?'

'I have a string that will do very well for mine,' said Ben; and he pulled out of his pocket the fine, long, smooth string which had tied up the parcel.

With this he soon set up his top, which spun admirably well.

'Oh, how I wish I had but a string!' said Hal. 'What shall I do for a string? I'll tell you what: I can use the string that goes round my hat!'

'But, then,' said Ben, 'what will you do for a hatband?'

'I'll manage to do without one,' said Hal, and he took the string off his hat for his top.[Pg 210]

It was soon worn through, and he split his top by driving the peg too tightly into it. His Cousin Ben let him set up his the next day, but Hal was not more fortunate or more careful when he meddled with other people's things than when he managed his own. He had scarcely played half an hour before he split it by driving the peg too violently.

Ben bore this misfortune with good-humour.

'Come,' said he, 'it can't be helped; but give me the string, because that may still be of use for something else.'

It happened some time afterwards that a lady, who had been intimately acquainted with Hal's mother at Bath—that is to say, who had frequently met her at the card-table during the winter—now arrived at Clifton. She was informed by his mother that Hal was at Mr. Gresham's, and her sons, who were friends of his, came to see him, and invited him to spend the next day with them.

Hal joyfully accepted the invitation. He was always glad to go out to dine, because it gave him something to do, something to think of, or at least something to say. Besides this, he had been educated to think it was a fine thing to visit fine people; and Lady Diana Sweepstakes (for that was the name of his mother's acquaintance) was a very fine lady, and her two sons intended to be very great gentlemen. He was in a prodigious hurry when these young gentlemen knocked at his uncle's door the next day; but just as he got to the hall door little Patty called to him from the top of the stairs, and told him that he had dropped his pocket-handkerchief.

'Pick it up, then, and bring it to me, quick, can't you, child?' cried Hal, 'for Lady Di's sons are waiting for me.'

Little Patty did not know anything about Lady Di's[Pg 211] sons; but as she was very good-natured, and saw that her cousin Hal was, for some reason or other, in a desperate hurry, she ran downstairs as fast as she possibly could towards the landing-place, where the handkerchief lay; but, alas! before she reached the handkerchief, she fell, rolling down a whole flight of stairs, and when her fall was at last stopped by the landing-place, she did not cry out; she writhed, as if she was in great pain.

'Where are you hurt, my love?' said Mr. Gresham, who came instantly on hearing the noise of someone falling downstairs. 'Where are you hurt, my dear?'

'Here, papa,' said the little girl, touching her ankle, which she had decently covered with her gown. 'I believe I am hurt here, but not much,' added she, trying to rise; 'only it hurts me when I move.'

'I'll carry you; don't move, then,' said her father, and he took her up in his arms.

'My shoe! I've lost one of my shoes,' said she.

Ben looked for it upon the stairs, and he found it sticking in a loop of whipcord, which was entangled round one of the banisters. When this cord was drawn forth, it appeared that it was the very same jagged, entangled piece which Hal had pulled off his parcel. He had diverted himself with running up and down stairs, whipping the banisters with it, as he thought he could convert it to no better use; and, with his usual carelessness, he at last left it hanging just where he happened to throw it when the dinner-bell rang. Poor little Patty's ankle was terribly strained, and Hal reproached himself for his folly, and would have reproached himself longer, perhaps, if Lady Di Sweepstakes' sons had not hurried him away.

In the evening, Patty could not run about as she used to do; but she sat upon the sofa, and she said that she[Pg 212] did not feel the pain of her ankle so much whilst Ben was so good as to play at Jack Straws with her.

'That's right, Ben; never be ashamed of being good-natured to those who are younger and weaker than yourself,' said his uncle, smiling at seeing him produce his whipcord to indulge his little cousin with a game at her favourite cat's-cradle. 'I shall not think you one bit less manly, because I see you playing at cat's-cradle with a little child of six years old.'

Hal, however, was not precisely of his uncle's opinion; for when he returned in the evening, and saw Ben playing with his little cousin, he could not help smiling contemptuously, and asked if he had been playing at cat's-cradle all night. In a heedless manner he made some inquiries after Patty's sprained ankle, and then he ran on to tell all the news he had heard at Lady Diana Sweepstakes'—news which he thought would make him appear a person of vast importance.

'Do you know, uncle—do you know, Ben,' said he, 'there's to be the most famous doings that ever were heard of upon the Downs here, the first day of next month, which will be in a fortnight, thank my stars? I wish the fortnight was over. I shall think of nothing else, I know, till that happy day comes.'

Mr. Gresham inquired why the first of September was to be so much happier than any other day in the year.

'Why,' replied Hal, 'Lady Diana Sweepstakes, you know, is a famous rider, and archer, and all that——'

'Very likely,' said Mr. Gresham soberly; 'but what then?'

'Dear uncle,' cried Hal, 'but you shall hear! There's to be a race upon the Downs on the first of September, and after the race there's to be an archery meeting for the ladies, and Lady Diana Sweepstakes is to be one of[Pg 213] them. And after the ladies have done shooting—now, Ben, comes the best part of it!—we boys are to have our turn, and Lady Di is to give a prize to the best marksman amongst us of a very handsome bow and arrow. Do you know, I've been practising already, and I'll show you to-morrow, as soon as it comes home, the famous bow and arrow that Lady Diana has given me; but perhaps,' added he, with a scornful laugh, 'you like a cat's-cradle better than a bow and arrow.'

Ben made no reply to this taunt at the moment; but the next day, when Hal's new bow and arrow came home, he convinced him that he knew how to use it very well.

'Ben,' said his uncle, 'you seem to be a good marksman, though you have not boasted of yourself. I'll give you a bow and arrow, and perhaps, if you practise, you may make yourself an archer before the first of September; and, in the meantime, you will not wish the fortnight to be over, for you will have something to do.'

'Oh, sir,' interrupted Hal, 'but if you mean that Ben should put in for the prize, he must have a uniform.'

'Why must he?' said Mr. Gresham.

'Why, sir, because everybody has—I mean everybody that's anybody; and Lady Diana was talking about the uniform all dinner time, and it's settled, all about it, except the buttons. The young Sweepstakes are to get theirs made first for patterns. They are to be white, faced with green, and they'll look very handsome, I'm sure; and I shall write to mother to-night, as Lady Diana bid me, about mine, and I shall tell her to be sure to answer my letter without fail by return of post; and then, if mother makes no objection—which I know she won't, because she never thinks much about expense, and all that—then I shall bespeak my uniform, and get[Pg 214] it made by the same tailor that makes for Lady Diana and the young Sweepstakes.'

'Mercy upon us!' said Mr. Gresham, who was almost stunned by the rapid vociferation with which this long speech about a uniform was pronounced. 'I don't pretend to understand these things,' added he, with an air of simplicity, 'but we will inquire, Ben, into the necessity of the case; and if it is necessary—or if you think it necessary that you shall have a uniform—why, I'll give you one.'

'You, uncle? Will you, indeed?' exclaimed Hal, with amazement painted in his countenance. 'Well, that's the last thing in the world I should have expected! You are not at all the sort of person I should have thought would care about a uniform; and now I should have supposed you'd have thought it extravagant to have a coat on purpose only for one day. And I'm sure Lady Diana Sweepstakes thought as I do, for when I told her of that motto over your kitchen chimney—"waste not, want not"—she laughed, and said that I had better not talk to you about uniforms, and that my mother was the proper person to write to about my uniform; but I'll tell Lady Diana, uncle, how good you are, and how much she was mistaken.'

'Take care how you do that,' said Mr. Gresham, 'for perhaps the lady was not mistaken.'

'Nay, did not you say just now you would give poor Ben a uniform?'

'I said I would if he thought it necessary to have one.'

'Oh, I'll answer for it he'll think it necessary,' said Hal, laughing, 'because it is necessary.'

'Allow him, at least, to judge for himself,' said Mr. Gresham.

'My dear uncle, but I assure you,' said Hal earnestly,[Pg 215] 'there's no judging about the matter, because really, upon my word, Lady Diana said distinctly that her sons were to have uniforms—white, faced with green—and a green and white cockade in their hats.'

'May be so,' said Mr. Gresham, still with the same look of calm simplicity. 'Put on your hats, boys, and come with me. I know a gentleman whose sons are to be at this archery meeting, and we will inquire into all the particulars from him. Then, after we have seen him—it is not eleven o'clock yet—we shall have time enough to walk on to Bristol, and choose the cloth for Ben's uniform if it is necessary.'

'I cannot tell what to make of all he says,' whispered Hal, as he reached down his hat. 'Do you think, Ben, he means to give you this uniform or not?'

'I think,' said Ben, 'that he means to give me one if it is necessary; or, as he said, if I think it is necessary.'

'And that to be sure you will, won't you? or else you'll be a great fool, I know, after all I've told you. How can anyone in the world know so much about the matter as I, who have dined with Lady Diana Sweepstakes but yesterday, and heard all about it from beginning to end? And as for this gentleman that we are going to, I'm sure, if he knows anything about the matter, he'll say exactly the same as I do.'

'We shall hear,' said Ben, with a degree of composure which Hal could by no means comprehend when a uniform was in question.

The gentleman upon whom Mr. Gresham called had three sons who were all to be at this archery meeting, and they unanimously assured him, in the presence of Hal and Ben, that they had not thought of buying uniforms for this grand occasion, and that, amongst the number of their acquaintance, they knew of but three[Pg 216] boys whose friends intended to be at such an unnecessary expense. Hal stood amazed.

'Such are the varieties of opinion upon all the grand affairs of life,' said Mr. Gresham, looking at his nephews. 'What amongst one set of people you hear asserted to be absolutely necessary, you will hear from another set of people is quite unnecessary. All that can be done, my dear boys, in these difficult cases, is to judge for yourselves which opinions and which people are the most reasonable.'

Hal, who had been more accustomed to think of what was fashionable than of what was reasonable, without at all considering the good sense of what his uncle said to him, replied with childish petulance:

'Indeed, sir, I don't know what other people think; but I only know what Lady Diana Sweepstakes said.'

The name of Lady Diana Sweepstakes, Hal thought, must impress all present with respect. He was highly astonished when, as he looked round, he saw a smile of contempt upon everyone's countenance; and he was yet further bewildered when he heard her spoken of as a very silly, extravagant, ridiculous woman, whose opinion no prudent person would ask upon any subject, and whose example was to be shunned instead of being imitated.

'Ay, my dear Hal,' said his uncle, smiling at his look of amazement, 'these are some of the things that young people must learn from experience. All the world do not agree in opinion about characters. You will hear the same person admired in one company and blamed in another; so that we must still come round to the same point—Judge for yourself.'

Hal's thoughts were, however, at present too full of the uniform to allow his judgment to act with perfect impartiality. As soon as their visit was over, and all[Pg 217] the time they walked down the hill from Prince's Buildings towards Bristol, he continued to repeat nearly the same arguments which he had formerly used respecting necessity, the uniform, and Lady Diana Sweepstakes. To all this Mr. Gresham made no reply, and longer had the young gentleman expatiated upon the subject, which had so strongly seized upon his imagination, had not his senses been forcibly assailed at this instant by the delicious odours and tempting sight of certain cakes and jellies in a pastrycook's shop.

'Oh, uncle,' said he, as his uncle was going to turn the corner to pursue the road to Bristol, 'look at those jellies!' pointing to a confectioner's shop. 'I must buy some of those good things, for I have got some halfpence in my pocket.'

'Your having halfpence in your pocket is an excellent reason for eating,' said Mr. Gresham, smiling.

'But I really am hungry,' said Hal. 'You know, uncle, it is a good while since breakfast.'

His uncle, who was desirous to see his nephews act without restraint, that he might judge their characters, bid them do as they pleased.

'Come, then, Ben, if you've any halfpence in your pocket.'

'I'm not hungry,' said Ben.

'I suppose that means that you've no halfpence,' said Hal, laughing, with the look of superiority which he had been taught to think the rich might assume towards those who were convicted either of poverty or economy.

'Waste not, want not,' said Ben to himself.

Contrary to his cousin's surmise, he happened to have two pennyworth of halfpence actually in his pocket.

At the very moment Hal stepped into the pastrycook's shop a poor, industrious man with a wooden leg, who[Pg 218] usually sweeps the dirty corner of the walk which turns at this spot to the Wells, held his hat to Ben, who, after glancing his eye at the petitioner's well-worn broom, instantly produced his twopence.

'I wish I had more halfpence for you, my good man,' said he; 'but I've only twopence.'

Hal came out of Mr. Millar's, the confectioner's shop, with a hatful of cakes in his hand. Mr. Millar's dog was sitting on the flags before the door, and he looked up with a wistful, begging eye at Hal, who was eating a queen-cake. Hal, who was wasteful even in his good-nature, threw a whole queen-cake to the dog, who swallowed it at a single mouthful.

'There goes twopence in the form of a queen-cake,' said Mr. Gresham.

Hal next offered some of his cakes to his uncle and cousin; but they thanked him, and refused to eat any, because, they said, they were not hungry; so he ate and ate as he walked along, till at last he stopped and said:

'This bun tastes so bad after the queen-cakes, I can't bear it!' and he was going to fling it from him into the river.

'Oh, it is a pity to waste that good bun; we may be glad of it yet,' said Ben. 'Give it me rather than throw it away.'

'Why, I thought you said you were not hungry,' said Hal.

'True, I am not hungry now; but that is no reason why I should never be hungry again.'

'Well, there is the cake for you. Take it, for it has made me sick, and I don't care what becomes of it.'

Ben folded the refuse bit of his cousin's bun in a piece of paper, and put it into his pocket.[Pg 219]

'I'm beginning to be exceeding tired or sick or something,' said Hal; 'and as there is a stand of coaches somewhere hereabouts, had we not better take a coach, instead of walking all the way to Bristol?'

'For a stout archer,' said Mr. Gresham, 'you are more easily tired than one might have expected. However, with all my heart, let us take a coach, for Ben asked me to show him the cathedral yesterday; and I believe I should find it rather too much for me to walk so far, though I am not sick with eating good things.'

'The cathedral!' said Hal, after he had been seated in the coach about a quarter of an hour, and had somewhat recovered from his sickness—'the cathedral! Why, are we only going to Bristol to see the cathedral? I thought we came out to see about a uniform.'

There was a dulness and melancholy kind of stupidity in Hal's countenance as he pronounced these words, like one wakening from a dream, which made both his uncle and his cousin burst out a-laughing.

'Why,' said Hal, who was now piqued, 'I'm sure you did say, uncle, you would go to Mr. Hall's to choose the cloth for the uniform.'

'Very true, and so I will,' said Mr. Gresham; 'but we need not make a whole morning's work, need we, of looking at a piece of cloth? Cannot we see a uniform and a cathedral both in one morning?'

They went first to the cathedral. Hal's head was too full of the uniform to take any notice of the painted window, which immediately caught Ben's embarrassed attention. He looked at the large stained figures on the Gothic window, and he observed their coloured shadows on the floor and walls.

Mr. Gresham, who perceived that he was eager on all subjects to gain information, took this opportunity of[Pg 220] telling him several things about the lost art of painting on glass, Gothic arches, etc., which Hal thought extremely tiresome.

'Come, come, we shall be late indeed!' said Hal. 'Surely you've looked long enough, Ben, at this blue and red window.'

'I'm only thinking about these coloured shadows,' said Ben.

'I can show you when we go home, Ben,' said his uncle, 'an entertaining paper upon such shadows.'[A]

'Hark!' cried Ben; 'did you hear that noise?'

They all listened, and they heard a bird singing in the cathedral.

'It's our old robin, sir,' said the lad who had opened the cathedral door for them.

'Yes,' said Mr. Gresham, 'there he is, boys—look—perched upon the organ; he often sits there, and sings whilst the organ is playing.'

'And,' continued the lad who showed the cathedral, 'he has lived here these many, many winters. They say he is fifteen years old; and he is so tame, poor fellow! that if I had a bit of bread he'd come down and feed in my hand.'

'I've a bit of bun here,' cried Ben joyfully, producing the remains of the bun which Hal but an hour before would have thrown away. 'Pray, let us see the poor robin eat out of your hand.'

The lad crumbled the bun and called to the robin, who fluttered and chirped and seemed rejoiced at the sight of the bread; but yet he did not come down from his pinnacle on the organ.

'He is afraid of us,' said Ben; 'he is not used to eat before strangers, I suppose.'

[Pg 221]'Ah, no, sir,' said the young man, with a deep sigh, 'that is not the thing. He is used enough to eat afore company. Time was he'd have come down for me before ever so many fine folks, and have eat his crumbs out of my hand at my first call; but, poor fellow! it's not his fault now. He does not know me now, sir, since my accident, because of this great black patch.'

The young man put his hand to his right eye, which was covered with a huge black patch. Ben asked what accident he meant; and the lad told him that, but a few weeks ago, he had lost the sight of his eye by the stroke of a stone, which reached him as he was passing under the rocks at Clifton, unluckily when the workmen were blasting.

'I don't mind so much for myself, sir,' said the lad; 'but I can't work so well now, as I used to do before my accident, for my old mother, who has had a stroke of the palsy; and I've a many little brothers and sisters not well able yet to get their own livelihood, though they be as willing as willing can be.'

'Where does your mother live?' said Mr. Gresham.

'Hard by, sir, just close to the church here. It was her that always had the showing of it to strangers, till she lost the use of her poor limbs.'

'Shall we, may we, uncle, go that way? This is the house, is it not?' said Ben, when they went out of the cathedral.

They went into the house. It was rather a hovel than a house; but, poor as it was, it was as neat as misery could make it. The old woman was sitting up in her wretched bed, winding worsted; four meagre, ill-clothed, pale children were all busy, some of them sticking pins in paper for the pin-maker, and others sorting rags for the paper-maker.[Pg 222]

'What a horrid place it is!' said Hal, sighing; 'I did not know there were such shocking places in the world. I've often seen terrible-looking, tumble-down places, as we drove through the town in mother's carriage; but then I did not know who lived in them, and I never saw the inside of any of them. It is very dreadful, indeed, to think that people are forced to live in this way. I wish mother would send me some more pocket-money, that I might do something for them. I had half a crown; but,' continued he, feeling in his pockets, 'I'm afraid I spent the last shilling of it this morning upon those cakes that made me sick. I wish I had my shilling now; I'd give it to these poor people.'

Ben, though he was all this time silent, was as sorry as his talkative cousin for all these poor people. But there was some difference between the sorrow of these two boys.

Hal, after he was again seated in the hackney-coach, and had rattled through the busy streets of Bristol for a few minutes, quite forgot the spectacle of misery which he had seen, and the gay shops in Wine Street and the idea of his green and white uniform wholly occupied his imagination.

'Now for our uniforms!' cried he, as he jumped eagerly out of the coach, when his uncle stopped at the woollen-draper's door.

'Uncle,' said Ben, stopping Mr. Gresham before he got out of the carriage, 'I don't think a uniform is at all necessary for me. I'm very much obliged to you, but I would rather not have one. I have a very good coat, and I think it would be waste.'

'Well, let me get out of the carriage, and we will see about it,' said Mr. Gresham. 'Perhaps the sight of the beautiful green and white cloth, and the epaulette—have[Pg 223] you ever considered the epaulettes?—may tempt you to change your mind.'

'Oh, no,' said Ben, laughing; 'I shall not change my mind.'

The green cloth and the white cloth and the epaulettes were produced, to Hal's infinite satisfaction. His uncle took up a pen, and calculated for a few minutes. Then showing the back of the letter upon which he was writing to his nephews:

'Cast up these sums, boys,' said he, 'and tell me whether I am right.'

'Ben, do you do it,' said Hal, a little embarrassed; 'I am not quick at figures.'

Ben was, and he went over his uncle's calculation very expeditiously.

'It is right, is it?' said Mr. Gresham.

'Yes, sir, quite right.'

'Then, by this calculation I find I could, for less than half the money your uniforms would cost, purchase for each of you boys a warm greatcoat, which you will want, I have a notion, this winter upon the downs.'

'Oh, sir,' said Hal with an alarmed look, 'but it is not winter yet; it is not cold weather yet. We shan't want greatcoats yet.'

'Don't you remember how cold we were, Hal, the day before yesterday, in that sharp wind, when we were flying our kite upon the downs? and winter will come, though it is not come yet. I am sure I should like to have a good warm greatcoat very much.'

Mr. Gresham took six guineas out of his purse; and he placed three of them before Hal and three before Ben.

'Young gentlemen,' said he, 'I believe your uniforms would come to about three guineas apiece. Now I will[Pg 224] lay out this money for you just as you please. Hal, what say you?'

'Why, sir,' said Hal, 'a greatcoat is a good thing, to be sure; and then, after the greatcoat, as you said it would only cost half as much as the uniform, there would be some money to spare, would not there?'

'Yes, my dear, about five-and-twenty shillings.'

'Five-and-twenty shillings? I could buy and do a great many things, to be sure, with five-and-twenty shillings; but then, the thing is, I must go without the uniform if I have the greatcoat.'

'Certainly,' said his uncle.

'Ah!' said Hal, sighing, as he looked at the epaulette, 'uncle, if you would not be displeased if I choose the uniform——'

'I shall not be displeased at your choosing whatever you like best,' said Mr. Gresham.

'Well, then, thank you, sir,' said Hal, 'I think I had better have the uniform, because, if I have not the uniform now directly, it will be of no use to me, as the archery meeting is the week after next, you know; and as to the greatcoat, perhaps between this time and the very cold weather, which perhaps won't be till Christmas, father will buy a greatcoat for me; and I'll ask mother to give me some pocket-money to give away, and she will, perhaps.'

To all this conclusive, conditional reasoning, which depended upon the word perhaps, three times repeated, Mr. Gresham made no reply; but he immediately bought the uniform for Hal, and desired that it should be sent to Lady Diana Sweepstakes' sons' tailor to be made up. The measure of Hal's happiness was now complete.

'And how am I to lay out the three guineas for you,[Pg 225] Ben?' said Mr. Gresham. 'Speak; what do you wish for first?'

'A greatcoat, uncle, if you please.'

Mr. Gresham bought the coat, and after it was paid for five-and-twenty shillings of Ben's three guineas remained.

'What next, my boy?' said his uncle.

'Arrows, uncle, if you please—three arrows.'

'My dear, I promised you a bow and arrows.'

'No, uncle, you only said a bow.'

'Well, I meant a bow and arrows. I'm glad you are so exact, however. It is better to claim less than more than what is promised. The three arrows you shall have. But go on. How shall I dispose of these five-and-twenty shillings for you?'

'In clothes, if you will be so good, uncle, for that poor boy who has the great black patch on his eye.'

'I always believed,' said Mr. Gresham, shaking hands with Ben, 'that economy and generosity were the best friends, instead of being enemies, as some silly, extravagant people would have us think them. Choose the poor, blind boy's coat, my dear nephew, and pay for it. There's no occasion for my praising you about the matter. Your best reward is in your own mind, child; and you want no other, or I'm mistaken. Now jump into the coach, boys, and let's be off. We shall be late, I'm afraid,' continued he, as the coach drove on; 'but I must let you stop, Ben, with your goods, at the poor boy's door.'

When they came to the house, Mr. Gresham opened the coach door, and Ben jumped out with his parcel under his arm.

'Stay, stay! you must take me with you,' said his pleased uncle; 'I like to see people made happy as well as you do.'[Pg 226]

'And so do I, too,' said Hal. 'Let me come with you. I almost wish my uniform was not gone to the tailor's, so I do.' And when he saw the look of delight and gratitude with which the poor boy received the clothes which Ben gave him, and when he heard the mother and children thank him, Hal sighed, and said: 'Well, I hope mother will give me some more pocket-money soon.'

Upon his return home, however, the sight of the famous bow and arrow, which Lady Diana Sweepstakes had sent him, recalled to his imagination all the joys of his green-and-white uniform, and he no longer wished that it had not been sent to the tailor's.

'But I don't understand, Cousin Hal,' said little Patty, 'why you call this bow a famous bow. You say famous very often, and I don't know exactly what it means—a famous uniform, famous doings. I remember you said there are to be famous doings, the first of September, upon the Downs. What does famous mean?'

'Oh, why famous means—now, don't you know what famous means? It means—it is a word that people say—it is the fashion to say it—it means—it means famous.'

Patty laughed, and said:

'This does not explain it to me.'

'No,' said Hal, 'nor can it be explained. If you don't understand it, that's not my fault. Everybody but little children, I suppose, understands it; but there's no explaining those sort of words, if you don't take them at once. There's to be famous doings upon the Downs, the first of September—that is grand, fine. In short, what does it signify talking any longer, Patty, about the matter? Give me my bow, for I must go out upon the Downs and practise.'

Ben accompanied him with the bow and the three arrows which his uncle had now given to him, and every[Pg 227] day these two boys went out upon the Downs and practised shooting with indefatigable perseverance. Where equal pains are taken, success is usually found to be pretty nearly equal. Our two archers, by constant practice, became expert marksmen; and before the day of trial they were so exactly matched in point of dexterity that it was scarcely possible to decide which was superior.

The long-expected first of September at length arrived. 'What sort of a day is it?' was the first question that was asked by Hal and Ben the moment that they awakened. The sun shone bright, but there was a sharp and high wind.

'Ha!' said Ben, 'I shall be glad of my good greatcoat to-day, for I've a notion it will be rather cold upon the Downs, especially when we are standing still, as we must, whilst all the people are shooting.'

'Oh, never mind. I don't think I shall feel it cold at all,' said Hal, as he dressed himself in his new green-and-white uniform; and he viewed himself with much complacency. 'Good-morning to you, uncle. How do you do?' said he, in a voice of exultation, when he entered the breakfast-room.

'How do you do?' seemed rather to mean, 'How do you like me in my uniform?' and his uncle's cool, 'Very well, I thank you, Hal,' disappointed him, as it seemed only to say, 'Your uniform makes no difference in my opinion of you.'

Even little Patty went on eating her breakfast much as usual, and talked of the pleasure of walking with her father to the Downs, and of all the little things which interested her, so that Hal's epaulettes were not the principal object in anyone's imagination but his own.

'Father,' said Patty, 'as we go up the hill where there is so much red mud I must take care to pick my way[Pg 228] nicely, and I must hold up my frock, as you desired me, and perhaps you will be so good, if I am not troublesome, to lift me over the very bad place where are no stepping-stones. My ankle is entirely well, and I'm glad of that, or else I should not be able to walk so far as the Downs. How good you were to me, Ben, when I was in pain the day I sprained my ankle! You played at jack straws and at cat's-cradle with me. Oh, that puts me in mind! Here are your gloves which I asked you that night to let me mend. I've been a great while about them, but are not they very neatly mended, father? Look at the sewing.'

'I am not a very good judge of sewing, my dear little girl,' said Mr. Gresham, examining the work with a close and scrupulous eye; 'but, in my opinion, here is one stitch that is rather too long. The white teeth are not quite even.'

'Oh, father, I'll take out that long tooth in a minute,' said Patty, laughing. 'I did not think that you would observe it so soon.'

'I would not have you trust to my blindness,' said her father, stroking her head fondly; 'I observe everything. I observe, for instance, that you are a grateful little girl, and that you are glad to be of use to those who have been kind to you, and for this I forgive you the long stitch.'

'But it's out—it's out, father,' said Patty; 'and the next time your gloves want mending, Ben, I'll mend them better.'

'They are very nice, I think,' said Ben, drawing them on, 'and I am much obliged to you. I was just wishing I had a pair of gloves to keep my fingers warm to-day, for I never can shoot well when my hands are benumbed. Look, Hal; you know how ragged these gloves were.[Pg 229] You said they were good for nothing but to throw away. Now look, there's not a hole in them,' said he, spreading his fingers.

'Now, is it not very extraordinary,' said Hal to himself, 'that they should go on so long talking about an old pair of gloves, without saying scarcely a word about my new uniform? Well, the young Sweepstakes and Lady Diana will talk enough about it, that's one comfort. Is not it time to think of setting out, sir?' said Hal to his uncle. 'The company, you know, are to meet at the Ostrich at twelve, and the race to begin at one, and Lady Diana's horses, I know, were ordered to be at the door at ten.'

Mr. Stephen, the butler, here interrupted the hurrying young gentleman in his calculations.

'There's a poor lad, sir, below, with a great black patch on his right eye, who is come from Bristol, and wants to speak a word with the young gentlemen, if you please. I told him they were just going out with you, but he says he won't detain them more than half a minute.'

'Show him up—show him up,' said Mr. Gresham.

'But I suppose,' said Hal, with a sigh, 'that Stephen mistook when he said the young gentlemen. He only wants to see Ben, I dare say. I'm sure he has no reason to want to see me. Here he comes. Oh, Ben, he is dressed in the new coat you gave him,' whispered Hal, who was really a good-natured boy, though extravagant. 'How much better he looks than he did in the ragged coat! Ah, he looked at you first, Ben, and well he may!'

The boy bowed, without any cringing civility, but with an open, decent freedom in his manner, which expressed that he had been obliged, but that he knew his young[Pg 230] benefactor was not thinking of the obligation. He made as little distinction as possible between his bows to the two cousins.

'As I was sent with a message by the clerk of our parish to Redland Chapel out on the Downs to-day, sir,' said he to Mr. Gresham, 'knowing your house lay in my way, my mother, sir, bid me call, and make bold to offer the young gentlemen two little worsted balls that she has worked for them,' continued the lad, pulling out of his pocket two worsted balls worked in green and orange-coloured stripes. 'They are but poor things, sir, she bid me say, to look at; but, considering she has but one hand to work with, and that her left hand, you'll not despise 'em, we hopes.' He held the balls to Ben and Hal. 'They are both alike, gentlemen,' said he. 'If you'll be pleased to take 'em. They're better than they look, for they bound higher than your head. I cut the cork round for the inside myself, which was all I could do.'

'They are nice balls, indeed. We are much obliged to you,' said the boys as they received them, and they proved them immediately.

The balls struck the floor with a delightful sound, and rebounded higher than Mr. Gresham's head. Little Patty clapped her hands joyfully. But now a thundering double rap at the door was heard.

'The Master Sweepstakes, sir,' said Stephen, 'are come for Master Hal. They say that all the young gentlemen who have archery uniforms are to walk together in a body, I think they say, sir; and they are to parade along the Well Walk, they desired me to say, sir, with a drum and fife, and so up the hill by Prince's Place, and all to go upon the Downs together to the place of meeting. I am not sure I'm right, sir, for both the young gentlemen spoke at once, and the wind is very high at the street[Pg 231] door, so that I could not well make out all they said, but I believe this is the sense of it.'

'Yes, yes,' said Hal eagerly, 'it's all right. I know that is just what was settled the day I dined at Lady Diana's, and Lady Diana and a great party of gentlemen are to ride——'

'Well, that is nothing to the purpose,' interrupted Mr. Gresham. 'Don't keep these Master Sweepstakes waiting. Decide. Do you choose to go with them or with us?'

'Sir—uncle—sir, you know, since all the uniforms agreed to go together——'

'Off with you, then, Mr. Uniform, if you mean to go,' said Mr. Gresham.

Hal ran downstairs in such a hurry that he forgot his bow and arrows. Ben discovered this when he went to fetch his own, and the lad from Bristol, who had been ordered by Mr. Gresham to eat his breakfast before he proceeded to Redland Chapel, heard Ben talking about his cousin's bow and arrows.

'I know,' said Ben, 'he will be sorry not to have his bow with him, because here are the green knots tied to it to match his cockade; and he said that the boys were all to carry their bows as part of the show.'

'If you'll give me leave, sir,' said the poor Bristol lad, 'I shall have plenty of time, and I'll run down to the Well Walk after the young gentleman, and take him his bow and arrows.'

'Will you? I shall be much obliged to you,' said Ben; and away went the boy with the bow that was ornamented with green ribands.

The public walk leading to the Wells was full of company. The windows of all the houses in St. Vincent's Parade were crowded with well-dressed ladies, who were[Pg 232] looking out in expectation of the archery procession. Parties of gentlemen and ladies, and a motley crowd of spectators, were seen moving backwards and forwards under the rocks on the opposite side of the water. A barge, with coloured streamers flying, was waiting to take up a party who were going upon the water. The bargemen rested upon their oars, and gazed with broad faces of curiosity upon the busy scene that appeared upon the public walk.

The archers and archeresses were now drawn up on the flags under the semicircular piazza just before Mrs. Yearsley's library. A little band of children, who had been mustered by Lady Diana Sweepstakes' spirited exertions, closed the procession. They were now all in readiness. The drummer only waited for her ladyship's signal, and the archers' corps only waited for her ladyship's word of command to march.

'Where are your bow and arrows, my little man?' said her ladyship to Hal, as she reviewed her Lilliputian regiment. 'You can't march, man, without your arms.'

Hal had despatched a messenger for his forgotten bow, but the messenger returned not. He looked from side to side in great distress.

'Oh, there's my bow coming, I declare!' cried he. 'Look, I see the bow and the ribands. Look now, between the trees, Charles Sweepstakes, on the Hotwell Walk—it is coming!'

'But you've kept us all waiting a confounded time!' said his impatient friend.

'It is that good-natured poor fellow from Bristol, I protest, that has brought it me. I'm sure I don't deserve it from him,' said Hal to himself, when he saw the lad with the black patch on his eye running, quite out of breath, towards him with his bow and arrows.[Pg 233]

'Fall back, my good friend—fall back,' said the military lady, as soon as he had delivered the bow to Hal; 'I mean, stand out of the way, for your great patch cuts no figure amongst us. Don't follow so close, now, as if you belonged to us, pray.'

The poor boy had no ambition to partake the triumph; he fell back as soon as he understand the meaning of the lady's words. The drum beat, the fife played, the archers marched, the spectators admired. Hal stepped proudly, and felt as if the eyes of the whole universe were upon his epaulettes, or upon the facings of his uniform; whilst all the time he was considered only as part of a show.

The walk appeared much shorter than usual, and he was extremely sorry that Lady Diana, when they were half-way up the hill leading to Prince's Place, mounted her horse because the road was dirty, and all the gentlemen and ladies who accompanied her followed her example.

'We can leave the children to walk, you know,' said she to the gentleman who helped her to mount her horse. 'I must call to some of them, though, and leave orders where they are to join.'

She beckoned, and Hal, who was foremost, and proud to show his alacrity, ran on to receive her ladyship's orders. Now, as we have before observed, it was a sharp and windy day; and though Lady Diana Sweepstakes was actually speaking to him, and looking at him, he could not prevent his nose from wanting to be blowed. He pulled out his handkerchief, and out rolled the new ball which had been given to him just before he left home, and which, according to his usual careless habits, he had stuffed into his pocket in his hurry.

'Oh, my new ball!' cried he, as he ran after it.[Pg 234]

As he stopped to pick it up, he let go his hat, which he had hitherto held on with anxious care; for the hat, though it had a fine green and white cockade, had no band or string round it. The string, as we may recollect, our wasteful hero had used in spinning his top. The hat was too large for his head without this band; a sudden gust of wind blew it off. Lady Diana's horse started and reared. She was a famous horsewoman, and sat him to the admiration of all beholders; but there was a puddle of red clay and water in this spot, and her ladyship's uniform habit was a sufferer by the accident.

'Careless brat!' said she; 'why can't he keep his hat upon his head?'

In the meantime, the wind blew the hat down the hill, and Hal ran after it amidst the laughter of his kind friends, the young Sweepstakes, and the rest of the little regiment. The hat was lodged at length upon a bank. Hal pursued it; he thought this bank was hard, but, alas! the moment he set his foot upon it the foot sank. He tried to draw it back; his other foot slipped, and he fell prostrate, in his green and white uniform, into the treacherous bed of red mud. His companions, who had halted upon the top of the hill, stood laughing spectators of his misfortune.

It happened that the poor boy with the black patch upon his eye, who had been ordered by Lady Diana to 'fall back,' and to 'keep at a distance,' was now coming up the hill, and the moment he saw our fallen hero he hastened to his assistance. He dragged poor Hal, who was a deplorable spectacle, out of the red mud. The obliging mistress of a lodging-house, as soon as she understood that the young gentleman was nephew to Mr. Gresham, to whom she had formerly let her house, received Hal, covered as he was with dirt.[Pg 235]

The poor Bristol lad hastened to Mr. Gresham's for clean stockings and shoes for Hal. He was willing to give up his uniform. It was rubbed and rubbed, and a spot here and there was washed out; and he kept continually repeating: 'When it's dry it will all brush off; when it's dry it will all brush off, won't it?' But soon the fear of being too late at the archery meeting began to balance the dread of appearing in his stained habiliments; and now he as anxiously repeated, whilst the woman held the wet coat to the fire: 'Oh, I shall be too late! indeed, I shall be too late! Make haste; it will never dry! Hold it nearer—nearer to the fire. I shall lose my turn to shoot. Oh, give me the coat! I don't mind how it is, if I can but get it on.'

Holding it nearer and nearer to the fire dried it quickly, to be sure; but it shrank it also, so that it was no easy matter to get the coat on again. However, Hal, who did not see the red splashes which, in spite of all these operations, were too visible upon his shoulders and upon the skirts of his white coat behind, was pretty well satisfied to observe that there was not one spot upon the facings.

'Nobody,' said he, 'will take notice of my coat behind, I dare say. I think it looks as smart almost as ever!' and under this persuasion our young archer resumed his bow—his bow with green ribands now no more—and he pursued his way to the Downs.

All his companions were far out of sight.

'I suppose,' said he to his friend with the black patch—'I suppose my uncle and Ben had left home before you went for the shoes and stockings for me?'

'Oh, yes, sir; the butler said they had been gone to the Downs the matter of a good half-hour or more.'[Pg 236]

Hal trudged on as fast as he possibly could. When he got upon the Downs, he saw numbers of carriages and crowds of people all going towards the place of meeting at the Ostrich. He pressed forwards. He was at first so much afraid of being late that he did not take notice of the mirth his motley appearance excited in all beholders. At length he reached the appointed spot. There was a great crowd of people. In the midst he heard Lady Diana's loud voice betting upon some one who was just going to shoot at the mark.

'So then the shooting is begun, is it?' said Hal. 'Oh, let me in! pray let me in to the circle! I'm one of the archers—I am indeed; don't you see my green and white uniform?'

'Your red and white uniform, you mean,' said the man to whom he addressed himself; and the people, as they opened a passage for him, could not refrain laughing at the mixture of dirt and finery which it exhibited. In vain, when he got into the midst of the formidable circle, he looked to his friends, the young Sweepstakes, for their countenance and support. They were amongst the most unmerciful of the laughers. Lady Diana also seemed more to enjoy than to pity his confusion.

'Why could you not keep your hat upon your head, man?' said she in her masculine tone. 'You have been almost the ruin of my poor uniform habit; but I've escaped rather better than you have. Don't stand there, in the middle of the circle, or you'll have an arrow in your eyes just now, I've a notion.'

Hal looked round in search of better friends.

'Oh, where's my uncle? Where's Ben?' said he.

He was in such confusion that, amongst the number of faces, he could scarcely distinguish one from another; but he felt somebody at this moment pull his elbow, and,[Pg 237] to his great relief, he heard the friendly voice and saw the good-natured face of his cousin Ben.

'Come back—come behind these people,' said Ben, 'and put on my greatcoat; here it is for you.'

Right glad was Hal to cover his disgraced uniform with the rough greatcoat which he had formerly despised. He pulled the stained, drooping cockade out of his unfortunate hat; and he was now sufficiently recovered from his vexation to give an intelligible account of his accident to his uncle and Patty, who anxiously inquired what had detained him so long, and what had been the matter. In the midst of the history of his disaster, he was just proving to Patty that his taking the hatband to spin his top had nothing to do with his misfortune, and he was at the same time endeavouring to refute his uncle's opinion that the waste of the whipcord that tied the parcel was the original cause of all his evils, when he was summoned to try his skill with his famous bow.

'My hands are benumbed; I can scarcely feel,' said he, rubbing them and blowing upon the ends of his fingers.

'Come, come,' cried young Sweepstakes, 'I'm within one inch of the mark; who'll go nearer? I shall like to see. Shoot away, Hal! But first understand our laws; we settled them before you came upon the green. You are to have three shots with your own bow and your own arrows; and nobody's to borrow or lend under pretence of other's bows being better or worse, or under under any pretence. Do you hear, Hal?'

This young gentleman had good reasons for being so strict in these laws, as he had observed that none of his companions had such an excellent bow as he had provided for himself. Some of the boys had forgotten to bring more than one arrow with them, and by his cunning[Pg 238] regulation that each person should shoot with his own arrows, many had lost one or two of their shots.

'You are a lucky fellow; you have your three arrows,' said young Sweepstakes. 'Come, we can't wait whilst you rub your fingers, man; shoot away.'

Hal was rather surprised at the asperity with which his friend spoke. He little knew how easily acquaintance who call themselves friends can change when their interest comes in the slightest degree in competition with their friendship. Hurried by his impatient rival, and with his hands so much benumbed that he could scarcely feel how to fix the arrow in the string, he drew the bow. The arrow was within a quarter of an inch of Master Sweepstakes' mark, which was the nearest that had yet been hit. Hal seized his second arrow.

'If I have any luck——' said he.

But just as he pronounced the word luck, and as he bent his bow, the string broke in two, and the bow fell from his hands.

'There, it's all over with you!' cried Master Sweepstakes, with a triumphant laugh.

'Here's my bow for him, and welcome,' said Ben.

'No, no, sir,' said Master Sweepstakes, 'that is not fair; that's against the regulations. You may shoot with your own bow, if you choose it, or you may not, just as you think proper; but you must not lend it, sir.'

It was now Ben's turn to make his trial. His first arrow was not successful. His second was exactly as near as Hal's first.

'You have but one more,' said Master Sweepstakes; 'now for it!'[Pg 239]

'The everlasting whipcord, I declare.'—Page 241. 'The everlasting whipcord, I declare.'—Page 241.

[Pg 241]

Ben, before he ventured his last arrow, prudently examined the string of his bow; and, as he pulled it to try its strength, it cracked. Master Sweepstakes clapped his hands, with loud exultations and insulting laughter. But his laughter ceased when our provident hero calmly drew from his pocket an excellent piece of whipcord.

'The everlasting whipcord, I declare!' exclaimed Hal, when he saw that it was the very same that had tied up the parcel.

'Yes,' said Ben, as he fastened it to his bow, 'I put it into my pocket to-day on purpose, because I thought I might happen to want it.'

He drew his bow the third and last time.

'Oh, father,' cried little Patty, as his arrow hit the mark, 'it's the nearest! Is it not the nearest?'

Master Sweepstakes with anxiety examined the hit. There could be no doubt. Ben was victorious! The bow, the prize bow, was now delivered to him; and Hal, as he looked at the whipcord, exclaimed:

'How lucky this whipcord has been to you, Ben!'

'It is lucky, perhaps, you mean, that he took care of it,' said Mr. Gresham.

'Ay,' said Hal, 'very true; he might well say, "Waste not, want not." It is a good thing to have two strings to one's bow.'

[A] Vide Priestley's 'History of Vision,' chapter on coloured shadows.

[Pg 242]

The Bunch of Cherries


On the first day of May, Madame de Clinville, the widow of a Notary of Paris, conducted her daughter, fourteen years of age, to the delightful garden of the Tuileries, there to breathe the pure air of spring and the sweet perfumes from its flowers. In passing through the walks leading to the royal palace, the young lady's attention was attracted by one of the shops, supplied with the choicest and most rare fruits; among which was a bunch of cherries, arranged with so much taste, and so prettily intermixed with fresh green leaves, that she could not forbear expressing to her mother her anxious desire to have those cherries, notwithstanding she could foresee at that season they must be extravagantly dear. Madame de Clinville, who never denied her daughter anything, and who was in general very plain and moderate in her inclinations, purchased the bunch of cherries, although dear, and proceeded with her dear Emmelina—her daughter's name—to the Tuileries.

Having surveyed the beautiful walks of this truly enchanted place, they seated themselves on chairs under[Pg 243] the shade of a large chestnut tree. It was scarcely ten o'clock in the morning, the hour most agreeable for walking, and frequently the most retired, as the fashionables of Paris seldom make their appearance before three or four o'clock, and in a déshabille that bespeaks them just arisen from their beds, as if to behold the sun for the first time. As such, Madame de Clinville and her daughter met with very little company.

The only object that struck their attention was a lady with the remains of beauty, whose external appearance indicated a person of quality, accompanied by a young lady, nearly Emmelina's age, dressed in white and a small green hat ornamented with a wreath of white pearls, which shaded the most amiable countenance. They both came and seated themselves near Madame and Miss de Clinville, when the young stranger could not keep her eyes from the bunch of cherries, and remarked to the lady who was with her: 'How fresh and beautiful they are!' Anxiety was depicted in her eyes and in every action, and at length, slowly advancing towards Emmelina, with the most affable condescension, she said: 'What a delicious nosegay you have there, miss! The freshness of it can only be compared with your complexion.'

'It would be a better comparison with your own,' answered Madame de Clinville; 'for, with your pretty green hat, one might justly say: "Behold the cherry under the leaf."'

'It is surprising to me,' added the young stranger, 'that miss does not eat these fine cherries, no less gratifying to the taste than sight.'

'They are my mother's gift,' modestly answered Emmelina, 'and, being so rare, I really cannot enjoy them alone. If you, miss, will condescend to divide[Pg 244] them with me!—the happiness of sharing with others that which we possess enhances the value of its enjoyment.'

'These last words, which Emmelina pronounced in the most expressive manner, made a lively impression on the young lady.

'How can you withstand a favour said with feelings and sentiments so interesting?' demanded the handsome lady who escorted her; at whose advice, attended with a sign of approbation, the young stranger accepted the first cherry from the delightful bunch.

Emmelina presented the second to her mother, and the stranger offered the third to her charming companion; and the two young folks ate of them by turns till there remained only the leaves. They entered into conversation, when Madame de Clinville endeavoured by several judicious and direct questions to ascertain the name of the pretty green hat; but, perceiving the lady make a sign of caution to the unknown, she ceased further interrogatories, and they mutually adhered to the customary civilities, and separated with assurances of the pleasure so agreeable an interview had excited.

On returning home, Madame de Clinville and her daughter observed that a servant in red livery had followed them, who appeared to examine very minutely the number of the house in which they lived, and from that circumstance concluded the strange lady wished to learn their place of residence, notwithstanding she had taken every precaution to conceal her own, or the most distant knowledge of the young person in the green hat.

Several months having elapsed, Madame de Clinville thought no longer of the Tuileries adventure, when one morning, while at breakfast with Emmelina and Gustavus, her only son—a pupil at the Imperial Academy, seventeen years of age—the porter of the lodge entered the apartment, holding in one hand a ripe pineapple, and in the other a note, directed to Mademoiselle de Clinville, the contents as follows:[Pg 245]

The happiness of sharing with others that which we possess enhances the value of its enjoyment.—Page 244. The happiness of sharing with others that which we possess enhances the value of its enjoyment.—Page 244.

[Pg 247]

'Having been presented with two pineapples, permit me to offer you one of them, and to recall to mind your own impressive sentiment—The happiness of sharing with others that which we possess enhances the value of its enjoyment.

'The Little Green Hat.'

In vain did Madame de Clinville and her children question the porter to know who brought this note. He answered:

'It was a messenger, who, upon leaving the parcel, went away without saying a word.'

Emmelina at once decided upon sharing the pineapple with her mother and brother, which they regarded but as a return for the bunch of cherries; but were still the more perplexed from a desire to know the two strangers. In a short time the porter again entered Madame de Clinville's house with a rich china vase, in which was an orange tree of an uncommon size in full bloom, with a second letter, which was, as usual, directed to Emmelina, and contained these words:

'I received yesterday for my birthday fête, Ste Clotilde, two orange trees like the one sent you; condescend to accept of one. The happiness of sharing with others that which we possess enhances the value of its enjoyment.'

The porter informed them it was conveyed by the same person, to whom he had put several useless questions.[Pg 248]

'What!' said Emmelina, 'am I never to know who this charming Clotilde is, with the green hat?'

'Let me try,' said Gustavus; 'I will undertake to find her out. Describe her as exactly as you can.'

'She is about my size,' answered his sister, 'but a much better figure than I am. Her grace displays a prepossessing je ne sais quoi; her regular and noble features are enlivened by an air of sweetness and gaiety that attracts and at the same time interests you; fine auburn hair flows in ringlets on her lovely neck; and the whiteness of her skin adds still greater beauty to her fine large blue eyes, the vivacity and expression of which seem to penetrate to the bottom of your heart, and to guess every thought.'

'From this picture,' said Gustavus, 'I foresee that, if I discover the unknown belle, I shall be repaid for my trouble on beholding her. Rely upon my wish to serve thee, no less than the person in whom I already sensibly feel so many charms are blended to admire.'

Gustavus exerted every effort to meet with the beauty in the green hat, the description of whom was engraven on his heart no less than on his memory. He sought her at all the public walks, theatres, balls, concerts, and, in short, every private society in Paris, yet could not possibly discover the slightest or most distant trace of her.

A month had elapsed when Emmelina, on her return from taking a walk, found upon her work-table a white silk basket, ornamented with embroidery, which, she was informed by her waiting-maid, was brought by a careful person. Not doubting it came from the amiable Clotilde, she opened the basket in her mother's presence, and found it contained every species of sweetmeat accompanied by a polite note, wherein the stranger[Pg 249] mentioned having been a god-mother, and, loaded with presents, she had adopted Emmelina's maxim, which never was obliterated from her remembrance, and which she had actually worked in golden letters in front of the basket, with a bunch of cherries, ornamented with leaves, in embroidery—viz.: 'The happiness of sharing with others that which we possess enhances the value of its enjoyment.'

This tasty specimen of ingenuity created the most pleasing and grateful sensations in the breasts of the Clinville family, who, though distressed beyond measure at receiving so many anonymous gifts, by the manner in which they were offered were obliged to accept them. Emmelina and Gustavus therefore hesitated not to partake of the various and delicious confectionery with which the basket seemed entirely filled, but great was their surprise to discover underneath the sweetmeats half-a-dozen elegant fans, six dozen pairs of gloves, and, lastly, a beautiful white cashmere shawl with a broad border highly and elegantly finished.

'I cannot,' said Emmelina, 'think of wearing these rich articles without knowing from whom they come; simple cherries, offered with a truly hearty welcome, do not merit such considerable presents.'

'I commend thy discretion,' said Madame de Clinville to her; 'every instance denotes the rank and fortune of these charming strangers, and denies us the power to make them amends, as an exchange of presents can only be made with our equals; we must, therefore, take care of the handsome shawl till we can discover the person who has sent it.' Also the gloves and fans were carefully preserved in the elegant basket, and they contented themselves with doing justice to the delicacies.

Gustavus, although one of the first pupils at the[Pg 250] Imperial Academy, frequently shared them with his sister, and daily repeated, while eating them: 'Oh, generous and charming green hat, I will find thee. Who would not, even the most callous, aspire to the honour and happiness of knowing thee? Yes, yes, I will discover thee....'

But, alas, his renewed researches were as unsuccessful as the former. In vain did he pursue every green hat he perceived at a distance in Paris, but could not find that similarity of grace, youth, beauty, and expression of which his sister had drawn so faithful and prepossessing a picture.

Emmelina, being no less desirous than her brother to gain a knowledge of the person with whom she had divided her cherries, prepared a note for the porter to deliver, at the same time giving him strict orders to send it by the next person that came, which note was directed To the charming Green Hat ... as follows:

'If the sensibility of your heart correspond with the charms of your countenance, you must approve of the resolution I have taken not to make use of all the presents with which you have favoured me. I therefore assure you they are placed under my mother's care, who suffers no less than myself from the cruel secrecy in which you persist.

'Emmelina de Clinville.'

The porter, faithful to the execution of his orders, was not long the holder of the note. Two days after the same messenger presented himself at the lodge, and was preparing to go away as usual, after having left the parcel, when the porter, formerly a soldier, and still full of vigour, seized him by the collar, and called loudly for[Pg 251] Gustavus, who, followed by his mother and sister, quickly descended to know from whence he came, but neither entreaties, threats, nor the promise of reward could prevail with this good man, who merely said the parcel was delivered to him by an old servant in red livery, who had given him a crown for his trouble, and being well recompensed he would not betray the trust reposed in him.

'Since you are so discreet,' said Emmelina, 'I am sure you must be obliging. Do me the favour to deliver this note to the same servant from whom you received the parcel; that will not bring your discretion, for which I commend you, into question, and I shall be obliged by your compliance.'

'If you only require me to give the note,' answered the porter, 'I will do it willingly, and you may rely on my punctuality. You need not follow me, for you will lose both your time and trouble....' At these words he speedily departed with Emmelina's note.

Anxious to know the contents of the newly-arrived parcel, which appeared much heavier than any hitherto, Gustavus was himself eager to open the envelope, and found a handsome uniform for an artillery officer, with an elegant sabre, to which was attached a green morocco portfolio that contained this writing:

'My relation, the Minister at War, according to annual custom, on my birthday presents me with an officer's commission, for those of my family or friends who merit it. I beg you to accept it for your brother as a due reward for his success at the Imperial Academy. If, as I doubt not, he should signalize himself in his military career, and become a hero, all I request of him is to follow your maxim: The happiness of sharing with others that which we possess enhances the value of its enjoyment.'[Pg 252]

To the above was added a lieutenant's commission of artillery, with orders to join the appointed regiment in eight days. Gustavus conceived it a dream, for that which he so ardently desired and least expected to be provided by the generosity of a beautiful young stranger, whose delicacy redoubled the value of the gift. 'And,' said he, 'shall I take my departure without knowing, seeing, or thanking her?'

'There is a mode,' exclaimed Madame de Clinville, with her eyes beaming with recollection and delight. 'We must introduce ourselves this day to the Minister at War, and request an interview; we may then learn from him to whom we are indebted for this happy event....'

'You are right,' replied Gustavus; 'let us go to him directly.' He dressed himself in the regimentals, which to his great surprise exactly fitted him. Emmelina and her mother dressed themselves elegantly, and in an hour's time all three arrived at the Minister's house, who received them with most polite affability, and, conceiving they were acquainted with their young benefactress, said: 'In acceding to the anxious solicitations of Miss de St. Leon I am only doing justice to her deserving protégé as I can trace in M. de Clinville's countenance a goodness that will render him worthy all the interest I can devote to him, and which I promise you he shall ever experience.'

'Miss de St. Leon! Miss de St. Leon!' repeated Gustavus.

'Most likely,' added Madame de Clinville, 'she is the daughter of the general who, by his great exploits, has attained one of the highest posts under Government, and is one of the Emperor's greatest favourites. We must learn where he lives, and go to him directly.'

'Let us,' said Emmelina, 'enter the first library and[Pg 253] examine the Court calendar, and we shall find this so much desired address.' Upon which they discovered the general resided at the village St. Honoré, near the Elysée, and thither speedily repaired.

Emmelina desired the porter to announce that M. de Clinville, an artillery officer, and his family requested a moment's interview with Miss de St. Leon. The porter shortly returned with a footman, who had orders to introduce the ladies and the newly-appointed officer to the great hall where Miss de St. Leon delayed not to attend them.

She was in the same dress and green hat, ornamented with white pearls, which she wore on meeting her in the Tuileries, accompanied by the same lady, whom she called her aunt. She advanced precipitately to Emmelina, and, embracing her, said: 'Forgive me for having deceived you with secrecy, and wounded your delicacy.' She then added, with sensible emotion: 'I wished gradually to give you a proof of those sentiments you inspired me with on our first meeting, and convinced, by the inquiries I made, that your greatest ambition was to obtain a commission for your brother, and from the high character given of him by the head masters of the academy my aunt and I have (in the absence of my father with the army), without difficulty obtained him that which will add to the country's service another brave soldier, and to your worthy family the completion of your wishes, and, lastly, to myself the happiness of proving to you the high value I set on your delicious bunch of cherries which you obliged me to partake of, and how strong an impression the sentiment which accompanied them has made upon my remembrance.' To which at first Emmelina made no reply, but affectionately embraced and saluted her.[Pg 254]

Madame de Clinville could not forbear requesting permission for the same indulgence.

Gustavus, with all the vivacity of a young French officer, and eager to realize the good opinion formed of him, exclaimed with an heroic accent: 'How long the time seems ere I shall take my station under the Imperial Eagles. If I do not in a year merit the cross of honour His Majesty shall be welcome to erase me from the list of the brave....' As soon as he found his amiable benefactress had carried her goodness so far as to find out his tailor, to whom she gave the order for his first regimentals, his surprise ceased that they fitted so well.

'To complete this day of joy,' said Miss de St. Leon's aunt, 'I hope these ladies and the young lieutenant will dine with us, so that we may enjoy as long as possible the felicities they have been the means of promoting.'

Madame de Clinville readily accepted the invitation, but requested leave to return home, when herself and children departed, and at the dinner-hour made their appearance dressed in the clothes they wore at the Tuileries meeting, but in addition to Emmelina's simple dress was displayed the rich cashmere shawl, one of the fans, and a pair of gloves received from the green hat, who sensibly felt this mark of attention.

They seated themselves at table, when Miss de St. Leon discovered, on unfolding her napkin, a small case containing a ring set with three brilliants. Underneath the mounting was engraved: A token of lasting gratitude....

She immediately put the ring on her finger, and declared she never would part from it. In Emmelina she found a constant and sincere friend, in Gustavus an officer of[Pg 255] exalted rank by his important services to his country. Miss de St. Leon and Emmelina, in their frequent interviews and the participations of their sweetest endearments, repeated together: 'The happiness of sharing with others that which we possess enhances the value of its enjoyment.'

[Pg 256]

The Fugitive


On the evening of the day which succeeded that of the visit to the Fairy Island the baronet and his family were seated in the drawing-room, and Lady Clairmont was arranging with her husband their plans for the reception of their uncle, Mr. Geoffrey Clairmont, from whom a letter had been just received intimating his intention of being with them the next day to a late dinner, but requesting they would not make any material addition to their table, as a white soup, a turbot, a little venison, and a pheasant would be all he should require, or if his fancy stood for any bonnes bouches, his factotum, Monsieur Melange (his valet, cook, and occasional secretary) would bring materials for preparing them.

The party were amusing themselves with admiring the modest simplicity of the old gentleman's bill of fare when Denton, the house-steward, ran in, and, staring wildly around, exclaimed: 'Thank goodness everybody is here!' then, darting forward to an open door which looked upon the lawn, he shut and locked it, and slammed down the sashes with the greatest precipitation, then,[Pg 257] turning to Sir William, said: 'Pray, sir, please to come out of the room with me this moment.'

The baronet followed him outside the door, while the careful servant, still holding it ajar, added: 'Pray, ladies and gentlemen, don't stir out of this room, pray don't.' He then shut and locked the door.

'Why, what ails you, Denton; what is all this about?' said the baronet. 'One would think you had been bit by a mad dog.'

'Not exactly that, Sir William,' replied the man, quivering in every limb, 'but I fear we may all be bit, before an hour is over our heads, by something quite as bad.'

He then informed his master that the keeper of a caravan of wild beasts had just come to the castle, and stated that in going through the nearest market-town his vehicle had been upset, and the damage which ensued had given an opportunity for one of his most valuable animals, a Bengal tiger, to make its escape, that he and two of the keepers had tracked it as far as the Warren on the Clairmont estate, and he had come to beg assistance from the castle, while the other two stood armed on each side a gap in the Warren where they thought it was hid, and from whence, should it attempt to issue, they hoped, by help from Sir William, to intercept its free egress.

'They want ropes and blankets and coverlets from the servants' beds,' added Denton, 'to spread over the gap, which things they mean to fasten down on each side, and then lure the beast to the entrance by the scent of his usual food, when he will try to force himself through the coverings; then they can lay hold of his smothered head without fear, and easily slipping a noose round his neck convey him in this manner back to his old quarters.'[Pg 258]

'By all means let them have what is necessary,' said the baronet, 'and tell the grooms to keep the stable-door locked, and get in the horses. It is not likely that the creature will come near the house till he is starved into a visitation, but let the gamekeeper and his men be ready, and muster what arms you have.'

'To be sure, Sir William, it shall be done,' said the frightened steward, as he walked cautiously across the hall, looking on every side as he advanced.

'Well,' said the baronet laughing, as he returned to the drawing-room, 'two such gourmands in one four-and-twenty hours is one too many sure enough. Here's a tiger come amongst us to-day by way of avant-courier to Uncle Geoffrey.'

'A tiger!' cried both the boys. 'Oh, where, father? But you are joking?'

'No; 'tis a plain fact, according to Denton,' said Sir William, whose information he then gave, and added: 'Though I have no apprehension of the animal coming here I must beg you all to move upstairs, and keep in the house till it is secured.'

'Secured; how can that be? it must be shot,' said William, adding: 'Pray don't let Fred and me go upstairs with the misses, father. We can load a gun, and take aim now as well as we shall do at five-and-twenty.'

'Pray let us go, father,' said Frederick; 'it would be such a thing for me to say in India that I had shot a tiger in England.'

'But,' said Mr. Stanhope, 'do you not think it would be better if the poor creature's life could be preserved? Its death must be a great loss to its owner, and life is, no doubt, happiness to the creature itself. Why terminate the existence of any animal by which we are not annoyed,[Pg 259] and which is not necessary to our subsistence? We certainly have no right to do so.'

'Then you would not even kill a moth, Mr. Stanhope?' said Julia.

'No, that he would not, I dare say,' said Agnes; 'dear little silver-wings. Mr. Stanhope knows that clippings of Russia leather and cedar-shavings will keep the little creatures off our shawls and muffs, and why should not the pretty things live and be happy?'

'Are you the patroness of the spiders too, little girl?' said William.

'I would put one out of my room,' said Agnes, 'if I found one there, but certainly I would not kill it, for you know it does me no harm, and surely it was intended that spiders should have some place to live in, or they would not have been made.'

'You are a very considerate miss,' said William; 'but, at all events, we cannot afford any free place for tigers in this country. So come, dear father, let us have guns, and go with you and Mr. Stanhope, for I am sure neither of you intend to stay cooped up here. I promise to be under orders, and not move an inch in any way without permission.'

'And I make the same promise,' said Frederick eagerly.

'And I can answer for both,' said Mr. Stanhope warmly, 'that neither of those young gentlemen will fail to keep his word.'

'Thank you, dear sir,' said the youths in the same breath.

'Mother, grandmother, you don't wish us to stay here,' said William; 'you would not like to see us milk-sops?'

'Certainly not, my dears,' said the dowager. 'While you move under your father's directions your mother[Pg 260] and I can have nothing to fear. Courage is a virtue indispensible in a man and a gentleman, and like other virtues is confirmed by exercise. You need not walk into the tiger's mouth, you know; but if you find him likely to do mischief, and you can prevent it, I hope you will retain your self-possession so as to make sure aim, and pull your trigger firmly.'

'Never fear, grandmother; never fear, dear mother,' cried the youths.

'Good-bye, Bill; good-bye, Freddy,' said all the sisters.

'Now, father, shall we go?'

'What say you, Mr. Stanhope,' asked the baronet, 'will you make a sortie with us.'

'Most willingly,' replied the tutor. 'I have a brace of trusty pistols in prime condition, and with a gun shall feel well equipped.'

'Well, then, ladies, adieu for the present,' said Sir William; 'you had better go up to the observatory; you may see all our movements from thence.'

'An excellent thought,' replied Lady Clairmont; and away went the female party to their high station, while the gentlemen, well furnished with arms, walked out into the park, looking with keen inquiring eyes on every side as they went on. No enemy, however, appeared, but in about ten minutes, having taken the direction of the western lodge, they were surprised by the sight of a coach-and-four coming rapidly along.

'By Jove, 'tis the Clairmont livery! 'tis Uncle Geoffrey, as I am alive!' exclaimed Sir William. 'What day of the month is this?'

'The seventeenth,' said Frederick.

'His letter says he shall be here on the eighteenth,' rejoined the baronet. 'Well, he must put up with what[Pg 261] he can get for his dinner, and thank his own want of punctuality for his bad fare.'

'Oh, poor Sheldon, what a fuss he will be in,' said Frederick laughing. 'The turbot is taking his pastime in the waters, and the pheasant in the woods. Unfortunate Uncle Geff!'

At this moment a tremendous shout or rather yell was heard in the direction of the Warren on the left, and at a considerable distance, but it grew louder and approached nearer every moment.

'There is certainly something in the wind now,' said the gentlemen. Every eye was upon the alert, and the carriage within two hundred paces of our party.

'Ha, there he goes!' said William.

'There he goes!' cried Frederick, as the tiger darted across the park towards the carriage. 'He'll make at the horses. See! see! he has actually fastened upon poor Culina! No, 'tis Apicius, uncle's grand favourite. Look at the horses, how they rear and tear away!'

'Now,' said Sir William, 'a little in this direction to be out of his side-sight. Remember we must act in concert, and all fire at his head at the same moment. A single bullet would but interrupt his attentions to poor Apicius, and call them to ourselves, but two brace must surely disable him.'

'Oh, father,' cried William, 'how terrified the horses are! See how they plunge and rear, first on one side the road, then on the other; they will upset poor Uncle Geff to a certainty. Look, the footman leaps off like lightning, and now the coachman follows him. See, they are climbing up into the old oak, and leave the horses to their fate, the cowards! The poor beasts are perfectly mad. Now they have done it. The fore-wheel has struck against the curbstone and flown off, and now the hind-wheel on the[Pg 262] same side is off too, and down goes the carriage. I'm sure I heard poor Uncle Geff cry out, but the tiger still keeps hold on the horse's shoulders.'

'Now there's a moment's pause,' said the baronet. 'Fire at his head!' They did so, and their aim was so just that the creature fell instantly, but his efforts to rise, in which he nearly succeeded two or three times, filled the crowd which was now assembling with dismay.

'Mr. Stanhope will lend you his pistols, boys,' said Sir William. 'Go nearer, if you like, and share the honour of giving the beast his quietus.'

The youths took the arms exultingly, and advancing boldly towards the animal, who still writhed in fearful strength, they fired again at his head, and he then sunk to rise no more. It seems he had actually taken refuge in a hollow of the Warren, but the keepers had secured the entrance so imperfectly that he easily effected his escape.

A loud cry of 'Victory! victory!' was uttered by the surrounding multitude, and the words 'Brave boys!' 'True Clairmonts!' were many times repeated by the crowd.

'And now let us see after poor Mr. Clairmont,' said Sir William, going up to the carriage, which lay on its side. The two stout gentlemen who had clambered up into the oak, seeing the enemy breathless, had summoned courage to descend, and were trying to pacify and unharness the trembling horses.

'How are you, my dear sir? how are you, Mr. Clairmont?' said the baronet, speaking aloud, not being able to see into the carriage.

'What am I, you mean, nephew,' roared out the old gentleman. 'Why I am a perfect mass of blanc-mange, bruised to a universal pulp.'[Pg 263]

'There he goes!'—Page 261. 'There he goes!'—Page 261.

[Pg 265]

'I hope not,' replied the baronet; 'no bones broken, I trust?'

'Bones! I don't think I've such a thing as a bone belonging to me no more than if I had been hermetically sealed in a register-boiler. I tell you I'm nothing but a huge fricandeau; you may cut me in slices, and take me out piecemeal.'

'I am happy to hear you are in a state to make merry with your misfortunes, my dear sir,' rejoined Sir William; 'but, seriously, how shall we manage to get you out?'

'The tiger is dead as Napoleon, uncle, and lies at the feet of your favourite Apicius,' said William.

'And the horses are taken off,' added the baronet; 'but I fear the raising of the carriage to assist your descending cannot be effected without giving you some more severe jolting. Where is your valet? Perhaps he can help you if the coach-door be got open. Melange,' cried Mr. Clairmont, 'are you dead or stupid?'

'Ni l'un ni l'autre, monsieur,' replied the servant doggedly.

'Then pray bestir yourself, and get me out of this miserable ruin. Don't you hear them say the tiger is killed? Why do you stay sprawling here looking as ghastly as if he were grinning at you in all his glory?'

Melange began to move.

'There now,' said his master, 'you have set your foot on the bottle in the side-pocket; there it goes—a bottle of my finest claret!'

Melange popped his head over the perpendicular floor of the carriage, and seeing the tiger positively dead he sprang out with great facility, and appeared to have received no other injury than certain indications of culinary luxuries which besprinkled his habit so plentifully[Pg 266] as to give his tailor (had he seen it) hopes of an ample order for a refit.

'Well, Melange,' said Sir William, 'what measure are you about to take for your master's relief?'

'The carriage must be unpacked, Sir William,' said the valet consequentially, 'and then monsieur may be raised so gently as not to suffer any farther inconvenience.'

He then, with the assistance of his two fellow-servants, removed all the packages from the boot, etc., etc., and by the help of the numerous bystanders propped up the carriage, and assisted his master to descend, the skirts of whose coat bore evident marks of the course the claret had taken when it escaped from its imprisonment in the flask, while his trousers and stockings appeared to have been liberally complimented with Ude's delicious consommé at the moment of the grand squash.

Lady Clairmont, having seen all from the observatory, had sent a sofa and pillows for her uncle's accommodation, which arrived at this moment, and the baronet, with Mr. Stanhope's aid, placed the old gentleman upon it in a state of comparative comfort, the boys trying to arrange the cushions and pillows for him, while an air of good-humoured contempt mingled with their assiduities.

'Ah, my poor friend, Apicius,' he exclaimed on seeing the dying horse panting beside the prostrate destroyer, 'nothing can be done for you, I see. Lead him away if possible, and put him out of his pain as mercifully as you can. Fine creature. I cannot bear to look at him; he little thought, when he pranced off so stately yesterday morning, that he was coming to feed the hounds at Clairmont, and a tit-bit they will find him; he's in capital condition. Pray let him be taken away.'

'I think we had better take care of you first, dear sir,' said his nephew, 'but I fear you will not find a dinner[Pg 267] to your taste this evening. There will be two dishes minus at least, for we did not expect you till to-morrow, the eighteenth—the day you named.'

'Ha, that was an unlucky mistake of Melange which we found out too late. He put the paper before me and dated the letter; but, however, as things have turned out it is of no consequence. I shall take no dinner to-day, but some pearl-sago, enriched with a good dash of old Jamaica. You must let me have a warm bath, nephew, and bid them put me to bed directly, and in two or three days, perhaps, all will be set to rights. Hope Lady Clairmont and all your family are well. How do you do, Mr. Stanhope? Excuse me, I can't pretend to see anybody for the next eight-and-forty hours. By this management I, perhaps, may escape a fit of the gout, which has certainly received a most pressing invitation to take intire possession of me, even on the very heels of the dog-days. Ha, William, how are you, my boy? and dear Freddy, how are you? How wonderfully you are both grown. No need to inquire if you are well; you must have been playing a capital knife and fork this last year, young gentlemen, but that's not surprising; you live in clover here at old Clairmont as usual. Fat Scotch cattle and black-faced sheep in the meadows, and a crowd of noble bucks in the park.'

'Et les poissons,' said Melange, edging in his remark as he stood making some arrangement required by his master. 'Les jolis poissons qui s'élèveront de temps hors l'eau, pour dire à leur façon vous êtes les bienvenus, Messieurs, nous aurons l'honneur de vous régaler. Ah, c'etait un coup d'œil ravissant.'

The boys laughed aloud, and Mr. Stanhope could hardly preserve his gravity, but Sir William gave Melange a look that seemed a deathblow to his flippancy,[Pg 268] for he moved off directly to the care of his jars and hampers.

'And your pheasants, how are they? Suppose you have had grouse this fortnight? However, for fear of the worst, I've brought a few brace. Are your partridges lovable? But I forgot; you never disturb them till next month. But I should not dare to touch them if you could set me down to a covey just now; my stomach would take it fearfully amiss if I were to call upon it for any service at present, after all the bumpings and thumpings it has just suffered. But stay, before they carry me off I should like to ascertain the extent of the mischief we have sustained. Melange, get into the carriage and examine the contents of the sword-case and all the little private recesses. What a ruin it is!'

The valet skipped in.

'Well, is the curaçoa safe?'

'No, sir, the bottle is smashed to atoms.'

'Not a drop left?'

'Not a drop, monsieur.'

'Well, it was a liquor fit for the gods, and George the Fourth—made after old Goddard's recipe. His late Majesty used to say he never tasted any so excellent. And my "Treatise on the Wines of the Ancients," where is it?'

'Here, sir'—holding it up outside the coach-door.

'Actually seasoned with sardines; not a page legible, I fear. And there's the "Cook's Oracle," dumb as a fish, drowned in claret, and a new edition of "Ude" soaked, I'm aware, in one of his own delicious consommés. This is sad work, indeed! And the glaze?'

'Smashed, monsieur.'

'Oh, ruin upon ruin! Best portable soup in the kingdom! Only three men in England can make it.[Pg 269] However, Melange is one of the three. The edible nests[B] and the Strasburg livers?'

'Quite safe, sir.'

'The potted char, and the Scotch laver? The limes, and the olives, and the dravolinas?'

'Tout est à merveille, monsieur.'

'Then how have my medicines fared?'

'They were put in the boot with the ginger, the parmesan, the Westphalia hams, and the reindeer tongues,' said Melange.

'Now then, come down and see if the colchicum sherry, l'eau médicinale, gout mixture, cogniac, vespetro, noyau, and old Jamaica are safe.'

Melange examined, and reported, 'Perfectly safe, sir.'

'And the lachryma christi, Hermitage hock, and tokay, with the West India sweetmeats?'

'All right.'

'Well, 'tis an untoward business enough, but it might have been worse, nephew,' said Mr. Clairmont, consoled to think all his hampers were in a sound state.

'True, sir,' replied Sir William, 'infinitely worse. You have escaped broken bones, and out of four horses have lost only one.'

'Then are all the rest safe and sound, coachman?' asked his master.

'Quite well, sir, only terribly frightened, like some of us,' replied the man, smiling on one side of his face, and blushing as well as he could on the other, 'but life is sweet to us all, and who would not have run away from that frightful beast?' looking at the tiger.

'What a beautiful animal it was!' said Mr. Stanhope to William.

[Pg 270]'Very beautiful indeed, sir,' replied William, 'and if I were rich I would buy its coat, and make a present of it to mother for a hearthrug.'

'A very good thought, my boy,' said Mr. Clairmont, 'and you shall have it, if it is to be sold.'

'Are you the proprietor of this unfortunate animal?' said the baronet.

'I am, sir,' said one of the three men who were standing guard over the dead tiger, and waiting for an opportunity to ask the baronet for the loan of a cart to convey it to the town where their caravan was waiting.

'What do you ask for the skin?' demanded Mr. Clairmont.

The man named his price, and the demand, though somewhat exorbitant, was complied with, greatly to the satisfaction of the two youths, who were anxious to have it in the family as a memento of this, to them, important day. Sir William then ordered the tiger to be conveyed to the butchery, and uncoated preparatory to the operation the currier would have to perform on the skin previous to its exhibition in the dining-room.

'Well, now, my good Melange,' said Mr. Clairmont, beckoning him to come near, and whispering coaxingly, 'you will see all our valuables safe before you leave them.'

'Sans doute, monsieur, n'ayez pas peur, I have sent Foster on to the house for a cart, and shall have everything conveyed to that apartment you are accustomed to occupy. Of course we shall be there?'

'Are we to have our old lodgings, nephew?' said Mr. Clairmont.

'If you please, sir,' replied the baronet; 'your bedroom is as usual in the west angle, on the ground floor, close to the bath, which is the situation you have always preferred.'[Pg 271]

'Ha, thank you, that is comfortable. You hear, Melange?'

'Oui, monsieur.'

'And now, nephew, if your carriers be ready say the word, and let us be moving, for I begin to feel terribly stiff and awkward in the sinews, and shall be right glad to find myself in a steaming bath. Don't forget,' added he to his servant, 'the gout-stool and the moxa, and all necessary for a good shampooing, and remember to have the sago ready for me on coming out of the bath. Now make haste, for here comes the cart. Be alive, Foster, as you were when you clambered up the oak like a squirrel.'

'My valet shall attend you till Melange has made his arrangements,' said Sir William. 'No doubt your apartments are in perfect order by this time; so come, chairmen, take up the sofa, and go gently.'

The men began their march, and the baronet walked on at a brisk pace to apprise Lady Clairmont that the whole family had a respite of eight-and-forty hours.

Mr. Stanhope and his pupils lingered behind, walking on very slowly till the men were out of hearing with their burden, and William then exclaimed:

'Go, you genuine sybarite! Uncle of mine, I would not accept the gift of all your estates if your gourmandizing be entailed on them.'

'Neither would I,' said his brother. 'It is impossible for a man to be a more devoted slave to his appetite than our great-uncle Geff. The slave of the ring in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments had a holiday life of it in comparison. Perhaps it is wrong to say it, but really I feel quite disgusted with him. As father truly says, "All his conversation has reference to the sustenation of his insatiable maw," and we shall all be glad when this animal infliction is over.'[Pg 272]

'Gourmandizing,' said Mr. Stanhope, 'is indeed a vice which fearfully degrades a man from the rank he was born to hold as a rational being, and I trust you will never either of you be under the dominion of such a tyrant.'

'We should both of us,' said William, 'revolt at the idea of being an object of contempt to others, such as Uncle Geff is now to us.'

'That's plain English,' replied Frederick, 'but not the most polite thing to say of one's venerable great uncle, brother Bill, and who has, moreover, just now given you that superb tiger's skin.'

'The fear of the world's contempt,' said Mr. Stanhope, 'though salutary, ought not to influence our conduct so much as the consciousness that, while excess clogs our intellects, we become incapable of the virtuous exertions we might otherwise make, and that of the talents we have thus smothered we must one day render an account.'

'And yet there are, I have heard, some men of great abilities and eminent virtue who are said to eat enormously,' said Frederick.

'True,' replied the tutor, 'extreme hunger is, in some constitutions, a rapid effect of intense study, and the appetite may be innocently gratified while it rather adds to the impetus of thought than checks its advance. Excess begins when the perceptions become weak and indistinct by indulgence. Every person is able to judge for himself when he approaches that point, and, if he respect himself, he will stop short of it. Such men as those to whom you allude feel renovated by their meal, and return to their intellectual pursuits with increased alacrity, but the veritable gourmand divides his existence between the contemplation of what his dinner shall be, the pleasure of eating, and the labour of digesting it.'[Pg 273]

'It is very odd in Uncle Geff to bring his eatables and his cook to Clairmont. I wonder father will suffer it. What a larder this modern Lucullus carries about with him!' said Frederick.

'Why, father has indulged him in the practice so many years that I suppose he does not think it worth his while to set his face against it now,' replied William. 'Besides, Melange is a superb cook. Sheldon finds it his interest to keep well with him, and gets into many of his culinary mysteries, of which father reaps the benefit when he is obliged to give great dinners. As to the Frenchman himself, it is easy to see he is the master of his master, and holds him fast by the stomach, as it were, by a talisman.'

'What an honourable bondage for a man who is proud of his descent from men who were hand and glove with the conqueror,' said Frederick, laughing.

A servant now came out upon the lawn to say tea had been waiting some time. The youths and their tutor hastened to the drawing-room, when William and his brother were congratulated on the fortunate issue of their rencounter with the tiger. Their gentle mother shed a tear of joy as she kissed the cheek of each darling child, and the dowager expressed herself happy at seeing they had proved themselves worthy descendants of the Clairmonts.

'Emily,' said she to her grand-daughter in the joy of her heart, 'what do you think of your brothers now? Do you not think they will indeed prove an honour to the family, and realize in their manhood all the anticipations of youth? For my part, I feel so much obliged to our grand-dame Cicely Dewberry at the present moment, that I can hardly find words to express myself in due terms; that task I shall, therefore, leave to you.'[Pg 274]

Emily coloured at this remark, but, after a pause, replied:

'I am so much pleased that my brothers have acquitted themselves with honour that I am equally at a loss for words with your ladyship.'

The evening passed most agreeably, and the conversation was animated and interesting from the topics the occurrences of the day gave birth to. As for Lady Clairmont, she was, indeed, greatly pleased with the present of her new hearthrug, and Sir William ordered the body of the tiger to be deposited under the oak in which the servants had found shelter, saying that, some time or other, he might probably put down on that spot some solid memento of the event.

[B] The nest of a bird found in the southern latitudes, considered a delicacy by the natives, particularly by European epicures.

[Pg 275]

The Butcher's Tournament


Marmaduke Mumbles was the son of a worthy butcher in the village town of Scrambles.

He was an only son, and as such, of course, petted by his father and spoiled by his mother.

Mrs. Mumbles had been in early life a lady's-maid, and, while in her waiting upon the Honourable Miss Languish, was employed not so much in millinery as novel reading, which she used to read to her young lady from morning till night, and from night till morning.

The tales which took the fancy of the Honourable Miss Languish, and which were echoed from the mouth and mind of Miss Squeamish were those of 'high romance,' as it is termed. Young, handsome, virtuous, and valiant heroes going through more wonderful adventures than our poor Mosette in her nine lives, and poor Neddy Bray in his, I do not know how many.

Then there must be, to please these novel readers, extraordinary situations, wonderful incidents, perplexing difficulties, overwhelming disasters, strange providences, and miraculous escapes, together with a proper assemblage of old castles, ruined tombs, yawning cloisters, grim[Pg 276] vaults, mouldering coffins, unearthly sounds, awful visitations, spiritual appearances; ghosts in white sheets, with bleeding bosoms: hobgoblins with saucer eyes, fierce claws, and long tails; and catastrophes so tremendous as to set the hair on end, and convulse the whole frame with the delight of tenor, and the tenor of delight.

Such was the food of Miss Squeamish, afterwards Mrs. Mumbles, in her early days.

And she used to read and read and read till she looked upon the world in which she had to get her living as no world of hers, but a sort of common sphere made on purpose for tradespeople, washer-women, and cart-driving. She revelled in a world of the romances, where everything was made as it ought to be, where the virtuous were always rewarded and the wicked always punished, where high and noble sentiments met with the reception they deserved, and disinterestedness was duly appreciated, where passion and impulse, unmixed with the care of consequences, were held as the glory of both sexes, and everything that was fair and bright and beautiful, and free and elegant and good, shone triumphantly to the glory of the heroes and heroines who figured always so splendidly in these romantic pages.

But at last all these bright visions were to end. Miss Languish died of a consumption brought on from lying in bed night and morning to read novels. And Miss Squeamish, afterwards Mrs. Mumbles, was forced to turn out into the world to seek her living—into that very world which was so odious to her. But there was no resource, and so the lady who had been identified with so many heroines was obliged to set up as a milliner and dressmaker in the little town of Scrambles.

But the poor young woman soon found out that[Pg 277] things were carried on in this world in a manner radically different from that in which the romances pictured. She soon found out that mutton was eightpence halfpenny a pound, and that if she did not look well after her butcher she would find her pound and a half of mutton chops weighing not quite a pound and a quarter; that bread was ten-pence a loaf, and that the baker was no more romantic than the butcher, and would, unless he was checked every day, find means to put down a 'dead one'; and that the milkman's chalk had got a notch in it, and would make two strokes instead of one. In short, that there was at the bottom of this best of all possible worlds a vast amount of sheer roguery.

The consequence of Miss Squeamish's want of a knowledge of all this was that she soon found out the impossibility of being able to make things come together—'to make ends meet'—as the saying is.

She floundered about in her business for a year or two, but grew poorer and poorer, got in debt largely with her grocer, baker, and butcher, and at last was obliged to stop for want of funds.

But it is an old proverb that 'when one door shuts another opens,' and this was the only part of Miss Squeamish's philosophy which had ever come true. No sooner was her shop shut up than the bills came in, and with Mrs. Shambles' bill the copy of a writ, so that Miss Squeamish was on the high road to a prison. But fortune sometimes favours those who will not favour themselves, and it somehow or other happened that Miss Squeamish pleaded so eloquently for herself and her destitute situation with Mr. Mumbles, the very fat butcher and her principal creditor, that he agreed to cancel his debt and pay the others on condition that Miss Squeamish would become Mrs. Mumbles.[Pg 278]

And Mrs. Mumbles she did become. For Mr. Mumbles was very rich, and although in person he was not very imposing he made up in quantity for what he wanted in quality, and the prospect of plenty of meat and a good name to one destitute of either had such an effect on Miss Squeamish as to put to flight all her visionary ideas of perfection—love in a cottage and platonic affection—and she settled down, in appearance at least, as a very spruce butcher's wife, and took to caps, aprons, and blue ribands.

Mr. Mumbles was a thrifty man, and had been so all his life. He was about fifty years of age, and not disposed to alter his habits, but he required Mrs. Mumbles to alter hers. He proceeded, therefore, to give his worthy spouse some initiatory instructions in the art of jointing a scrag of mutton, cutting out a pluck, or chinning a whole sheep upon an occasion. This was very different from novel reading. She had, indeed, read of knights cleaving their adversaries from the 'chaps to the chine,' and of 'sticking to the heart,' and sometimes fancied, as she made a blow upon some unfortunate leg of mutton, which required shanking, that this would she do to the Knight of the Black Visage, or the cruel Tyrant of the Bloody Tower, or the Renegades of the Cross, or any other anti-hero, so that it might be said romance was scotched in her, not killed, as we shall hear in the sequel.

After Miss Squeamish became Mrs. Mumbles she determined to endeavour to 'civilize' her husband, as she called it. It did not follow because he was a butcher that he was to have butchering ideas for ever, or that he was to know nothing of 'literature,' as she termed it—that is, novels. Mr. Mumbles had read 'Puss in Boots,' 'Jack the Giant Killer,' 'Tom Thumb,' 'Jack and the[Pg 279] Bean Stalk,' 'Whittington and his Cat,' and 'Mother Goose' in his childhood. In his boyhood he had gone through 'Robinson Crusoe,' 'The Pilgrim's Progress,' and 'The Seven Champions of Christendom,' and therefore knew there was something in the world besides scrags of mutton.

Having made these discoveries Mrs. Mumbles was determined to put her husband under regular training, to win him, by degrees, from his boorish estate to that of poetry and refinement. She looked at his unwieldy bulk—it was not exactly the size for a hero, but then she thought of bluff Harry the Eighth, who was both stout and romantic, and the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and so as Mr. Mumbles became romantic she made up her mind to put up with his stoutness.

Mr. Mumbles had no other relaxation on a summer's evening than a game of bowls, but as his fat increased so did his difficulty of playing this noble game. He used to think that once down it would require something more than the levers of his legs to lift him up again. So just as Mr. Mumbles had made up his mind within himself to leave off bowls did Mrs. Mumbles think of making him a hero outright. But she went cautiously about her work. She knew that to change the man she must first change the mind, and therefore she commenced her operations upon the mental part of Mr. Mumbles.

Her first thought was as to the kind of hero she was to train him into. She would not like him to be a 'Jack Sheppard,' for fear he might break into some lady's heart with a crowbar of his impudence. Nor would she like him to be a 'Eugene Aram,' for fear he should make a mistake and hang her some night instead of himself. He seemed fitter for a 'Jack Falstaff' than anything else. But Falstaff was too witty for a hero, and she thought,[Pg 280] perhaps, that if he laughed any more he would be only so much the fatter.

She therefore put into his hands the most sentimental exotics of the publishing firms. There was the 'Elegant Maniac; or, the Snuff-coloured Rose and the Field of Silver,' a beautiful romance. Then there was the 'Sentimental Footpad; or, Honour among Thieves.' And 'Syngenesia,' the last of the melancholies; with the 'Knight of the Snorting Palfrey; or, the Silken Fetlock.' These works she read to Mr. Mumbles on evenings instead of suffering him to repair to his bowls, and after a short time had the satisfaction to find him a ready and an eager listener. She read and read and read, and he became more and more interested, till at last he could scarcely find time to serve a customer if one happened to come in when the hero was in some 'interesting situation.'

And so Mr. Mumbles began to find his business decline, for at last he would have his novel in his hand on a Saturday night, and would ask his customers concerning this or that book, which he happened to have been reading during the week. He would forget to joint the loins of mutton, to pickle the stale beef, to send out his orders; in short, his customers were treated with such neglect that his trade, long vacillating between going on and going off, suddenly stopped.

Nor did Mr. Mumbles care a whit for it, as he was rich when his father died, had grown richer since, and was worth at least ten thousand pounds in houses, lands, and money. He would soon have given up his business had it not given up him, and therefore when somebody told him it was time to 'shut up shop,' he said: 'Yes, and I intend to do it.'

Suiting the action to the word he forthwith began to retire. All the beasts and beastesses were sold off with[Pg 281] the goodwill of the shop, the blocks, cleavers, hooks, and jemmies. And Mr. Mumbles planned out a house in a secluded spot about a mile from the town. It was to be called Mumbles Castle, and was to be built in the old English or baronial style, with turrets, low doors, battlements, arch windows, and gothic mouldings. The grand hall was twenty feet by fifteen, the armoury half the size, the refectory fourteen by fourteen. A long passage leading to the adjacent pigsties was called the corridor, and the bedchambers, four in number, were dignified with the names of the griffin room, the martlet, the rampant lion, and the wild boar, such being a part of the newly-formed armorial bearing of the Mumbles.

The adjacent grounds were also laid out in a style corresponding with the castle. There was, among other arrangements for the comfort and delight of visitors, a tournament court, an archery ground, and a hawking mound. Certainly they were not of very extraordinary dimensions, but they were rather beyond the general scale of the other parts of the building. Mrs. Mumbles had in contemplation to give a grand fête of some kind or other. Mumbles talked of the house-warming, but that was vulgar. But at last, to ease all difficulties on this score, Master Marmaduke Tristram St. George Mumbles was born.

When it was ascertained that provision for a baby was necessary Mr. Mumbles determined that everything should be conducted according to the established laws of chivalry. But having searched in vain among romances to find how such matters were managed, he gave up the matter in despair. He found that all romances having come to a marriage suddenly stopped. This was very perplexing, but there was no help for it, and as Master Marmaduke was in a hurry to come into the world he was[Pg 282] born before his father and mother could arrange the solemn order of the proceedings.

But both Mr. and Mrs. Mumbles were determined that the christening should be conducted upon a scale of all conceivable splendour. There was no precedent for it, but then there was less likelihood of any mistake or more room for the fancy. But a gothic christening it was to be—a gothic christening it should be—a gothic christening it must be.

And what would redound to the glory of so mighty an event? This was the consideration, this was the feat to be achieved. Mr. and Mrs. Mumbles had many a discourse upon the subject at breakfast, dinner, and supper, at morning, noon, and night, but still the happy idea was too good to strike them suddenly.

At last Mrs. Mumbles had a dream. She dreamed of a tournament, and of all the glory of such an event. Polished helms, furbished arms, clang of trumpets, waving of banners and plumes, clouds of dust, clash of swords, unhorsing of knights, and outcry of heralds. When she awoke, she said emphatically to Mr. Mumbles, as he was beginning to take his morning yawn: 'I've hit it'; and gave him a sharp stroke on his wigless pate.

'I think you have,' said Mr. Mumbles, 'and I would thank you not to hit quite so hard. But what do you mean, my dear Celestia?'

'Mean,' replied the delighted spouse—'mean that I have hit upon a plan for doing honour to the birth of our son and heir, of the propagator of the glory of our house, and of the renowned name of Mumbles.'

'Have you, by gowls?' said Mr. Mumbles. 'What is it?'

'A tournament,' said she, 'a tournament, that glory of the chivalric ages; will it not be gloriously delightful to[Pg 283] see once more "the light of other days" upon us? To see those battlements decked with the banners of the house of Mumbles, to hear the clarion ring, to listen to the strains of martial music, to see the lounge and thrust and anvil blow, knights unhorsed, armour riven, helms cloven.'

'It would be a good go,' said Mr. Mumbles.

'A good go; it would be a go and three-quarters—at least, according to your own phraseology. I think myself truly happy at having been blessed with such a revelation, and pray that I may be strengthened to perform my part of the ceremony.'

'And what may that be?' said Mr. Mumbles.

'Why of course I must be the queen of beauty, and you must be my king consort. The knights, having arranged themselves, must, first of all, pay their respects to me, and then the victor must kneel before me, and receive from my hands the richly-embroidered scarf and the crowning garland.'

'Well, it will be a grand day—an epoch in my existence—a sort of hera. I think they call it a hera. And if we could get the band of the Scrambles Volunteer Company it would be excellent; if not, I think I know some music that would suit.'

'What is that?' inquired Mrs. Mumbles.

'The marrow-bones and cleavers; they are very pretty music, and I should like them, band or no band.'

'The marrow-bones and cleavers,' said Mrs. Mumbles in astonishment.

'Yes,' said Mr. Mumbles, 'it was my glory when I was a boy, and we used to have them all rung at christenings and weddings. I have heard say that at my christening and at my mother's marriage they rang a treble bob-major.'[Pg 284]

'And pray, what is a bob-major?' inquired Mrs. Mumbles. 'I have heard of a serjeant-major and a drum-major, but never heard of a bob-major.'

'A bob-major,' rejoined the elated butcher, 'is a long tune, that puzzles you to know when you will get to the end of it, and so you stand and wait and wait, till at last, all of a sudden, it stops.'

'And how does it go, my dear? Is it a pretty tune?'

'I should think it was a pretty tune—like the church bells, only more cutting, as it might be expected, from its coming from cleavers. It has made me cry like a child, Mrs. Mumbles.'

'I hope it won't make baby cry.'

'I hope not; but, cry or no cry, we must have it, and any other music you like.'

This point being settled the ardent pair began to prepare, with the greatest alacrity, for the forthcoming fête.

Mrs. Mumbles declared that no expense should be spared to make the proceedings go off with éclat, and Mr. Mumbles began to fidget himself concerning the tournament laws, rules, and regulations.

The principal difficulty was, however, in inducing others to take a part in this strange whim. Had it been bull-baiting or badger-drawing or cock-throwing or horse and donkey racing, hundreds would have been found ready to engage in the sport. But for a tournament! Most people did not even know the name of it, and Mr. Mumbles' description was in no way calculated to elucidate its mysteries, so that few seemed to care about lending themselves to the fête.

There was, however, in the town of Scrambles a sharp dapper lawyer's clerk, who saw at once into the affair and what a frolic it might be made. He therefore[Pg 285] wrote a civil note to Mr. Mumbles, in which he expressed his delight at the forthcoming novelty, and offered himself as a candidate for the white silken scarf which was to be the reward of the victor in the field.

The letter being couched in chivalric language, and ornamented with armorial bearings, delighted Mr. and Mrs. Mumbles above all things. They now felt a prospect of the realization of their fondest hopes, and began to prepare accordingly. The lawyer's clerk, whose name was Quiddity, also set about publishing the whole of the matter abroad. He soon succeeded in inducing a number of young men and maidens to favour the joke, and to lend themselves to it. He explained the insane folly of this worthy pair with such irresistible drollery that everyone was eager to be one of the favoured company.

On the next interview Mr. Mumbles, delighted with the report of Quiddity, addressed him with truly dignified solemnity.

'Sir Knight,' said he, 'thou hast done thy spirit gently. Thy wondrous works have found favour in mine eyes; be thou our warden from this time, and for evermore.'

'With leave to thrust or lance,' said Quiddity; 'for I would not forego a rencontre for the lord-wardenship of the cinque ports.'

'Sink me if you shall not tilt with me rather than that you should not display your prowess. On the morning of that auspicious day will I dissolve thee from the wardenship, and give thee freedom to thy knighthood. I will, with my own hands, buckle on thy armour, with my right hand place a spear in thy grasp, and with my left salute thee.'

'And for me,' said Mrs. Mumbles, 'I will choose thee[Pg 286] for my own dear knight, and thou shalt fight under my banner, and be victorious; and then, when thou resist from the field of glory, will I embrace thee, and thou shalt be the envy of all beholders.'

'We'll stow that,' said Mr. Mumbles, who did not appear to like the embracing part of the ceremony. 'But let us now form a committee of ways and means—that is to say, let us concoct the thing in a regular manner.'

And so the three concoctors sat down to arrange the order of the proceedings.

'And, first and foremost,' said Mr. Mumbles, 'we must have seats raised round the tilting coast, and a platform built at one end. Then at the other end must be a barrier for the knights to come in at; and then we must have a long pole straight across the ground, to prevent the horses falling foul of each other; and then we must have flags at different stations, charged with the armorial bearings of the knights, with their crests on the top of them.'

'And then,' said Mrs. Mumbles, taking up the same strain, 'we must begin to think of dresses. For my part, I shall wear a white satin robe, trimmed with silver lilies, and a scarf of azure blue, richly embroidered with gold. Seven ostrich plumes shall wave from my brow; a lion's skin shall be spread for my feet; all my jewels shall be displayed to the best advantage; and I think I shall, upon the whole, be pretty considerably imposing. As to Mr. Mumbles, I intend to have him dressed in a manner which shall be unique, imposing, and captivating.'

'We will first draw out a programme of the proceedings,' said Quiddity, 'and then we can select the various personages who are to be honoured with having a part in the ceremony.'

'Good,' said Mr. Mumbles.[Pg 287]

'And I shall head it the "Mumblonian Tournament," and publish a challenge to all the world to deny the peerless beauty of Mrs. Mumbles.'

'But won't that be coming it rather strong? I should like you to draw it pretty mild,' ejaculated Mr. Mumbles.

'Not a bit too strong,' said Mrs. Mumbles, with a toss of her head. 'Go on, pray, Mr. Quiddity.'

So Mr. Quiddity went on:

'And then, of course, we should find persons sending in their defiance, and extolling other dames, and therefore we should have all our knights, squires, horses, armour, and so on.'

'But must we not publish regulations afterwards?' observed Mumbles.

'Of course we must. That is to say, every knight who professes his readiness to break a lance must provide himself with horse, weapons, and esquire, and send in his certificate of noble blood and knightly bearing.'

'But where shall we place the proclamation?'

'On the doors of the church, certainly; upon the "cage"; upon the "pound"; and other public institutions of our country.'

'Good,' said Mr. Mumbles; 'I like to honour the institutions of my country, and therefore I would not have forgotten the parish pump.'

'Certainly not, my dear sir. Well, then, we must apply to the schoolmaster to let us have, on hire, the boys and girls of the national schools to walk in order before the procession, with silver wands in their hands and blue ribands in their hats, while the girls should be dressed all in white like nymphs, and strew flowers.'

'Capital,' said Mr. Mumbles; 'and then we can give them a tuck-out with rolls and treacle; won't the boys like it—ay, and the girls too! Lawks! how I did laugh[Pg 288] once to see girls eat rolls and treacle! They beat the boys out and out at that fun. They dabbed the treacle into each other's eyes, and roped it over each other's shoulders, and swung it into each other's faces, like good 'uns. There is nothing like girls for a spree; when they do begin, they beat the boys hollow.'

'Well, then,' continued Quiddity, 'I thought of hiring for a day the old workhouse women, to act as matrons or sibyls, as the case may be. They will be a pretty contrast to the "gals." And, that they may not cry out, we will treat them all to a pound of snuff apiece, and a new dress.'

'And a red brocade petticoat each, and a Margaret of Anjou cap or hat.'

'What, one of those with a long poke behind like a rolling-pin, and a veil at the end of it?' said Mr. Mumbles.

'Just so, my dear,' replied the lady; 'and they must have one stocking red and the other blue.'

'Ay, ay,' rejoined Mumbles, with an arch look, 'I know the reason of that; you fancy but for this expedient that in the crowd the old ladies would not otherwise know one leg from the other.'

'You are quite wrong, my dear; but we must follow the ancient costume, you know, or else we shall be laughed at.'

'What shall be next?' said Mr. Quiddity.

'Ay, what next, my dear?' said Mrs. Mumbles, who seemed herself to be got to her wits' end.

'Why, I was thinking, love, that after the old women we should have a bullock, dressed with blue ribands, and garnished with flowers, roasted whole.'

'Yes, upon the green, after the sports,' said Mrs. Mumbles; 'and, as I should like the whole of the ceremony to conclude with a bonfire and a discharge of fireworks,[Pg 289] the fire that is to roast the bullock can be kept up, which will be killing two birds with one stone, you know.'

And thus the preliminaries for the grand entertainment were settled by the three who were to be chief actors in it. Quiddity, in the very frolicsomeness of his heart, now canvassed the town, and, with little difficulty, succeeded in bringing a number of persons into the plot or joke; and banners were prepared, armour was provided, and arms of every description brought into requisition.

At last the important day arrived. It was ushered in by a discharge of firearms from the back of the butcher's premises. A squadron of horsemen next paraded the town on horses, ponies, and donkeys, with the marrow-bones and cleavers, and rung most dolorous music. Mr. Mumbles arose from his bed at earliest dawn, and, having breakfasted, set to enrobing himself as a grand grandee of the first order. His dress was of the time of Louis XIV. of France, frilled and furbelowed; and, when fully arranged, Mr. Mumbles looked like a real Prince, and Mrs. Mumbles held up her hands in astonishment and delight.

The back premises of Mr. Mumbles had been already prepared; a rude scaffolding, with seats, skirted three sides of a quadrangle, to which admission was to be obtained for the small charge of one penny, the whole of the proceeds to go to the Institution for the Cure of Rheumatism. The people mustered in large numbers, and, although the tournament joust did not boast of many lords and ladies, or persons of high ancestral lineage, yet everyone was, according to Adamic heraldry, a perfect gentleman or lady in their own right; for they all bore arms, with the exception of Jack Sprat, the bellman, who could only muster one, with which he rang his bell.

In the centre of the platform, at the upper end, was a[Pg 290] raised seat, and a canopy over it. The seat was covered with yellow baize, and the canopy was formed of the hangings of Mr. Mumbles' best spare bed. It was red, bordered with yellow, which hung in fanciful festoons, and a richly-carved bed-foot on each gave the whole a very imposing appearance. On this raised seat, which was made to hold two, were placed two armchairs, richly gilt, and around these were other chairs for persons of distinction, who now began to arrive in pretty considerable numbers. First, there was the Grand Master of the Odd Fellows, with a numerous retinue, with their emblematical tools, flags, banners, and devices. He entered the arena amid the clang of trumpets and the roll of drums, and proceeded to the place assigned him. Then came the President of the Anti-Lie-a-Bed Society, with a whole troop of boys and girls who had been cured of this great sin by drinking half a pint of yeast overnight, which made them rise early in the morning. They were received by 'artificial cock-crowing' by the gallant showman, who had a place assigned him as underwarden. Then came a batch of young damsels, all in white, being chimney-sweepers' daughters; and after them a flourish of trumpets—that is, cow-horns—a squadron of costermongers' donkey-lads mounted, with their pocket-handkerchiefs floating from the vulnerable point of 'bean-sticks.'

Next came the redoubtable Mr. Mumbles himself, leading Mrs. Mumbles by the hand, preceded by the young lawyer Quiddity. He ascended the throne provided for him with extraordinary dignity, and, having made a bow to the company by putting his hand to one of his curls, as if to pull his head down, and giving a scrape with his foot behind, the whole assembly burst out with a simultaneous cheer—'Mumbles for ever! Mumbles for ever!'

Soon after Mr. Mumbles had seated himself the clang[Pg 291] of trumpets was heard, and Quiddity appeared on a splendid pony, richly caparisoned, with a hearthrug under his saddle as a saddle-cloth, having in one hand his baton of office, and in the other a banner. After making his obeisance to the king and queen of the tournament, Mrs. and Mr. Mumbles, he took his place in the centre. Immediately the horns were blown, the mob shouted, and Quiddity read the following proclamation:

'To all whom it may concern, and to our beloved Neighbours, greeting,

'With a view to do away with and put down the cowardly, dastardly, and ungenteel sports of bull-baiting, badger-baiting, fox-hunting, pigeon-shooting, and other wicked and cruel amusements, we, John Mumbles and Co., King of Chivalry, Grand Master of this Tournament, invite all persons, gentlemen born, to engage in, and others to witness, trials of skill, might, prowess, and magnanimity by means of tilt, combat, or archery, and all those knights who have been enrolled as true knights, worthy to try their prowess in the tilts, are hereby invited to do so without fee or reward, fear or distinction.

'God Save the Queen.'

'Hurrah! hurrah!' said everybody, and then arose the flapping of white pocket-handkerchiefs, the waving of flags, the sounding of horns, and the beating of drums. The arena was cleared by Sam Swipes with a long cart-whip, and opposite to each other, by separate entrances, appeared the first two knights who were to engage—(1) The Knight of the Boiling Fish-kettle, (2) The Knight of the Red-hot Copper. The Knight of the Boiling Fish-kettle was armed with a splendid helmet of polished metal, something resembling a double block-tin dish-cover,[Pg 292] No. 3 on the bottom; at the top was inverted a red-boiled lobster for a crest, over which hung in graceful curves three black cats' tails duly charged with electricity. A large pewter-dish formed the breast-plate of this knight, while his arms and thighs were plated with bands of tin, which had an exceedingly martial appearance. The shield of the knight was the lid of the fish-kettle, a broad oblong defence, upon which was painted the device of a leg of pork, with the motto 'Porkus est miceabus.' The lance-pole of this knight was a clothes-prop, at the end of which a pepper-box was duly fixed instead of a lance.

The Knight of the Copper was also mounted on a steed; it was of a reddish-brown, and for his saddle-cloth he had chosen a rich damask table-cover, which nearly covered the whole body of the animal. He had on his head a copper cake-mould in the shape of a porcupine. His breast-plate was a richly-figured japanned waiter. His armour consisted of muffin-tins fixed over his arms and legs, his crest was a 'scalded cat,' and his shield a copper-lid of wood. The copper-lid was painted green, and it had for its device a calve's head, with a lemon in its mouth, with the motto, 'Calve's head is best hot.'

The knights being set in due array and in proper position, at the sound of the herald's trumpets spurred their nags, and went towards each other with the velocity of lightning. At the first assault the pepper-box was dashed to pieces against the copper-lid, and the fractured fragments clattered about the combatants. The next charge upset the Knight of the Boiling Fish-kettle and his Rosinante at the same time, and both lay wallowing on the ground. Mr. Mumbles on this rose from his seat, and the Knight of the Red-hot Copper made his appearance on the throne or platform, where, kneeling down, he received at the hands of Mrs. Mumbles a beautiful white silken scarf, while the assembly shouted, the drums beat, and the trumpets sounded.[Pg 293]

Knights in armour tumbled over their own steeds, donkeys ran snorting about, ladies shrieked.—Page 295. Knights in armour tumbled over their own steeds, donkeys ran snorting about, ladies shrieked.—Page 295.

[Pg 295]

How long this foolery would have gone on I know not, but just as the ceremony was being performed of investing the conqueror knight with the silken scarf a loud cracking was heard under the platform. Mr. Mumbles looked red, Mrs. Mumbles looked pale, the company stood aghast, the music ceased, the uproar was quelled, and the applause subsided. Crack, snap, bang! What was the matter? The fireworks placed underneath the scaffolding, and which were to have concluded the evening's entertainments, had by some means or other ignited. Presently a rocket with a loud roar made a sweep in a slanting direction through the canvas at the top of the canopy, to the consternation of all. Before the alarm subsided, and before anyone could make his or her escape by flight, another and another rocket rushed from beneath the scaffolding with prodigious roar and flame. The alarm became general; Mrs. Mumbles fainted; Mr. Mumbles roared out 'Fire, fire!' as loud as he was able. But now the indiscriminate ignition of rockets, crackers, squibs, Catherines, fiery fountains, flaming cascades, sparkling arbours, and gunpowder and nitre pillars, and suns, stars, and comets enveloped the whole throne and its appurtenances in a blaze of fiery splendour. Rockets shot out on every side, fiery squibs ran along the ground, Catherine wheels danced on every shoulder, and crackers banged at every heel. Such a scene of confusion followed as is seldom witnessed. Knights in armour tumbled over their own steeds, donkeys ran snorting about, ladies shrieked, and fell over gentlemen, and gentlemen tumbled over ladies in pell-mell havoc and confusion, amid smoke and steam and hissing and cracking and banging and roaring.[Pg 296]

It was with the greatest difficulty that Mr. and Mrs. Mumbles were extricated from the danger that threatened them—namely, being burnt alive. But Mrs. Mumbles was carried home in a wheelbarrow in a state of insensibility, while Mr. Mumbles had the same attention bestowed upon him through the intervention of a well-disposed hurdle and four of the marrow-bone and cleaver musicians.

Such was the untoward end of the Mumblonian tournament, an event not to be easily forgotten in the locality in which it took place. It was subsequently found out, as it ought to have been discovered before, that both Mr. and Mrs. Mumbles had driven themselves mad by novel and romance reading, and they were both obliged to be sent to a madhouse for some time before they could be cured of their egregious folly. But as they were cured, it may be said that the circumstances which I have related were 'all for the best.'

[Pg 297]

Malleville's Night of Adventure


The Story of Agnes


In a few minutes Beechnut returned with a large rocking-chair, which he placed by the fire, on one side. He then took Malleville in his arms, and carried her to the chair, and sat down. Next he asked Phonny to go out into the entry, and look by the side of the door, and to bring in what he should find there.

'What is it?' said Malleville.

'You will see,' replied Beechnut. So saying, he placed Malleville in his lap in such a position that she could see the door and the fire. Her head rested upon a small pillow which Beechnut had laid upon his shoulder. By the time that Malleville was thus placed, Phonny came back. He had in his hand a small sheet-iron pan, with three large and rosy apples in it. Beechnut directed Phonny to put this pan down upon the hearth where the apples would roast.

'Who are they for?' asked Malleville.[Pg 298]

'One is for you,' replied Beechnut, 'one for Phonny, and one for me. But we are not going to eat them till to-morrow morning.'

'There ought to be one for Hepzibah,' said Malleville.

'Why, Hepzibah can get as many apples as she wants,' said Beechnut, 'and roast them whenever she pleases. Only,' he continued, after a moment's pause, 'perhaps it would please her to have us remember her, and roast her one together with ours.'

'Yes,' said Phonny. 'I think it would.'

'Then,' said Beechnut, 'you may go, Phonny, and get her an apple. You can make room for one more upon the pan.'

'Well,' said Phonny, 'but you must not begin the story until I come back.'

So Phonny went away to get an apple for Hepzibah. In a short time he returned, bringing with him a very large and beautiful apple, which he put upon the pan with the rest. There was just room for it. He then set the pan down before the fire, and took his own seat in the little rocking-chair, which still stood in its place by the side of the light-stand.

'Now, Beechnut,' said he, as soon as he was seated, 'now for the story.'

'What sort of story shall I tell you, Malleville?' asked Beechnut. 'Shall it be the plain truth, or shall it be embellished?'

'Embellished,' said Malleville. 'I wish you would embellish it as much as ever you can.'

'Well,' said Beechnut, 'I will tell you about Agnes.'

'Agnes!' repeated Phonny. 'Who was she?'

'You must not speak, Phonny,' said Malleville. 'Beechnut is going to tell this story to me.'

'Yes,' said Beechnut, 'it is altogether for Malleville,[Pg 299] and you must not say a word about it from beginning to end.'

'One night,' continued Beechnut, 'about three weeks ago, I sat up very late in my room, writing. It was just after I had got well from my hurt, and as I had been kept away from my desk for a long time, I was very glad to get back to it again, and I used to sit up quite late in the evenings, writing and reading. The night that I am now speaking of, I sat up even later than usual. It had been a very warm day, and the evening air, as it came into my open window, was cool and delightful. Besides, there was a bright moon, and it shone very brilliantly upon the garden, and upon the fields and mountains beyond, as I looked upon them from my window.

'At last I finished my writing just as the clock struck twelve, and as I still did not feel sleepy, notwithstanding that it was so late, and as the night was so magnificent, I thought that I would go out and take a little walk. So I put my books and papers away, took my cap, and put it upon my head, and then stepped out of the window upon the roof of the shed, which, you know, is just below it. I thought it better to go out that way rather than to go down the stairs, as by going down the stairs I might possibly have disturbed somebody in the house.

'I walked along the roof of the shed, without meeting anybody or seeing anybody except Moma. She was lying down asleep behind one of the chimneys.'

Moma was a large black cat belonging to Malleville.

'Poor Moma!' said Malleville. 'Has not she got any better place to sleep in than that? I mean to make her a bed as soon as I get well.'

'When I reached the end of the shed,' continued Beechnut, 'I climbed down by the great trellis to the[Pg 300] fence, and from the fence to the ground. I went along the yard to the steps of the south platform, and sat down there. It looked very pleasant in the garden, and I went in there. I walked through the garden, and out at the back gate into the woods, and so up the glen. I rambled along different glens and valleys for half an hour, until at last I came to a most beautiful place among groves and thickets where there was a large spring boiling out from under some mossy rocks. This spring was in a deep shady place, and was overhung with beautiful trees. In front of the spring was a large basin of water, half as large as this room. The water was very clear, and as the moonlight shone upon it through the interstices of the trees, I could see that the bottom was covered with yellow sands, while beautiful shells and pebbles lined the shore.

'The water fell down into the basin from the spring in a beautiful cascade. All around there were a great many tall wild flowers growing. It seemed to me the most beautiful place I ever saw. I sat down upon a large round stone which projected out from a grassy bank just below this little dell, where I could see the basin of water and the spring, and the flowers upon its banks, and could hear the sound of the water falling over the cascade.

'There was a very large oak-tree growing near the basin on the one side. I could only see the lower part of the stem of it. The top was high in the air, and was concealed from view by the foliage of the thickets. The stem of the tree was very large indeed, and it had a very ancient and venerable appearance. There was a hollow place in this tree very near the ground, which had in some degree the appearance of a door, arched above. The sides of this opening were fringed with beautiful[Pg 301] green moss, which hung down within like a curtain, and there were a great many beautiful flowers growing upon each side of it. Another thing which attracted my attention and excited my curiosity very strongly, was that there seemed to be a little path leading from this door down to the margin of the water.

'While I was wondering what this could mean, I suddenly observed that there was a waving motion in the long moss which hung down within the opening in the trunk of the tree, and presently I saw a beautiful little face peeping out. I was, of course, very much astonished, but I determined to sit perfectly still, and see what would happen.

'I was in such a place that the person to whom the face belonged could not see me, though I could see her perfectly. After looking about for a minute or two timidly, she came out. She was very beautiful indeed, with her dark hair hanging in curls upon her neck and shoulders. Her dress was very simple, and yet it was very rich and beautiful.'

'What did she have on?' asked Malleville.

'Why, I don't know that I can describe it very well,' said Beechnut. 'I am not much accustomed to describe ladies' dresses. It was, however, the dress of a child. She had in her hand a very long feather, like a peacock's feather, only, instead of being of many colours, it was white, like silver, and had the lustre of silver. I verily believe it must have been made of silver.'

'I don't believe it would be possible,' said Phonny, 'to make a feather of silver.'

'Why not?' asked Beechnut, 'as well as to make a tassel of glass? However, it looked like silver, and it was extremely graceful and brilliant as she held it in her hands waving in the moonbeams.[Pg 302]

'After looking about for a minute or two, and seeing nobody, she began to dance down the little path to the brink of the basin, and when she reached it she began to speak. "Now," said she, "I'll freeze the fountain, and then I'll have a dance."

'As she said this, she stood upon the pebbles of the shore, and began gently to draw the tip of her long feather over the surface of the water, and I saw, to my amazement, that wherever the feather passed it changed the surface of the water into ice. Long feathery crystals began to shoot in every direction over the basin wherever Agnes moved her wand.'

'Was her name Agnes?' asked Malleville.

'Yes,' said Beechnut.

'How do you know?' asked Malleville.

'Oh, she told me afterwards,' replied Beechnut. 'You will hear how presently. When she had got the surface of the water frozen, she stepped cautiously upon it to see if it would bear.'

'Would it?' asked Malleville.

'Yes,' replied Beechnut, 'it bore her perfectly. She advanced to the middle of it, springing up and down upon her feet to try the strength of the ice as she proceeded. She found that it was very strong.

'"Now," said she, "for the cascade."

'So saying, she began to draw her silver feather down the cascade, and immediately the same effect was produced which I had observed upon the water. The noise of the waterfall was immediately hushed. Beautiful stalactites and icicles were formed in the place of the pouring and foaming water. I should have thought that the cascade had been wholly congealed were it not that I could see in some places by the moonlight that the water was still gurgling down behind the ice, just as it usually does when cascades and waterfalls are frozen by natural cold.'[Pg 303]

Wherever the feather passed it changed the surface of the water.—Page 302. Wherever the feather passed it changed the surface of the water.—Page 302.

[Pg 305]

'Yes,' said Phonny, 'I have watched it very often on the brook.'

'On what brook?' asked Malleville.

'On the pasture brook,' said Phonny.

Beechnut took no notice of Phonny's remark, but went on with his narrative as follows:

'Agnes then walked back and forth upon the ice, and began to draw the tip of her long silver feather over the branches of the trees that overhung the basin, and over the mossy banks and the tall grass and flowers. Everything that she touched turned into the most beautiful frost-work. The branches of the trees were loaded with snow, the banks hung with icicles, and the tall grass and flowers seemed to turn white and transparent, and they glittered in the moonbeams as if they were encrusted with diamonds. I never saw anything so resplendent and beautiful.

'At last she looked round upon it all and said: "There, that will do. I wonder now if the ice is strong enough."

'Then she went into the middle of the ice, and standing upon it on tiptoe, she sprang up into the air, and then came down upon it again, as if she were trying its strength. At the same instant she said or sung in a beautiful silvery voice, like a bird, the word, "Peep!"

'When she had done this, she stopped for a moment to listen. I sat perfectly still, so as not to let her know that I was near. Presently she leaped up again twice in succession, singing, "Peep! Peep!"

'Then, after pausing a moment more, she began to dance away with the utmost agility and grace, singing[Pg 306] all the time a little song, the music of which kept time with her dancing. This was the song:

'"Peep! peep! chippeda dee,
Playing in the moonlight—nobody to see;
The boys and girls are gone away,
They've had their playtime in the day,
And now the night is left to me.
Peep! peep! chippeda dee!"'

'That's a pretty song,' said Malleville.

'Yes,' said Beechnut, 'and you cannot imagine how beautifully she sang it, and how gracefully she danced upon the ice while she was singing. I was so delighted that I could not sit perfectly still, but made some movement that caused a little rustling. Agnes stopped a moment to listen. I was very much afraid that she would see me. She did not see me, however, and so she began the second verse of her song:

'"Peep! peep! chippeda dee!
The moon is for the mountains, the sun is for the sea!"

'When she had got so far,' continued Beechnut, 'she suddenly stopped. She saw me. The fact was, I was trying to move back a little farther, so as to be out of sight, and I made a little rustling, which she heard. The instant she saw me, she ran off the ice, and up her little path to the opening in the oak, and in a moment disappeared. Presently, however, I saw the fringe of moss moving again, and she began to peep out.

'"Beechnut," said she, "how came you here?"

'"Why, I was taking a walk," said I, "and I came along this path. Don't you want me to be here?"

'"No," said she.

'"Oh, then I will go away," said I. "But how came you to know me?"[Pg 307]

'"Oh, I know you very well," said she. "Your name is Beechnut."

'"And do you know Malleville?" said I.

'"Yes," said she. "I know her very well. I like Malleville very much. I like her better than I do you."

'"Ah," said I; "I am sorry for that. Why do you like her better than you do me?"

'"Because she is a girl," said Agnes.

'"That is a good reason," said I, "I confess. I like girls myself better than I do boys. But how came you to know Malleville?"

'"Oh, I have seen her a great many times," said she, "peeping into her windows by moonlight, when she was asleep."

'"Well," said I, "I will tell Malleville about you, and she will want to come and see you."

'"No," said Agnes, "she must not come and see me; but she may write me a letter."

'"But she is not old enough to write letters," said I.

'"Then," said she, "she must tell you what to write, and you must write it for her."'

Beechnut observed that, though Phonny and Malleville neither of them spoke, they were both extremely interested, and somewhat excited by the story, and that he was far from accomplishing the object which he had in view at first in telling a story, namely, lulling Malleville to sleep. He therefore said to Malleville that, though he had a great deal more to tell her about Agnes, he thought it would be better not to tell her any more then; but that he would sing Agnes's song to her, to the same tune that Agnes herself sung it. He would sing it several times, he said, and she might listen, laying her head upon his shoulder.

Malleville said that she should like very much to hear[Pg 308] Beechnut sing the song, but that after he had sung it, she hoped he would tell her a little more about Agnes that night. She liked to hear about her, she said, very much indeed.

So Beechnut changed Malleville's position, placing her in such a manner that her head reclined upon his shoulder.

'Shut your eyes now,' said he, 'and form in your mind a picture of the little dell and fountain, with the frost-work beaming in the moonlight, and Agnes dancing on the ice while I sing.'

Then Beechnut began to sing the first verse of the song to a very lively and a pretty tune. He could not sing the second verse, he said, because he had not heard it all. But the first verse he sung over and over again.

'Peep! peep! chippeda dee!
Playing in the moonlight, nobody to see;
The boys and girls have gone away.
They've had their playtime in the day,
And now the night is left for me.
Peep! peep! chippeda dee!'

Malleville lay very still, listening to the song for about five minutes, and then Beechnut found that she was fast asleep. He then rose very gently, and carried her to her bed. He laid her in the bed, and Phonny, who stood by, covered her with the clothes. He and Phonny then crept softly out of the room.[Pg 309]


A Sound Sleeper

About nine o'clock, Hepzibah, having finished her work for the day, covered up the kitchen fire, and fastened the outer doors. Beechnut had gone to bed, and so had Phonny. Hepzibah went into Phonny's room to see if all was safe, and to get the light. She then went into Malleville's room.

The room had a very pleasant aspect, although the fire had nearly gone down. The lamp was burning on the stand at the foot of the bed where Phonny had left it. Hepzibah advanced softly to the bedside. Malleville was lying asleep there, with her cheek upon her hand.

'Poor child!' said Hepzibah to herself. 'She has gone to sleep. What a pity that I have got to wake her up by-and-by, and give her some medicine.'

Hepzibah then looked at a clock which stood upon the mantel-shelf, and saw that it was a little past nine. It was an hour or more before it would be time to give Malleville the drops. Hepzibah thought that if she went to bed, she should fall asleep, and not wake up again until morning, for she always slept very soundly. She determined, therefore, that she would sit up until half-past ten, and then, after giving Malleville the medicine, go to bed. She accordingly went and got her knitting-work, intending to keep herself awake while she sat up by knitting. When she came back into the room, she began to look for a comfortable seat. She finally decided on taking the sofa.

Mary Bell, after using the sofa for Malleville while she was making the bed, had put it back into its place by[Pg 310] the side of the room. Hepzibah, however, easily brought it forward again, for it trundled very smooth and noiselessly upon its castors. Hepzibah brought the sofa up to the fire, placing one end of it near to the stand, in order that she might have the benefit of the lamp in case of dropping a stitch. She prepared the medicine for Malleville by mixing it properly with water in a little cup, and put it upon the stand, so that it should be all ready to be administered when the time should come, and then sat down upon the sofa, next to the sofa cushions, which were upon the end of the sofa, between herself and the light.

Things went on very well for almost half an hour, but then Hepzibah, being pretty tired in consequence of her long day's work, and of her want of rest the night before, began to grow sleepy. Twice her knitting-work dropped out of her hands. The dropping of the knitting-work waked her the first and second time that it occurred. But the third time it did not wake her. After falling half over and recovering herself two or three times, she at length sank down upon the cushions, with her head upon the uppermost of them, and there in a short time she was fast asleep.

She remained in this condition for nearly two hours, Malleville in her bed sleeping all the time quietly too. When Malleville went to sleep, she did so resolving not to wake up for her medicine. She did not resolve not to take it, if any one else waked her up for it, but she determined not to wake up for it of her own accord. Whether this had any influence in prolonging her sleep it would be difficult to say. She did, however, sleep very soundly, and without changing her position at all, until a little after eleven o'clock, when she began to move her head and her arms a little, and presently she opened her eyes.[Pg 311]

She looked around the room and saw nobody. The light was burning, though rather dimly, and the fire had nearly gone out. She sat up in the bed, and after a few minutes' pause, she said in a gentle voice, as if speaking to herself:

'I wish there was somebody here to give me a drink of water.' Then, after waiting for a moment, she added, 'but I can just as well get down and find it myself.'

So saying, she climbed down from the bed, and put on her shoes and stockings, singing gently all the time, 'Peep! peep! chippeda dee!'

This was all of Agnes's song that she could remember.

She went toward the fire, wondering who had drawn out the sofa and what for, and on passing round before it, her wonder was changed into amazement at finding Hepzibah asleep upon it.

'Why,' she exclaimed, in a very low and gentle tone, just above a whisper, 'here is Hepzibah. I suppose she is sitting up to watch with me. How tired she is.'

She stood looking at Hepzibah a minute or two in silence, and then said, speaking in the same tone and manner as before:

'She is not comfortable. I mean to put her feet upon the sofa.'

So saying, Malleville stooped down, and clasping Hepzibah's feet with both her arms, she lifted them up as gently as she could, and put them upon the sofa. Hepzibah's sound sleep was not at all disturbed by this. In fact, her position being now much more easy than before, she sank away soon into a slumber deeper and more profound than ever.

Malleville, finding that her first attempt to render Hepzibah a service was so successful, immediately began to feel a strong interest in taking care of her, and, observing[Pg 312] that her feet were not very well covered as she lay upon the sofa, she thought it would be a good plan to go and find something to cover them up. So she went to a bureau which was standing in the room, and began to open one drawer after another, in search of a small blanket which was sometimes used for such a purpose. She found the blanket at length in the lowermost drawer of the bureau.

'Ah! here it is,' said she. 'I knew it was somewhere in this bureau.'

Saying this, she took out the blanket, and carried it to the sofa, doing everything in as noiseless a manner as possible. She spread the blanket over Hepzibah's feet, tucking the edges under very gently and carefully all around.

'Now,' said Malleville to herself, 'I will make up the fire a little, so that she shall not catch cold.'

There were two sticks remaining of those which Beechnut had brought up, and they were lying upon the carpet by the side of the fire, near the rocking-chair in which Beechnut had rocked Malleville to sleep. The wood which had been put upon the fire had burned entirely down, nothing being left of them but a few brands in the corners. Malleville took up the two sticks, one after another, and laid them upon the andirons, one for a back-stick and the other for a fore-stick, as she had often seen Phonny do. She then brought up a little cricket in front of the andirons, and sitting down upon it there, she took the tongs and began to pick up the brands and coals, and to put them into the interstice which was left between the two sticks. She did all this in a very noiseless and gentle manner, so as not to disturb Hepzibah; and she stopped very frequently to look round and see if Hepzibah was still sleeping.[Pg 313]

The air soon began to draw up through the coals which Malleville had placed between the sticks of wood, and thus fanning them, it brightened them into a glow. The brands began to smoke, and presently there appeared in one part a small flickering flame.

'There!' said Malleville, in a tone of great satisfaction, 'it is burning. Phonny said that I could not make a fire, but I knew that I could.'

Malleville had been very careful all the time not to allow her night-dress to get near the fire, and now, as the fire was beginning to burn, she thought that she must move still further away. She accordingly rose, and moved the cricket back. The fire burned more and more brightly, and Malleville observed that the light of it was flashing upon Hepzibah's face.

'I must make a screen for her,' said she, 'or the flashes will wake her up.'

So she went to the bureau again, and brought forth a shawl, one which she had often seen her aunt Henry use for this purpose. Then, putting a chair between the sofa and the fire, she spread the shawl upon the back of it, and found that it produced the effect of keeping the flashes of light from Hepzibah's face entirely to her satisfaction.

Malleville then began to wonder whether it was not time for her to take her medicine. She looked at the clock, to see if she could tell what o'clock it was. She could not, of course, for she had never learned to tell the time by the clock. Accordingly, after looking at the hands and figures a few minutes in silence, and listening to the ticking, she said:

'I cannot tell what o'clock it is, but it looks pretty late. I have a great mind to take my medicine myself.'

She then turned to the table, where the lamp and the[Pg 314] medicines were standing. The cup was there in which Hepzibah had prepared Malleville's medicine. Malleville took it up, looked at it, and stirred it a little with the spoon.

'I wonder if this is my medicine,' said she. 'I have a great mind to take it. But, then perhaps, it is not my medicine. Perhaps it is poison.'

So she put the cup down upon the table again, glad, in fact, of a plausible excuse for not taking the draught.

'I'll sit down in this rocking-chair,' he said, 'and wait till Hepzibah wakes up. She will wake up pretty soon.'

So she went to the rocking-chair and sat down. She began to rock herself to and fro, watching the little flames and the curling smoke that were ascending from the fire. She remained thus for nearly a quarter of an hour, and then she began to be a little tired.

'What a long night!' said she. 'I did not know that nights were so long. I wish that Hepzibah would wake up. But I suppose she is very tired. I mean to go and look out of the window, and see if the morning is not coming. Beechnut said that we could always see it coming in the east, at the end of the night.'

Malleville did not know which the east was, but she thought she would at any rate go and look out of the window. She accordingly went to the window, and pushing the curtains aside and opening the shutters, she looked out. She saw the moon in the sky, and several stars, but there were no appearances of morning.

There was a bronze ink-stand upon the table near the window, and some pens upon it. The idea occurred to Malleville that perhaps she might write a little while, to occupy the time till Hepzibah should wake up.[Pg 315]

'If I only had some paper,' said she, 'I would write a letter to Agnes.'

Malleville carried the lamp now to the table by the window, and taking great care to put it down in a place where it would not be at all in danger of setting fire to the curtain, she took the pen and began her writing. She worked patiently upon the task for half an hour. The letter was then completed. Of course, it is impossible to give any idea in a printed book of the appearance of the writing, but the letter itself, as Malleville intended to express it, was as follows:

Wednesday, midnight.

'Dear Agnes,

'I like you because Beechnut says you like me. Please to answer this letter.

'Your affectionate friend,

Malleville only wrote M. instead of her whole name, Malleville, at the bottom of her letter, because, just as she was finishing her work, the lamp began to burn very dim. She was afraid that it was going out. So she stopped with the M., saying to herself that Agnes would know who it was from, and, besides, if she did not, Beechnut could tell her when he gave it to her. She folded the note and slipped it into the envelope, and then, hastily wetting a wafer, which she found in a small compartment in the centre of the bronze ink-stand, she put it in its place, and pressed down the flap of the envelope upon it. She then took the lamp and went to find a pin to prick up the wick a little, to keep it from going out.

She could not find any pin, and the lamp burned more and more dimly.[Pg 316]

'I must go downstairs and find another lamp,' said Malleville, 'or else Hepzibah will be left all in the dark.'

She turned and looked towards Hepzibah a moment as she said this, and then added, 'Poor Hepzibah! How tired she must be to sleep so long.'

She then took the lamp and walked softly out of the room. The stairs creaked a little as she descended, though she stepped as carefully as she could. When she reached the kitchen door, she found it shut. She opened it and went in.

The kitchen was pretty warm, as there had been a fire in it all the day, although the fire was now all covered up in the ashes. The andirons were standing one across the other upon the hearth, idle and useless. Malleville looked about the room for a lamp, but she did not see any. The kitchen was in perfect order, everything being put properly away in its place.

'I will look into the closets,' said Malleville.

So she opened a closet door and looked in. There were various articles on the shelves, but no lamps. She then shut this door, and opened another closet door at the back of the room. Here Malleville found four lamps standing in a row upon the second shelf. She was very much pleased to see them. She took one of them down and carried it to the kitchen table, and then lighted it by means of a lamp-lighter, which she obtained from a lamp-lighter case hanging up by the side of the fireplace. She then blew out her own lamp, and carrying it into the closet, she put it up upon the shelf in the place of the one which she had taken away.

On the lower shelf Malleville saw, much to her satisfaction, a plate of bread with some butter by the side of it. There was a little pitcher near, too, and Malleville, on looking into it, found that it was half full of milk.[Pg 317]

'I am very glad that I have found this,' said she, 'for now I can have some supper. I wanted something, and I could not tell what. I know now. I was hungry.'

She brought out the bread and butter and the milk to the kitchen table, and then drawing up a chair, she began to eat her supper, feeling a most excellent appetite.

She went on very prosperously for a time, having eaten two slices of bread and drank nearly all the milk, when suddenly her attention was arrested by a movement at the head of the kitchen stairs. These stairs ascended from very near the door where Malleville had entered the kitchen, and as Malleville had left the door open, the light from her lamp shone out into the entry, and she could also, while in the kitchen, hear any sound upon the stairs. The sound which attracted her attention was like that of a person opening a door and coming out. Malleville immediately stopped drinking from her pitcher and listened.

'Who is that down in the kitchen?' said a voice. Malleville immediately recognised the voice as that of Beechnut.

'I,' said Malleville.

'I?' repeated Beechnut. 'Who do you mean? Is it Malleville.'

'Yes,' replied Malleville.

'Why, Malleville,' exclaimed Beechnut, in a tone of profound astonishment, 'what are you doing in the kitchen?'

'I am eating some supper,' said Malleville.

'But, Malleville,' exclaimed Beechnut, 'you ought not to be down there eating supper at this time of night. How came you to go down?'

'Oh, I came down,' replied Malleville, 'to get a lamp for Hepzibah.'[Pg 318]

'For Hepzibah!' repeated Beechnut. 'Did she send you down there for a lamp?'

'Oh, no,' said Malleville, 'I came myself.'

'Where is Hepzibah?' asked Beechnut.

'She is asleep,' said Malleville, 'and you must not speak so loud or you will wake her up.'

Malleville could now hear Beechnut laughing most immoderately, though evidently making great efforts to suppress the sound of his laughter. Presently he regained his composure in a sufficient degree to speak, and Malleville heard his voice again, calling:


'What?' said Malleville.

'Have you nearly finished your supper?' asked Beechnut.

'Yes,' replied Malleville. 'I have only got a little more milk to drink.'

'Well,' said Beechnut, 'when you have drank your milk, you had better go directly back to your room again, and get into bed and go to sleep.'

'And what shall I do with Hepzibah?' said Malleville.

'Where is Hepzibah?' asked Beechnut. 'Is she asleep in your room?'

'Yes,' replied Malleville.

'On the sofa?' asked Beechnut.

'Yes,' replied Malleville.

'Then leave her where she is,' replied Beechnut, 'and go to bed and go to sleep. If you do not get to sleep in half an hour, ring your bell, and I will dress myself, and come and see what to do.'

'Well,' said Malleville, 'I will.' So, taking her new lamp, she went upstairs again to her room. Hepzibah was sleeping as soundly as ever.[Pg 319]

Malleville, in obedience to Beechnut's directions, after putting her lamp upon the stand, went directly to her bed and lay down. She shut her eyes to try to go to sleep, thinking of Beechnut's injunction to ring the bell if she did not get to sleep in half an hour, and wondering how she was to determine when the half hour would be ended. Long, however, before she had decided this perplexing question, she was fast asleep.

The next morning Hepzibah awoke at half-past five, which was her usual time of rising. She started up, amazed to find that it was morning, and that she had been asleep all night upon the sofa in Malleville's room. Her amazement was increased at finding her feet enveloped in a blanket, and a screen placed carefully between her face and the remains of the fire. She went hastily to Malleville's bedside, and finding that the little patient was there safe and well, she ran off to her own room, hoping that Phonny and Beechnut would never hear the story of her watching, and tell it to the men; for if they did, the men, she said to herself, would tease her almost to death about it.

When the doctor came the next morning, and they told him about Malleville's supper, he laughed very heartily, and said that food was better for convalescents than physic after all, and that, though patients often made very sad mistakes in taking their case into their own hands, yet he must admit that it proved sometimes that they could prescribe for themselves better than the doctor.

[Pg 320]

The Life and Adventures of Lady Anne

Chapter I


Of the first years of my life I have but a slight recollection, as I suddenly lost my mother by death, and was placed under the care of strangers soon after I had completed my fifth year. What passed before that time is like the faint remembrance of a long past dream, but it seemed to myself that I had lived among ladies and gentlemen—had been used to ride in a carriage, to be waited on by servants, who called me Lady Anne, and to be fondled by a lady and gentleman, who called me Annie, and their little darling, and whom I called father and mother. These pleasing visions seemed suddenly to pass away. I no longer saw my father, nor the ladies and gentlemen; we were no longer living in a large house; our servants were gone, and mother was almost always in tears. Then, all of a sudden, we were riding alone in a post-chaise; night came on, and we stopped at a house. There mother was very ill, and laid in bed, and did not speak to me for several days, and a great many people[Pg 321] came and talked to her, but she did not answer any of them. At last I thought she was asleep, for her eyes were shut, and her hands were quite cold; then I wanted to get upon the bed that I might sit beside her, but the strange people that were there carried me out of the room, and teazed me with questions that I did not understand, or, if I had understood them, could not have answered for crying. After this two men came and put my mother into a large black box, and took her away.

These are painful remembrances, so sad and so painful that, at this distance of time, I cannot think of them without weeping.

What passed immediately after this I cannot remember, for I have been told that I had a violent fever, and was ill for a long time. Of all these things I have but a confused remembrance, yet I do remember them; but the time from which I can clearly recollect is from when I was about six years old, and from that period I remember every material circumstance of my life as clearly as if I had written them all down as they happened. I will now continue my narrative at the time from which I can correctly remember. I then found myself living in a large cottage with nearly twenty other children. We were under the care of an elderly woman, whom we called nurse. This house, I was told, when I was old enough to understand the meaning of the expression, was the place where the infant paupers, or poor children of the parish, were kept. Of our treatment there I have no cause to complain. We were well washed every morning, and our clothes were kept clean and tidy; our food was coarse and rather scanty, so that we always had a good appetite, yet we had sufficient to keep us in a good state of health, and the farmers' wives and cottage people who lived near would often give us pieces of[Pg 322] bread and a little milk, so that, as I said before, we had no cause for complaint. Our nurse taught us reading and sewing, and, as she was rather a good-natured woman, she would frequently converse with us, if the prattle of children can be called conversation, and answer our little questions.

I must here make a digression to inform my young readers that, though I was a poor child, a mere pauper among a number of others who were not any poorer than myself, yet I was always treated with a great deal of respect both by the nurse and the other children. I was always called Lady Anne, and in all our little plays my companions would choose me to be a lady or their queen. Then I would, in a language which seemed natural to me, order the carriage for an airing, or propose a saunter in the park, or perhaps say we would go to the opera in the evening. The girls whom I admitted to the honour of visiting me I would address as ladies, and tell some of the others to come and say that 'Her ladyship's carriage was waiting,' or that 'Lady Sally's carriage stopped the way.' It was on one of these occasions that my nurse said to me:

'Ah, Lady Anne, it is a thousand pities that you are not among the lords and ladies you are so often talking about. It was an unlucky chance that brought you here, for, poor child, with us you are like a fish out of water.'

'What was it that brought me here?' said I. 'How did I come?'

'It is a long story to tell you,' replied she, 'but, as it is about yourself, you will not be tired of hearing it; so come, children, get your knitting and sit down, and you shall hear how Lady Anne came to live among us.'

In a few minutes we all had our knitting, and seated ourselves so as to form a semi- or half-circle round the[Pg 323] good woman. Curiosity and expectation were painted in every countenance, myself the most curious and anxious of the whole group, for I often, in my own mind, wondered how it was that I no longer saw the gentlemen and ladies who it seemed to myself I had been in the habit of seeing, and where my father could be gone to, and why everything about me was so different to what it had once been. Our nurse having examined our work, and directed us how to go on with it, began her little narrative in the following manner:

'It will be two years on the twelfth of next November since one cold, wet evening, about eight o'clock, a lady, with a little girl that seemed about five years old, stopped at the Falcon Inn at E——. That lady was your mother, and that little girl was you, Lady Anne. Well, the chaise stopped, and your mother got out, and desired to be shown to a bedroom, and ordered tea, and tired and ill the landlady said she looked, but she did not know how very ill she really was. Well, after tea she put you to bed, and prepared to go herself, and she told the chambermaid to call her next morning at eight o'clock, for that, after breakfast, she intended to continue her journey. She ordered breakfast too, but, poor lady, when the morning came she was in a high fever.

'The good woman of the inn was terribly frightened, as you may suppose, at having a strange lady ill in her house, and not knowing whom she belonged to, nor whether she had money to pay her expenses, so she went to Mr. Sanders, our clergyman, to advise with him what was to be done. Then he went to the inn, and looked at your mother, and examined a little trunk, which was all the luggage she had. It contained just a change of linen for herself and you, and rather more than forty pounds in bank-notes and money, but no letters, nor any[Pg 324] writing to tell who she was. The linen, both yours and your mother's, was marked A. M., and the trunk had the same letters in brass nails.

'Then the clergyman asked you your name; you said it was Lady Anne. Then he asked you your father's and mother's, and you said it was my lord and my lady, and that was all the answer he could get from you, for you did not know anything about a surname, and I must say I think it is a very foolish thing not to teach children their names and proper directions, for if you could have told yours, your friends would have been wrote to, and you would now have been with them, instead of being a poor little beggar in a workhouse; but I suppose, as your parents kept their carriage, they did not think there was any occasion that you should know your name and your direction; so much the worse for you.

'But to go on with my story. When Mr. Sanders asked your age, you said you were five years old, and that was all he could learn from you. Well, your mother was very ill, and did not know anything they asked her; she did not even know you, though you sat on the bed, by her, and did all you could to make her notice you, but it was all of no use, your poor mother could not notice anything. Then a doctor was sent for, and as soon as he came he said that the lady would die, but that he would do all in his power to save her, and so, I believe, he did, but it was all in vain, for on the third evening your mother died. The parish buried her very decently, for Mr. Sanders said that, as she had left money, she should not be buried like a pauper, and he would have taken you home and brought you up, but Madam Sanders said they had a large family of their own, and could not be burdened with other people's children, so you were sent to me, and I took all the care of you I could, for you had a bad fever, and were ill for a long time, and used to talk about lords and ladies, and would often say, if the earl would but forgive your father and mother you should all be very happy. When you grew better I asked you what earl you had been talking about, but you neither knew his name, nor what had been done to offend him.[Pg 325]

The arrival at the inn.—Page 323. The arrival at the inn.—Page 323.

[Pg 327]

'Mr. Sanders drew up an advertisement that was put into several newspapers, describing your mother and you, and telling of her coming to E——, and of her death, and begging her friends to come and take away the child, or it must otherwise be sent to the parish poor-house; but nobody ever sent or came, and the churchwardens would not allow any more money to be spent upon advertisements, for they said they must keep what was left to pay them for their care of you, as you were left upon their hands, and many people said they thought that you and your mother were only sham ladies, and that there was some trick in it, but, for my part, I always said that you and your mother were real ladies, and so thinks Mr. Sanders, for he says he does not know what trick there could be in a lady being taken ill and dying. He says he hopes to see the day when you will be restored to your friends, and he keeps the little trunk that your mother had, and the picture of a gentleman that she wore hung from her neck, and two rings; one, I suppose, was her wedding ring, the other is a very handsome one, and has hair in it and letters, and a great many little pearls, and the clergyman says it is worth a great deal of money, and that no sham lady could have such a handsome ring, and, besides all that, he keeps the clothes that you and your mother wore, that in case you should ever meet with your relations all these things may prove you are the same child that was lost, and not an impostor.'[Pg 328]

Chapter II


Young as I was this relation of my nurse made me weep very much; it brought to my memory things which I had long thought must have been dreams. I well remembered my father's picture; I had seen my mother weep over it, press it to her lips, and address it by the name of her dear Frederick. I earnestly entreated the nurse to take me to the clergyman's, that I might once more have the pleasure of seeing it. She told me to have patience till Sunday, and that when service was over she would speak to him about it. I submitted to this delay without a murmur, and the following Sunday, when service was over, as he was walking through the churchyard, nurse went up to him and told him my request.

'Ah,' said he, looking at the little troop of children that followed the nurse, and immediately fixing his eyes upon me, 'I suppose this is the little lady. What is your name, my dear?'

'Lady Anne, sir,' replied I, curtseying very low. I must here observe that I did not know that lady was a title, but thought it was as much a part of my name as Anne.

'What, still Lady Anne?' said he. 'You are determined not to lose your title. Well, my little lady, come home with me and I will show you your father's picture.'

We then followed the clergyman to his house. The[Pg 329] children were told to stay in the garden, with strict orders not to touch anything, and nurse and I were permitted the honour of entering the study. Mr. Sanders then, opening the drawer of a cabinet, took out the miniature portrait of a young and handsome gentleman dressed in regimentals. I no sooner beheld it than a thousand recollections seemed to rush upon my mind. I caught it from his hand, pressed it to my lips, and bursting into a flood of tears, exclaimed:

'It is my father's picture. My own, my dear father. Oh, if I could but see him! Where is he gone to? Do you know where he is gone to?'

'Be calm, my dear child,' said the good man, taking me in his arms. 'We do not know where your father is, or we would write to him. If you could tell us his name, we might find him out. Do you not remember any name they used to call your father?'

'They used to call father my lord; and mother my lady, and they called me Lady Anne,' said I.

'Ah! that is the old story, we know it already,' replied the clergyman with a sigh; 'but who, my dear, was the earl? Can you not recollect his name? Try if you cannot remember.'

'I do not know his name,' replied I, 'but he came one day and was very angry, and made mother cry, and then she fell on the floor and I screamed, and then the Earl was more angry and stamped, and I screamed with all my might, and the Earl rang the bell and went away in a great passion, and then Sally—yes, it was Sally—came to mother.'

'Where was your father, then, my dear?'

'I do not know, father was gone, and I have never seen him since.'

The good clergyman asked me many more questions,[Pg 330] to try if he could discover who my friends were; but, as I unfortunately could not tell either my own name, or that of any of the great people who had visited us, his enquiries were fruitless, and he closed the conversation by observing, 'that it was a great pity I had not been taught my own name and address.'

[Lady Anne was then taken to an orphan home, where she was treated very harshly by Mrs. Dawson, the matron. Great fun was made of her grand name.]

At last a man and his wife, who had come down from London on a visit to a relation of theirs in the town, having heard of me, came to the school to make their inquiries. I was accordingly ordered to stand up, that they might satisfy their curiosity with gazing at me, while Mrs. Dawson began to boast of all the good qualities I possessed, and some to which I had no claim.

'She is a very delicate looking child,' said the woman from London; 'she looks more like a gentleman's daughter than a parish girl.'

'She is straight, and tall of her age, ma'am,' replied Mrs. Dawson, 'and that gives her a genteelish look; but I assure you she is as strong as a little horse. She will wash and scour with any girl of her age; and, as for her needle, there is not a girl in the school can work as well. Show your work, Lady Anne.'

'Lady Anne!' repeated the Londoner, as she took my work into her hand, 'that is a strange name. What do you call her so for?'

Mrs. Dawson ran over my story to her as briefly as she could. The two Londoners found it very diverting, and laughed heartily, while the tears stood in my eyes as I thought of my dear parents, one in the grave, and the other I might never see again.[Pg 331]

'Well, wife,' said the man, when he had laughed till he was weary, 'suppose we take this young lady on trial for a month; the good woman speaks of her very well; we can but see what she can do, and, if we find her strong enough for our place, it will be a rare piece of luck for us to have an earl's daughter for our servant. What say you, aye or nay?'

'I have no objection to try her,' replied the wife. 'She sews very well, and that is the greatest object with us.'

'Very well, then,' returned the husband. 'Let us away to the overseers, and settle with them about taking her upon trial, for I will not have her as an apprentice till we know what she can do.'

They then went away, and, in about two hours, the one that I called the good-natured overseer came to tell Mrs. Dawson to have me in readiness to go to London on the morning after the morrow with my new master and mistress.

'And I hope, child,' said he, addressing me, 'that you will do all you can to please them, for I give you my word for it, that if you are sent back to us we shall send you to the Bridewell, where you will be kept to hard labour, and be whipped every day; so now you know what you have to trust to.'

I assured him very sincerely that I would do to the utmost of my power to please my master and mistress; and then I very humbly entreated his permission to allow me to go the next day to pay a farewell visit to Mr. Sanders and my nurse, Jenkins.

'Yes, child, you shall go. And mind, Dawson, that you let her go early, that she may find Mr. Sanders at home, for he made me promise that we would not send her away without first letting her call upon him. Good-bye, child, there is a penny for you to spend, and if you[Pg 332] are a good girl you shall have a shilling for yourself when you are bound apprentice.'

I curtsied, thanked him, and renewed my promises of good behaviour. He then went away, and Mrs. Dawson told me to sit down to my work, for that too much time had been lost in talking.

Chapter III


The next morning I arose before it was well light. It was a cold morning in the month of February, and the snow was lying upon the ground; but my heart felt so light at the thought of escaping from the ill-temper of Mrs. Dawson, and the hope of being more comfortable, that everything appeared cheerful and pleasant. I made what haste I could to get my morning work done, and, having breakfasted, set off about nine o'clock on my little journey. The distance from the workhouse to Mr. Sanders's was rather more than two miles; but the sun was now shining, and the road hard and dry, and I tripped along so lightly that I was therein a little more than half an hour.

'Good-morning to you, my dear,' said the kind gentleman when he saw me; 'you seem in excellent spirits. Have you got a place?'

'Yes, sir,' I replied. 'I am to go to London to-morrow, and then, I hope, I shall find my father soon.'

'My poor child, I wish you may,' answered he; 'but[Pg 333] do not raise your expectations too high, for fear you should be disappointed. What sort of people are you to be with, and what is it you are to do?'

I then related all that had passed the preceding day between Mrs. Dawson and the strangers.

'Well,' said Mr. Sanders, 'I will call this evening upon the overseers, and hear what they say of these people. I hope they are respectable, and will be kind to you; and, my dear child, pray remember my advice, be honest and obliging; do not let any temptation lead you to take what is not your own; and never give a saucy answer, even though you should be found fault with unjustly. Will you think of my advice, and act by it?'

'I will, indeed I will,' replied I. 'And now, sir, if you please, let me once more look at my father's picture, for, you know, when I am in London, I cannot come to you then to look at it.'

Mr. Sanders, taking it from the drawer, gave it into my hand. I gazed at it, pressed it to my lips, and wept over it; and, at last, when Mr. Sanders desired me to give it him back, I begged of him to let me take it with me to London.

'If you take it to London,' said he, 'you may, perhaps, lose it, or it may be taken from you. The picture is valuable on account of the gold and pearls about it, and may tempt bad people to steal it. You had much better leave it with me.'

'I will hide it so securely,' replied I, 'that nobody shall ever see it, or know that I have it.'

'How can you hide it, my dear?'

'I will hide it in my bosom; but I am going to Nurse Jenkins, and she will fasten it inside my stays, so that it cannot be seen, and people will not think that I have a picture. Do, pray, sir, let me have it.'[Pg 334]

'Well,' said Mr. Sanders, after a little pause, in which he seemed to consider whether it would be safe to grant my request or not; 'I will entrust it to your care, but be sure never to let it be seen, nor to tell anyone that you have such a picture in your possession.'

Most fervently I promised to take every possible care of this beloved portrait, and was about to take my leave when Mr. Sanders said:

'Stay, my dear, here is sixpence for you.'

'No, thank you, sir,' said I. 'I have the sixpence you gave me when I left my nurse.'

'What! have you not spent that yet?'

'No, sir.'

'And why not, pray?'

'Because you gave it to me, sir, I shall never spend it.'

'Then you are keeping it for my sake, I suppose. Well, do so, my dear, but take this sixpence, and mind you spend it.'

I took it with a curtsey, and tried to say 'Good-bye,' but the words seemed to choke me, and I burst into tears. Mr. Sanders seemed much affected, and putting his handkerchief to his eyes, walked about the room for some minutes without speaking; then, again approaching me, he kissed my forehead.

'Farewell, my dear child,' said he. 'I wish it was in my power to keep you, but I have a large family, and Mrs. Sanders is not willing that I should take you in addition, so farewell, we must part; be a good girl, and I hope we shall meet again in happier circumstances.'

He then again kissed me, bestowed his benediction upon me, and led me to the gate. I sobbed out my farewell, and, with the tears streaming down my face, took my way to the humble dwelling of my nurse. I[Pg 335] had nearly two miles to walk before I reached her cottage. At first I went along with a slow and deliberate step, thinking upon my parting with Mr. Sanders, and comparing my lot with that of children who had fathers and mothers, and weeping at my own destitute situation; for, even among the children who were in the workhouse, there was not one excepting myself who had not relations who came occasionally to see them, and to whom they looked up for some sort of protection, while I was a poor little outcast in society, not knowing one creature in the whole world to whom I could say I was related. Mr. Sanders and my nurse were the only persons who seemed to care anything about me; and even these, my only friends, I must leave, and go and live among strangers. These thoughts made me very melancholy, and, though this second part of my journey was the shortest, yet I was nearly an hour in walking it. At last I saw the cottage, and, quickening my pace, I arrived there tired and out of spirits.

The good woman received me kindly, and placing me near the fire, gave me a basin of broth, with plenty of bread in it. After I had taken this refreshment, which I greatly needed, she began asking me a variety of questions, and by degrees I gave her the history of all that had happened to me from the time I had left her house, for since that time I had never had an opportunity of saying more to her than a few words when we happened to meet at the church.

'Poor child,' said she, when I concluded, 'I was afraid you would not be comfortable, for Mrs. Dawson is a woman of a very bad temper; but she does make the girls good servants, that nobody can deny, and that, I suppose, is the reason she keeps her place; however, your time is over with her now, so never mind what is past,[Pg 336] but look forward to what is to come. What sort of people are you going to live with?'

'I hardly know,' replied I; 'but their name is Smith, and they live in a place called the Borough.'

'Do you know what their trade is?'

'They sell umbrellas and shoes, and I am to learn to make the umbrellas, and that is all I know about them.'

'Well, my dear, I hope that you will be able to do for them, and that they will be kind to you, and you must trust to Providence for the discovery of your friends.'

I then drew my father's picture from my bosom, and asked her if she would fasten it into my stays in such a way that I could wear it without its being seen.

'Yes, my dear,' said she, 'that I will, and you must mind how I do it, that, when you have a new pair of stays, you may be able to fasten it into them in the same manner.'

My stays were then taken off, and the portrait fastened inside of them; a piece of flannel was then sewed over it, which, being left loose at one corner, I could, when I had them off, raise it up, and take a view of the dear likeness. The first sixpence that Mr. Sanders gave me I had fastened in also, for I was determined never to part with it. This being done I produced the sixpence he had given me that morning, and the penny given me by the overseer, and begged the nurse to accept of them.

'No, my dear,' said she, 'I will not take them from you; keep them yourself, you do not know what you may want when you are in London. You will not then have anybody to give you a halfpenny should you need it.'

'I will not keep it,' replied I. 'Mr. Sanders told me to spend it, and if you will not take it I shall leave it upon the table.'[Pg 337]

'Well,' said she, 'if it must be spent, I will go and lay it out in tea and sugar, and give you all a treat, for I suppose you have not tasted any tea since you have been with Mrs. Dawson.'

'No,' said I, 'not a single drop. How glad I am that you have thought of letting us have tea.'

My young readers who, perhaps, have tea every day, cannot imagine what a luxury a little of it is to a poor workhouse child, who never tastes it but when she is allowed to go out and see her friends. Children in workhouses have bread and cheese and small-beer about seven o'clock, which serves them for tea and supper, and I, as I had no friends to go and see, had not once tasted tea since I left my nurse's, who was a good-natured woman, and always gave us tea on Sunday evenings—weak, indeed, but we thought it delicious; on other evenings we had milk-and-water and bread-and-butter.

My nurse soon came back with her purchase. The large kettle was set on the fire, the great brown loaf was brought out, and nurse began cutting slices of bread-and-butter for us.

The children were so delighted at the thoughts of the treat they were to have that they began dancing about the floor, and I, forgetting my late sorrow, joined in their sports. When the repast was quite ready we took our places, some at the table, and some on the benches, as we could find room. Nurse gave each of us a little basin of tea and a good slice of bread-and-butter, and I think I may say that the whole body of aldermen dining at the Lord Mayor's feast never ate their meal with half the zest that we felt in sipping our homely tea, and eating our brown bread.

Soon after the tea was over nurse proposed my returning[Pg 338] home, as the days were short, and as she did not wish me to be out after it was dark. I felt a pang at the idea of so soon parting with my good nurse, but without replying I immediately put on my bonnet and cloak. Nurse and the children accompanied me a full mile on my way home, and then we parted with tears on both sides.

Chapter IV


It was a very fine morning, the sun shone brightly, the fields, hedges, and trees were covered with snow, which, as the air was very cold, did not melt, but sparkled and glittered most beautifully. I gazed with much pleasure on the scenery as we passed along, and should have been cheerful, but I was with strangers, who took very little notice of me, scarcely speaking to me the whole day, so that I could not help feeling sorrowful, and sometimes even wished myself back again with Mrs. Dawson.

About seven o'clock in the evening we stopped at a small shop in one of the cross streets in the Borough. There I was told that we were at home. We entered, and I gave a curious and somewhat fearful glance round the place. The shop was set out partly with umbrellas and partly with shoes, but everything seemed dirty and in confusion. Shoe-lasts, umbrella-sticks, and a large quantity of whalebone, were lying in heaps about the[Pg 339] floor, while in one corner stood a large pan of dirty water in which they soaked the leather, and which, not being often changed, sent forth a most unpleasant smell; the floor did not appear as if it was swept once in a month. We entered the parlour, which was in the same state of dirt and confusion as the shop. Three dirty children, whose ages I was afterwards told were thirteen, eleven, and nine, came to meet their parents. Their frocks were dirty and ragged, their stockings with holes in them, their shoes slipped down at the heel, while they wore strings of coloured beads round their necks, that did not seem as if they were washed oftener than once a month. They were clamouring round their parents to know what they had brought them from the country, and who I was.

Their father gave them a basket with cakes and fruit in it, and told them to take that, and ask him no questions till he was at leisure to answer them. The master's sister, who had taken charge of the house during his absence, was dressed much in the same style as the children, her stockings being dirty and with holes in them, her gown unripped in several places at the seams, and on her head a dirty cap, with a fine lace border and ornamented with pink ribbon. The room and furniture were in the same untidy condition, and as I looked around me I could not but fear that my situation in this house would be very uncomfortable.

We were all of us both tired and cold. The sister made tea, of which Mrs. Smith gave me a good basinful, and a thick slice of bread-and-butter. They then began talking among themselves, and me and my little history was the subject of their conversation. They were all much amused at my being called Lady Anne. Mrs. Smith declared that she would either call me Anne or Nancy,[Pg 340] and Mr. Smith insisted that I should have my full title.

'I tell you what, husband,' said she, 'you may call her what you please, but I shall call her Nanny.'

'And I tell you what, wife,' returned he, 'I shall call her Lady Anne, and so shall the children, or I'll strap them well, and you ought to call her so. Who knows but that girl may be the means of making our fortune? If she really is an earl's daughter, her father may come into our shop some day to look at an umbrella or a pair of shoes, and when he hears us call her Lady Anne he will, of course, inquire the reason; then we shall tell him her history, he'll make us a present—a handsome one, too—not less than a thousand pounds, I should think, or, if it is not a handsome one, I'll send him in a swinging bill for her keep, so that I will have it one way or another.'

'Why, you know that we must keep her,' replied his wife; 'she is our servant, and will soon be our 'prentice, if she can do our work.'

'You know nothing about it,' returned her husband. 'If she is bound to us, we shall be bound to keep her; but if she is not, whenever we find her father we can send him in a good bill for her keep, and make him pay it too, that is my opinion of the matter.'

'And so,' answered his wife, 'for the sake of this fine dream you mean to lose the 'prentice fees, do you?'

'Aye, do I,' replied he, 'and you'll thank me for it too, when his earlship gives me the thousand pounds.'

'And in the meantime,' asked his wife, 'what is to be done with her ladyship? Is she to be kept for looking at?'

'You may look at her as much as you please,' answered her husband, 'but, as she will eat, so she must work or starve, and now give me a glass of gin and water, for tea[Pg 341] is not worth drinking, and I have talked till my throat is dry.'

His wile brought out and mixed the liquor, repeating to herself: 'And so for this fine castle in the air we are to lose the 'prentice fees.'

Mr. Smith now had a pipe, and sat smoking and drinking, his wife and sister talked on indifferent subjects, and the children amused themselves by repeatedly coming to me, and saying, 'How do you do, Lady Anne? I hope you are very well,' and the like idle expressions. Their father laughed, and said they had learned their lesson already, but their mother, who was vexed at losing the apprentice fees, after some little time told them to be quiet, or she would send them to bed. This command released me from their silly questions; they got different playthings, and seated themselves on the floor near the fire, while I sat on a stool on a distant part of the room, but glad at any rate to be free from their questions.

At length nine o'clock came. Mrs. Smith gave each of the children a slice of bread-and-butter, and I was in hopes she would have given me one too, but I was mistaken. After the children had taken their supper she said to me:

'Now, Anne, you will go upstairs with us, and I will show you where you are to sleep. You must be up betimes in the morning, and let us see what you can do for your living; for, I assure you, we shall not keep you in idleness, though you are a lady.'

Without reply, I followed them upstairs into a large back attic, which was in the same comfortless state as the shop and parlour. There was only one bed in the room, and it had neither curtains or posts: it had not been made that day at the least. Mrs. Smith merely laid it smooth, while the children took off their clothes,[Pg 342] which they threw in heaps upon the floor, and then scrambled into bed, without either nightgown or night-cap. Mrs. Smith then looked round the room, and said:

'I must now contrive a bed for you, child.'

I looked round, too, but did not see anything that seemed to me likely to answer such a purpose. There were, indeed, several heaps of dirty old clothes, but they did not appear to me fit for anything but to burn, or to send away among the ashes. Mrs. Smith, however, approached one of them, and said:

'Here, child, you may pick out plenty of clothes, and spread them upon the floor, and I will give you an old blanket to cover you: then, I think, you will do very well.'

I went to the heap, and my heart heaved with sickness and disgust as I lifted up dirty old coats, trousers, waistcoats, and gowns. It seemed as if all the old clothes of the family for the last ten years had been collected into this room; and out of this mass of litter I was to make my bed. This was, indeed, heart-breaking to me, for all my life I had been accustomed to cleanliness, even when in the workhouse; for there, though we lived hard and slept hard, yet everything was clean.

'What is the girl thinking about?' said Mrs. Smith angrily. 'Pick out a few things and make your bed. I cannot stand waiting upon you for half an hour.'

I did not dare to answer, but picked out a few of the things that looked the least dirty, and spread them upon the floor. Mrs. Smith then went downstairs, and in a few minutes brought me up an old blanket, which she threw upon the floor, saying:

'I cannot stay any longer; it is moonlight, and you must make your bed, and go to it as you can.'[Pg 343]

She then went away, and I was no sooner alone than, seating myself upon the floor, I wept most bitterly.

'How unhappy I am!' thought I. 'Every change I make is for the worse. When I left my nurse I was worse off at the workhouse; and now I have left the workhouse I am worse off here; and my father—I shall never see him more, for he will never find me in such a dirty place as this.'

Again I wept, but, being overpowered with sleep, I wrapped the blanket round me, and, laying myself upon the old clothes I had spread upon the floor, I was soon in a sound sleep.

I was awakened the next morning at an early hour by Mr. Smith knocking at the room door, and telling me to make haste down and light the fire. This I did, and swept up the parlour, which I made look as tidy as I could. After breakfast, of which I had but a very scanty allowance, I was ordered into the shop, and Mr. Smith sat down, and began teaching me how to make the covers for umbrellas. The shop-door was open, and my hands were so cold that I could scarcely hold the needle; but I did as well as I was able, and worked till I was called to my dinner, which was not till the rest of the family had dined; then all the bits of fat and scraps that they did not like were scraped together into a plate for me, which, with a very small piece of meat in addition, and a few potatoes, was my dinner. Complaint was useless. I had no choice but to eat it or to go without. I then returned to my work till the family had taken their tea, when a small basinful was given to me, and one slice of bread-and-butter—not a slice all round the loaf, but half round it. After tea, Mr. Smith went out, and his wife and sister, with two other women that came in, spent the evening at cards. At nine o'clock the children[Pg 344] had their supper and went to bed. I was in hopes that I should be allowed to go, too, nine o'clock being the hour when we had been sent to bed at the workhouse. I accordingly folded up my work and went into the parlour.

'Well, what do you want?' said Mrs. Smith.

'If you please, ma'am, may I have my supper and go to bed?'

'Supper and go to bed!' exclaimed she. 'Pretty talk for a workhouse girl! No, miss, you will have no supper. Three meals a day are enough for you, I should think; and as for bed, you will not go till your master comes home, and that will not be till twelve o'clock. So now, my lady, go and sit down to your work again.'

I obeyed in silence, for, indeed, having no choice, I could not do otherwise; but, being overpowered with sleep, I soon nodded over my work. This Mrs. Smith observed, for, the upper half of the partition between the shop and parlour being of glass, she could see all that passed, and, seeing me nod, she came out, and shook and beat me till I was thoroughly awake. At ten o'clock the shop was shut up by Mrs. Smith and her sister, Mrs. Smith telling me that would be my work as soon as I was tall enough to put up the shutters. I still kept to my sewing, though two or three times I fell asleep over it, from which I was as roughly awakened as at the first. At length, to my great relief, twelve o'clock struck, the two visitors departed, and soon after Mr. Smith knocked at the door. As soon as he came in his wife began scolding him for spending his time and money at a public-house, and said that he would bring them all to the workhouse. He retorted by saying that she lost more money at cards than he spent at the public-house. They then quarrelled violently. Blows were given on both sides,[Pg 345] when Mr. Smith, happening to see me, told me to be gone to bed, or he would knock me down. I did not require to be told twice, but, hastening from the room, groped my way upstairs (for I was not allowed any candle), where, rejoiced at having escaped from the confusion below, I wrapped the blanket round me, and, laying myself upon the heap of rubbish, soon fell asleep.

The two succeeding days passed nearly as the one I have described. Then came Sunday, which, instead of being a day of rest, of worship of the great Giver of all good, and a day of innocent recreation, was, in this misguided family, a day of complete slavery, for I found that it was the only one in the whole week that was devoted to domestic business. The whole house was to be cleaned. The dishes, plates, and saucepans, which had been used over and over again without washing during the week, were now all to be washed. The knives were to be cleaned, the boots and shoes to be brushed and blacked, and all this it was expected I should do. I did the best I could, and kept on working from six o'clock in the morning till nine o'clock at night, without sitting down the whole time, except the few minutes when I took my three scanty meals; but now, overpowered with fatigue, I fainted away upon the floor.

I believe I continued insensible for rather a long time, for, when I began to recover my hearing, I heard Mrs. Smith and the sister talking together very earnestly, and as if they were fearful of getting into trouble on my account. They were sprinkling me with water, and holding hartshorn for me to smell, at the same time conversing in the following manner:

'I wish we had not taken this girl,' said Mrs. Smith. 'She has not strength to do our work. We cannot afford to keep her for nothing; and yet, if she dies, people will[Pg 346] say that we killed her. How white she looks! I am afraid that she really is dead.'

'Pour a little gin-and-water down her throat,' said the sister. 'If she has life in her, that will bring her to; and, to tell you my opinion of the matter, I think you half starve her, and overwork her besides. But get the gin, or she will be dead to all intents and purposes.'

Mrs. Smith, I suppose (for, though I could hear, I was still unable to open my eyes), mixed the liquor, and poured a little of it into my mouth. It acted like a cordial upon me, for I was soon able to open my eyes, and I found myself supported in the arms of the sister, and Mrs. Smith holding the liquor.

'What is the matter with you, child?' said she. 'Are you subject to fits?'

Unable to speak, I burst into tears.

'Very well,' said she; 'you are better now. There, empty the cup, and I will give you some bread and cheese, and then you shall go to bed.'

I did as I was desired, and, after I had eaten the bread and cheese, I staggered, partly from weakness and partly from the effects of the liquor I had taken, up into my room, where sleep soon made me forget all my sorrows.

The weary week circled round, and the dreaded Sunday again appeared; but this day Mrs. Smith obliged the children to help a little in the work. What they did was but little, but to me every little was of consequence. She also allowed rather more victuals; and at eight o'clock in the evening she gave me a good slice of bread and cheese and a teacupful of porter, which strengthened me so much that I did all my work, and at ten o'clock was allowed to go to bed—my miserable bed, which at first I had beheld with so much disgust, was now the[Pg 347] only place where I found any comfort, for there I was free from scolding and anger. There I slept soundly, there I generally forgot all my sorrow, and sometimes even dreamed that I had found my father.

Chapter V


The return of spring in some measure alleviated my sufferings, for, as the weather grew warmer, my hands and feet got better; but, to counterbalance this comfort, my quantity of work was increased; and, as the days lengthened, I was obliged to rise earlier, for during the three months in the middle of summer I rose every morning at four o'clock. Being allowed so short a time for rest occasioned me to be continually sleepy, so that I could not help sometimes falling asleep over my work, even during the day, and this was sure of being the means of my having a severe beating from either Mr. Smith or his wife. My health daily declined, and I was pleased that it did so, for I was in hopes that I should soon die, and be released from all my troubles. Thus passed away the summer and autumn. Winter approached. It was now the latter end of November, and the weather had set in extremely cold. A heavy fall of snow, with a sharp frost, was succeeded by a slight thaw, which made the streets worse to walk in than either a severe frost or completely wet, when one morning Mrs. Smith told me to take an apple-pie to the baker's. I took the pie and[Pg 348] went as carefully as I could, that I might not fall, or get my feet wet, for my shoes were now so worn out that they did not keep my feet from the ground; but in crossing the main street in the borough, as I was trying to step over the gutter, which was choked up with snow and loose pieces of ice, my foot slipped, and down I fell. The pie went into the gutter, where the dish was smashed to pieces, and the paste, sugar, and apples mingled with the dirty water. At first I could not see, owing to the quantity of muddy water that had splashed up into my face; but, having cleared my eyes, I saw an old match-woman cramming the pie-crust into her basket, a crowd of ragged children were fishing the apples out of the gutter, and a number of men and women, who ought to have known better, were laughing at me.

'Pray, ma'am,' said I to the match-woman, 'give me back the dough that I may take it home.'

'La, child!' said she, 'what good can a bit of dirty pie-crust do you? I am sure your mistress would not use it, and when I have washed off the mud it will make me a little dumpling.'

'Pray give it me back,' said I. 'Oh dear! what shall I do? I shall be so beat!'

'Beat!' repeated a man, who at that moment came up and lifted me over the gutter on to the pavement, 'you will be killed. If I was in your place, I would run away. Depend upon it, if you go back, Mother Smith would beat you to death.'

This man lived in our street, and knew the Smiths very well. A woman, on hearing their name mentioned, looked at me and said: 'Is this Smith's girl? Why, they will kill her and eat her for their dinner as she has lost them their pie.'

'They would not gain much by that,' said a man,[Pg 349] 'for the girl has not a pound of flesh upon her bones.'

'Run, I tell you,' said the man who had first spoken to me. 'It is impossible for you to be worse off than you are with them; and if they catch you, they will be the death of you.'

'Run, girl, run,' was shouted on all sides, 'run, run for your life!' called out the boys, who by this time had pretty well picked up all the apples. I still stood weeping, not knowing what to do, when a woman exclaimed:

'As I am alive, here comes Mother Smith with a great whalebone; now, girl, you'll be cut to pieces.'

A general shout of 'Run! run!' from men, women, and children almost deafened me. Without stopping to see if Mrs. Smith was really coming, I did run as fast as my feet would carry me, till, strength and breath failing, I was obliged to slacken my pace. I had by this time run nearly the whole length of the Borough, and was almost at London Bridge. I had never before seen the Thames, and thought it was the sea. The noise of the water-works frightened me, and I hesitated about venturing on the bridge; but, seeing others go over, I, with some fear, followed them, and thought that I had escaped a great danger when I reached the opposite end in safety. But this imaginary fear was but a short interruption to my more just one of Mrs. Smith, and I now ventured to look back to see if I was pursued. Terror, I suppose, deceived me, for I thought I saw her coming with a stick in her hand. I again set off running, and, following the stream of the people, was soon in Cheapside. My feet were now sore, and cut in several places by the ice; but I still hurried on as well as I was able, till I entered St. Paul's Churchyard. There, notwithstanding my fear, I stood still to gaze on the immense and beautiful[Pg 350] building, which I now for the first time beheld, and for some minutes I was lost in a dream of astonishment. My dream was soon interrupted by the crowds of people who were hurrying on in different directions, and who pushed me about without any ceremony, so that I was soon obliged to collect my scattered ideas and consider what I was now to do. I had left Mr. Smith's, but I had no where else to go to, not a friend to receive me, nor a house to shelter me for a single night. As I thought of my miserable situation, the tears chased each other down my face. Of the great numbers who passed me, no doubt some observed them; but they were all too much engaged with their own concerns to make any inquiries into the sorrows of a poor little outcast like myself, and I passed on unheeded. Going on with the course of the people, I went through St. Paul's Churchyard, down Ludgate Hill, along Fleet Street, and entered the Strand. By this time I had made the determination of endeavouring to find my way back to E——; of going to Mr. Sanders's, and telling him how ill I had been treated by the Smiths; for I thought that his influence with the overseers would prevent their punishing me, as they had threatened, if I did not stay in my place. I therefore now began to look down all the streets as I passed them to see if any of them led to the country; but on the right hand side they all led to other streets. I began to think I should never come to the end of them. Being at length arrived opposite to Catharine Street, I looked up to it, and saw that it led to a wide space, where there was a great quantity of green that looked like small trees. 'Well,' thought I, 'this must be the way into the country, and the trees are beginning to grow here, but how little they are!'[Pg 351]

The flight over London Bridge.—Page 349. The flight over London Bridge.—Page 349.

[Pg 353]

I immediately crossed the Strand, went up Catharine Street, and entered Covent Garden. Disappointment damped my hopes when I found that this great space was surrounded by houses; but there was something so pleasing in the appearance of the evergreens that were exposed for sale, and the shops looked so pretty, being set out with holly and laurel, that I crossed into the market, and walked slowly along, examining the countenances of the shopkeepers, to see if there was one that looked sufficiently good-natured for me to dare to speak to her. At last I asked a woman who kept a fruit and flower shop if she would be so good as to direct me the way to E——.

'To E——, child? Why, you are near forty miles off. What do you want there?'

'I want to go to Mr. Sanders's,' replied I, 'and to tell him how ill Mr. Smith used me, and perhaps he would get me another place, and not let the overseers punish me.'

'I don't know what you are talking about, child,' said the woman. 'I know nothing of Mr. Sanders nor Mr. Smith. Who are they?'

I looked in surprise at the woman, for I thought it impossible but everybody must know Mr. Sanders. I, however, replied that he was the clergyman at E——.

'Well,' said she, 'and who are you? A parish 'prentice, I should suppose, by your gown.'

'And run away from your master,' said a man who had drawn near, attracted by curiosity.

'Come, tell the truth,' said the woman, 'what made you run away? For that, I suppose, is the case.'

I related the accident of the pie. The man and several others, who had come near to listen, laughed heartily.

'And so,' said he, 'the old woman picked up the pie-crust, did she? She was no bad judge. The boys[Pg 354] had the apples, the gutter had the sugar, you had the mud; and, if you had gone home, I suppose you would have had the cane. Ha! ha! ha!'

All the people laughed at this, and I stood crying.

'Don't cry,' said the fruiteress, 'you shall not go back to Smith's again. I will see if I cannot get you another place, and a pair of stockings and shoes too, for you are barefoot.'

'So she is,' said the man who had laughed so heartily; 'she seems to belong to the ragged regiment, to be sure. But how comes it, child, that your father and mother did not look after you a little?'

At the mention of these dear names, my tears flowed afresh, and I sobbed out that I had no father or mother. The good-natured fruiteress absolutely wept; several women, who had come round us, shed tears; and the men said it was a great deal too bad that poor orphans should be treated so barbarously.

'Well,' said the man who had laughed so much, 'pitying will do her but little good without something more substantial, so there's twopence for you, child, towards a pair of shoes; and if all these good people will give you as much you will soon be shod.'

They did so far follow his example as to give me some a penny and some a halfpenny, so that in a short time I had one shilling and sevenpence halfpenny. They then went away, the fruiteress assuring them that I should have shoes and stockings, and that she had no doubt but that she could get me a place at a gardener's in the country where I might be comfortable. When the people were all gone, she told me to come into the shop and warm myself; but when she looked at my face, scratched with the ice and smeared with mud, she said:

'I think a good washing will be the best thing for[Pg 355] you, for you cannot be made comfortable till you are clean.'

She then gave me soap, water, a towel, and I was not a little glad of having the means of washing myself well. She then looked at my feet, which were much cut with the ice, and still bleeding.

'Poor child,' said she, 'I think you have suffered enough for breaking a pie-dish. However, its done, and you shall soak your feet well with warm water; and when my little girls come with my dinner I will see if I cannot find you a pair of shoes.'

I accordingly washed my feet well, which was a comfort I had not experienced for many months. The good woman threw away my old stockings and shoes, and, doubling a piece of carpet under my feet, told me to sit by the fire till her children brought the dinner.

Thus refreshed, and seated on a low stool near the fire, I leaned my head against the wall, and was soon in a sound sleep. From this I was awakened in a little more than half an hour by a murmuring of voices. My first idea was that Mrs. Smith had discovered my retreat, and I started up in terror, exclaiming:

'Oh, save me from her, for she will kill me!'

'Do not frighten yourself, my dear,' said the fruiteress, 'it is only my little girls with the dinner. Come and sit to the table, I dare say you are hungry.'

That I really was, but I was so dirty and ragged that I felt ashamed of sitting at the table with people who had everything clean and whole upon them. I therefore stood back, and, telling my reasons, asked her to let me have my dinner upon the stool.

'Take off that ragged apron,' said she, 'and, Sally, my dear, let the little girl have yours, and then come and sit down to dinner with us, child.'[Pg 356]

Sally, a good-natured girl, seemingly about fourteen years old, took off her clean coloured apron, which she gave to me, and then, observing my naked feet, exclaimed:

'Dear mother, she has no shoes! Shall I take off mine, and let her have them?'

'After dinner,' replied her mother, 'you must see if you have not a tolerable pair of shoes and stockings that you can give her; but now let us sit down, and be thankful that we have a good home to shelter us, and victuals to eat, and are not, like this poor child, without either.'

The fruiteress (whose name I found was Williams) then said grace, and we all sat down to a comfortable dinner of boiled mutton, turnips, and potatoes, to which I was helped very liberally. During the repast the children naturally inquired who I was, and why I was there. The mother merely answered them as to how I had come; but, when the dinner was over, she asked me many questions, such as my name, and what I could remember of my parents, etc., and I told them all I could remember, from the time of my mother's death to the misfortunes of the present morning, taking care, at the same time, not to mention that I had my father's portrait in my possession. The good woman shed tears several times, and the children seemed much affected.

'Ah, my dears,' said she to them, 'it is well for you that you have a mother to take care of you, or you would not be better off than this poor child is. I am sure, when your dear father died, I thought we must have all gone to the workhouse; but yet I kept striving and striving, and Providence has sent us a living. But now you had better take the plates and things home, and see if you have not some of your clothes that you can spare for this little girl. Jane, you can let her have your old bonnet.'[Pg 357]

'Yes, mother, and my blue spencer, too, for I have left off wearing it. May I bring it?'

'Yes, and make haste, for the poor child is very cold, as you may see, without a bit of a handkerchief on her neck this cold weather!'

The children packed up the plates and the remains of the dinner on a tray, and took them to a room that their mother had at a small distance, where they slept, cooked, etc., as they could not do anything of that sort at the shop, on account of the fruit and flowers. The children soon returned with a bundle of clothes, which, though old, were by no means ragged, and, what was to me a great recommendation, they were all clean. From these things Mrs. Williams gave me a tolerably good pair of stockings and shoes, a very tidy straw bonnet with black ribbons, and a blue cloth spencer. The stockings, shoes, and spencer. I put on immediately, and felt so warm and comfortable that I seemed to myself quite a different creature. I offered to Mrs. Williams the money that had been collected for me in the morning, but she refused it, saying:

'No, my dear, keep your pence; you will want them when you are gone into the country, and I cannot think of taking money from a poor friendless child like you. I have children of my own, and can feel for other people's.'

This good woman then made up the remainder of the things into a small bundle, and told me that she should give them to me, and perhaps more, when I left her, which would most likely be the following day.

'To-morrow is market morning,' said she. 'Several men that I know will be here with their cartloads of vegetables from the country. There is one in particular whom I think a very honest-hearted man. He is married, and has children of his own, so he may feel for[Pg 358] you. I mean to ask him if he will try to get you employed at his master's, who has very extensive grounds indeed, and raises vegetables, fruits, and flowers for the London markets. He keeps more than fifty people employed about his grounds, and I think it will be a hard case if he cannot find room for you among them. What do you say, my girl? Will you like to be a gardener?'

I replied that I did not know how to garden, but, if they would show me, I would do all I could to learn.

'That is right,' said she. 'I hope they will engage you, and then, I dare say, you will do very well. I shall tell John Davis all your story, and that you are to be called Lady Anne, for that, as the good clergyman said, will be a more likely way for your father to discover you. It was not at all likely that he should find you out in such a dirty place as Smith's was, but it is probable that he may find you out at Freeman's nursery grounds, for, in the fine weather, he has crowds of quality go to look at his flowers and eat his fruit; and then, in the flower season, he has exhibitions of prize-tulips and prize carnations, when the nobility will go to see them, and there's such a number of carriages and curricles, and horses and gigs, and I don't know what besides, that the road is choked up like St. James's Street on a Court day; and who knows but your father may go among these great people? What do you say to that, Lady Anne?'

Her description had brought former scenes to my mind, and the tears came into my eyes as I expressed my wish that my father might be among those who came to visit the gardens.

The two children stayed all the afternoon, and employed themselves in needlework. Several people came and bought fruit and trees, such as geraniums, myrtles, and other greenhouse plants, so that Mrs. Williams had[Pg 359] what she called a good day, and said it would pay her for what she was doing for me. About five o'clock we had tea; and, about nine all the fruit and shrubs were taken inside the shop, which was then shut up, and I accompanied Mrs. Williams and her daughters home to her room. When we arrived there, one of the children made a fire, while the other set the things upon the table for supper. Mrs. Williams looked round the room and said:

'Well, you have been very good girls; everything looks neat and comfortable. We will first have our supper, and then we must think how we can make up a bed for this little girl.'

I now felt so comfortable that, if I could have stayed with Mrs. Williams, I should have been completely happy, and I may say that the few hours I spent in her family were like a bright gleam of sunshine darting through the gloom that had long surrounded me. After our supper, which was bread and broth made from the mutton that was boiled for dinner, Mrs. Williams spread a small mattress upon the ground, which, with two blankets and a pillow, made me a very good bed. She then, from her daughters' clothes, picked me out two pretty good chemises, a flannel petticoat, and an old stuff-frock, which still was a very good one. After I had put on my clean linen, Mrs. Williams took my old clothes, excepting my stays, which I doubled up and laid under my pillow, and tying them in a small bundle, opened the window and threw them into the street, saying:

'Bad as they are, they may be useful to some poor creature.'

We then retired to bed, and I passed some hours in peaceful repose.[Pg 360]

Chapter VI


We arose about four o'clock in the morning and went to the market, which, at this early hour, was crowded with waggons, carts, and country people, who had brought various kinds of vegetables for sale. Mrs. Williams and her eldest daughter went among these people to make their purchases, while the younger one, Jane, and myself went to the shop, which we opened, kindled a fire, and prepared everything for breakfast. About eight o'clock Mrs. Williams returned, accompanied by a clean, good-looking countryman, to whom she said:

'This, Master Davis, is the little girl I was mentioning to you. I see breakfast is ready, so sit down and take a cup of tea with us, and I will tell you all I know about her, and how it was she came to me.'

The good man took his seat at the table, and during the time of breakfast Mrs. Williams told him all my little story, and concluded by urging the request that he would try to get me engaged to work in Mr. Freeman's gardens.

'I will do what I can,' said he; 'but this is a bad time of year to take on a fresh hand, and the child looks but weakly, and that, you know, is against her. However, I'll give her the chance, and take her down with me in the cart, and I'll go with her to Mr. Freeman and say what I can for her; and if he engages her, why, I'll let her be at my house as one of my children—that is, if my dame agrees to it, and belike she may, as we have[Pg 361] children of our own, and don't know what they may come to; but if master will not engage her, why, I must bring her back again next market-day, for I cannot afford to keep her for nothing.'

'No, no,' said Mrs. Williams; 'I don't desire that you should. If Mr. Freeman will not engage her, bring her back, and I must try to do something else for her; but say all you can in her favour. She is a friendless child, and you don't know what your own children may come to.'

'Very true,' said he. 'I'll do all I can for her. But what be we to call her, as she has no right kind of name? Lady Anne is so long that I shall never get it all out.'

'It is no longer than Mary Anne,' replied she; 'and I think if you are a wise man you will call her by her title and make your children do the same. If it should be the means of discovering her father, it might put a pretty sum into your pocket.'

'Why, as for that, it might and it might not; but if it is the girl's name she shall be called by it, so there's an end to that. And now I must away to settle my money matters, and I'll come back for the child about eleven o'clock, so good-bye t'ye for the present.'

Away went the man, leaving Mrs. Williams much pleased with the success she had met with, as she said she had not a doubt but Mr. Freeman would engage me when he knew it was one of his best customers that asked the favour. I was much pleased too, for, as I could not stay with Mrs. Williams, I did not venture to form a higher wish than to be engaged at Mr. Freeman's, for my spirits had been so much broken during my stay at Smith's that I no longer dared to indulge the hope of ever finding my father.

About eleven o'clock my new friend, John Davis, came for me. Taking my little bundle under his arm,[Pg 362] he conducted me to his cart. He lifted me in, and putting his horses into motion, we went shaking and rattling through the streets. This part of the journey was disagreeable enough; but when, at Knightsbridge, we entered the turnpike-road, then it began to be very pleasant. A complete thaw had succeeded to the frost; the fields and hedges looked green, and the air was as soft and mild as if it had been spring. I was seated on a truss of hay in the corner of the cart, and as we rode slowly along my spirits seemed to revive, and I once more indulged the pleasing hope of finding my father; then, again, as we advanced, my hope was damped by fear lest Mr. Freeman would not engage me, or lest Mrs. Davis should refuse to let me be at her house. I continued in this agitation of mind during the time of our little journey. At last we stopped at a cottage by the roadside, at a small distance from Turnham Green. John Davis lifted me out of the cart and led me into the house, where we were received by a woman, whom I immediately found was his wife.

'You are late to-day,' said she; 'and, pray, who is this you have brought with you?'

He took his seat near the fire (while I remained standing near the door), and briefly related my story to her, particularly dwelling on Mrs. Williams being such a good customer that he could not refuse to bring me.

'Bless thee, John!' she said, as he concluded; 'I wish thee had as much wit as good nature, and thee would not have brought another person's child to burden us with. Suppose Master Freeman should not engage her, what's to be done then?'

'I must take her back again, to be sure; but I don't see why he should not engage her—she's a clean, wholesome-looking girl.'[Pg 363]

The dame had eyed me pretty well during this conversation. She now gave me another scrutinizing gaze, and then said to her husband:

'She may be clean and wholesome enough—I don't say anything against that—but she's as white as a curd, and does not look as if she has ever had a good meal of victuals in her life.'

'The more's the pity, wife. Then let us give her one. I told you how cruelly that umbrella-maker in the borough used her. I should like to have the dressing of them with my horsewhip. I would lay it on them with goodwill, I give you my word.'

'No fear of that,' replied his wife, 'and they deserve it, too. Come, child, don't stand there by the door; here's a seat for you by the fire. Dinner will soon be ready, and you shall not starve while you are with us, I give you my word; but whether we can let you stay or not is a different question.'

Soon after this their three children, two girls and a boy, who were employed in the nursery-grounds, came in to dinner. The table was quickly spread, and we sat down to an ample repast of good boiled potatoes and fried bacon. After we had dined and sat awhile, Mr. Davis said to me:

'Come, Miss Minnikin, let us go and see what Master Freeman will say to us. Why, wife, I'll be flogged if the girl does not look better already. I fancy she'll do credit to our keep.'

'I suppose the child was cold and wanted her dinner,' replied his wife, 'and now she has had it, of course she looks better. But do you see it is past one o'clock? You had better make haste; and you, children, be off to your work. You have stayed more than an hour at your dinner.'[Pg 364]

We now all departed for Mr. Freeman's, which was about half a quarter of a mile distant. The children went to their work in the garden, and Mr. Davis led me up to the house. After having given an account to Mr. Freeman of the money he had taken at the market that morning, he presented me to him, and mentioned Mrs. Williams's request.

'Well, Master Davis,' said Mr. Freeman, 'I do not want another hand, you know very well; but Mrs. Williams is, as you say, a very good customer, and so, I suppose, we must give the child a trial. Take her to Master Joseph, and he will set her about something, and we shall be able to judge by Saturday night what she can earn, and you shall be paid what is right, for I suppose she will be with you.'

'Yes, sir,' replied Mr. Davis. 'She shall take lot and scot among my own children. I shall make no difference.'

'Well, well,' said Mr. Freeman, 'we will do what is right by her and you too.'

I was then taken into the grounds to Mr. Joseph, who was the head-gardener. We found him working at a flower-bed. When he saw Mr. Davis he said:

'Well, friend, what have you there—a lily or a snow-drop?'

'Which you please, Master Joseph,' replied the other. 'She is a little girl that I have brought to put under your government.'

He then gave him an account how he had met with me, told him I was an Earl's daughter, but had lost my father, and was to be called Lady Anne. At this Mr. Joseph laughed, and said 'he had no objection to call me Lady Anne, but that he should forget and call me Lady Lily.' After a little more talk it was agreed that[Pg 365] I should go the following morning, as they both said it was too late for me to begin work that day. Mr. Davis then conducted me back to his cottage, and having told his wife that I was engaged, he went away to his work. The good dame told me that I might sit down and rest myself, for she supposed I was tired. I really was very tired, but seeing her engaged in mending the family clothes, I told her that if she pleased I would help her.

'What!' said she; 'can you sew? I am sure if you can I shall be very glad of your help, for my girls never put in a stitch, even for themselves, except it is some finery for Sundays, and then they do it because I can't do it well enough for them. There, my girl, if you can mend me those stockings you'll do me a service. They have holes large enough for you to put your hand through. I have sometimes thought that if the girls would not mend their stockings themselves they should wear them with holes in, and so they would, for never a stitch would they put in, and then I am ashamed of seeing them go about in rags, so I keep mending for them; but I have so much to do that I can hardly keep them tidy.'

I took the stockings and found the dame had described them very correctly, for one of the holes was so large that I actually did put my hand through it. However, by dint of close application, I mended two pairs of them before it was quite dark. I was then obliged to lay aside my work, as Mrs. Davis said she should not yet light a candle, and I need not do any more work till after tea. My having helped her at the needlework put her into high good humour, and she asked me a great many questions, and said she was glad that Mr. Freeman had engaged me, and that, if I behaved myself properly, I should be very welcome to stay with them till I was old enough to take[Pg 366] care of myself. These kind expressions, so different to any I had heard for a long time, cheered my heart. I thanked her most sincerely, and promised to do all I could to please her. I then helped her to prepare the tea. Soon after this Mr. Davis and the children came in. We sat down to our tea, and during the repast the eager questions of the children as to who I was, where I came from, and what I was to do, were more attended to than they had been at dinner-time. Their father gave them some account of me, and made me relate all the particulars of my falling into the kennel with the pie. They all laughed heartily, and now that I was out of danger, I could not help laughing at it myself.

'That smashing of the pie is a good joke,' said Mr. Davis. 'I should like to see how the Smiths looked when you did not go back, and when they heard that you had laid their pie in the gutter. I warrant they would wear out more pairs of shoes than they would sell in a week in running after the old woman and the boys; but I can tell you, girl, it was a lucky chance for you that you did tumble down, or else you would still have been with them misericating in their dirty garret. By-the-by, dame, where's the girl to sleep?'

'That question is sooner asked than answered,' replied his wife. 'You know there is not a bit to spare in the house; the children cannot be put out of their beds. There is no way that I can see but for her to have a blanket and sleep among the hay in the loft over the stable. I have slept so many a time when I was a girl, and was none the worse for it.'

'I wish you could make room for her in the house,' answered her husband. 'I do not like the thought of turning her out of the house, as it were. Could you not make her up a bed on the floor?'[Pg 367]

'No, no,' replied his wife, 'I cannot. I can see no hardship in her sleeping upon clean sweet hay, with a good blanket to wrap round her.'

To shorten the contest I said that I thought I could sleep very well upon the hay, though I certainly should have preferred sleeping in the house, but I was afraid they would quarrel on my account, which would have been to my injury; and, at all events, the hay-loft was a better place to sleep in than the wretched attic at Mr. Smith's. This point being settled, Mr. Davis went out, as he had not yet finished his day's work, and it being dark, so that no more work could be done in the gardens, the children remained at home.

I had now an opportunity of observing these children. The eldest was a girl, seemingly about thirteen, of a healthy, robust appearance, but by no means neat in her dress. The second, a girl of eleven, with much the same appearance as her sister; and the youngest, a boy, seemingly about nine, a chubby, good-natured-looking little fellow, and, I thought, very like his father. After the tea-things were put away, the girls brought each a little box to the table, in which was a quantity of odd pieces of muslin, ribbon, silk, etc., and they passed the evening in making these things up into frills and other articles of finery. The boy brought a quantity of wood to the further end of the table, and with no tool but a knife and a little saw, he employed himself in making little toys. That evening he made a dining-table and a chair.

'Tommy is a clever boy,' said the mother to me, seeing I was looking at his work. 'He amuses himself of an evening in making these kind of toys, and he sells them to young gentlemen and ladies in the neighbourhood, and I assure you they like his toys better than what they[Pg 368] buy in the shops. What was it Master Watson gave you for the little boat, Tommy?'

'Half a crown, mother; but I was two weeks in making it; and last week I earned two shillings in making chairs and tables.'

I felt curious to know what Tommy did with his money, as he earned so much, but I did not like to ask the question, as that would have been rude. However, his mother, who seemed very fond of him, and, I thought, justly so, soon told me.

'Tommy earns a great deal of money by this kind of work, which is his play,' said she; 'and he gives every farthing of it to his father and me. Part of it we lay out in clothes for him, and the rest we are saving till he is ten years old, and then he is to go to school, and his own money will pay for it. We take what he earns at the grounds for his keep, but all that he earns of an evening shall be laid out upon himself. I wish my girls were half as industrious.'

'Why, la! mother,' said the eldest, 'you would never let us amuse ourselves at all, I believe. We go to the grounds as soon as it is light of a morning and work there till it is dark of an evening, and you have all the money we earn. I don't know what more you would have.'

'I would have you mend your own clothes, hussy, and not spend all these long evenings in making up a parcel of finery that only makes people laugh at you.'

I was much afraid that the mother and daughter would have quarrelled, but Tommy, showing his workmanship to his mother, took her attention from his sister, and thus peace was restored. Mrs. Davis and I spent the evening, till nine o'clock, in mending stockings. Then her husband came in, and we sat down to our supper of bread and cheese and small beer.[Pg 369]

After supper was over Mr. Davis would not allow any more work to be done, so we sat and chatted till ten o'clock, which was bedtime. Mrs. Davis then gave me a piece of rush-light in a lanthorn, and I was shown to the hay-loft, where the fragrant smell of the hay was as refreshing as the dirt at Mr. Smith's had been disgusting.

I soon tossed up a sufficient quantity of hay to make myself a soft nice bed; and, after having on my knees returned thanks to the Almighty for having delivered me from such a state of misery as I had been in, I wrapped the blanket around me, and, laying down on the hay, was soon in a profound slumber.

Chapter VII


I was awakened the next morning about seven o'clock by Mr. Davis, who came into the stable below, calling out:

'What! hollo, lassy! Be you awake? Come, it's time to get up. Breakfast is almost ready, and you must be in the gardens by eight o'clock.'

I had slept so soundly, and had such an uncommonly long night to what I had for the last eight months been accustomed to, that I did not at first recollect where I was, but, quickly remembering everything, I answered Mr. Davis, and, dressing myself as expeditiously as possible I went down. Going into an outhouse, where there was plenty of water, I gave myself a good washing, and, having combed my hair with a comb that Mrs. Williams had given[Pg 370] me, I went into the house and found the family just beginning their breakfast.

'I'll be flogged if the girl does not look five pounds better than she did yesterday morning, when I first saw her at Mrs. Williams's!' said Mr. Davis. 'You have slept well, girl, I'll answer for it.'

'Yes, sir,' I replied. 'I have slept better than I did all the time I was at Mr. Smith's.'

'I knew she would sleep well upon the sweet hay,' said Mrs. Davis. 'But, come, child, take your breakfast. It is almost time you should be gone.'

Breakfast being soon over, I accompanied the children to the garden, where, having conducted me to Mr. Joseph, they went to their own work in another part of the grounds.

Mr. Joseph was a grave man, between fifty and sixty years of age. He superintended all the work of the garden. Some of the children he instructed himself in what they were to do, and some he put under the care of other people. He had read a good deal, and understood botany, and knew the Latin names of all the trees and plants in the garden. That Mr. Freeman had sent me to be under his own care, I was very glad, for he seemed a very good-natured man. After a little conversation, in which he asked me if I could read, if I knew anything about gardening, and a few more of the like questions, he set me to pick the weeds and stones out of a bed of pinks, and, having shown me how to do it, he left me to myself. I worked diligently at my new employment (frequently congratulating myself on the happy change I had made). The clock struck twelve, when we all went home to dinner. One hour was allowed for that repast. When I returned in the afternoon, Mr. Joseph came to see what I had done. He commended my[Pg 371] diligence, and, as the first bed was tolerably well weeded, he told me to go on to the next, and I was again left to myself.

In high spirits at being praised, which was quite a new thing to me, I worked on all the afternoon till about four o'clock, when it became too dark to distinguish plants from weeds; then, in company with the children, I returned home to Davis's cottage. What a delightful contrast did this cottage present to the miserable shop and parlour at Smith's! There everything was spoiled by dirt and confusion: here all was clean. The brick floor was nicely swept and sanded, a cheerful fire blazed in the grate, and the tea, with plenty of coarse bread and salt butter, was ready upon the table, and the countenances of the family expressed health and contentment. After tea was over I again offered my services to Mrs. Davis to assist her in her sewing. They were willingly accepted, and this evening passed as the former one had done. At ten o'clock I again retired to my bed in the loft.

The week passed rapidly away, and I had the pleasure of being very much praised by Mr. Joseph, who said I should soon be a better gardener than any of the children on the grounds. Saturday night came, and Mr. Davis received for my work at the rate of sixpence a day, which, he said, was rather more than he had expected. Mrs. Davis was also very well contented, and said that what with the money I earned, and what with the sewing I did for her of an evening, they should be very well paid for me. I was much pleased that my new friends were so well satisfied with me, and I looked upon myself as being now settled in a comfortable home. I was also upon very good terms with the children. The girls were pleased that I mended their clothes for them, which prevented[Pg 372] their being so much blamed by their mother; and Tommy was so grateful to me for having mended some of his that he made me a little box for me to put my money in when I had any. I offered the money that had been given to me at Covent Garden to Mrs. Davis, but she told me to keep it till I wanted a pair of shoes, and that then they would make up the deficiency for me. I accordingly put it into my box and deposited it in a safe corner of my loft.

Thus passed away the winter months. I was under the care of Mr. Joseph more than the other children that were employed about the grounds; for, as I could read, he taught me the Latin as well as the English names of the different plants and flowers, so that I could bring him any that he wanted from either the green or the hothouse. When I had been there two months, my wages were raised to four shillings a week; besides that, Mr. Joseph often gave me a penny for myself.

The tranquil, and I may say happy, life I now led soon made a great alteration in my personal appearance. I grew plump, and by the time the month of March came, I had such a colour in my cheeks that Mr. Joseph said his lily was turned into a rose.

As the days increased in length, our hours of labour were also increased, for we were now on the ground by six in the morning, and did not leave work till seven in the evening. This lengthening of the days was a great advantage to me. I awoke with the dawn, and generally had a full hour to myself before any other part of the family was up. Then I used to contemplate the portrait of my dear father, which I used to talk to as if it could understand me, to mend my clothes, and to read in old school-books of the children's that were lying about, and never looked into by their owners. All the[Pg 373] books I had ever read were the Bible, Testament, Prayer Book, and the spelling-book. The old books belonging to the children were an abridgment of the history of England, a small geography, and a little book of poetry. I took such pleasure in reading these books that I could soon repeat the whole pages of them without a single mistake, and the poetry I soon learned from the beginning to the ending of the book.

The flower season was now advanced, and ladies and gentlemen came to walk in the garden, and to buy flowers. I was always anxious to see them, that I might have an opportunity of observing if any of the gentlemen resembled my father's portrait. Mr. Joseph, who knew my story, was so good-natured as to send me to them with flowers, and, as I was always particular to keep myself neat and clean, the ladies were rather pleased with my attendance than otherwise. One day, when I carried a large quantity of flowers to a party, one of the gentlemen said:

'This little damsel is the finest plant in the whole garden, for she carries violets in her eyes and roses upon her cheeks.'

The ladies laughed at what they called his compliment, while I was so much abashed that, giving the flowers into the hands of one of the ladies, I retreated to a distant part of the garden. After this I made my observations at a greater distance, but, alas! among the hundreds who visited the garden, I could not discover one who resembled the portrait.

Thus employed, my days flew rapidly past, and I was so happy that, unless it had been to discover my father, I did not wish for any change in my situation; but clouds of sorrow again gathered around me, and I was soon very unhappy. My unhappiness arose from two causes:[Pg 374] the first was that most of the children envied me on account of the partiality shown me by Mr. Joseph, and would jeer at me because I was called Lady Anne. Mr. Davis's children were not among the number of these, for, on account of my mending their clothes, they were upon very good terms with me. The second cause of my unhappiness was of a more serious nature, and arose from what I could not have expected, and from what I could not and would not alter, as I shall soon explain.

As the summer advanced, such of the children as were turned of twelve years of age, and were able to carry a basket upon their heads, were sent to town with flowers and fruit, which would have been crushed and bruised if sent to town in the cart. Mr. Davis's eldest daughter and myself were amongst the number of these.

At first I was much pleased at the thought of this walk, as it was an agreeable change from our usual mode of living; the flowers were light to carry, and the walk was not so long as to be a fatigue. I also looked forward to the pleasure I should have in seeing Mrs. Williams, and thanking her for having procured me such a happy situation.

On the appointed morning we left the garden and proceeded to town under the guidance of two or three women and one man, who was one of the principal gardeners. They also carried their baskets, which were larger and heavier laden than ours.

The walk to town was pleasant. We arrived at the market, and in about two hours had sold off all our stock. Mrs. Williams bought the contents of my basket, and congratulated me on the great improvement in my health and appearance.

Richard having paid some fees which were customary for the privilege of standing in the market, we took up[Pg 375] our baskets and began to walk homeward. We had not gone far when Richard entered a public-house, the women and children followed, I, of course, did the same. We went into a room where there was no one but ourselves; there we all had to give up our money to Richard, which he counted over. He took out two shillings to be spent in the house, one shilling for himself, ninepence for each of the women, and sixpence apiece for the children; then, putting the remainder of the money together, said that was for the master. I was so astonished at this proceeding that I asked him what he meant by it. He laughed at me, and said it was a general rule among themselves to make a little deduction on market-days to pay them for the trouble of coming to town.

'I thought,' said I, 'that Mr. Freeman paid us for our work on Saturday night. Does he know that you take this money?'

'Know it, blockhead! no. And it will be the worse for you if you tell him. Come, take your sixpence, and think yourself well off that we let you share with us.'

'I do not want the sixpence,' said I, 'unless it is to give it to Mr. Freeman, for it is his money, and I will not keep it.'

'Lady Anne,' said Susan Davis, 'do not be a simpleton. Take the money, and do not pretend to more honesty than the rest of us.'

'I cannot take the money,' said I. 'Mr. Sanders told me never to take other people's property, but always to do as I would be done by.'

'You shall not have the money,' said Richard, at the same time giving me a violent slap across the shoulders. 'Mr. Sanders was a canting old Methodist, and you are like him. But take care, if you say a word of what has passed I will be the death of you.'[Pg 376]

The women and children were also in a violent rage, and began beating me and pulling my hair, so that I was afraid they would really kill me, and I cried out, begging them not to beat me, and that I would not tell.

'Let her alone,' said Susan Davis; 'she will not tell, I'll answer for her. I'll talk to her when we are at home; and, I dare say, next market-day, she will do as we do.'

'Aye, let her alone,' said Richard, 'or Joseph will find out that we have been thumping her. She has a pretty swelled face to show. But mind, girl, if you say a word of what has passed I'll tie you neck and heels, and throw you into a pond.'

I was obliged to renew my promise of secrecy, and soon after we left the house.

When we came to town in the morning the distance had appeared as nothing to me, my heart was then so light; but now I felt so wretched that the distance seemed more than double, the empty basket felt so heavy on my head, and I felt myself like a guilty culprit who had robbed her master.

When we arrived at the grounds Richard went to give an account of the morning's sale, and what money he thought proper, to his master. The women and children went to their work in different parts of the garden, and I also concealed myself from Mr. Joseph's sight, lest he should see that I had been in tears.

In the afternoon he called for me, and I tremblingly obeyed his summons.

'Why, Lady Anne, how is this?' said he. 'Why do you not like to come to me as usual? How did you like your walk this morning? But what is the matter? You have been crying.'

'I am so tired,' I replied, 'and the basket was heavy.'[Pg 377]

'That is not all,' said he, regarding me very earnestly; 'somebody has been beating you, for you have the marks of the blows upon your face and shoulders. Who was it?'

'Pray, sir, do not ask me,' said I; 'for if I tell you I shall be beat more.'

'Well, well,' said he, 'I will not ask you. I have long seen that the girls envied you. They think that I favour you, and, if I do, it is their own fault. There is not one among them that, if I sent to the greenhouse for a plant, but will either come back without it, or bring me a wrong one, though they have all been sent to school, and might have learned to read if they would. There are Davis's two daughters: Mr. Freeman paid for their schooling for two years, yet neither of them can read the names of the plants. But you are envied because I employ you in doing what they cannot do. Well, never mind, Rose, you shall not go to town any more with them, but stay here with me, and attend to the ladies and gentlemen.'

I was glad to hear Mr. Joseph say this, for I was in hopes I should be free from any further trouble, and be as happy as I had been; but sorrow had again burst upon me like a storm, and I was not yet to be rescued from its fury.

When we went home at night, Susan took an opportunity when her father was out of the house to tell her mother the adventures of the morning, with some alterations of her own; and I was astonished to hear her mother defend the conduct of Richard and the others, and blame me for not joining the robbery; and, when I would not say that the next time we went to town (for I did not dare to tell them that I was not to go any more) I would take my share in the plunder, she was completely in a rage, and kept repeating that there was no harm in taking the money. At last I ventured to say:[Pg 378]

'Would you think it right of me, ma'am, if I was to rob you?'

'To rob me, child! No. But that is quite a different thing. To rob me! No. You would be the most ungrateful creature that ever lived if you did. I took you in, and sheltered you when you had not a hole to put your head in, nor a morsel of victuals to eat.'

'You did, ma'am,' I replied; 'and I would do anything I could to serve you. I would not rob nor injure you upon any account. And I cannot rob Mr. Freeman, for he gave me employment when I had none, and he pays me six shillings a week. How ungrateful I should be if I could rob him. I cannot do it; indeed, I cannot.'

'Take your supper and go to bed,' said Mrs. Davis. 'I cannot argue with you, but I know that you are a very foolish child.'

I did as I was ordered, and retired to my loft, and happy should I have been if this disagreeable business ended there, but a few evenings after, just before we left the gardens, I went to put a knife into a basket that belonged to Susan, and, to my surprise and grief, found that it concealed five fine peaches in it. I trembled so when I saw them that I could scarcely cover them over again, and soon after, as we were walking home, with great civility and humility I ventured to remonstrate with her on the great impropriety, and indeed danger, of her robbing the garden.

'What business have you to look into my basket?' said she. 'If you do not choose to take a little fruit yourself you have no right to meddle with them that do; however, I shall tell mother, and I hope she'll turn you into the wide world again as you were when you came to us.'

When we arrived at home Mr. Davis was in the house,[Pg 379] and Susan did not choose to say anything till he went out; she then opened the basket, showed the peaches to her mother, and made a heavy complaint of my impertinence in telling her she ought not to take them, that it was stealing, and would, if discovered, most likely be the cause of her being discharged from the garden.

Mrs. Davis was in such a passion that she struck me several times, and said I should be the cause of her children being turned out of work.

'Don't say me, mother,' said Tommy, 'for I shall not steal. The Catechism says I am to keep my hands from picking and stealing, and father says if I steal I shall come to be hanged, so that you may depend upon it I shall not steal, and I wish sisters would not.'

'You are a little blockhead,' replied his mother; 'and as for Lady Anne, if she does not mind what she is about I shall turn her out of doors, and she may go a-begging.'

The peaches were then put out of sight. Soon after this Mr. Davis came in; we had our supper, and at ten o'clock went to bed.

In the course of the following day the peaches were missed at the garden, for Mr. Freeman had counted the fruit on some of the principal trees, and this day he found that three peaches had been taken from one tree and two from another. We were all questioned about it, and all our baskets were examined, but as all denied the theft and no fruit could be found, no one could be charged with it. Mr. Freeman was very angry on this occasion, as he well might, and ordered Mr. Joseph to keep a strict watch over all the workpeople, as he was determined to make an example of whoever should be detected robbing him, let it be who it might. I was anxious to know what the children did with the fruit, as I never saw them eating it, and I soon found that[Pg 380] when their father was out of the house (for they did not dare to let him know of their ill practices) the fruit was exposed in the window for sale. Their father having a small garden, in which were a few fruit trees, served as an excuse for all the fruit they had to sell, and thus they contrived to deceive their father and rob their master.

The strict watch kept by Mr. Joseph, and some of the honest people in the garden, prevented any fruit being taken for some time, but the plum season coming on, and the plums on a tree not being so easily counted, nor so soon missed, as peaches, the children again ventured to take a few, and their father having two fine trees of the kind in his garden, if once the plums could be got home there was no likelihood of their being detected.

I did not watch the children, nor wish to know anything of what they did in the garden, yet somehow it seemed as if I was always to find them out in their thefts, for I one day suddenly came upon them just as they were cramming about a dozen fine Orlean plums into their pockets. I covered my face with my hands, and said:

'Oh, why will you do so? We shall all be discharged.'

'You shall be discharged,' said Susan, darting at me and slapping me with all her strength. 'What business have you to watch us? This is the first bit of fruit we have taken since those nasty peaches, and now, I suppose, you will go and tell.'

'No, I shall not,' replied I; 'but I wish you would not take any more fruit. You know what Mr. Freeman said.'

'Yes, and you shall know what my mother will say. I am not to be followed about and watched, and lose my place, for a tell-tale beggar-girl.'

I again assured her that I should not tell, and went away to a distant part of the garden, my mind being[Pg 381] very unhappy, for I thought that if these thefts were discovered we should all be discharged, and again I thought that perhaps I was doing very wrong in concealing them, but then how could I bring people who were so kind to me into disgrace, and even into want of bread? I did not know what to do, but, after much considering in my own mind, I determined that when Saturday night came to ask Mr. Joseph to give me only five shillings, and not to ask me any questions, for I thought that the odd shilling would partly pay for the fruit Mr. Davis's children took. Having made this determination I felt rather happier, though I dreaded the resentment of Mrs. Davis and the children. When night came we went home together, the children not speaking to me once the whole way. When we arrived at the house Mr. Davis was out, and Susan asked her mother to give Tommy his supper, as she had something to say to her. The mother, who saw something particular was the matter, hurried the child to bed, while I sat on a chair near the door sick at my very heart. No sooner had her brother left the room than Susan told of the discovery of the plums, with many additions of her own. Mrs. Davis was in such a passion that she could scarcely speak for two or three minutes; she seized me by the arm, and shook me violently.

'I will put a stop to this,' said she as soon as she had recovered her breath. 'You shall not stay here to be the ruin of my children, you ungrateful creature. Don't we feed you and clothe you? Don't you have all the children's old clothes, and don't you mend them up and make them look so smart that you look as well dressed as they do, though their clothes are new and yours are old? Oh, you ungrateful creature. You would ruin us all for our kindness to you.'[Pg 382]

She then ran over the affair of the peaches, and of my refusing to take the money at the market, reproaching me at every sentence, till she increased her anger to such degree that she seemed to lose her reason, and, again seizing me by the arm, she said she would give me cause to repent of my ingratitude to the latest moment of my life, when at the instant I expected to be dashed to the ground, to her great dismay, and to my great relief, an inner door opened, and her husband entered the room.

'Stop, mistress,' said he, 'do not dare to hurt that child. I came in by the wash-house, and have heard all Suke's story, and have heard who stole the peaches. Little did I think, when there was such a piece of work about them, that my own children were the thieves, and little did I think, when Suke was so pleased at going to market, that it was because she was to go shares with a parcel of thieves in robbing her master.'

'Now, John,' said his wife, 'how can you talk so? What harm is there in the children taking a few pence apiece? They have more trouble when they go to town, and they ought to be paid for it. You know that all the workpeople make a market-penny.'

'I know no such thing,' replied her husband. 'They are allowed money for refreshment when they go to town, and if they take more than the master allows I say that they cheat him, but I'll put a stop to Suke's tricks, for she shall not go to town any more. I shall speak to Mr. Joseph about that.'

'Why, surely you are not going to tell him that they divided a few pence among them.'

'No, wife, I am not, but I shall ask him not to let her leave the garden, for that I don't think she is steady enough to be sent to town yet. And now, you two girls, hear what I say to you. Every one of those plums must be[Pg 383] returned. You must take all of them back again, and lay them under the trees that you took them from, and next time that I know you to steal a single thing, aye, if its only a single plum, I'll horsewhip you while I can stand over you.'

The father was now silent, the two girls sat weeping, and the mother, who had been very much agitated, first by anger and then by fear, threw herself into a chair, and burst into a violent passion of tears. Mr. Davis walked two or three times across the floor, and then stopping, said:

'Now what's the use of crying and taking on in this manner? Is it not as easy to be honest as to be thieves? Oh, wife, wife, you do not consider what a bad course our girls have begun in. They have begun with trifles, but they will go on till they take something great, and then they will either be transported or hung, and that will break our hearts, and bring our grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.'

'Oh, John, do not talk so,' said Mrs. Davis; 'I cannot bear to hear you talk about the grave. The girls shall not steal any more. If they bring home any more fruit I will not put it into the window, nor sell it, so now let us have done with it, and let us be friends again.'

'Aye, let us be friends, with all my heart,' said Mr. Davis, taking his wife's hand, 'and I hope nothing of this sort will ever happen again. Now, children, leave off crying, and be good girls, and remember that honesty is the best policy, for if you follow bad practices you will also be poor and despised.'

Soon after this we had our supper, which we took nearly in silence, for we were all of us in grief, though from different causes, and from some angry glances cast at me by Mrs. Davis I saw I had yet more to dread from her[Pg 384] resentment. When I was going to bed Mr. Davis said: 'Good-night, Lady Anne, do not cry; I am not angry with you. You are a good girl. I wish my own children were as honest.'

Mrs. Davis and the girls also wished me good-night, but in such a cold, constrained manner that I trembled for what might be the consequences of their anger. When I reached my loft I gazed with tears upon my father's picture, and earnestly did I wish and pray that I might at some time be restored to his protection. I then retired to my bed among the hay, and there, for the first time since I had been in the family, I wept myself to sleep.

Early in the morning I went to the garden. Mrs. Davis's children did not choose to walk with me, so I went alone. When I returned home to breakfast (it being market-day Mr. Davis was gone to town) his wife and daughters did not speak to me once during the meal, excepting to tell me that the plums were laid under the trees. I finished my breakfast as soon as I could and returned to my work, grieved that I had lost the goodwill of people who were really kind to me, but whose practices were such as I could not follow. The hour of dinner came, and with a heavy heart I went to the cottage, dreading the angry looks, and perhaps reproaches, of Mrs. Davis. When I arrived there I found the brother and sister-in-law of Mrs. Davis were paying her a visit. I had seen these people once before, and soon after I came into the family; they were pedlars, and traversed the county from one end of it to the other. The man carried a large pack filled with linens, muslins, stuffs, and many other articles for clothing; his wife carried two boxes, with trinkets, lace, millinery, and a great variety of light goods. When I entered the room they turned their eyes upon me as if I had been the subject of their conversation,[Pg 385] which I quickly found had been the case, for Mrs. Davis said to them:

'That is the girl I have been telling you of. She would be of great use to you, for she could carry one of the boxes, and in my house she is of no use in the world, but quite a burden to us, and she makes quarrels between my husband and me, for you know that Davis is so particular, and has such odd notions about honesty, that he seems to think it next thing to murder to take a bit of fruit or a sixpence belonging to Mr. Freeman. You never heard such a piece of work as we had last night because the girls had taken a few plums.'

She then in her own way told her brother of the keeping back part of the market-money and of the peaches. I was surprised that she was not ashamed of telling such things, but she was not, and her brother only laughed at them, and said that honesty was very well in its place, but that it was ridiculous to carry it so far.'

'But, however,' said he, 'I shall have no objection to Lady Anne (I think you call her) being very honest with us. I shall not be afraid of her robbing me.'

'No, indeed,' replied his sister; 'you will have no cause. You might trust her with your pack and boxes all open; she would not rob you of a farthing's worth; she is only too honest, that is her fault.'

'And it is a fault that perhaps I can cure her of,' returned her brother. 'But she has only been used to gardening. She will be of very little use to us, for we do not want a girl merely to carry a band-box.'

'She can work very well at her needle,' quickly answered his sister. 'It is unknown the sewing she has done for me since she has been here. I have never had the children so tidy in my life as since she has been with us. I shall miss her help very much, that I know I shall.'[Pg 386]

'Do not let me go,' said I, for I was really frightened at the thought of being sent away with Mr. Sharpley and his wife. 'Pray let me stay. I will work so hard; I will do everything I can to please you.'

'Will you promise to take a little fruit, as the others do, and not say anything when you see my children take some, and to take a market-penny when you can get it?' answered Mrs. Davis. 'Promise me that, and you shall stay.'

'I cannot promise it,' said I, bursting into tears, 'for I must not steal.'

'Very well, then, you shall go,' returned she. 'It is entirely your own fault. I had no wish to part with you, but I cannot keep you to turn my children out of bread.'

'Lady Anne is a nonsuch of honesty,' said Mr. Sharpley; 'but I warrant she will tell a different tale by this time twelvemonths. What say you, wife? Shall we take her or not?'

'As she can work at her needle,' replied Mrs. Sharpley, 'suppose we give her a trial for a few months. If she does not do for us, we can bring her back again; and as for her honesty, that will not hurt us.'

'Well, then, I suppose it is a bargain,' said Mr. Sharpley, 'so, my girl, if you have any better clothes make haste and put them on; and, sister, let us have a bit of dinner, as I want to be going.'

'And I want you gone,' replied his sister, 'for if my good man comes home before you are off, it's ten to one but he knocks all the business on the head, and I shall have the girl on my hands again. Lady Anne, make haste; and you, Suke, look after her a little.'

This command to Susan to watch me prevented my following a plan I had just formed, which was to run[Pg 387] back to the garden and tell Mr. Joseph that they were going to send me away against my will; but I suppose they were afraid I should do so, for Susan did not leave me a single moment till I was washed and dressed. I then entered the room where they all were, and presented myself before them, with the tears running down my face.

'She is a genteel-looking child,' said Mrs. Sharpley; 'but what are you crying for, simpleton? We shall not hurt you, and you need not steal unless you like, so pray set your heart at ease.'

I did try to check my tears, for I considered that I could never be happy at the cottage any more, though it grieved me to the heart to part with people who had been so kind to me, especially Mr. Joseph, Mr. Davis, and little Tommy, who was gone to town with his father; and these I was obliged to leave, without so much as saying good-bye to them. I was not able to eat a morsel of dinner, and Mr. and Mrs. Sharpley having finished theirs, we rose up to depart. I sobbed so that I could not speak. Mrs. Davis and the girls seemed a little affected. They shook hands with me, wished me well, and said they hoped I should grow wiser in time; then, with a band-box before me, that was fastened by a strap that went over my shoulders, I left the cottage, following my new master and mistress.[Pg 388]

Chapter VIII


Being thus turned out of the cottage, where I had once been so happy, I followed the footsteps of Mr. and Mrs. Sharpley, frequently looking back to see if I could discover Mr. Davis and his cart coming from town, which, if I had, I should certainly have run back, told him what had passed, and asked him to take me back to Mrs. Williams, instead of sending me away with strangers. But no cart came in view, and a turning in the road soon hid even the cottage from my sight. I then walked pensively forward, meditating on my own unhappy fate, and comparing it with that of other children who were blessed with parents and relations. Mr. and Mrs. Sharpley had frequently looked back, as if to see that I followed them, but—here the path became wider—they told me to come and walk between them. I did so, and they then asked me a great many questions respecting my story, all of which I was obliged to answer, so that they soon knew every particular, excepting my having my father's picture, which I took care not to give the least hint of. They then asked me about my age, and, as I could not answer them exactly, they calculated it as well as they could from circumstances. Supposing I was five years old at the time of my mother's death, as I was seven years at E——, I must have been twelve years old the November before I went to the Smiths, thirteen last November, when I ran away from them; and[Pg 389] should be fourteen next November. It was now the beginning of September. This point being settled, they began talking of other things, told me what a pleasant life I should lead with them, that all my employment would be to carry a light band-box during the days, and in the evenings, when they arrived at the inn where they were to pass the night, to work at my needle. To this I had no objection, and began to think I should not be so unhappy as I had at first supposed; but the idea of their stealing still predominated in my mind, though I could not imagine how they could do it, as the goods they carried were their own, and they could not rob themselves, and I was at a loss to think how they could commit theft. Simpleton that I was, I never thought that they could rob other people.

As we proceeded, they told me the names of the different places we passed through. They stopped at all the genteel houses, and many of the farmhouses, to ask them if they wanted any goods. Several bought a good many things of them; others would scarcely give them an answer, but almost shut their doors in our faces. Thus passed away several hours. The shades of evening were beginning to fall, and I was very weary with walking so much, when we entered a large town, where they told me we should pass the night. We went to a small inn, which they said was the house where they always slept when they came to this town. We were shown to a room that they called their own, as it was kept entirely for their use. Mrs. Sharpley ordered tea, and her husband said to her:

'Come, my dear, we must see if we have a remnant of some stuff to make a dress for Lady Anne. She is very well dressed for a gardener's girl, but not smart enough for us.'[Pg 390]

The pack was then opened, and they picked out the remains of a piece of very pretty slate-coloured stuff sufficiently large to make me a dress.

'Now,' said Mrs. Sharpley, 'after tea we must stitch away, for your dress must be made this night before you go to bed.'

The tea was soon brought in, and we all sat down to it with a good appetite, for it was now past seven o'clock, and we had not tasted anything but a little porter since we dined, which was between twelve and one o'clock. After tea Mr. Sharpley went out. His wife very expeditiously cut out my dress, and gave me the skirt to make, while she sat down to make the body and sleeves. I had been used to do a great deal of sewing, and was not slow at my needle; but I think I never in my life had worked so fast as I did that evening; and, as for Mrs. Sharpley, she worked so quick that her hand seemed absolutely to fly to and from the work. She said very little to me, except occasionally a few words of commendation, such as:

'That is a good girl! I see you will do very well. If you are diligent you shall have no cause to repent having come with us.'

Thus encouraged, I worked with unabated diligence till about ten o'clock, when Mr. Sharpley returned, and soon after our supper, consisting of mutton-chops and potatoes, was brought up. After supper Mrs. Sharpley and I returned to our work, and Mr. Sharpley read aloud from a newspaper. Thus passed the time, till a few minutes after twelve, when my dress was finished, excepting a little trimming of ribbon, which Mrs. Sharpley said might be put on another night. It was tried on, fitted me extremely well, and Mr. Sharpley said that if I was properly dressed I might[Pg 391] pass, not only for an Earl's daughter, but a Duke's daughter.

'But, Lady Anne,' said he very seriously, 'I would advise you to put all these fine thoughts out of your head, for, though I will not call your mother an impostor, as the people of E—— did, yet I must say that, if she had been an Earl's lady, she would hardly have been travelling in a post-chaise without an attendant. It seems to me that, whatever your father was, he had left your mother, and that she was returning to her own friends to live with them, when she was taken ill at E——and died. If this is the case, which appears to me most likely, your father, if he was to see you, would not own you, nor give himself the least trouble about you; so I wish you to put all high thoughts out of your head, give your mind entirely to our business, and we will reward you according to your diligence.'

These words brought tears into my eyes, for, though in my own mind I feared I should never find my father, yet to hear another person say that I should not seemed to make it so certain that my heart appeared to die at the thought; and then, again, to hear it said that my father had deserted us—that if he was to see me he would not own me—oh! could that be possible? Yet how was it that I was really left a wanderer in the wide world? That I knew not, but the certainty that I was so made me weep bitterly. Calming my agitation as much as I was able, I promised to be diligent in their business, and to obey them in everything that I could. They both laughed, and said I was terribly afraid they should want me to steal. Mrs. Sharpley then showed me to a bed in a closet adjoining their room, and the oblivion of sleep soon made me forget all that had passed the preceding day.[Pg 392]

The next morning we breakfasted early, and then left the inn. In going through the town Mrs. Sharpley went into a shop, where she bought me a very pretty straw hat trimmed with blue ribbons. My dress was now completely different to what it had been the day before, I now having a new hat, new dress, and a pretty silk handkerchief pinned over my shoulders. The purchase being made, my old bonnet was thrown down in the street, for the benefit of whoever chose to pick it up. We then proceeded on our way, and soon left the town. This day was passed nearly as the former one had been, some people buying, and others not even looking at the goods. In the evening when we arrived at our inn, Mr. Sharpley went out while the tea was being prepared, and returned in little more than half an hour. We then had tea, after which he went out again. Mrs. Sharpley then employed herself in making caps and frills to sell, and I passed the evening in putting the trimming on to my dress. I now began to feel more reconciled to my new mode of life. Mr. and Mrs. Sharpley were good-natured, and certainly treated me with kindness, and I thought, if they did not want me to steal, I might be very comfortable with them. The week passed away. Saturday night came, and they gave me sixpence, telling me they should give me as much every week, so long as I continued to behave well. Weeks thus passed on. Our days were employed in walking from place to place, endeavouring to sell the goods, and our evenings in making up caps, frills, etc., for sale, and I soon became so expert in making them that they increased my weekly money from sixpence to a shilling. This money was in reality but of very little use to myself, for, as I had everything provided for me, I did not want it on my own account; but, then, it was a source of very great pleasure to me,[Pg 393] as it enabled me to relieve the distress of many poor objects that I met upon the road, whose pale faces told, without their speaking it, that they were in want of bread.

Mr. Sharpley did not go out every evening, but would sometimes spend it with us, and then he would read either the daily paper or some entertaining book, and when we had a good stock of caps and frills made up they would allow me to read books for my own amusement. Of these, as they sold them, they had a great variety, and thus circumstanced my life passed very pleasantly. Of stealing I never heard a word, and I began to think they had only talked of it to frighten me, but the time now came when I was to be undeceived. One evening when we arrived at our inn, before we sat down to tea, Mr. Sharpley took six silver teaspoons and a pair of sugar-tongs out of his pocket, and, laying them on the table, asked me what I thought he had given for them. As I did not know the value of such things it was impossible for me to guess, and after some time he said:

'Why, then, to tell you the truth, I—stole them.'

'Stole them!' I exclaimed with horror. 'How could you do so? Who did you steal them from?'

'I took them, for we do not generally say stole, from the farmer's wife who bought the stuff gowns and two caps of us this afternoon.'

I was so shocked at the ingratitude and baseness of the action that I burst into tears.

'You are a silly girl to cry, Lady Anne,' said he. 'These are by no means the first things I have taken since you have been out with us, for of an evening when I go out it is generally to some friend of mine, who takes this kind of goods off my hands, and gives me money instead of them. When once they are gone I am in no danger, for if I was to be taken up, and my pack searched,[Pg 394] nothing could be found, so I should be set at liberty again.'

'But,' said I, 'suppose you were to be taken up before you had parted with them, and they were to be found in your possession, what would be done to you then?'

'I should most likely be hung,' replied he very calmly.

'Be hung!' I exclaimed. 'But why do you do it? Do you not get enough money to live upon from the things you sell? You know it is a very wicked thing to steal. You know the Commandment says "Thou shalt not steal."'

'Very true, Lady Anne,' said he, laughing. 'It would be a good thing for the world if we were all as innocent and as well disposed as you are. I will not argue the subject any further with you now, but I wish, by degrees, to bring you into our business, and when you will take things as well as us, you shall have half for yourself.'

'Well, sir,' I replied, 'I would sooner be as poor and as miserable as I was at Mr. Smith's than I would be a thief.'

No more was at that time said on the subject, but Mr. Sharpley no longer made a secret of his evil practices, and I was sorry to observe that scarcely a day passed without his taking something from the people who bought of him. His wife, I do believe, if she had not been influenced by him, would have been very honest; indeed, I never knew her to take anything herself, and sometimes, when he laid his plunder before her, she would say:

'Ah, James, I am afraid these tricks of yours will one day bring you to the gallows.'

Several more weeks thus passed away, and I have no cause of complaint against them, except their taking other peoples' property, for they were good-natured, paid[Pg 395] very honestly for everything they had at the inns, and often gave money to poor people they met on the roads.

Often of an evening Mr. Sharpley would amuse himself with what he called a mock trial—that is, he would make believe he had been taken up for theft, and I was to be examined before a judge to see if I had assisted him or knew anything about it; then he sat as judge, and I was always to deny having any knowledge of the theft, and when I did not answer right Mrs. Sharpley said what I was to say. I always disliked these trials, and could never go through them without tears, for I was always afraid they would one day be a reality.

The winter months passed away, and spring again returned. One day, in the month of April, as we were entering a large town, we were met by such a vast crowd of people that we were obliged to stand up against the houses to be out of the way while it passed. On Mr. Sharpley inquiring what was the matter, he was told it was a man going to be hung for privately stealing in a dwelling-house. My heart seemed to die within me when I heard the answer, for I thought that it would very likely one day be our own case. When we reached the inn where we were to dine, throwing myself into a chair I covered my face with a handkerchief and wept most bitterly.

'What is the matter?' said Mr. Sharpley. 'Are you ill?'

'No,' I replied; 'but that poor man was going to be hung. Oh, Mr. Sharpley, we may some day be taken up and be hung too. I do wish that you would be honest. Do not give me any more money, but keep it instead of stealing, and I have ten shillings that I will give you back again.'

'Indeed, James,' said his wife, 'I wish you would leave[Pg 396] off taking. When you read of trials and executions in the newspapers, and when we met that poor man to-day you don't know how I felt. I am very much afraid, as well as Lady Anne, that we shall come to an untimely end.'

'You and Lady Anne are enough to drive a man mad,' replied her husband; 'but, however, I will make this bargain with you both. Whenever it happens that I am taken up for theft, and am brought to within an inch of my life, so that there seems no chance of escaping, then, if any unforeseen circumstance arises and delivers me from the danger, then, I give you my word, I swear to you, that from that day forward I will be an honest man, and content myself with the profits of my trade.'

'Then the sooner it happens the better,' said his wife, 'for I am sick of the life of jeopardy we lead.'

One would have thought that from the dreadful example that passed before his eyes, and from what his wife said to him, that Mr. Sharpley would in some degree have left off his bad practices; but he did quite the contrary, and took more and more. Sometimes, after committing these thefts, we were obliged instead of keeping along the road to cross the fields and go for miles out of our way, and at night to sleep in outhouses or barns, that we might not be seen before Mr. Sharpley had come to some place where he could part with his stolen goods. On these occasions I was truly miserable, and I determined, in my own mind, that whenever we should travel near to London I would contrive to leave them, and go to Mrs. Williams, who, I doubted not, would get me some employment to enable me to live in an honest manner.

Things went on in this way till the beginning of June, when one day, as we were passing a very fine park, we stopped to admire it. A broad avenue planted on each[Pg 397] side with trees led up to the house, which was large and handsome.

'We will go in there,' said Mr. Sharpley; 'perhaps we may have the good fortune to sell something.' He opened the gate, we entered, and walked up the avenue to the house. As we passed one of the parlour windows he peeped in, and said in a low voice:

'There is nobody there, the cloth is spread for dinner, and there is a rare lot of plate.'

With an aching heart I followed him up the steps to the hall-door; there he saw a woman servant, whom he began to persuade to look at some of his goods. She said she would call the lady's maid, who she thought would show some of the muslins and laces to the ladies upstairs. She then went away, using the precaution of locking the dining-parlour door, and taking the key with her. She soon returned with the lady's maid, the pack and our boxes were opened, the women picked out what they chose, and after inquiring the prices took them upstairs.

'That is a clever girl,' said Mr. Sharpley; 'she has locked the door, but I rather think she has left the window open. I'll just take a peep.'

He went out upon the lawn, and returned in less than five minutes, smiling and muttering to his wife:

'The sooner those girls come down the better. We must not quit the park till they do come, for we might be seen from the upper windows, and they would send after and stop us.'

I trembled so when I heard this speech that I could hardly stand, and I determined to leave them the very first opportunity that I could find. In about ten minutes they came down, and brought the money for what things the ladies had chosen. They then made several purchases[Pg 398] for themselves, which Mr. Sharpley let them have at their own price. Our goods were then expeditiously packed up, and we left the park. We had no sooner reached the road than he told us we must cross over and go into the field on the opposite side, where we must keep along under the screen of the hedge till we came to some place where we could cross over to a further distance. We followed his directions, and, when on the other side, we were obliged, each of us, to tie a coloured handkerchief over our bonnets, which a little altered their appearance. Mr. Sharpley put on a waggoner's frock which he always carried in his pack, and thus disguised we proceeded forward.

'We must go to a barn that I know of near N——,' said Mr. Sharpley. 'It is about seven miles off; so, Lady Anne, you must walk stoutly; there we shall sleep. We must be up again by four in the morning, and go on to A——; that is only five miles further, and will be a nice little walk before breakfast. There I know a man who will take my silver goods off my hands, and then we shall be all safe again.'

I followed in silence, for talking to him I knew was of no use, and I was so disgusted at the life I was compelled to lead that I determined to escape as soon as I possibly could. About nine in the evening we reached the field where the barn was situated, where we were to sleep, but it being summer-time, and many people about, we sat ourselves down in a retired corner of the field to wait till night was farther advanced, and the country people retired to rest. There we had our supper, consisting of cold victuals and a glass of ale apiece, for Mr. Sharpley always carried provisions with him in a wallet, in case of accidents, he said. Into this wallet he had crammed the plunder that he had taken from the gentleman's house.[Pg 399] The shades of night every moment became darker, the dim figures of the countrymen, as they were returning to their homes, were seen less frequently, and the lights that gleamed from the cottage windows were by degrees all extinguished, but it was not until the clock of the neighbouring village had struck eleven that we dared to approach the barn, which we then did with cautious steps. Mr. Sharpley having found that the door was rather loose, pushed it so much aside as to admit us. We accordingly all entered; he replaced the board, and soon procured a light from a German matchbox that he always carried with him. He then emptied the wallet of the booty, which consisted of four large silver candlesticks, six table and six dessert spoons.

'Now, Lady Anne,' said he, 'I must put these things into your box, for in case of a pursuit I and my pack will be the first they will seize and examine. You must, if possible, step on one side and throw these things away into a ditch or pond, or anywhere; for, if they are not found upon us, they will have some difficulty to prove me the thief.'

I said very little, for I was determined this very night, when they should be asleep, that I would, if possible, make my escape from the barn and leave them for ever. Having arranged the things in my box, Mr. Sharpley locked it and returned the key to me, which I wore hung from my neck by a black ribbon.

[Lady Anne then ran away, but only to be caught by a policeman.][Pg 400]

Chapter IX


I endeavoured to liberate myself from his grasp, and asked him who he was and what he wanted.

'Pretty innocent!' said he. 'I suppose you really don't know.'

'If you come from Mr. Sharpley,' said I, 'tell him I shall not live with him any longer. I mean to go to London.'

'You will go with me first, my dear,' replied the man, 'and, as you will most likely see Mr. Sharpley this morning, you may tell him your message yourself; so come along.'

'Where are you going to take me to?' said I, struggling to free myself from his hold.

'I am going to take you to prison, where you will see your worthy friend, Mr. Sharpley. You will all be tried for your lives for the robbery you committed yesterday.'

When I heard this, I no longer resisted, but walked on in silence, meditating on the wretched state to which we were all reduced by the dishonesty of Mr. Sharpley. When we entered the road I found, to my surprise, that I had in the gloom of the night retraced my steps, and was within a short distance of the house where the robbery had been committed.

I was conducted into the town, which, in our hasty flight the day before, we had not dared to visit. I was then taken to the magistrate's house and locked up in[Pg 401] a room with a stone floor, grated windows, and no furniture but a wooden bench. There I was left for nearly two hours, and had full leisure to think over my melancholy situation. It appeared to me most likely that we should all be condemned to die, and when I thought of my past life—how very little I had known but sorrow—when I reflected that I had no relations to be sorry for my death, I thought that, if it was not for the disgrace of dying as a thief, I should not wish to live, but be glad to die, that I might be free from all the troubles of this world.

In the midst of these reflections the man who had awakened me in the field opened the door and told me to come, for I was now going to be tried for my life. I instantly arose. He took me by the arm and led me into a large room, where there were a great many people assembled. Some were standing, and others sitting on benches. At the upper end of a large table sat a gentleman with a very severe countenance.

From the description often given me by Mr. Sharpley of a justice-room I instantly concluded that this was one, and that the gentleman I saw was the justice. By his side sat another gentleman and some ladies. I heard the people near me whisper that they were the persons who had been robbed, and that they were come to swear to the things. I did not look at them more than merely to see that three persons were there, for in one corner of the room stood Mr. Sharpley and his wife, guarded by two men; and on the floor near the table was placed the pack and our two boxes.

'All is over with us,' thought I, as I was led up to the table, which I found was called being put to the bar. I was then ordered to take off my hat, which I did, and the justice asked me what was my name.[Pg 402]

'Lady Anne,' I replied.

A general laugh circled round the room.

'What is your surname?' demanded the justice, with great severity.

'I do not know,' answered I.

I must here observe that these very short answers were such as, in our mock trials, Mr. Sharpley had taught me to give, for he said I must never say more than was necessary to answer the question asked.

'What is your father's name?' with increased severity demanded the justice.

'I do not know.'

'What is the name you yourself generally go by?'

'Lady Anne.'

'Well, Lady Anne, since that is the name you choose to be called, what are you to Mr. Sharpley?'

'His servant.'

'Do you know for what reason you are brought here?'

'I cannot say.'

'Astonishing calmness!' said the justice in a low tone to the gentleman beside him. Then again addressing me: 'Lady Anne, you are accused of robbing, in conjunction with your master, James Sharpley, the Earl of Malbourne of various articles of plate. What do you say to this charge?'

'I did not take anything myself,' replied I, 'nor did I see my master take anything.'

'It is melancholy to see one so young in years so old in vice,' observed the justice. 'Who generally carries that small box?'

'I do.'

'Did you carry it yesterday?'

'I did.'

'Where is the key of it?'[Pg 403]

I now with horror remembered that when I left the barn in the night I had forgot to take the key from my neck, and that it was still in my possession. With my eyes fixed on the ground, I remained silent. The question was angrily repeated.

'I have it,' I falteringly answered.

'Hand it over. We must see the contents of that box.'

I attempted to obey, but the key had slipped so low into my bosom that it had somehow got fixed in the ribbon belonging to my father's picture, and I trembled so violently that I could not disentangle it without drawing the picture entirely out, and holding it in my hand while I disengaged the key. The keen eye of the justice instantly caught it.

'What fine picture is that, set in gold and adorned with pearls?' said he. 'Hand it over, and let me look at it.'

'It is my father's picture,' I replied; 'it is my own property, and I will not part with it to anybody.'

'You must part with it to me,' said the justice. 'Hand it over immediately.'

I slipped it within my stays and spread my hands over my bosom, while I replied:

'It is my father's picture. It does not belong to anybody in the world but myself, and I will sooner die than part with it.'

'Take it from her, Johnson,' said the justice.

In vain I struggled. The man forced my hands from my bosom, and, catching hold of the ribbon, dragged the picture from me, and handed it to the justice. My misery was now complete—I could endure no more—and with a bitter scream I sunk to the ground in a swoon.

How long my insensibility lasted I do not know; but when recollection returned I found myself supported in a[Pg 404] chair by a woman who was a spectator, and Johnson, the officer, was sprinkling me with water. It was some minutes before I could speak or stand, but, as soon as I could, I arose and earnestly entreated to have the picture restored to me.

'Keep your seat, Lady Anne,' said the justice. 'If the picture is yours, it certainly shall be returned to you; but try to recollect yourself, and give me some account how it came into your possession.'

'It is my father's picture,' I replied. 'My mother always wore it; and when she died a gentleman—Mr. Sanders, the clergyman of the parish—took care of it for me, and when I was sent to London he let me have it myself, that I might, if I should ever meet with my father, be able to know him. That is all I know. Now, pray, sir, let me have the picture again, for it is the only comfort I have in the world, and if you take it from me I shall die.'

'Do you not, then, child, know your father's name? Do you not know who he is?'

'Oh, if I knew his name I should not be here; but I do not know his name, and I do not know who he is.'

'Did you ever see him?'

'Yes; but it is very long since. He went away when I was five years old, and I have never seen him since.'

During these questions many heavy sighs had proceeded from some person near, but at my last answer that gentleman who was seated beside the justice rose up, and, coming round to me, took my hands, saying:

'Look at me, my child, and tell me if you think you ever saw me before.'

I did look at him; but, oh! how can I describe the astonishment and joy I felt when in his countenance I traced, though more advanced in life, the features of[Pg 405] that portrait that had so long been my greatest comfort? I sunk down before him, and, clasping his knees, exclaimed:

'Surely, surely, you are my father—you are my mother's dear Frederick!'

Overpowered by my feelings, I again fainted. When I recovered, I found myself laid upon a sofa in a handsome apartment. One of the ladies whom I had seen in the justice-room was sprinkling me with water, another holding a vinaigrette to me, my father chafing my temples, and the justice standing near, looking on, not with the stern countenance he had before shown, but as if he really pitied me. I tried to rouse myself, and, as soon as I could speak, apologised to the ladies for the trouble I had given them.

'Compose yourself, my dear,' said the elder of the two. 'To see you well is all we wish.'

I was now able to sit upright. My father sat beside me, and, putting his arms around me, pressed me to his bosom. I leaned my head against him, and the tears rolled fast down my face; but they were no longer the chilling tears of sorrow I had long been used to shed, they were tears of joy and gladness at being restored to a kind father, to whom I had feared I was lost for ever. When he spoke, I seemed to recollect the tones of his voice; the scenes of my early childhood returned to my memory, and I asked him if he had not been used to call me his Annie and his little darling.

'Yes, my dear,' he replied, 'that I certainly did, But tell me, my child, by what miracle your life was preserved from the perils of the sea, and what was the final fate of your unfortunate mother.'

'My dear mother died at E——,' I replied; 'but I do not know what you mean by the perils of the sea, for[Pg 406] I was never upon it that I know of in my life; and now, my dear father, tell me why you went away and left us, and has the Earl forgiven you yet?'

'Ah! my child,' said my father, with a deep sigh, 'I see that we have each a tale to tell, but it must be deferred till your spirits are more composed. And now, Sir Robert,' turning to the justice, 'I can only apologise for the great trouble we have given you this morning.'

'My dear lord,' replied the justice, whose name was Sir Robert Eldridge, 'accept my warmest congratulations on the happy discovery of your daughter; and to you, Lady Anne, I beg leave to return the portrait of your father, which has fortunately been the means of your being restored to his protection.'

A few more compliments having passed, we were departing, when Sir Robert said:

'What is your lordship's pleasure respecting the Sharpleys? Shall I remand them to prison for another examination?'

'My dear father,' said I, 'for my sake have pity on Mr. Sharpley and his wife, for indeed they have been very kind to me.'

'If they have been so, my child,' replied my father, 'I shall certainly show them lenity, but I wish first to hear your story, and then I shall know how to proceed. So, Sir Robert, if you will please to detain these people till to-morrow, I shall esteem it a favour.'

We then took our leave, and returned home in my father's carriage, and was soon conveyed to that house where the day before I had stood as a poor little pedlar, but which I now entered as the only child of the Earl of Malbourne.[Pg 407]

Lady Anne finds her father.—Page 405. Lady Anne finds her father.—Page 405.

[Pg 409]

We proceeded to the drawing-room, and my father then informed me that the lady who had shown me so much kindness was his sister, Lady Caroline Beaumont. The young lady, who appeared about thirteen, was my cousin, Miss Beaumont; and another young lady, who seemed about eleven, was also my cousin, Miss Ellen Beaumont.

Refreshments were now brought, and my father and aunt, when they understood that I had been up the whole night, insisted that I should go to bed, and try to get a little rest before dinner, which I did, and in about two hours arose very much refreshed.

In the course of the evening I gave my father and new-found relations a circumstantial detail of everything that had happened to me as far back as I could remember. When I gave the account of my mother's death at the inn they were affected even to tears.

'Oh! how unfortunate was I to be out of England at that time,' said my father; 'and how cruel was my father by his resentment and ambition thus to occasion the death of the most amiable of women. But proceed, my child, with your melancholy story, and afterwards I will tell you mine, and explain circumstances of which you seem to have some recollection.'

I accordingly went on, and finished my narrative, by which time it was so late, and I was so much exhausted, that my father said he would defer his narration till the following day.

My aunt and cousins were extremely kind to me, and, when I retired to bed, I was furnished with night-clothes from Miss Beaumont's wardrobe.

[On the next day the Sharpleys, on their promising never to steal again, were released, and later Sir Robert told Lady Anne the story of her life.]

'It is a painful story, my dear child,' said he; 'and I must spare your feelings by relating it as briefly as I can.[Pg 410] Your mother was of a very good family, and, during the earlier part of her youth, her parents were in affluence.

She was a boarder at the same school as my sister Caroline; and, by frequently going to see my sister, I became acquainted with Miss Norman, and was sincerely attached to her before I thought that I felt more for her than a common friendship. This, in some respects, was an unfortunate circumstance, for my father, who was then Earl of Malbourne, wished me to marry a lady of high birth and large fortune; but she was of such a disagreeable imperious temper that I could not endure the thought of passing my life with her.

'When Miss Norman was a little turned of seventeen, her mother died, and she went home to live with her father. I still visited her in company with my sister, for I hoped that my father would, at some time, consent to my marrying her. About a year after this, her father engaged in some mercantile business that failed; he was also very much defrauded by his agents, so that, from being what might be called a rich man, he was suddenly reduced to poverty. This sad change in his affairs affected him so much that he fell ill. I was grieved to my heart to see him in such a state, and to see Miss Norman pining, as it were, to death.

'I was certainly old enough to choose a wife for myself, for I was twenty-five, had a handsome estate, and was then major of a regiment. I had often told my father that I could never marry Lady Clara Froward, for that I was attached to another lady, and only wished for his consent to marry her. That, said my father, I never should have, for that he would never consent to my marrying anybody but Lady Clara Froward.

'I had waited a long time in the hope that he would change his mind, but he did not; and, when I saw Mr.[Pg 411] Norman and his daughter in such distress, I determined not to wait any longer, but offered my hand to your mother, and urged her father to consent to the marriage. It was a long time before he would agree to it; but, finding his health every day worse, he gave his consent, and we were married.

'A few days afterwards I informed my father of our marriage, and entreated him to receive my amiable wife as his daughter. He wrote me word that I had married without his consent, he disowned me as his son, and would never receive either me or my wife.

'This determination was the subject of regret to us all; but we lived in hopes that time would soften his resentment, and that in the end he would relent. About two months after our marriage Mr. Norman died; and, after the funeral, I and my wife removed to a house I had in Piccadilly, near the park. There we lived very happily for a length of time; my sister, who had been bridesmaid to your mother, frequently came to see us; there you were born, and my sister was one of your godmothers. The reason of your being called Lady Anne was entirely owing to a whim of your maid's, for at that time you had no right to the title of Lady; but she said you would soon have, and that she should call you so now, that she might be used to it; and, from her continually calling you so, it by degrees became a general custom, not only with our own family, but also with our visitors.

'Time passed away very happily till you had just completed your fifth year, when I received orders to join my regiment, which was going upon foreign service. It is needless to say anything of the deep grief that your mother and I felt on this occasion. We parted, and I[Pg 412] went abroad in the hope that I should return again in a few months.

'Two or three letters passed between your mother and me after my departure, when they suddenly ceased on her side. Unable to account for this strange silence, I wrote to my sister, entreating her to write immediately, and inform me if anything had happened. I soon received her answer, which informed me that my father, taking advantage of my absence, had unfortunately thought proper to pay a visit to your mother, and reproach her in the most cruel manner for having married me. Your dear mother was so terrified that it made her very ill.'

'Oh!' said I, interrupting my father, 'I remember it. The Earl was a tall, thin, old gentleman; and he was in such a passion that my dear mother fainted away on the ground, and a servant, I think her name was Sally, came and helped her up, and brought her to her recollection again.'

'My dear child, you are quite right,' said my father, holding his handkerchief to his eyes; 'that unfortunate visit was the cause of all the misery that has since befallen us. Your mother, being fearful of receiving such another visit, soon after the Earl was gone, sent Sally out to take lodgings for her in a private street, to which she removed the same evening, attended only by Sally and another woman servant. She then wrote an account of all that had passed to my sister (who was married to Sir Henry Beaumont), and concluded her letter by saying that she should continue in privacy in those apartments till my return, as she dreaded a repetition of the Earl's visit if she remained in Piccadilly. A few days after she had been in these lodgings she saw the Earl pass by on the other side of the street, accidentally he has since assured me it was. The idea[Pg 413] instantly seized her that he was searching for her, and, not knowing what might be the consequences should he discover her retreat, she determined to leave England and come over to Holland to me. She wrote a few lines to my sister, telling her of her fears and determination, and that she intended to take her passage in a packet from H——. That very day a post-chaise was sent for. She would not allow Sally to accompany her; but, taking you for her only companion, and a few clothes in a small trunk, she set out on her melancholy journey. No letter has since been received from her, and my sister had hoped and believed she was with me in Holland.

'On the receipt of this distressing intelligence, I made every possible inquiry to ascertain the fate of my beloved wife and child; and, after some days, had the misery to hear that the hull of a packet had been found floating at sea keel upwards. Its name and port were legibly painted upon it, and on inquiry it was found that this very packet had left H—— two days after your mother's departure from London, and, none having sailed for some days before, no doubt could be entertained but that your mother and you had been lost at sea. What misery was mine! How often did I wish that I had been with you, and that we had all been buried in the same watery grave! When the campaign was ended I returned to England, and resigned my commission. My grief was so great that I believed I should have lost my senses had it not been for the kindness of my sister and Sir Henry, who obliged me almost by force to reside with them. My father, too late repenting of his cruelty, and shocked at the dreadful calamity it had occasioned, sought a reconciliation with his wretched son. I shall not dwell upon the particulars of the distressing interview that passed between us; we were reconciled, but my father could never forgive himself[Pg 414] for the misery his ambition had occasioned. Our firm belief that your mother and you had been lost at sea prevented our making any inquiries by land, and we were too much absorbed by grief to read the newspapers, so that we never saw the advertisements that you say were inserted. Since that time, my dear child. I have passed a very unhappy life. I have several times been on the Continent on government business. When in England, I reside chiefly with my sister and brother-in-law. Your uncle, Sir Henry, is at present at Vienna, and, during the time of his absence, your aunt and two cousins are staying with me. These, my dear, are the principal circumstances of my life.

'I will now say something of the events of yesterday. When my servants told me of the robbery committed by the pedlar there appeared to me so much ingratitude as well as roguery in the transaction, for the man had taken more than ten pounds in money for his goods, that I determined to let the law take its course with respect to him, and my servants were at the justice's to swear to the things; but the description the two women servants gave me of you interested your aunt and me very much in your favour, and we thought that if you were so young and innocent as they represented you to be it would be a deed of kindness to rescue you from the guardianship of such people, and it was for that purpose that we attended.

'When you were led forward to the bar the great resemblance you bear to your mother instantly struck me, and when in tones so dear, and so familiar to my ear you said that your name was Lady Anne, my agitation was extreme, though still without thinking it possible that you could be my daughter, but when at last my own portrait was produced, and you declared it to be your[Pg 415] father's, then I thought it possible that your life might have been preserved, and I whispered Sir Robert, for I was too much agitated to question you myself, to inquire particularly how it had come into your possession. To what a happy discovery did that examination lead. My child is restored to me, and I am happier than I ever expected to be again in this world.'

My father tenderly embraced me at the conclusion of his narrative, so did my aunt and cousins, with many kind expressions of joy at my being restored to my family.

'Your likeness to your mother is very great,' said my aunt. 'She was my chosen friend at school from the time she came to it, which was when she was twelve years old. In features, in voice, you are as like what she was at your age as if you were the same person.'

In the course of the evening my father told me that in a few days, when I should have had a proper assortment of clothes made up for me, it was his intention to make a tour.

'We will go to town,' said he, 'again, and pay a visit to all those people who have been your friends, and even those who have been otherwise. I intend to go to those cruel people in the Borough. A few words of proper admonition may be of service to them, and induce them to treat another poor child with more humanity. And to Mrs. Williams, honest Davis, and that good man Joseph we must show our gratitude by deeds as well as words.'

About a week after this we went to town, and soon after paid a visit to Davis's cottage. We knocked at the door, which was opened by Mrs. Davis, who seemed surprised at so many fine people coming to her cottage, and asked, 'What was our pleasure?' My father told her that he was come to thank her for the kindness she had shown to a little friendless girl who went by the[Pg 416] name of Lady Anne, and whom he had lately discovered to be his daughter. She looked astonished, but, fixing her eyes upon me, instantly recollected me, and burst into a flood of tears.

'Do not cry, Mrs. Davis,' said I, for I was grieved at seeing her weep. 'I do sincerely thank you, for you were very kind to me till just the last.'

'Ah, Lady Anne,' said she, 'I have never been happy since I sent you away. My husband was dreadfully angry with me, and I don't believe he has forgiven me yet. He said that I had turned an orphan out of doors, and that it would bring ill luck upon our heads, and so it proved, for about a week after Mr. Freeman himself caught Susan as she was filling her pockets with plums, and discharged her instantly. Luckily Phoebe had none in her pocket, and Tom they knew to be an honest boy, so they two escaped, but we had a world of trouble with Susan, for, as she had lost her character, we could hardly get her a place at all, but at last a woman in the village who takes in washing agreed to take her. There she has a great deal of work to do for very little money, but she is determined to be honest, and to stay there for a year that she may recover her character, and then we hope that she will do better, but it grieves me to the heart to think that I encouraged her to bring the fruit home, for if I had scolded her for it at the first, she would have left it off, and might now have been at Mr. Freeman's.'

'Well, my good woman,' said my father, 'you seem so sensible of your error, both with respect to encouraging your daughter in dishonesty, and your ill-treatment of mine at the last, that I shall say nothing further to you on the subject, but thank you for the kindness you did show to my child during the greater part of the time she[Pg 417] was with you. Now I wish to see your husband. Is he here or gone to town?'

'He is at the garden, sir, for Richard and the women quarrelled about the money that they took, and at last one of them told Mr. Freeman of the tricks they played, so Richard and some of the women were discharged, and the rest had such a lecturing that I don't believe there is now a creature in the garden would dare to take so much as a gooseberry from it, but my husband is there a good deal to look after them, for Mr. Freeman says he shall not trust them too far.'

'Ah,' said my father, 'you see that honesty is still the best policy. Well, I wish you good-day, and hope you will continue in your good resolutions.'

I shook hands with the poor woman, and we then proceeded to Mr. Freeman's gardens. The door being open we entered. Mr. Joseph soon appeared, and came up to us with a bow.

'We would look at your greenhouses,' said my father. 'I wish to choose some plants.'

Joseph looked at me with a doubting, curious look, but without uttering any observation, and led the way to the nearest greenhouse. We looked at the plants, and my cousins took occasion to address me by my title. At this Joseph again gazed very earnestly at me, and hesitatingly said:

'I beg pardon, but this young lady is so like a child that used to be here last summer, and went by that name, that I could almost swear she was now before me.'

'And so she is, my good man,' replied my father, 'and I am come to thank you for the kindness you showed to her.'

'Well now,' said Joseph, 'this is the most joyful day[Pg 418] that I have seen for this long time. To see the little drooping rose transplanted into its own garden was more than I ever expected, but I am glad to my heart that it has happened, and, Lady Anne, forgive the freedom of an old man when I say that I loved you as if you had been one of my own grandchildren, and had I known how uncomfortable you were at Davis's you should have been removed into the family of one of my own daughters, who lives near, and she would have treated you as one of her own children; but you see all things happen for the best, for by your being turned out of doors, as it were, you have discovered your father, and are much better off than ever we could make you.'

We all very cordially shook hands with this honest good man, and my father compelled him to accept of a handsome present.

Mr. Freeman was in town, so my father left his compliments and thanks to him for having given me employment, and ordered plants to the amount of twenty pounds to be sent to his house in Piccadilly. We went to a different part of the garden in quest of Davis and his son Tommy. We soon found them, and, on making myself known to the father, the poor man could not forbear shedding tears, and said he should be ashamed as long as he lived to think how I had been turned out of his cottage. My father begged him not to think of it any longer, for that we did not, and it was with difficulty that he prevailed on him to accept a present which Davis said he did not deserve, and that it was like a reproach to him.

'Say no more, I beg of you,' said my father; 'my daughter can only think of the kindness you showed her, and we shall always remember it with gratitude.'

Little Tommy, as soon as he felt convinced that I was[Pg 419] the same Lady Anne that used to live in their cottage, took my hand, kissed it, and said he would make me a prettier box than I had ever seen, for that he made them much better now than when I lived with them. I gave the little fellow a guinea, and I gave his sister Phoebe five shillings, for though I did not entertain any resentment against her, yet I did not think it would be just to give her as much as her brother, who had always been kind to me, and was an honest boy. We then took leave of them, and returned to town.

The next morning, after breakfast was over, my father ordered the carriage, and we drove to Covent Garden to pay a visit to Mrs. Williams and her family. When we arrived at the Garden I led the way to the shop, and found her and her two daughters busy in setting out the fruit and flowers. I asked her the price of some of them, and though she answered me as a stranger, yet I saw that she looked at me very earnestly, but her daughter Jane, having observed me, whispered to her mother:

'I am sure that is the little girl that we took in who was in such distress; I am positive it was her.'

Mrs. Williams again looked at me very intently. I smiled, and said:

'Yes, Mrs. Williams, I am that poor child that you were so kind as to take in and feed and clothe.'

'Bless your sweet face,' said she, 'and so you are; and have you found your friends, and is your father living?'

'Yes, my good friend,' replied my father, 'I am that happy father, and can never be sufficiently grateful to you for befriending my poor child when she was almost dying of cold and hunger.'

Mrs. Williams made many exclamations of joy and surprise at the happy change that had taken place in my situation. We all entered the shop, and, seating[Pg 420] ourselves as well as we could, my father gave her a slight detail of the circumstances that had brought me to his knowledge. We stayed with her nearly an hour, and, before leaving the shop, my father obliged her to accept of bank-notes to the amount of a hundred pounds. We then returned to the carriage, and my father ordered the coachman to drive to D—— Street in the borough.

'For,' said he, 'we will now go and make our acknowledgment to Mr. Smith and his wife, for I think it is as proper to reprove them for their barbarity as to reward those who have treated you with kindness.'

When we arrived at the street I pointed out the house, but it was now in a different business. We entered the shop, and on inquiring for Smiths, were told that they had been gone away for some time, for that the husband had given himself up to drinking, and the wife to gambling till they were involved in debt to everybody that would trust them; and at last they had moved away in the night without paying anyone, and it was not known where they were gone to.'

'It is very well,' said my father, 'these people by their bad management and ill conduct have brought a punishment upon themselves. I shall not seek for them any further. It is not my wish to reproach those who are fallen into distress, and that, I think, is likely to be their present state.'

We then returned home, and my father informed us that it was his intention, in the course of two or three days, to take a longer journey, which would give us much pleasure and also much pain.

'For,' said he, 'we will go to E——. I wish to visit Mr. Sanders and your good nurse, and to go to the grave of your dear mother. She must not lie there; I must have her removed and laid in our family vault at Malbourne.[Pg 421] Though so cruelly separated from her during my life, yet one tomb shall contain us at our death.'


Mr. Sanders was very happy to know that Lady Anne had found her father, and the Earl gave him a living worth two hundred pounds a year. He also provided for Nurse Jenkins and her children, and reprimanded the overseers of the workhouse, but made a present to the parish for the benefit of the poor children. Some time later the reformed Sharpleys called at Sir Robert's house, and being now honest pedlars, were liberally patronized.

[Pg 422]

Captain Murderer


Captain Murderer's mission was matrimony, and the gratification of a cannibal appetite with tender brides. On his marriage morning he always caused both sides of the way to church to be planted with curious flowers; and when his bride said, 'Dear Captain Murderer, I never saw flowers like these before; what are they called?' he answered, 'They are called garnish for house-lamb,' and laughed at his ferocious practical joke in a horrid manner, disquieting the minds of the noble bridal company with a very sharp show of teeth, then displayed for the first time. He made love in a coach-and-six, and married in a coach-and-twelve, and all his horses were milk-white horses with one red spot on the back, which he caused to be hidden by the harness; for the spot would come there, though every horse was milk-white when Captain Murderer bought him. And the spot was young bride's blood. (To this terrific point I am indebted for my first personal experience of a shudder and cold beads on the forehead.) When Captain Murderer had made an end of feasting and revelry,[Pg 423] and had dismissed the noble guests, and was alone with his wife on the day month after their marriage, it was his whimsical custom to produce a golden rolling-pin and a silver pie-board. Now, there was this special feature in the Captain's courtships, that he always asked if the young lady could make pie-crust, and if she couldn't by nature or education, she was taught. Well, when the bride saw Captain Murderer produce the golden rolling-pin and silver pie-board, she remembered this, and turned up her laced-silk sleeves to make a pie. The Captain brought out a silver pie-dish of immense capacity, and the Captain brought out flour and butter and eggs and all things needful, except the inside of the pie. Of materials for the staple of the pie itself the Captain brought out none. Then said the lovely bride: 'Dear Captain Murderer, what pie is this to be?' He replied: 'A meat pie.' Then said the lovely bride: 'Dear Captain Murderer, I see no meat.' The Captain humorously retorted: 'Look in the glass.' She looked in the glass, but still she saw no meat, and then the Captain roared with laughter, and suddenly frowning and drawing his sword, bade her roll out the crust. So she rolled out the crust, dropping large tears upon it all the time, because he was so cross, and when she had lined the dish with crust, and had cut the crust all ready to fit the top, the Captain called out: 'I see the meat in the glass!' And the bride looked up at the glass, just in time to see the Captain cutting her head off; and he chopped her in pieces, and peppered her, and salted her, and put her in the pie, and sent it to the baker's, and ate it all, and picked the bones.

Captain Murderer went on in this way, prospering exceedingly, until he came to choose a bride from two twin sisters, and at first didn't know which to choose;[Pg 424] for, though one was fair and the other dark, they were both equally beautiful. But the fair twin loved him, and the dark twin hated him, so he chose the fair one. The dark twin would have prevented the marriage if she could, but she couldn't. However, on the night before it, much suspecting Captain Murderer, she stole out and climbed his garden-wall, and looked in at his window through a chink in the shutter, and saw him having his teeth filed sharp. Next day she listened all day, and heard him make his joke about the house-lamb. And that day month he had the paste rolled out, and cut the fair twin's head off, and chopped her in pieces, and peppered her, and salted her, and put her in the pie, and sent it to the baker's, and ate it all, and picked the bones.

Now, the dark twin had had her suspicions much increased by the filing of the Captain's teeth, and again by the house-lamb joke. Putting all things together when he gave out that her sister was dead, she divined the truth, and determined to be revenged. So she went up to Captain Murderer's house and knocked at the knocker and pulled at the bell, and when the Captain came to the door, said: 'Dear Captain Murderer, marry me next, for I always loved you, and was jealous of my sister.' The Captain took it as a compliment, and made a polite answer, and the marriage was quickly arranged. On the night before it the bride again climbed to his window, and again saw him having his teeth filed sharp. At this sight she laughed such a terrible laugh at the chink in the shutter that the Captain's blood curdled, and he said: 'I hope nothing has disagreed with me!' At that she laughed again—a still more terrible laugh—and the shutter was opened and search made, but she was nimbly gone, and there was no one. Next day they went to church in a coach-and-twelve and were married. And[Pg 425] that day month she rolled the pie-crust out, and Captain Murderer cut her head off, and chopped her in pieces, and peppered her, and salted her, and put her in the pie, and sent it to the baker's, and ate it all, and picked the bones.

But before she began to roll out the paste she had taken a deadly poison of a most awful character, distilled from toads' eyes and spiders' knees, and Captain Murderer had hardly picked her last bone when he began to swell, and to turn blue, and to be all over spots, and to scream. And he went on swelling and turning bluer, and being more all over spots and screaming, until he reached from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall; and then, at one o'clock in the morning, he blew up with a loud explosion. At the sound of it all the milk-white horses in the stables broke their halters and went mad, and then they galloped over everybody in Captain Murderer's house (beginning with the family blacksmith, who had filed his teeth) until the whole were dead, and then they galloped away.


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A Book of Ballad Stories

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