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Title: The Parent's Assistant - Stories for Children
Author: Edgeworth, Maria, 1767-1849
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  THE PARENT'S ASSISTANT


  [Illustration: _'I thought I saw----' poor Franklin began._--P. 61.]


  THE
  PARENT'S ASSISTANT
  or, Stories for Children

  BY
  MARIA EDGEWORTH


  WITH AN INTRODUCTION
  BY
  ANNE THACKERAY RITCHIE


  ILLUSTRATED
  BY
  CHRIS HAMMOND


  LONDON: MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED
  NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
  1903



  _First printed with Illustrations by Chris Hammond 1897._
  _Illustrated Pocket Classics 1903._



INTRODUCTION


Once when the present writer was a very little girl she suffered for a
short time from some inflammation of the eyes, which prevented her from
reading, or amusing herself in any way. Her father, who had just then
returned from the East, in order to help her to pass the weary hours
began telling her the story of the 'Forty Thieves,' and when he had
finished, and had boiled down the wicked thieves in oil, and when she
asked him to tell it all over again, he said that he would try and find
something else to amuse her, and looking about the room he took up a
volume of the _Parent's Assistant_ which was lying on the table, and
began to read aloud the story of the 'Little Merchants.' The story
lasted two mornings, and an odd, confused impression still remains in
the listener's mind to this day of Naples, Vesuvius, pink and white
sugar plums--of a darkened room, of a lonely country house in Belgium,
of a sloping garden full of flowers outside the shutters, of the back of
a big sofa covered with yellow velvet, and of her father's voice reading
on and on. When she visited Naples in after days she found herself
looking about unconsciously for her early playfellows.

Not only Francisco and Piedro, but all those various members of the
Edgeworth family who play their parts in fancy names and dresses in
Miss Edgeworth's stories, became her daily familiar companions from that
day forth.

Many of the stories in the _Parent's Assistant_ were written in a time
when wars and rumours of wars were in the air; these quiet scenes of
village life were devised to the sound of clarions. Rebels were marching
and countermarching; volunteers were assembling; husbandmen, throwing
away their spades, were arming and turning into soldiers; the French
were landing in Ireland. 'I cannot be a Captain of Dragoons,' writes
Miss Edgeworth, 'and it would not make any of us one degree safer if I
were sitting with my hands before me.' So she quietly goes on with her
stories. One or two of them were written at Clifton, and very early in
her career an illustrated edition had been suggested by the publishers.
A young Irish neighbour, with a taste for the fine arts, was asked to
make the drawings to these stories, and it was this lady, Miss Beaufort,
the daughter of the Rector of Colon, who afterwards became the fourth
Mrs. Edgeworth. Not long after his third wife's death in 1797, Mr.
Edgeworth wrote a letter to Dr. Darwin at Lichfield, in which he gives
him various items of family news. He writes of portraits (Dr. Darwin,
Mr. Thomas Day, and Mr. Edgeworth, had all sat for their portraits); he
writes of Upas trees, of frozen frogs, of farming and rack-rents; of
pipes for hot-houses to be heated by stable dung, of speaking machines,
and finally in a postscript he announces the fact of his being engaged
to be married for the fourth time, 'to a young lady of small fortune and
large accomplishments, much youth, some beauty, more sense, uncommon
talents, more uncommon temper, liked by my family, loved by me.'

These were stormy times for Ireland: a few days after the letter was
written, a conspiracy was discovered in Dublin, and the city was under
arms. Mr. Edgeworth set out immediately to join the Beauforts, who were
there. The true-hearted daughter now admires her father for urging on
the marriage. 'Instead of delaying, as some would have advised, my
father urged for an immediate day. He brought his bride home through a
part of the country in actual insurrection.'

There is a grim story of the new-married pair on their way to
Edgeworthstown passing the suspended corpse of a man hanging between the
shafts of a cart. Miss Edgeworth in her Memoirs of her father gives a
striking account of the family assembled to receive the new wife. It is
a grandson of this last Mrs. Edgeworth who is the present owner of
Edgeworthstown.

_The Parent's Assistant_ had just been written; but one or two of the
stories in the present collection were not added till much later, such
as 'The Bracelets,' which were written in Switzerland to make up a
proper allowance of copy for a new edition. It is hard to make a choice
among these charming and familiar histories. They open like fairy tales,
recounting in simple diction the histories of widows living in flowery
cottages, with assiduous devoted little sons, who work in the garden and
earn money to make up the rent. There are also village children busily
employed, and good little orphans whose parents generally die in the
opening pages. Fairies were not much in Miss Edgeworth's line, but
philanthropic manufacturers, liberal noblemen, and benevolent ladies in
travelling carriages, do as well and appear in the nick of time to
distribute rewards or to point a moral. Rosamond of the Purple Jar
reappears in the _Birthday Present_, which gives one an odd picture of
the customs of those days. We read of the little lace girl who leaves
her pillow upon a stone before the door, and of the footman laced with
silver, who having entangled the bobbins and kicked the pillow into the
lane, jumps up behind his mistress's coach and is out of sight in a
minute. Wise Laura, who had not, like Rosamond, spent her half-guinea
upon filigree paper, consoles the little weeping lace-maker, and presses
her golden coin into her hand.

Lazy Lawrence is one of the prettiest stories in the collection. Who
could read the story of Dutiful Jim and his love for old Lightfoot
unmoved? Lightfoot deserves to take his humble place among the immortal
winged steeds of mythology along with Pegasus, or with Black Bess, or
Balaam's Ass, or any other celebrated steeds.

Most children like the history of the Orphans; that quiet history in
which the sister of twelve years old acts a mother's part by the little
children. I believe the story is founded on some real and modest heroine
of those bygone days. Then, again, who has not sympathised with 'Waste
not, Want not,' and with thoughtful Ben and his careful assiduity? It
would be curious to calculate how much good time has been sacrificed to
saving worthless pieces of string in imitation of this thrifty but
fascinating hero. But after all nothing is to compare to Simple Susan:
how pretty the scene is where Susan, working in her arbour, hears the
sound of her friend Philip's pipe and tabor; the children come across
the green with their garlands, leading up Susan's lamb tied up with
ribbons, the wicked agent skulks away; innocence and beauty triumph over
wrong.

       *       *       *       *       *

Friendship plays a no less important part in Miss Edgeworth's stories
than it did in her own actual experience. Many of the scenes of Miss
Edgeworth's stories are laid in manufacturing districts, and I have
already quoted from the correspondence with Mr. Strutt, on whose
sympathy and help she so greatly relied. Young Edward Strutt,
afterwards Lord Belper, used to write to the young men at Edgeworthstown
when he was a child of only nine years old. 'I shall not be satisfied
with any letter from you that does not mention every member of your
uncle's family and your own,' says one of the young Edgeworths, writing
back in answer to the boy. Mr. Edgeworth sends his sons in succession to
visit his friend Mr. Strutt, and quotes from Pliny, saying: 'The claim I
now make to your favour is your having already done me favours. I
introduce my fourth son to your notice simply upon the foundation of
your having been very kind to his brothers.'

In 1823 Miss Edgeworth, who has been writing to Mr. Strutt for years,
addresses him as 'my dear sir--my dear friend, I think I may venture to
say!' She consults him upon details in her stories, and asks his advice
on some matter connected with spinning-jennies. There also are many
family events, charmingly chronicled in the orderly flowing characters
of the lady, or the bolder writing of her correspondent; one letter
concerns the election to Parliament of Mr. Edward Strutt in 1830.

  The Strutts are all clever,
  Here's Edward for ever,

she writes, and defends her doggerel by the 'natural Irish spirits where
the interests of a friend are concerned.' As time goes on Lord Belper's
own letters appear, keeping up the family tradition of kindness and
hospitality. The author's conscientious painstaking strikes one, as one
realises the care she bestowed upon her work. _La Triste Réalité_, of
which Mme. de Stael complained, has certainly its charm for the infant
mind, and also for some maturer readers.

Archbishop Whately in one of his reviews upon Miss Edgeworth points out
the change which has gradually come over story-telling. 'Instead of the
splendid scenes of an imaginary world, striking representations of that
which is daily taking place around us are set forth,' he says. 'We now
turn to _Flemish painting_'--so he calls the descriptions; and he adds
that a novel which makes good its pretensions of giving a perfectly
correct picture of common life, becomes a far more instructive work than
one of superior merit belonging to the imaginative class; for, as he
tells us, 'It guides the judgment and supplies a kind of artificial
experience of life.' It is also Whately who complains--not exactly as
one would expect an archbishop to complain--that Miss Edgeworth's
stories are too improving, too didactic. 'She would, we think, instruct
more successfully, and we are sure please more frequently, if she kept
the design of teaching more out of sight,' he writes. If Whately were
alive to review the novels of our own day, he might after all prefer
'the splendid scenes of an imaginary world' to the favourite experiments
in garbage of our present Laura Matildas. It is true the books sell by
thousands. They certainly prove that the successful discovery of the age
is _not_ to point out what is right but what is wrong. Books used to be
coarse and jocular; our books are earnest and indecent on principle. One
hears of the _revolting_ daughters who are so much to the front, the
same word in a different sense may perhaps apply to a favourite school
of authors now in vogue.

There is, however, a compensating balance in every adjustment of the
scales of life: along with the minor virtues which are so much out of
fashion, such as modesty, decency, good breeding, etc., follows the
expulsion of a great many minor vices, such as affectation,
disingenuousness, exclusiveness, and worldly wisdom. The latter
qualities still exist of course, but in a rather shame-stricken,
apologetic sort of way. Besides the gibes of literature, they have to
contend with all sorts of opposing influences,--with omnibuses,
depreciated investments, penny papers, county councils, all of which
certainly place altruism and public spirit in the place of the more
personal egotisms of our grandfathers.



CONTENTS


                                                                   PAGE

  PREFACE                                                             1

  THE ORPHANS                                                         5

  LAZY LAWRENCE                                                      27

  THE FALSE KEY                                                      55

  SIMPLE SUSAN                                                       79

  THE WHITE PIGEON                                                  141

  THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT                                              153

  ETON MONTEM                                                       169

  FORGIVE AND FORGET                                                215

  WASTE NOT, WANT NOT; OR, TWO STRINGS TO YOUR BOW                  231

  OLD POZ                                                           257

  THE MIMIC                                                         273

  THE BARRING OUT; OR, PARTY SPIRIT                                 307

  THE BRACELETS                                                     347

  THE LITTLE MERCHANTS                                              373

  TARLTON                                                           431

  THE BASKET-WOMAN                                                  451



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                   PAGE

  'I thought I saw----' poor Franklin began              _Frontispiece_

  Inquired what it was she most wanted                               10

  'Well, and what have you done with the treasure you had the
  luck to find?'                                                     20

  'See what you've done for me--look!--look, look, I say!'           38

  'What's the matter?' said his mistress. 'God bless the boy!'
  said his mother                                                    48

  'You know this key? I shall trust it in your care'                 72

  'It won't do,' said Barbara, turning her back                      85

  Tried all her skill to fathom his thoughts                        100

  Let it eat out of her hand for the last time                      116

  'Stay! oh stay! don't chop his head off'                          144

  The boy pulled off the cover, and saw a white pigeon painted
  upon the sign                                                     151

  She twisted and untwisted, placed and replaced, the bobbins,
  while the footman stood laughing at her distress                  156

  'I shan't spoil it; and I will have it in my own hands'           161

  'Then shake hands, my honest landlord'                            176

  Enter Miss Bursal, in a riding dress                              181

  'I say I saw _him_ there take the jump which strained
  the horse.'                                                       209

  'Talbot and truth for ever! Huzza'                                212

  'Stay! Stand still, sir! or you will break your china jar'        217

  When Maurice saw his raspberry-plants scattered upon the
  ground, and his favourite tulip broken, he was in much
  astonishment                                                      228

  Playing at cat's cradle                                           236

  He dragged poor Hal out of the red mud                            253

  _Lucy._ What's this, papa? _Just._ Pshaw! pshaw!
  pshaw!--it is not melted, child--it is the same as no sugar       260

  'Five times have I commanded silence, and I won't command
  anything five times in vain--_that's poz!_'                       264

  'And Mr. Smack, the curate, and Squire Solid, and the doctor,
  sir, are come, and dinner is upon the table'                      270

  The next day Mrs. Theresa Tattle did herself the honour to
  wait upon Mrs. Montague                                           276

  'She dashed and splashed without minding exactness, or the
  recipe, or anything'                                              284

  'And like a man--and like a good man, I am sure thou wilt,' said
  the good Quaker, shaking Frederick's hand affectionately          304

  'What is become of my Livy?' 'Your _sister_ Livy, do you
  mean?'                                                            313

  Archer leaped up, and seizing hold of Fisher with a powerful
  grasp, sternly demanded 'What he meant by this?'                  335

  He sneaked out, whimpering in a doleful voice                     345

  'How?' cried Cecilia, catching hold of her                        352

  'Oh, stay one minute!' said Cecilia                               363

  'I saw him the other day miss selling a melon for his father by
  turning the bruised side to the customer'                         377

  Piedro was hissed and hooted out of the market-place              400

  The Jew, who was a man old in all the arts of villainy, contrived
  to cheat both his associates                                      413

  Returned in safety over the lava, yet warm under his feet         419

  'Is it poison?' exclaimed Loveit, starting back with horror       441

  'May God bless you!'                                              448

  'But, oh, brother, look at this! this is not the same as the
  other halfpence'                                                  456

  His master came in with a face of indignation, and demanded
  '_The guinea_--the _guinea_, _sir_!'                              464



PREFACE

ADDRESSED TO PARENTS


Our great lexicographer, in his celebrated eulogium on Dr. Watts, thus
speaks in commendation of those productions which he so successfully
penned for the pleasure and instruction of the juvenile portion of the
community.

'For children,' says Dr. Johnson, 'he condescended to lay aside the
philosopher, the scholar, and the wit, to write little poems of
devotion, and systems of instruction adapted to their wants and
capacities, from the dawn of reason to its gradation of advance in the
morning of life. Every man acquainted with the common principles of
human action will look with veneration on the writer who is at one time
combating Locke and at another time making a catechism for _children in
their fourth year_. A voluntary descent from the dignity of science is
perhaps the hardest lesson which humility can teach.'

It seems, however, no very easy task to write for children. Those only
who have been interested in the education of a family, who have
patiently followed children through the first processes of reasoning,
who have daily watched over their thoughts and feelings--those only who
know with what ease and rapidity the early associations of ideas are
formed, on which the future taste, character, and happiness depend, can
feel the dangers and difficulties of such an undertaking.

Indeed, in all sciences the grand difficulty has been to ascertain
facts--a difficulty which, in the science of education, peculiar
circumstances conspire to increase. Here the objects of every experiment
are so interesting that we cannot hold our minds indifferent to the
result. Nor is it to be expected that many registers of experiments,
successful and unsuccessful, should be kept, much less should be
published, when we consider that the combined powers of affection and
vanity, of partiality to his child and to his theory, will act upon the
mind of a parent, in opposition to the abstract love of justice, and the
general desire to increase the wisdom and happiness of mankind.
Notwithstanding these difficulties, an attempt to keep such a register
has actually been made. The design has from time to time been pursued.
Though much has not been collected, every circumstance and conversation
that have been preserved are faithfully and accurately related, and
these notes have been of great advantage to the writer of the following
stories.

The question, whether society could exist without the distinction of
ranks, is a question involving a variety of complicated discussions,
which we leave to the politician and the legislator. At present it is
necessary that the education of different ranks should, in some
respects, be different. They have few ideas, few habits, in common;
their peculiar vices and virtues do not arise from the same causes, and
their ambition is to be directed to different objects. But justice,
truth, and humanity are confined to no particular rank, and should be
enforced with equal care and energy upon the minds of young people of
every station; and it is hoped that these principles have never been
forgotten in the following pages.

As the ideas of children multiply, the language of their books should
become less simple; else their taste will quickly be disgusted, or will
remain stationary. Children that live with people who converse with
elegance will not be contented with a style inferior to what they hear
from everybody near them.

All poetical allusions, however, have been avoided in this book; such
situations only are described as children can easily imagine, and which
may consequently interest their feelings. Such examples of virtue are
painted as are not above their conception of excellence, or their powers
of sympathy and emulation.

It is not easy to give _rewards_ to children which shall not indirectly
do them harm by fostering some hurtful taste or passion. In the story of
'Lazy Lawrence,' where the object was to excite a spirit of industry,
care has been taken to proportion the reward to the exertion, and to
demonstrate that people feel cheerful and happy whilst they are
employed. The reward of our industrious boy, though it be money, is only
money considered as the means of gratifying a benevolent wish. In a
commercial nation it is especially necessary to separate, as much as
possible, the spirit of industry and avarice; and to beware lest we
introduce Vice under the form of Virtue.

In the story of 'Tarlton and Loveit' are represented the danger and the
folly of that weakness of mind, and that easiness to be led, which too
often pass for good nature; and in the tale of the 'False Key' are
pointed out some of the evils to which a well-educated boy, on first
going to service, is exposed from the profligacy of his fellow-servants.

In the 'Birthday Present,' and in the character of Mrs. Theresa Tattle,
the _Parent's Assistant_ has pointed out the dangers which may arise in
education from a bad servant or a common acquaintance.

In the 'Barring Out' the errors to which a high spirit and the love of
party are apt to lead have been made the subject of correction, and it
is hoped that the common fault of making the most mischievous characters
appear the most _active_ and the most ingenious has been as much as
possible avoided. _Unsuccessful_ cunning will not be admired, and cannot
induce imitation.

It has been attempted, in these stories, to provide antidotes against
ill-humour, the epidemic rage for dissipation, and the fatal propensity
to admire and imitate whatever the fashion of the moment may
distinguish. Were young people, either in public schools or in private
families, absolutely free from bad examples, it would not be advisable
to introduce despicable and vicious characters in books intended for
their improvement. But in real life they _must_ see vice, and it is best
that they should be early shocked with the representation of what they
are to avoid. There is a great deal of difference between innocence and
ignorance.

To prevent the precepts of morality from tiring the ear and the mind, it
was necessary to make the stories in which they are introduced in some
measure dramatic; to keep alive hope and fear and curiosity, by some
degree of intricacy. At the same time, care has been taken to avoid
inflaming the imagination, or exciting a restless spirit of adventure,
by exhibiting false views of life, and creating hopes which, in the
ordinary course of things, cannot be realised.



THE ORPHANS


Near the ruins of the castle of Rossmore, in Ireland, is a small cabin,
in which there once lived a widow and her four children. As long as she
was able to work, she was very industrious, and was accounted the best
spinner in the parish; but she overworked herself at last, and fell ill,
so that she could not sit to her wheel as she used to do, and was
obliged to give it up to her eldest daughter, Mary.

Mary was at this time about twelve years old. One evening she was
sitting at the foot of her mother's bed spinning, and her little
brothers and sisters were gathered round the fire eating their potatoes
and milk for supper. 'Bless them, the poor young creatures!' said the
widow, who, as she lay on her bed, which she knew must be her deathbed,
was thinking of what would become of her children after she was gone.
Mary stopped her wheel, for she was afraid that the noise of it had
wakened her mother, and would hinder her from going to sleep again.

'No need to stop the wheel, Mary, dear, for me,' said her mother, 'I was
not asleep; nor is it _that_ which keeps me from sleep. But don't
overwork yourself, Mary.' 'Oh, no fear of that,' replied Mary; 'I'm
strong and hearty.' 'So was I once,' said her mother. 'And so you will
be again, I hope,' said Mary, 'when the fine weather comes again.'

'The fine weather will never come again to me,' said her mother. ''Tis a
folly, Mary, to hope for that; but what I hope is, that you'll find some
friend--some help--orphans as you'll soon all of you be. And one thing
comforts my heart, even as I _am_ lying here, that not a soul in the
wide world I am leaving has to complain of me. Though poor I have lived
honest, and I have brought you up to be the same, Mary; and I am sure
the little ones will take after you; for you'll be good to them--as good
to them as you can.'

Here the children, who had finished eating their suppers, came round the
bed, to listen to what their mother was saying. She was tired of
speaking, for she was very weak; but she took their little hands as they
laid them on the bed, and joining them all together, she said, 'Bless
you, dears--bless you; love and help one another all you can. Good
night!--good-bye!'

Mary took the children away to their bed, for she saw that their mother
was too ill to say more; but Mary did not herself know how ill she was.
Her mother never spoke rightly afterwards, but talked in a confused way
about some debts, and one in particular, which she owed to a
schoolmistress for Mary's schooling; and then she charged Mary to go and
pay it, because she was not able to _go in_ with it. At the end of the
week she was dead and buried, and the orphans were left alone in their
cabin.

The two youngest girls, Peggy and Nancy, were six and seven years old.
Edmund was not yet nine, but he was a stout-grown, healthy boy, and well
disposed to work. He had been used to bring home turf from the bog on
his back, to lead carthorses, and often to go on errands for gentlemen's
families, who paid him a sixpence or a shilling, according to the
distance which he went, so that Edmund, by some or other of these little
employments, was, as he said, likely enough to earn his bread; and he
told Mary to have a good heart, for that he should every year grow able
to do more and more, and that he should never forget his mother's words
when she last gave him her blessing and joined their hands all together.

As for Peggy and Nancy, it was little that they could do; but they were
good children, and Mary, when she considered that so much depended upon
her, was resolved to exert herself to the utmost. Her first care was to
pay those debts which her mother had mentioned to her, for which she
left money done up carefully in separate papers. When all these were
paid away, there was not enough left to pay both the rent of the cabin
and a year's schooling for herself and sisters which was due to the
schoolmistress in a neighbouring village.

Mary was in hopes that the rent would not be called for immediately,
but in this she was disappointed. Mr. Harvey, the gentleman on whose
estate she lived, was in England, and in his absence all was managed by
a Mr. Hopkins, an agent, who was a _hard man_.[1] The driver came to
Mary about a week after her mother's death and told her that the rent
must be brought in the next day, and that she must leave the cabin, for
a new tenant was coming into it; that she was too young to have a house
to herself, and that the only thing she had to do was to get some
neighbour to take her and her brother and her sisters in for charity's
sake.

  [1] A hard-hearted man.

The driver finished by hinting that she would not be so hardly used if
she had not brought upon herself the ill-will of Miss Alice, the agent's
daughter. Mary, it is true, had refused to give Miss Alice a goat upon
which she had set her fancy; but this was the only offence of which she
had been guilty, and at the time she refused it her mother wanted the
goat's milk, which was the only thing she then liked to drink.

Mary went immediately to Mr. Hopkins, the agent, to pay her rent; and
she begged of him to let her stay another year in her cabin; but this he
refused. It was now September 25th, and he said that the new tenant must
come in on the 29th, so that she must quit it directly. Mary could not
bear the thoughts of begging any of the neighbours to take her and her
brother and sisters in _for charity's sake_; for the neighbours were
all poor enough themselves. So she bethought herself that she might find
shelter in the ruins of the old castle of Rossmore, where she and her
brother, in better times, had often played at hide and seek. The kitchen
and two other rooms near it were yet covered in tolerably well; and a
little thatch, she thought, would make them comfortable through the
winter. The agent consented to let her and her brother and sisters go in
there, upon her paying him half a guinea in hand, and promising to pay
the same yearly.

Into these lodgings the orphans now removed, taking with them two
bedsteads, a stool, chair, and a table, a sort of press, which contained
what little clothes they had, and a chest in which they had two hundred
of meal. The chest was carried for them by some of the charitable
neighbours, who likewise added to their scanty stock of potatoes and
turf what would make it last through the winter.

These children were well thought of and pitied, because their mother was
known to have been all her life honest and industrious. 'Sure,' says one
of the neighbours, 'we can do no less than give a helping hand to the
poor orphans, that are so ready to help themselves.' So one helped to
thatch the room in which they were to sleep, and another took their cow
to graze upon his bit of land on condition of having half the milk; and
one and all said they should be welcome to take share of their potatoes
and buttermilk if they should find their own ever fall short.

The half-guinea which Mr. Hopkins, the agent, required for letting Mary
into the castle was part of what she had to pay to the schoolmistress,
to whom above a guinea was due. Mary went to her, and took her goat
along with her, and offered it in part of payment of the debt, but the
schoolmistress would not receive the goat. She said that she could
afford to wait for her money till Mary was able to pay it; that she knew
her to be an honest, industrious little girl, and she would trust her
with more than a guinea. Mary thanked her; and she was glad to take the
goat home again, as she was very fond of it.

Being now settled in their house, they went every day regularly to work;
Mary spun nine cuts a day, besides doing all that was to be done in the
house; Edmund got fourpence a day by his work; and Peggie and Annie
earned twopence apiece at the paper-mills near Navan, where they were
employed to sort rags and to cut them into small pieces.

When they had done work one day, Annie went to the master of the
paper-mill and asked him if she might have two sheets of large white
paper which were lying on the press. She offered a penny for the paper;
but the master would not take anything from her, but gave her the paper
when he found that she wanted it to make a garland for her mother's
grave. Annie and Peggy cut out the garland, and Mary, when it was
finished, went along with them and Edmund to put it up. It was just a
month after their mother's death.

It happened, at the time the orphans were putting up this garland, that
two young ladies, who were returning home after their evening walk,
stopped at the gate of the churchyard to look at the red light which the
setting sun cast upon the window of the church. As the ladies were
standing at the gate, they heard a voice near them crying, 'O mother!
mother! are you gone for ever?' They could not see any one; so they
walked softly round to the other side of the church, and there they saw
Mary kneeling beside a grave, on which her brother and sisters were
hanging their white garlands.

The children all stood still when they saw the two ladies passing near
them; but Mary did not know anybody was passing, for her face was hid in
her hands.

Isabella and Caroline (so these ladies were called) would not disturb
the poor children; but they stopped in the village to inquire about
them. It was at the house of the schoolmistress that they stopped, and
she gave them a good account of these orphans. She particularly
commended Mary's honesty, in having immediately paid all her mother's
debts to the utmost farthing, as far as her money would go. She told the
ladies how Mary had been turned out of her house, and how she had
offered her goat, of which she was very fond, to discharge a debt due
for her schooling; and, in short, the schoolmistress, who had known Mary
for several years, spoke so well of her that these ladies resolved that
they would go to the old castle of Rossmore to see her the next day.

When they went there, they found the room in which the children lived as
clean and neat as such a ruined place could be made. Edmund was out
working with a farmer, Mary was spinning, and her little sisters were
measuring out some bogberries, of which they had gathered a basketful,
for sale. Isabella, after telling Mary what an excellent character she
had heard of her, inquired what it was she most wanted; and Mary said
that she had just worked up all her flax, and she was most in want of
more flax for her wheel.

Isabella promised that she would send her a fresh supply of flax, and
Caroline bought the bogberries from the little girls, and gave them
money enough to buy a pound of coarse cotton for knitting, as Mary said
that she could teach them how to knit.

The supply of flax, which Isabella sent the next day, was of great
service to Mary, as it kept her in employment for above a month; and
when she sold the yarn which she had spun with it, she had money enough
to buy some warm flannel for winter wear. Besides spinning well, she had
learned at school to do plain work tolerably neatly, and Isabella and
Caroline employed her to work for them; by which she earned a great
deal more than she could by spinning. At her leisure hours she taught
her sisters to read and write; and Edmund, with part of the money which
he earned by his work out of doors, paid a schoolmaster for teaching him
a little arithmetic. When the winter nights came on, he used to light
his rush candles for Mary to work by. He had gathered and stripped a
good provision of rushes in the month of August, and a neighbour gave
him grease to dip them in.

[Illustration: _Inquired what it was she most wanted._]

One evening, just as he had lighted his candle, a footman came in, who
was sent by Isabella with some plain work to Mary. This servant was an
Englishman, and he was but newly come over to Ireland. The rush candles
caught his attention; for he had never seen any of them before, as he
came from a part of England where they were not used. Edmund, who was
ready to oblige, and proud that his candles were noticed, showed the
Englishman how they were made, and gave him a bundle of rushes.[2]

  [2] 'The proper species of rush,' says White, in his _Natural History
      of Selborne_, 'seems to be the _Juncus effusus_, or common soft
      rush, which is to be found in moist pastures, by the sides of
      streams, and under hedges. These rushes are in best condition
      in the height of summer, but may be gathered so as to serve the
      purpose well quite on to autumn. The largest and longest are
      the best. Decayed labourers, women, and children make it their
      business to procure and prepare them. As soon as they are cut,
      they must be flung into water, and kept there; for otherwise they
      will dry and shrink, and the peel will not run. When these _junci_
      are thus far prepared, they must lie out on the grass to be
      bleached, and take the dew for some nights, and afterwards be
      dried in the sun. Some address is required in dipping these rushes
      in the scalding fat or grease; but this knack is also to be
      attained by practice. A pound of common grease may be procured for
      fourpence, and about six pounds of grease will dip a pound of
      rushes, and one pound of rushes may be bought for one shilling;
      so that a pound of rushes, medicated and ready for use, will
      cost three shillings.'

The servant was pleased with his good nature in this trifling instance,
and remembered it long after it was forgotten by Edmund. Whenever his
master wanted to send a messenger anywhere, Gilbert (for that was the
servant's name) always employed his little friend Edmund, whom, upon
further acquaintance, he liked better and better. He found that Edmund
was both quick and exact in executing commissions.

One day, after he had waited a great while at a gentleman's house for an
answer to a letter, he was so impatient to get home that he ran off
without it. When he was questioned by Gilbert why he did not bring an
answer, he did not attempt to make any excuse; he did not say, '_There
was no answer, please your honour_' or, '_They bid me not wait_' etc.;
but he told exactly the truth; and though Gilbert scolded him for being
so impatient as not to wait, yet his telling the truth was more to the
boy's advantage than any excuse he could have made. After this he was
always believed when he said, '_There was no answer_' or, '_They bid me
not wait_'; for Gilbert knew that he would not tell a lie to save
himself from being scolded.

The orphans continued to assist one another in their work according to
their strength and abilities; and they went on in this manner for three
years. With what Mary got by her spinning and plain work, and Edmund by
leading of carthorses, going on errands, etc., and with little Peggy and
Anne's earnings, the family contrived to live comfortably. Isabella and
Caroline often visited them, and sometimes gave them clothes, and
sometimes flax or cotton for their spinning and knitting; and these
children did not _expect_ that, because the ladies did something for
them, they should do everything. They did not grow idle or wasteful.

When Edmund was about twelve years old, his friend Gilbert sent for him
one day, and told him that his master had given him leave to have a boy
in the house to assist him, and that his master told him he might choose
one in the neighbourhood. Several were anxious to get into such a good
place; but Gilbert said that he preferred Edmund before them all,
because he knew him to be an industrious, honest, good-natured lad, who
always told the truth. So Edmund went into service at _the vicarage_;
and his master was the father of Isabella and Caroline. He found his new
way of life very pleasant; for he was well fed, well clothed, and well
treated; and he every day learned more of his business, in which at
first he was rather awkward. He was mindful to do all that Mr. Gilbert
required of him; and he was so obliging to all his fellow-servants that
they could not help liking him. But there was one thing which was at
first rather disagreeable to him: he was obliged to wear shoes and
stockings, and they hurt his feet. Besides this, when he waited at
dinner he made such a noise in walking that his fellow-servants laughed
at him. He told his sister Mary of his distress, and she made for him,
after many trials, a pair of cloth shoes, with soles of platted
hemp.[3] In these he could walk without making the least noise; and as
these shoes could not be worn out of doors, he was always sure to change
them before he went out; and consequently he had always clean shoes to
wear in the house.

  [3] The author has seen a pair of shoes, such as here described, made
      in a few hours.

It was soon remarked by the men-servants that he had left off clumping
so heavily, and it was observed by the maids that he never dirtied the
stairs or passages with his shoes. When he was praised for these things,
he said it was his sister Mary who should be thanked, and not he; and he
showed the shoes which she had made for him.

Isabella's maid bespoke a pair immediately, and sent Mary a piece of
pretty calico for the outside. The last-maker made a last for her, and
over this Mary sewed the calico vamps tight. Her brother advised her to
try platted packthread instead of hemp for the soles; and she found that
this looked more neat than the hemp soles, and was likely to last
longer. She platted the packthread together in strands of about half an
inch thick, and these were sewed firmly together at the bottom of the
shoe. When they were finished they fitted well, and the maid showed them
to her mistress.

Isabella and Caroline were so well pleased with Mary's ingenuity and
kindness to her brother, that they bespoke from her two dozen of these
shoes, and gave her three yards of coloured fustian to make them of, and
galloon for the binding. When the shoes were completed, Isabella and
Caroline disposed of them for her amongst their acquaintance, and got
three shillings a pair for them. The young ladies, as soon as they had
collected the money, walked to the old castle, where they found
everything neat and clean as usual. They had great pleasure in giving to
this industrious girl the reward of her ingenuity, which she received
with some surprise and more gratitude. They advised her to continue the
shoemaking trade, as they found the shoes were liked, and they knew that
they could have a sale for them at the _Repository_ in Dublin.

Mary, encouraged by these kind friends, went on with her little
manufacture with increased activity. Peggy and Anne platted the
packthread, and basted the vamps and linings together ready for her.
Edmund was allowed to come home for an hour every morning, provided he
was back again before eight o'clock. It was summer time, and he got up
early, because he liked to go home to see his sisters, and he took his
share in the manufactory. It was his business to hammer the soles flat;
and as soon as he came home every morning he performed his task with so
much cheerfulness, and sang so merrily at his work, that the hour of his
arrival was always an hour of joy to the family.

Mary had presently employment enough upon her hands. Orders came to her
for shoes from many families in the neighbourhood, and she could not get
them finished fast enough. She, however, in the midst of her hurry,
found time to make a very pretty pair, with neat roses, as a present for
her schoolmistress, who, now that she saw her pupil in a good way of
business, consented to receive the amount of her old debt. Several of
the children who went to her school were delighted with the sight of
Mary's present, and went to the little manufactory at Rossmore Castle,
to find out how these shoes were made. Some went from curiosity, others
from idleness; but when they saw how happy the little shoemakers seemed
whilst busy at work, they longed to take some share in what was going
forward. One begged Mary to let her plat some packthread for the soles;
another helped Peggy and Anne to baste in the linings; and all who could
get employment were pleased, for the idle ones were shoved out of the
way. It became a custom with the children of the village to resort to
the old castle at their play hours; and it was surprising to see how
much was done by ten or twelve of them, each doing but a little at a
time.

One morning Edmund and the little manufacturers were assembled very
early, and they were busy at their work, all sitting round the meal
chest, which served them for a table.

'My hands must be washed,' said George, a little boy who came running
in; 'I ran so fast that I might be in time, to go to work along with you
all, that I tumbled down, and look how I have dirtied my hands. Most
haste worst speed. My hands must be washed before I can do anything.'

Whilst George was washing his hands, two other little children, who had
just finished their morning's work, came to him to beg that he would
blow some soap bubbles for them, and they were all three eagerly blowing
bubbles, and watching them mount into the air, when suddenly they were
startled by a noise as loud as thunder. They were in a sort of outer
court of the castle, next to the room in which all their companions were
at work, and they ran precipitately into the room, exclaiming, 'Did you
hear that noise?'

'I thought I heard a clap of thunder,' said Mary, 'but why do you look
so frightened?'

As she finished speaking, another and a louder noise, and the walls
round about them shook. The children turned pale and stood motionless;
but Edmund threw down his hammer and ran out to see what was the matter.
Mary followed him, and they saw that a great chimney of the old ruins at
the farthest side of the castle had fallen down, and this was the cause
of the prodigious noise.

The part of the castle in which they lived seemed, as Edmund said, to be
perfectly safe; but the children of the village were terrified, and
thinking that the whole would come tumbling down directly, they ran to
their homes as fast as they could. Edmund, who was a courageous lad, and
proud of showing his courage, laughed at their cowardice; but Mary, who
was very prudent, persuaded her brother to ask an experienced mason, who
was building at his master's, to come and give his opinion whether their
part of the castle was safe to live in or not. The mason came, and gave
it as his opinion that the rooms they inhabited might last through the
winter, but that no part of the ruins could stand another year. Mary was
sorry to leave a place of which she had grown fond, poor as it was,
having lived in it in peace and contentment ever since her mother's
death, which was now nearly four years; but she determined to look out
for some other place to live in; and she had now money enough to pay the
rent of a comfortable cabin. Without losing any time, she went to the
village that was at the end of the avenue leading to _the vicarage_, for
she wished to get a lodging in this village because it was so near to
her brother, and to the ladies who had been so kind to her. She found
that there was one newly built house in this village unoccupied; it
belonged to Mr. Harvey, her landlord, who was still in England; it was
slated, and neatly fitted up inside; but the rent of it was six guineas
a year, and this was far above what Mary could afford to pay. Three
guineas a year she thought was the highest rent for which she could
venture to engage. Besides, she heard that several proposals had been
made to Mr. Harvey for this house, and she knew that Mr. Hopkins, the
agent, was not her friend; therefore she despaired of getting it. There
was no other to be had in this village. Her brother was still more vexed
than she was, that she could not find a place near him. He offered to
give a guinea yearly towards the rent out of his wages; and Mr. Gilbert
spoke about it for him to the steward, and inquired whether, amongst any
of those who had given in proposals, there might not be one who would be
content with a part of the house, and who would join with Mary in paying
the rent. None could be found but a woman who was a great scold, and a
man who was famous for going to law about every trifle with his
neighbours. Mary did not choose to have anything to do with these
people. She did not like to speak either to Miss Isabella or Caroline
about it, because she was not of an encroaching temper; and when they
had done so much for her, she would have been ashamed to beg for more.
She returned home to the old castle, mortified that she had no good news
to tell Anne and Peggy, who she knew expected to hear that she had found
a nice house for them in the village near their brother.

'Bad news for you, Peggy,' cried she, as soon as she got home. 'And bad
news for you, Mary,' replied her sisters, who looked very sorrowful.
'What's the matter?' 'Your poor goat is dead,' replied Peggy. 'There she
is, yonder, lying under the great corner stone; you can just see her
leg. We cannot lift the stone from off her, it is so heavy. Betsy (_one
of the neighbour's girls_) says she remembers, when she came to us to
work early this morning, she saw the goat rubbing itself and butting
with its horns against that old tottering chimney.'

'Many's the time,' said Mary, 'that I have driven the poor thing away
from that place; I was always afraid she would shake that great ugly
stone down upon her at last.'

The goat, who had long been the favourite of Mary and her sisters, was
lamented by them all. When Edmund came, he helped them to move the great
stone from off the poor animal, who was crushed so as to be a terrible
sight. As they were moving away this stone in order to bury the goat,
Anne found an odd-looking piece of money, which seemed neither like a
halfpenny, nor a shilling, nor a guinea.

'Here are more, a great many more of them,' cried Peggy; and upon
searching amongst the rubbish, they discovered a small iron pot, which
seemed as if it had been filled with these coins, as a vast number of
them were found about the spot where it fell. On examining these coins,
Edmund thought that several of them looked like gold, and the girls
exclaimed with great joy--'O Mary! Mary! this is come to us just in
right time--now you can pay for the slated house. Never was anything so
lucky!'

But Mary, though nothing could have pleased her better than to have been
able to pay for the house, observed that they could not honestly touch
any of this treasure, as it belonged to the owner of the castle. Edmund
agreed with her that they ought to carry it all immediately to Mr.
Hopkins, the agent. Peggy and Anne were convinced by what Mary said, and
they begged to go along with her and her brother, to take the coins to
Mr. Hopkins. On their way they stopped at the vicarage, to show the
treasure to Mr. Gilbert, who took it to the young ladies, Isabella and
Caroline, and told them how it had been found.

It is not only by their superior riches, but it is yet more by their
superior knowledge, that persons in the higher rank of life may assist
those in a lower condition.

Isabella, who had some knowledge of chemistry, discovered, by touching
the coins with nitric acid, that several of them were of gold, and
consequently of great value. Caroline also found out that many of the
coins were very valuable as curiosities. She recollected her father's
having shown to her the prints of the coins at the end of each king's
reign in Rapin's _History of England_; and upon comparing these
impressions with the coins found by the orphans, she perceived that many
of them were of the reign of Henry the Seventh, which, from their
scarcity, were highly appreciated by numismatic collectors.

Isabella and Caroline, knowing something of the character of Mr.
Hopkins, the agent, had the precaution to count the coins, and to mark
each of them with a cross, so small that it was scarcely visible to the
naked eye, though it was easily to be seen through a magnifying glass.
They also begged that their father, who was well acquainted with Mr.
Harvey, the gentleman to whom Rossmore Castle belonged, would write to
him, and tell him how well these orphans had behaved about the treasure
which they had found. The value of the coins was estimated at about
thirty or forty guineas.

A few days after the fall of the chimney at Rossmore Castle, as Mary and
her sisters were sitting at their work, there came hobbling in an old
woman, leaning on a crab stick that seemed to have been newly cut. She
had a broken tobacco-pipe in her mouth; her head was wrapped up in two
large red and blue handkerchiefs, with their crooked corners hanging far
down over the back of her neck, no shoes on her broad feet, nor
stockings on her many-coloured legs. Her petticoat was jagged at the
bottom, and the skirt of her gown turned up over her shoulders to serve
instead of a cloak, which she had sold for whisky. This old woman was
well known amongst the country people by the name of _Goody Grope_;[4]
because she had for many years been in the habit of groping in old
castles and in moats,[5] and at the bottom of a round tower[6] in the
neighbourhood, in search of treasure. In her youth she had heard some
one talking in a whisper of an old prophecy, found in a bog, which said
that before many

    St. Patrick's days should come about,
    There would be found
    A treasure under ground,
    By one within twenty miles around.

This prophecy made a deep impression upon her. She also dreamed of it
three times: and as the dream, she thought, was a sure token that the
prophecy was to come true, she, from that time forwards, gave up her
spinning-wheel and her knitting, and could think of nothing but hunting
for the treasure that was to be found by one '_within twenty miles
round_'.

  [4] _Goody_ is not a word used in Ireland. _Collyogh_ is the Irish
      appellation of an old woman; but as _Collyogh_ might sound
      strangely to English ears, we have translated it by the word
      Goody.

  [5] What are in Ireland called moats, are, in England, called Danish
      mounds, or barrows.

  [6] Near Kells, in Ireland, there is a round tower, which was in
      imminent danger of being pulled down by an old woman's rooting
      at its foundation, in hopes of finding treasure.

Year after year St. Patrick's day came about without her ever finding a
farthing by all her groping; and, as she was always idle, she grew
poorer and poorer; besides, to comfort herself for her disappointments,
and to give her spirits for fresh searches, she took to drinking. She
sold all she had by degrees; but still she fancied that the lucky day
would come, sooner or later, _that would pay for all_.

Goody Grope, however, reached her sixtieth year without ever seeing this
lucky day; and now, in her old age, she was a beggar, without a house to
shelter her, a bed to lie on, or food to put into her mouth, but what
she begged from the charity of those who had trusted more than she had
to industry and less to _luck_.

'Ah, Mary, honey! give me a potato and a sup of something, for the love
o' mercy; for not a bit have I had all day, except half a glass of
whisky and a halfpenny-worth of tobacco!'

Mary immediately set before her some milk, and picked a good potato out
of the bowl for her. She was sorry to see such an old woman in such a
wretched condition. Goody Grope said she would rather have spirits of
some kind or other than milk; but Mary had no spirits to give her; so
she sat herself down close to the fire, and after she had sighed and
groaned and smoked for some time, she said to Mary, 'Well, and what have
you done with the treasure you had the luck to find?' Mary told her that
she had carried it to Mr. Hopkins, the agent.

'That's not what I would have done in your place,' replied the old
woman. 'When good luck came to you, what a shame to turn your back upon
it! But it is idle talking of what's done--that's past; but I'll try my
luck in this here castle before next St. Patrick's day comes about. I
was told it was more than twenty miles from our bog, or I would have
been here long ago; but better late than never.'

Mary was much alarmed, and not without reason, at this speech; for she
knew that if Goody Grope once set to work at the foundation of the old
castle of Rossmore, she would soon bring it all down. It was in vain to
talk to Goody Grope of the danger of burying herself under the ruins, or
of the improbability of her meeting with another pot of gold coins. She
set her elbow upon her knees, and stopping her ears with her hands, bid
Mary and her sisters not to waste their breath advising their elders;
for that, let them say what they would, she would fall to work the next
morning, '_barring_ you'll make it worth my while to let it alone.'

[Illustration: _'Well, and what have you done with the treasure you had
the luck to find?'_]

'And what will make it worth your while to let it alone?' said Mary; for
she saw that she must either get into a quarrel or give up her
habitation, or comply with the conditions of this provoking old woman.

Half a crown, Goody Grope said, was the least she could be content to
take. Mary paid the half-crown, and was in hopes that she had got rid
for ever of her tormentor, but she was mistaken, for scarcely was the
week at an end before the old woman appeared before her again, and
repeated her threats of falling to work the next morning, unless she had
something given to her to buy tobacco.

The next day and the next, and the next, Goody Grope came on the same
errand, and poor Mary, who could ill afford to supply her constantly
with halfpence, at last exclaimed, 'I am sure the finding of this
treasure has not been any good luck to us, but quite the contrary; and I
wish we never had found it.'

Mary did not yet know how much she was to suffer on account of this
unfortunate pot of gold coins. Mr. Hopkins, the agent, imagined that no
one knew of the discovery of this treasure but himself and these poor
children; so, not being as honest as they were, he resolved to keep it
for his own use. He was surprised some weeks afterwards to receive a
letter from his employer, Mr. Harvey, demanding from him the coins which
had been discovered at Rossmore Castle. Hopkins had sold the gold coins,
and some of the others; and he flattered himself that the children, and
the young ladies, to whom he now found they had been shown, could not
tell whether what they had seen were gold or not, and he was not in the
least apprehensive that those of Henry the Seventh's reign should be
reclaimed from him as he thought they had escaped attention. So he sent
over the silver coins and others of little value, and apologised for his
not having mentioned them before, by saying that he considered them as
mere rubbish.

Mr. Harvey, in reply, observed that he could not consider as rubbish the
gold coins which were amongst them when they were discovered; and he
inquired why these gold coins, and those of the reign of Henry the
Seventh, were not now sent to him.

Mr. Hopkins denied that he had ever received any such; but he was
thunderstruck when Mr. Harvey, in reply to this falsehood, sent him a
list of the coins which the orphans had deposited with him, and exact
drawings of those that were missing. He informed him that this list and
these drawings came from two ladies who had seen the coins in question.

Mr. Hopkins thought that he had no means of escape but by boldly
persisting in falsehood. He replied, that it was very likely such coins
had been found at Rossmore Castle, and that the ladies alluded to had
probably seen them; but he positively declared that they never came to
his hands; that he had restored all that were deposited with him; and
that, as to the others, he supposed they must have been taken out of the
pot by the children, or by Edmund or Mary on their way from the ladies'
house to his.

The orphans were shocked and astonished when they heard, from Isabella
and Caroline, the charge that was made against them. They looked at one
another in silence for some moments. Then Peggy exclaimed--'_Sure!_ Mr.
Hopkins has forgotten himself strangely. Does not he remember Edmund's
counting the things to him upon the great table in his hall, and we all
standing by? I remember it as well as if it was this instant.'

'And so do I,' cried Anne. 'And don't you recollect, Mary, your picking
out the gold ones, and telling Mr. Hopkins that they were gold; and he
said you knew nothing of the matter; and I was going to tell him that
Miss Isabella had tried them, and knew that they were gold? but just
then there came in some tenants to pay their rent, and he pushed us out,
and twitched from my hand the piece of gold which I had taken up to show
him the bright spot which Miss Isabella had cleaned by the stuff that
she had poured on it? I believe he was afraid I should steal it; he
twitched it from my hand in such a hurry. Do, Edmund; do, Mary--let us
go to him, and put him in mind of all this.' 'I'll go to him no more,'
said Edmund sturdily. 'He is a bad man--I'll never go to him again.
Mary, don't be cast down--we have no need to be cast down--we are
honest.' 'True,' said Mary; 'but is not it a hard case that we, who have
lived, as my mother did all her life before us, in peace and honesty
with all the world, should now have our good name taken from us,
when----' Mary's voice faltered and stopped. 'It can't be taken from
us,' cried Edmund, 'poor orphans though we are, and he a rich gentleman,
as he calls himself. Let him say and do what he will, he can't hurt our
good name.'

Edmund was mistaken, alas! and Mary had but too much reason for her
fears. The affair was a great deal talked of; and the agent spared no
pains to have the story told his own way. The orphans, conscious of
their own innocence, took no pains about the matter; and the consequence
was, that all who knew them well had no doubt of their honesty; but
many, who knew nothing of them, concluded that the agent must be in the
right and the children in the wrong. The buzz of scandal went on for
some time without reaching their ears, because they lived very
retiredly. But one day, when Mary went to sell some stockings of Peggy's
knitting at the neighbouring fair, the man to whom she sold them bid her
write her name on the back of a note, and exclaimed, on seeing it--'Ho!
ho! mistress; I'd not have had any dealings with you, had I known your
name sooner. Where's the gold that you found at Rossmore Castle?'

It was in vain that Mary related the fact. She saw that she gained no
belief, as her character was not known to this man, or to any of those
who were present. She left the fair as soon as she could; and though she
struggled against it, she felt very melancholy. Still she exerted
herself every day at her little manufacture; and she endeavoured to
console herself by reflecting that she had two friends left who would
not give up her character, and who continued steadily to protect her and
her sisters.

Isabella and Caroline everywhere asserted their belief in the integrity
of the orphans, but to prove it was in this instance out of their power.
Mr. Hopkins, the agent, and his friends, constantly repeated that the
gold coins were taken away in coming from their house to his; and these
ladies were blamed by many people for continuing to countenance those
that were, with great reason, suspected to be thieves. The orphans were
in a worse condition than ever when the winter came on, and their
benefactresses left the country to spend some months in Dublin. The old
castle, it was true, was likely to last through the winter, as the mason
said; but though the want of a comfortable house to live in was, a
little while ago, the uppermost thing in Mary's thoughts, now it was not
so.

One night, as Mary was going to bed, she heard some one knocking hard at
the door. 'Mary, are you up? let us in,' cried a voice, which she knew
to be the voice of Betsy Green, the postmaster's daughter, who lived in
the village near them.

She let Betsy in, and asked what she could want at such a time of night.

'Give me sixpence, and I'll tell you,' said Betsy; 'but waken Anne and
Peggy. Here's a letter just come by post for you, and I stepped over to
you with it; because I guessed you'd be glad to have it, seeing it is
your brother's handwriting.'

Peggy and Anne were soon roused, when they heard that there was a letter
from Edmund. It was by one of his rush candles that Mary read it; and
the letter was as follows:--

  'DEAR MARY, NANCY, AND LITTLE PEG--Joy! joy!--I always said the
  truth would come out at last; and that he could not take our good
  name from us. But I will not tell you how it all came about till we
  meet, which will be next week, as we are (I mean, master and
  mistress, and the young ladies--bless them!--and Mr. Gilbert
  and I) coming down to the vicarage to keep Christmas; and a happy
  Christmas 'tis likely to be for honest folks. As for they that are
  not honest, it is not for them to expect to be happy, at Christmas,
  or any other time. You shall know all when we meet. So, till then,
  fare ye well, dear Mary, Nancy, and little Peg.--Your joyful and
  affectionate brother,                                     EDMUND.'

To comprehend why Edmund is joyful, our readers must be informed of
certain things which happened after Isabella and Caroline went to
Dublin. One morning they went with their father and mother to see the
magnificent library of a nobleman, who took generous and polite pleasure
in thus sharing the advantages of his wealth and station with all who
had any pretensions to science or literature. Knowing that the gentleman
who was now come to see his library was skilled in antiquities, the
nobleman opened a drawer of medals, to ask his opinion concerning the
age of some coins, which he had lately purchased at a high price. They
were the very same which the orphans had found at Rossmore Castle.
Isabella and Caroline knew them again instantly; and as the cross which
Isabella had made on each of them was still visible through a
magnifying glass, there could be no possibility of doubt.

The nobleman, who was much interested both by the story of these
orphans, and the manner in which it was told to him, sent immediately
for the person from whom he had purchased the coins. He was a Jew
broker. At first he refused to tell them from whom he got them, because
he had bought them, he said, under a promise of secrecy. Being further
pressed, he acknowledged that it was made a condition in his bargain
that he should not sell them to any one in Ireland, but that he had been
tempted by the high price the present noble possessor had offered.

At last, when the Jew was informed that the coins were stolen, and that
he would be proceeded against as a receiver of stolen goods if he did
not confess the whole truth, he declared that he had purchased them from
a gentleman, whom he had never seen before or since; but he added that
he could swear to his person, if he saw him again.

Now, Mr. Hopkins, the agent, was at this time in Dublin, and Caroline's
father posted the Jew, the next day, in the back-parlour of a banker's
house, with whom Mr. Hopkins had, on this day, appointed to settle some
accounts. Mr. Hopkins came--the Jew knew him--swore that he was the man
who had sold the coins to him; and thus the guilt of the agent and the
innocence of the orphans were completely proved.

A full account of all that happened was sent to England to Mr. Harvey,
their landlord, and a few posts afterwards there came a letter from him,
containing a dismissal of the dishonest agent, and a reward for the
honest and industrious orphans. Mr. Harvey desired that Mary and her
sisters might have the slated house, rent-free, from this time forward,
under the care of ladies Isabella and Caroline, as long as Mary or her
sisters should carry on in it any useful business. This was the joyful
news which Edmund had to tell his sisters.

All the neighbours shared in their joy, and the day of their removal
from the ruins of Rossmore Castle to their new house was the happiest of
the Christmas holidays. They were not envied for their prosperity;
because everybody saw that it was the reward of their good conduct;
everybody except Goody Grope. She exclaimed, as she wrung her hands with
violent expressions of sorrow--'Bad luck to me! bad luck to me!--Why
didn't I go sooner to that there Castle? It is all luck, all luck in
this world; but I never had no luck. Think of the luck of these
_childer_, that have found a pot of gold, and such great, grand friends,
and a slated house, and all: and here am I, with scarce a rag to cover
me, and not a potato to put into my mouth!--I, that have been looking
under ground all my days for treasure, not to have a halfpenny at the
last, to buy me tobacco!'

'That is the very reason that you have not a halfpenny,' said Betsy.
'Here Mary has been working hard, and so have her two little sisters and
her brother, for these five years past; and they have made money for
themselves by their own industry--and friends too--not by luck, but
by----'

'Phoo! phoo!' interrupted Goody Grope; 'don't be prating; don't I know
as well as you do that they found a pot of gold, _by good luck_? and is
not that the cause why they are going to live in a slated house now?'

'No,' replied the postmaster's daughter; 'this house is given to them
_as a reward_--that was the word in the letter; for I saw it. Edmund
showed it to me, and will show it to any one that wants to see. This
house was given to them "_as a reward for their honesty_."'



LAZY LAWRENCE


In the pleasant valley of Ashton there lived an elderly woman of the
name of Preston. She had a small neat cottage, and there was not a weed
to be seen in her garden. It was upon her garden that she chiefly
depended for support; it consisted of strawberry beds, and one small
border for flowers. The pinks and roses she tied up in nice nosegays,
and sent either to Clifton or Bristol to be sold. As to her
strawberries, she did not send them to market, because it was the custom
for numbers of people to come from Clifton, in the summer time, to eat
strawberries and cream at the gardens in Ashton.

Now, the widow Preston was so obliging, active, and good-humoured, that
every one who came to see her was pleased. She lived happily in this
manner for several years; but, alas! one autumn she fell sick, and,
during her illness, everything went wrong; her garden was neglected, her
cow died, and all the money which she had saved was spent in paying for
medicines. The winter passed away, while she was so weak that she could
earn but little by her work; and when the summer came, her rent was
called for, and the rent was not ready in her little purse as usual. She
begged a few months' delay, and they were granted to her; but at the end
of that time there was no resource but to sell her horse Lightfoot. Now
Lightfoot, though perhaps he had seen his best days, was a very great
favourite. In his youth he had always carried the dame to the market
behind her husband; and it was now her little son Jem's turn to ride
him. It was Jem's business to feed Lightfoot, and to take care of him--a
charge which he never neglected, for, besides being a very good-natured,
he was a very industrious boy.

'It will go near to break my Jem's heart,' said Dame Preston to herself,
as she sat one evening beside the fire stirring the embers, and
considering how she had best open the matter to her son, who stood
opposite to her, eating a dry crust of bread very heartily for supper.

'Jem,' said the old woman, 'what, art hungry?' 'That I am, brave and
hungry!'

'Ay! no wonder, you've been brave hard at work--Eh?' 'Brave hard! I wish
it was not so dark, mother, that you might just step out and see the
great bed I've dug; I know you'd say it was no bad day's work--and oh,
mother! I've good news: Farmer Truck will give us the giant
strawberries, and I'm to go for 'em to-morrow morning, and I'll be back
afore breakfast.'

'God bless the boy! how he talks!--Four mile there, and four mile back
again, afore breakfast.' 'Ay, upon Lightfoot, you know, mother, very
easily; mayn't I?' 'Ay, child!' 'Why do you sigh, mother?' 'Finish thy
supper, child.' 'I've done!' cried Jem, swallowing the last mouthful
hastily, as if he thought he had been too long at supper--'and now for
the great needle; I must see and mend Lightfoot's bridle afore I go to
bed.'

To work he set, by the light of the fire, and the dame having once more
stirred it, began again with 'Jem, dear, does he go lame at all now?'
'What, Lightfoot! Oh la, no, not he!--never was so well of his lameness
in all his life. He's grown quite young again, I think, and then he's so
fat he can hardly wag.' 'God bless him--that's right. We must see, Jem,
and keep him fat.' 'For what, mother!' 'For Monday fortnight at the
fair. He's to be--sold!' 'Lightfoot!' cried Jem, and let the bridle fall
from his hand; 'and _will_ mother sell Lightfoot?' '_Will_? no: but I
_must_, Jem.' 'Must! who says you _must_? why _must_ you, mother?' 'I
must, I say, child. Why, must not I pay my debts honestly; and must not
I pay my rent, and was not it called for long and long ago; and have not
I had time; and did not I promise to pay it for certain Monday
fortnight, and am not I two guineas short; and where am I to get two
guineas? So what signifies talking, child?' said the widow, leaning her
head upon her arm. 'Lightfoot _must_ go.'

Jem was silent for a few minutes--'Two guineas, that's a great, great
deal. If I worked, and worked, and worked ever so hard, I could no ways
earn two guineas _afore_ Monday fortnight--could I, mother?' 'Lord help
thee, no; not an' work thyself to death.' 'But I could earn something,
though, I say,' cried Jem proudly; 'and I _will_ earn _something_--if it
be ever so little, it will be _something_--and I shall do my very best;
so I will.' 'That I'm sure of, my child,' said his mother, drawing him
towards her and kissing him; 'you were always a good, industrious lad,
_that_ I will say afore your face or behind your back;--but it won't do
now--Lightfoot _must_ go.'

Jem turned away struggling to hide his tears, and went to bed without
saying a word more. But he knew that crying would do no good; so he
presently wiped his eyes, and lay awake, considering what he could
possibly do to save the horse. 'If I get ever so little,' he still said
to himself, 'it will be _something_, and who knows but landlord might
then wait a bit longer? and we might make it all up in time; for a penny
a day might come to two guineas in time.'

But how to get the first penny was the question. Then he recollected
that one day, when he had been sent to Clifton to sell some flowers, he
had seen an old woman with a board beside her covered with various
sparkling stones, which people stopped to look at as they passed, and he
remembered that some people bought the stones; one paid twopence,
another threepence, and another sixpence for them; and Jem heard her say
that she got them amongst the neighbouring rocks: so he thought that if
he tried he might find some too, and sell them as she had done.

Early in the morning he wakened full of this scheme, jumped up, dressed
himself, and, having given one look at poor Lightfoot in his stable, set
off to Clifton in search of the old woman, to inquire where she found
her sparkling stones. But it was too early in the morning, the old woman
was not at her seat; so he turned back again, disappointed. He did not
waste his time waiting for her, but saddled and bridled Lightfoot, and
went to Farmer Truck's for the giant strawberries.

A great part of the morning was spent in putting them into the ground;
and, as soon as that was finished, he set out again in quest of the old
woman, whom, to his great joy, he spied sitting at her corner of the
street with her board before her. But this old woman was deaf and
cross; and when at last Jem made her hear his questions, he could get no
answer from her, but that she found the fossils where he would never
find any more. 'But can't I look where you looked?' 'Look away, nobody
hinders you,' replied the old woman; and these were the only words she
would say.

Jem was not, however, a boy to be easily discouraged; he went to the
rocks, and walked slowly along, looking at all the stones as he passed.
Presently he came to a place where a number of men were at work
loosening some large rocks, and one amongst the workmen was stooping
down looking for something very eagerly; Jem ran up and asked if he
could help him. 'Yes,' said the man, 'you can; I've just dropped,
amongst this heap of rubbish, a fine piece of crystal that I got
to-day.' 'What kind of a looking thing is it?' said Jem. 'White, and
like glass,' said the man, and went on working whilst Jem looked very
carefully over the heap of rubbish for a great while.

'Come,' said the man, 'it's gone for ever; don't trouble yourself any
more, my boy.' 'It's no trouble; I'll look a little longer; we'll not
give it up so soon,' said Jem; and after he had looked a little longer,
he found the piece of crystal. 'Thank'e,' said the man, 'you are a fine
little industrious fellow.' Jem, encouraged by the tone of voice in
which the man spoke this, ventured to ask him the same questions which
he had asked the old woman.

'One good turn deserves another,' said the man; 'we are going to dinner
just now, and shall leave off work--wait for me here, and I'll make it
worth your while.'

Jem waited; and, as he was very attentively observing how the workmen
went on with their work, he heard somebody near him give a great yawn,
and, turning round, he saw stretched upon the grass, beside the river, a
boy about his own age, who, in the village of Ashton, as he knew, went
by the name of Lazy Lawrence--a name which he most justly deserved, for
he never did anything from morning to night. He neither worked nor
played, but sauntered or lounged about restless and yawning. His father
was an ale-house keeper, and being generally drunk, could take no care
of his son; so that Lazy Lawrence grew every day worse and worse.
However, some of the neighbours said that he was a good-natured poor
fellow enough, and would never do any one harm but himself; whilst
others, who were wiser, often shook their heads, and told him that
idleness was the root of all evil.

'What, Lawrence!' cried Jem to him, when he saw him lying upon the
grass; 'what, are you asleep?' 'Not quite.' 'Are you awake?' 'Not
quite.' 'What are you doing there?' 'Nothing.' 'What are you thinking
of?' 'Nothing.' 'What makes you lie there?' 'I don't know--because I
can't find anybody to play with me to-day. Will you come and play?' 'No,
I can't; I'm busy.' 'Busy,' cried Lawrence, stretching himself, 'you are
always busy. I would not be you for the world to have so much to do
always.' 'And I,' said Jem, laughing, 'would not be you for the world,
to have nothing to do.'

They then parted, for the workman just then called Jem to follow him. He
took him home to his own house, and showed him a parcel of fossils,
which he had gathered, he said, on purpose to sell, but had never had
time enough to sell them. Now, however, he set about the task; and
having picked out those which he judged to be the best, he put them in a
small basket, and gave them to Jem to sell, upon condition that he
should bring him half of what he got. Jem, pleased to be employed, was
ready to agree to what the man proposed, provided his mother had no
objection. When he went home to dinner, he told his mother his scheme,
and she smiled, and said he might do as he pleased; for she was not
afraid of his being from home. 'You are not an idle boy,' said she; 'so
there is little danger of your getting into any mischief.'

Accordingly Jem that evening took his stand, with his little basket,
upon the bank of the river, just at the place where people land from a
ferry-boat, and the walk turns to the wells, and numbers of people
perpetually pass to drink the waters. He chose his place well, and
waited nearly all the evening, offering his fossils with great assiduity
to every passenger; but not one person bought any.

'Hallo!' cried some sailors, who had just rowed a boat to land, 'bear a
hand here, will you, my little fellow, and carry these parcels for us
into yonder house?'

Jem ran down immediately for the parcels, and did what he was asked to
do so quickly, and with so much good-will, that the master of the boat
took notice of him, and, when he was going away, stopped to ask him
what he had got in his little basket; and when he saw that they were
fossils, he immediately told Jem to follow him, for that he was going to
carry some shells he had brought from abroad to a lady in the
neighbourhood who was making a grotto. 'She will very likely buy your
stones into the bargain. Come along, my lad; we can but try.'

The lady lived but a very little way off, so that they were soon at her
house. She was alone in her parlour, and was sorting a bundle of
feathers of different colours; they lay on a sheet of pasteboard upon a
window seat, and it happened that as the sailor was bustling round the
table to show off his shells, he knocked down the sheet of pasteboard,
and scattered all the feathers. The lady looked very sorry, which Jem
observing, he took the opportunity, whilst she was busy looking over the
sailor's bag of shells, to gather together all the feathers, and sort
them according to their different colours, as he had seen them sorted
when he first came into the room.

'Where is the little boy you brought with you? I thought I saw him here
just now.' 'And here I am, ma'am,' cried Jem, creeping from under the
table with some few remaining feathers which he had picked from the
carpet; 'I thought,' added he, pointing to the others, 'I had better be
doing something than standing idle, ma'am.' She smiled, and, pleased
with his activity and simplicity, began to ask him several questions;
such as who he was, where he lived, what employment he had, and how much
a day he earned by gathering fossils.

'This is the first day I ever tried,' said Jem; 'I never sold any yet,
and if you don't buy 'em now, ma'am, I'm afraid nobody else will; for
I've asked everybody else.'

'Come, then,' said the lady, laughing, 'if that is the case, I think I
had better buy them all.' So, emptying all the fossils out of his
basket, she put half a crown into it.

Jem's eyes sparkled with joy. 'Oh, thank you, ma'am,' said he, 'I will
be sure and bring you as many more, to-morrow.' 'Yes, but I don't
promise you,' said she, 'to give you half a crown, to-morrow.' 'But,
perhaps, though you don't promise it, you will.' 'No,' said the lady,
'do not deceive yourself; I assure you that I will not. _That_, instead
of encouraging you to be industrious, would teach you to be idle.'

Jem did not quite understand what she meant by this, but answered, 'I'm
sure I don't wish to be idle; what I want is to earn something every
day, if I knew how; I'm sure I don't wish to be idle. If you knew all,
you'd know I did not.' 'How do you mean, _if I knew all_?' 'Why, I mean,
if you knew about Lightfoot.' 'Who's Lightfoot?' 'Why, mammy's horse,'
added Jem, looking out of the window; 'I must make haste home, and feed
him afore it gets dark; he'll wonder what's gone with me.' 'Let him
wonder a few minutes longer,' said the lady, 'and tell me the rest of
your story.' 'I've no story, ma'am, to tell, but as how mammy says he
must go to the fair Monday fortnight, to be sold, if she can't get the
two guineas for her rent; and I should be main sorry to part with him,
for I love him, and he loves me; so I'll work for him, I will, all I
can. To be sure, as mammy says, I have no chance, such a little fellow
as I am, of earning two guineas afore Monday fortnight.' 'But are you
willing earnestly to work?' said the lady; 'you know there is a great
deal of difference between picking up a few stones and working steadily
every day, and all day long.' 'But,' said Jem, 'I would work every day,
and all day long.' 'Then,' said the lady, 'I will give you work. Come
here to-morrow morning, and my gardener will set you to weed the
shrubberies, and I will pay you sixpence a day. Remember, you must be at
the gates by six o'clock.' Jem bowed, thanked her, and went away.

It was late in the evening, and Jem was impatient to get home to feed
Lightfoot; yet he recollected that he had promised the man who had
trusted him to sell the fossils, that he would bring him half of what he
got for them; so he thought that he had better go to him directly; and
away he went, running along by the water-side about a quarter of a mile,
till he came to the man's house. He was just come home from work, and
was surprised when Jem showed him the half-crown, saying, 'Look what I
got for the stones; you are to have half, you know.' 'No,' said the man,
when he had heard his story, I shall not take half of that; it was given
to you. I expected but a shilling at the most, and the half of that is
but sixpence, and that I'll take. 'Wife, give the lad two shillings, and
take this half-crown.' So the wife opened an old glove, and took out two
shillings; and the man, as she opened the glove, put in his fingers and
took out a little silver penny. 'There, he shall have that into the
bargain for his honesty--honesty is the best policy--there's a lucky
penny for you, that I've kept ever since I can remember.' 'Don't you
ever go to part with it, do ye hear!' cried the woman. 'Let him do what
he will with it, wife,' said the man. 'But,' argued the wife, 'another
penny would do just as well to buy gingerbread; and that's what it will
go for.' 'No, that it shall not, I promise you,' said Jem; and so he ran
away home, fed Lightfoot, stroked him, went to bed, jumped up at five
o'clock in the morning, and went singing to work as gay as a lark.

Four days he worked 'every day and all day long'; and every evening the
lady, when she came out to walk in her gardens, looked at his work. At
last she said to her gardener, 'This little boy works very hard.' 'Never
had so good a little boy about the grounds,' said the gardener; 'he's
always at his work, let me come by when I will, and he has got twice as
much done as another would do; yes, twice as much, ma'am; for look
here--he began at this 'ere rose-bush, and now he's got to where you
stand, ma'am; and here is the day's work that t'other boy, and he's
three years older too, did to-day--I say, measure Jem's fairly, and it's
twice as much, I'm sure.' 'Well,' said the lady to her gardener, 'show
me how much is a fair good day's work for a boy of his age.' 'Come at
six o'clock and go at six? why, about this much, ma'am,' said the
gardener, marking off a piece of the border with his spade.

'Then, little boy,' said the lady, 'so much shall be your task every
day. The gardener will mark it off for you; and when you've done, the
rest of the day you may do what you please.'

Jem was extremely glad of this; and the next day he had finished his
task by four o'clock; so that he had all the rest of the evening to
himself. He was as fond of play as any little boy could be; and when he
was at it he played with all the eagerness and gaiety imaginable; so as
soon as he had finished his task, fed Lightfoot, and put by the sixpence
he had earned that day, he ran to the playground in the village, where
he found a party of boys playing, and amongst them Lazy Lawrence, who
indeed was not playing, but lounging upon a gate, with his thumb in his
mouth. The rest were playing at cricket. Jem joined them, and was the
merriest and most active amongst them; till, at last, when quite out of
breath with running, he was obliged to give up to rest himself, and sat
down upon the stile, close to the gate on which Lazy Lawrence was
swinging.

'And why don't you play, Lawrence?' said he. 'I'm tired,' said Lawrence.
'Tired of what?' 'I don't know well what tires me; grandmother says I'm
ill, and I must take something--I don't know what ails me.' 'Oh, pugh!
take a good race--one, two, three, and away--and you'll find yourself as
well as ever. Come, run--one, two, three, and away.' 'Ah, no, I can't
run, indeed,' said he hanging back heavily; 'you know I can play all day
long if I like it, so I don't mind play as you do, who have only one
hour for it.' 'So much the worse for you. Come now, I'm quite fresh
again, will you have one game at ball? do.' 'No, I tell you I can't; I'm
as tired as if I had been working all day long as hard as a horse.' 'Ten
times more,' said Jem, 'for I have been working all day long as hard as
a horse, and yet you see I'm not a bit tired, only a little out of
breath just now.' 'That's very odd,' said Lawrence, and yawned, for want
of some better answer; then taking out a handful of halfpence,--'See
what I got from father to-day, because I asked him just at the right
time, when he had drunk a glass or two; then I can get anything I want
out of him--see! a penny, twopence, threepence, fourpence--there's
eightpence in all; would not you be happy if you had _eightpence_?'
'Why, I don't know,' said Jem, laughing, 'for you don't seem happy, and
you _have eightpence_.' 'That does not signify, though. I'm sure you
only say that because you envy me. You don't know what it is to have
eightpence. You never had more than twopence or threepence at a time in
all your life.'

Jem smiled. 'Oh, as to that,' said he, 'you are mistaken, for I have at
this very time more than twopence, threepence, or eightpence either. I
have--let me--see--stones, two shillings; then five days' work that's
five sixpences, that's two shillings and sixpence; in all, makes four
shillings and sixpence; and my silver penny, is four and
sevenpence--four and sevenpence!' 'You have not!' said Lawrence, roused
so as absolutely to stand upright, 'four and sevenpence, have you? Show
it me and then I'll believe you.' 'Follow me, then,' cried Jem, 'and
I'll soon make you believe me; come.' 'Is it far?' said Lawrence,
following half-running, half-hobbling, till he came to the stable, where
Jem showed him his treasure. 'And how did you come by it--honestly?'
'Honestly! to be sure I did; I earned it all.' 'Lord bless me, earned
it! well, I've a great mind to work; but then it's such hot weather,
besides, grandmother says I'm not strong enough yet for hard work; and
besides, I know how to coax daddy out of money when I want it, so I need
not work. But four and sevenpence; let's see, what will you do with it
all?' 'That's a secret,' said Jem, looking great. 'I can guess; I know
what I'd do with it if it was mine. First, I'd buy pocketfuls of
gingerbread; then I'd buy ever so many apples and nuts. Don't you love
nuts? I'd buy nuts enough to last me from this time to Christmas, and
I'd make little Newton crack 'em for me, for that's the worst of nuts,
there's the trouble of cracking 'em.' 'Well, you never deserve to have a
nut.' 'But you'll give me some of yours,' said Lawrence, in a fawning
tone; for he thought it easier to coax than to work--'you'll give me
some of your good things, won't you?' 'I shall not have any of those
good things,' said Jem. 'Then, what will you do with all your money?'
'Oh, I know very well what to do with it; but, as I told you, that's a
secret, and I shan't tell it anybody. Come now, let's go back and
play--their game's up, I daresay.'

Lawrence went back with him, full of curiosity, and out of humour with
himself and his eightpence. 'If I had four and sevenpence,' said he to
himself, 'I certainly should be happy!'

The next day, as usual, Jem jumped up before six o'clock and went to his
work, whilst Lazy Lawrence sauntered about without knowing what to do
with himself. In the course of two days he laid out sixpence of his
money in apples and gingerbread; and as long as these lasted, he found
himself well received by his companions; but at length the third day he
spent his last halfpenny, and when it was gone, unfortunately some nuts
tempted him very much, but he had no money to pay for them; so he ran
home to coax his father, as he called it.

When he got home he heard his father talking very loud, and at first he
thought he was drunk; but when he opened the kitchen door, he saw that
he was not drunk, but angry.

'You lazy dog!' cried he, turning suddenly upon Lawrence, and gave him
such a violent box on the ear as made the light flash from his eyes;
'you lazy dog! See what you've done for me--look!--look, look, I say!'

Lawrence looked as soon as he came to the use of his senses, and with
fear, amazement, and remorse beheld at least a dozen bottles burst, and
the fine Worcestershire cider streaming over the floor.

'Now, did not I order you three days ago to carry these bottles to the
cellar, and did not I charge you to wire the corks? answer me, you lazy
rascal; did not I?' 'Yes,' said Lawrence, scratching his head. 'And why
was not it done, I ask you?' cried his father, with renewed anger, as
another bottle burst at the moment. 'What do you stand there for, you
lazy brat? why don't you move, I say? No, no,' catching hold of him, 'I
believe you can't move; but I'll make you.' And he shook him till
Lawrence was so giddy he could not stand. 'What had you to think of?
What had you to do all day long, that you could not carry my cider, my
Worcestershire cider, to the cellar when I bid you? But go, you'll never
be good for anything; you are such a lazy rascal--get out of my sight!'
So saying, he pushed him, out of the house door, and Lawrence sneaked
off, seeing that this was no time to make his petition for halfpence.

The next day he saw the nuts again, and wishing for them more than ever,
he went home, in hopes that his father, as he said to himself, would be
in a better humour. But the cider was still fresh in his recollection;
and the moment Lawrence began to whisper the word 'halfpenny' in his
ear, his father swore with a loud oath, 'I will not give you a
halfpenny, no, not a farthing, for a month to come. If you want money,
go work for it; I've had enough of your laziness--go work!'

At these terrible words Lawrence burst into tears, and, going to the
side of a ditch, sat down and cried for an hour; and when he had cried
till he could cry no more, he exerted himself so far as to empty his
pockets, to see whether there might not happen to be one halfpenny left;
and, to his great joy, in the farthest corner of his pocket one
halfpenny was found. With this he proceeded to the fruit-woman's stall.
She was busy weighing out some plums, so he was obliged to wait; and
whilst he was waiting he heard some people near him talking and laughing
very loud.

[Illustration: _'See what you've done for me--look!--look, look, I
say!'_]

The fruit-woman's stall was at the gate of an inn yard; and peeping
through the gate in this yard, Lawrence saw a postilion and a
stable-boy, about his own size, playing at pitch farthing. He stood by
watching them for a few minutes. 'I began but with one halfpenny,' cried
the stable-boy, with an oath, 'and now I've got twopence!' added he,
jingling the halfpence in his waistcoat pocket. Lawrence was moved at
the sound, and said to himself, 'If _I_ begin with one halfpenny I may
end, like him, with having twopence; and it is easier to play at pitch
farthing than to work.'

So he stepped forward, presenting his halfpenny, offering to toss up
with the stable-boy, who, after looking him full in the face, accepted
the proposal, and threw his halfpenny into the air. 'Head or tail?'
cried he. 'Head,' replied Lawrence, and it came up head. He seized the
penny, surprised at his own success, and would have gone instantly to
have laid it out in nuts; but the stable-boy stopped him, and tempted
him to throw it again. This time Lawrence lost; he threw again and won;
and so he went on, sometimes losing, but most frequently winning, till
half the morning was lost. At last, however, finding himself the master
of three halfpence, he said he would play no more.

The stable-boy, grumbling, swore he would have his revenge another time,
and Lawrence went and bought his nuts. 'It is a good thing,' said he to
himself, 'to play at pitch farthing; the next time I want a halfpenny
I'll not ask my father for it, nor go to work neither.' Satisfied with
this resolution, he sat down to crack his nuts at his leisure, upon the
horse-block in the inn yard. Here, whilst he ate, he overheard the
conversation of the stable-boys and postilions. At first their shocking
oaths and loud wrangling frightened and shocked him; for Lawrence,
though _lazy_, had not yet learned to be a _wicked_ boy. But, by
degrees, he was accustomed to the swearing and quarrelling, and took a
delight and interest in their disputes and battles. As this was an
amusement which he could enjoy without any sort of exertion, he soon
grew so fond of it, that every day he returned to the stable yard, and
the horse-block became his constant seat. Here he found some relief from
the insupportable fatigue of doing nothing, and here, hour after hour,
with his elbows on his knees and his head on his hands, he sat, the
spectator of wickedness. Gaming, cheating, and lying soon became
familiar to him; and, to complete his ruin, he formed a sudden and close
intimacy with the stable-boy (a very bad boy) with whom he had first
begun to game.

The consequences of this intimacy we shall presently see. But it is now
time to inquire what little Jem had been doing all this while.

One day, after Jem had finished his task, the gardener asked him to stay
a little while, to help him to carry some geranium pots into the hall.
Jem, always active and obliging, readily stayed from play, and was
carrying in a heavy flower pot, when his mistress crossed the hall.
'What a terrible litter!' said she, 'you are making here--why don't you
wipe your shoes upon the mat?' Jem turned to look for the mat, but he
saw none. 'Oh,' said the lady, recollecting herself, 'I can't blame you,
for there is no mat.' 'No, ma'am,' said the gardener, 'nor I don't know
when, if ever, the man will bring home those mats you bespoke, ma'am.'
'I am very sorry to hear that,' said the lady; 'I wish we could find
somebody who would do them, if he can't. I should not care what sort of
mats they were, so that one could wipe one's feet on them.'

Jem, as he was sweeping away the litter, when he heard these last words,
said to himself, 'Perhaps I could make a mat.' And all the way home, as
he trudged along whistling, he was thinking over a scheme for making
mats, which, however bold it may appear, he did not despair of
executing, with patience and industry. Many were the difficulties which
his '_prophetic eye_' foresaw; but he felt within himself that spirit
which spurs men on to great enterprises, and makes them 'trample on
impossibilities.' In the first place, he recollected that he had seen
Lazy Lawrence, whilst he lounged upon the gate, twist a bit of heath
into different shapes; and he thought that, if he could find some way of
plaiting heath firmly together, it would make a very pretty green, soft
mat, which would do very well for one to wipe one's shoes on. About a
mile from his mother's house, on the common which Jem rode over when he
went to Farmer Truck's for the giant strawberries, he remembered to have
seen a great quantity of this heath; and, as it was now only six o'clock
in the evening, he knew that he should have time to feed Lightfoot,
stroke him, go to the common, return, and make one trial of his skill
before he went to bed.

Lightfoot carried him swiftly to the common, and there Jem gathered as
much of the heath as he thought he should want. But what toil! what
time! what pains did it cost him, before he could make anything like a
mat! Twenty times he was ready to throw aside the heath, and give up his
project, from impatience of repeated disappointments. But still he
persevered. Nothing _truly great_ can be accomplished without toil and
time. Two hours he worked before he went to bed. All his play hours the
next day he spent at his mat; which, in all, made five hours of
fruitless attempts. The sixth, however, repaid him for the labours of
the other five. He conquered his grand difficulty of fastening the heath
substantially together, and at length completely finished a mat, which
far surpassed his most sanguine expectations. He was extremely
happy--sang, danced round it--whistled--looked at it again and again,
and could hardly leave off looking at it when it was time to go to bed.
He laid it by his bedside, that he might see it the moment he awoke in
the morning.

And now came the grand pleasure of carrying it to his mistress. She
looked fully as much surprised as he expected, when she saw it, and when
she heard who made it. After having duly admired it, she asked how much
he expected for his mat. 'Expect!--Nothing, ma'am,' said Jem; 'I meant
to give it you, if you'd have it; I did not mean to sell it. I made it
in my play hours, I was very happy in making it; and I'm very glad, too,
that you like it; and if you please to keep it, ma'am, that's all.' 'But
that's not all,' said the lady. 'Spend your time no more in weeding in
my garden, you can employ yourself much better; you shall have the
reward of your ingenuity as well as of your industry. Make as many more
such mats as you can, and I will take care and dispose of them for you.'

'Thank'e, ma'am,' said Jem, making his best bow, for he thought by the
lady's looks that she meant to do him a favour, though he repeated to
himself, 'Dispose of them, what does that mean?'

The next day he went to work to make more mats, and he soon learned to
make them so well and quickly, that he was surprised at his own success.
In every one he made he found less difficulty, so that, instead of
making two, he could soon make four, in a day. In a fortnight he made
eighteen.

It was Saturday night when he finished, and he carried, at three
journeys, his eighteen mats to his mistress's house; piled them all up
in the hall, and stood with his hat off, with a look of proud humility,
beside the pile, waiting for his mistress's appearance. Presently a
folding-door, at one end of the hall, opened, and he saw his mistress,
with a great many gentlemen and ladies, rising from several tables.

'Oh! there is my little boy and his mats,' cried the lady; and, followed
by all the rest of the company, she came into the hall. Jem modestly
retired whilst they looked at his mats; but in a minute or two his
mistress beckoned to him, and when he came into the middle of the
circle, he saw that his pile of mats had disappeared.

'Well,' said the lady, smiling, 'what do you see that makes you look so
surprised?' 'That all my mats are gone,' said Jem; 'but you are very
welcome.' 'Are we?' said the lady, 'well, take up your hat and go home
then, for you see that it is getting late, and you know Lightfoot will
wonder what's become of you.' Jem turned round to take up his hat, which
he had left on the floor.

But how his countenance changed! the hat was heavy with shillings. Every
one who had taken a mat had put in two shillings; so that for the
eighteen mats he had got thirty-six shillings. 'Thirty-six shillings,'
said the lady; 'five and sevenpence I think you told me you had earned
already--how much does that make? I must add, I believe, one other
sixpence to make out your two guineas.'

'Two guineas!' exclaimed Jem, now quite conquering his bashfulness, for
at the moment he forgot where he was, and saw nobody that was by. 'Two
guineas!' cried he, clapping his hands together,--'O Lightfoot! O
mother!' Then, recollecting himself, he saw his mistress, whom he now
looked up to quite as a friend. 'Will _you_ thank them all?' said he,
scarcely daring to glance his eyes round upon the company; 'will _you_
thank 'em, for you knew I don't know how to thank 'em _rightly_.'
Everybody thought, however, that they had been thanked _rightly_. 'Now
we won't keep you any longer, only,' said his mistress, 'I have one
thing to ask you, that I may be by when you show your treasure to your
mother.'

'Come, then,' said Jem, 'come with me now.' 'Not now,' said the lady,
laughing; 'but I will come to Ashton to-morrow evening; perhaps your
mother can find me a few strawberries.'

'That she will,' said Jem; 'I'll search the garden myself.'

He now went home, but felt it a great restraint to wait till to-morrow
evening before he told his mother. To console himself he flew to the
stable:--'Lightfoot, you're not to be sold on Monday, poor fellow!' said
he, patting him, and then could not refrain from counting out his money.
Whilst he was intent upon this, Jem was startled by a noise at the door:
somebody was trying to pull up the latch. It opened, and there came in
Lazy Lawrence, with a boy in a red jacket, who had a cock under his arm.
They started when they got into the middle of the stable, and when they
saw Jem, who had been at first hidden by the horse.

'We--we--we came,' stammered Lazy Lawrence--'I mean, I came
to--to--to----' 'To ask you,' continued the stable-boy, in a bold tone,
'whether you will go with us to the cock-fight on Monday? See, I've a
fine cock here, and Lawrence told me you were a great friend of his; so
I came.'

Lawrence now attempted to say something in praise of the pleasures of
cock-fighting and in recommendation of his new companion. But Jem looked
at the stable-boy with dislike, and a sort of dread. Then turning his
eyes upon the cock with a look of compassion, said, in a low voice, to
Lawrence, 'Shall you like to stand by and see its eyes pecked out?' 'I
don't know,' said Lawrence, 'as to that; but they say a cockfight's a
fine sight, and it's no more cruel in me to go than another; and a great
many go, and I've nothing else to do, so I shall go.' 'But I have
something else to do,' said Jem, laughing, 'so I shall not go.' 'But,'
continued Lawrence, 'you know Monday is a great Bristol fair, and one
must be merry then, of all the days in the year.' 'One day in the year,
sure, there's no harm in being merry,' said the stable-boy. 'I hope
not,' said Jem; 'for I know, for my part, I am merry every day in the
year.' 'That's very odd,' said Lawrence; 'but I know, for my part, I
would not for all the world miss going to the fair, for at least it will
be something to talk of for half a year after. Come, you'll go, won't
you?' 'No,' said Jem, still looking as if he did not like to talk before
the ill-looking stranger. 'Then what will you do with all your money?'
'I'll tell you about that another time,' whispered Jem; 'and don't you
go to see that cock's eyes pecked out; it won't make you merry, I'm
sure.' 'If I had anything else to divert me,' said Lawrence, hesitating
and yawning. 'Come,' cried the stable-boy, seizing his stretching arm,
'come along,' cried he; and, pulling him away from Jem, upon whom he
cast a look of extreme contempt; 'leave him alone, he's not the sort.'

'What a fool you are,' said he to Lawrence, the moment he got him out of
the stable; 'you might have known he would not go, else we should soon
have trimmed him out of his four and sevenpence. But how came you to
talk of four and sevenpence? I saw in the manger a hat full of silver.'
'Indeed!' exclaimed Lawrence. 'Yes, indeed; but why did you stammer so
when we first got in? You had like to have blown us all up.' 'I was so
ashamed,' said Lawrence, hanging down his head. 'Ashamed! but you must
not talk of shame now you are in for it, and I shan't let you off; you
owe us half a crown, recollect, and I must be paid to-night, so see and
get the money somehow or other.' After a considerable pause he added, 'I
answer for it he'd never miss half a crown out of all that silver.' 'But
to steal,' said Lawrence, drawing back with horror; 'I never thought I
should come to that--and from poor Jem, too--the money that he has
worked so hard for, too.' 'But it is not stealing; we don't mean to
steal; only to borrow it; and if we win, which we certainly shall, at
the cock-fight, pay it back again, and he'll never know anything about
the matter, and what harm will it do him? Besides, what signifies
talking? you can't go to the cock-fight, or the fair either, if you
don't; and I tell ye we don't mean to steal it; we'll pay it by Monday
night.'

Lawrence made no reply, and they parted without his coming to any
determination.

Here let us pause in our story. We are almost afraid to go on. The rest
is very shocking. Our little readers will shudder as they read. But it
is better that they should know the truth and see what the idle boy came
to at last.

In the dead of the night, Lawrence heard somebody tap at his window. He
knew well who it was, for this was the signal agreed upon between him
and his wicked companion. He trembled at the thoughts of what he was
about to do, and lay quite still, with his head under the bedclothes,
till he heard the second tap. Then he got up, dressed himself, and
opened his window. It was almost even with the ground. His companion
said to him, in a hollow voice, 'Are you ready?' He made no answer, but
got out of the window and followed.

When he got to the stable a black cloud was just passing over the moon,
and it was quite dark. 'Where are you?' whispered Lawrence, groping
about, 'where are you? Speak to me.' 'I am here; give me your hand.'
Lawrence stretched out his hand. 'Is that your hand?' said the wicked
boy, as Lawrence laid hold of him; 'how cold it feels.' 'Let us go
back,' said Lawrence; 'it is time yet.' 'It is no time to go back,'
replied the other, opening the door: 'you've gone too far now to go
back,' and he pushed Lawrence into the stable. 'Have you found it? Take
care of the horse. Have you done? What are you about? Make haste, I hear
a noise,' said the stable-boy, who watched at the door. 'I am feeling
for the half-crown, but I can't find it.' 'Bring all together.' He
brought Jem's broken flower-pot, with all the money in it, to the door.

The black cloud had now passed over the moon, and the light shone full
upon them. 'What do we stand here for?' said the stable-boy, snatching
the flower-pot out of Lawrence's trembling hands, and pulled him away
from the door.

'Good God!' cried Lawrence, 'you won't take all. You said you'd only
take half a crown, and pay it back on Monday. You said you'd only take
half a crown!' 'Hold your tongue,' replied the other, walking on, deaf
to all remonstrances--'if ever I am to be hanged, it shan't be for half
a crown.'

Lawrence's blood ran cold in his veins, and he felt as if all his hair
stood on end. Not another word passed. His accomplice carried off the
money, and Lawrence crept, with all the horrors of guilt upon him, to
his restless bed. All night he was starting from frightful dreams; or
else, broad awake, he lay listening to every small noise, unable to
stir, and scarcely daring to breathe--tormented by that most dreadful of
all kinds of fear, that fear which is the constant companion of an evil
conscience.

He thought the morning would never come; but when it was day, when he
heard the birds sing, and saw everything look cheerful as usual, he felt
still more miserable. It was Sunday morning, and the bell rang for
church. All the children of the village, dressed in their Sunday
clothes, innocent and gay, and little Jem, the best and gayest amongst
them, went flocking by his door to church.

'Well, Lawrence,' said Jem, pulling his coat as he passed, and saw
Lawrence leaning against his father's door, 'what makes you look so
black?' 'I?' said Lawrence, starting; 'why do you say that I look
black?' 'Nay, then,' said Jem, 'you look white enough now, if that will
please you, for you're turned as pale as death.' 'Pale!' replied
Lawrence, not knowing what he said, and turned abruptly away, for he
dared not stand another look of Jem's; conscious that guilt was written
in his face, he shunned every eye. He would now have given the world to
have thrown off the load of guilt which lay upon his mind. He longed to
follow Jem, to fall upon his knees and confess all.

Dreading the moment when Jem should discover his loss, Lawrence dared
not stay at home, and not knowing what to do, or where to go, he
mechanically went to his old haunt at the stable yard, and lurked
thereabouts all day, with his accomplice, who tried in vain to quiet his
fears and raise his spirits by talking of the next day's cock-fight. It
was agreed that, as soon as the dusk of the evening came on, they should
go together into a certain lonely field, and there divide their booty.

In the meantime, Jem, when he returned from church, was very full of
business, preparing for the reception of his mistress, of whose intended
visit he had informed his mother; and whilst she was arranging the
kitchen and their little parlour, he ran to search the strawberry beds.

'Why, my Jem, how merry you are to-day!' said his mother, when he came
in with the strawberries, and was jumping about the room playfully.
'Now, keep those spirits of yours, Jem, till you want 'em, and don't let
it come upon you all at once. Have it in mind that to-morrow's fair day,
and Lightfoot must go. I bid Farmer Truck call for him to-night. He said
he'd take him along with his own, and he'll be here just now--and then I
know how it will be with you, Jem!' 'So do I!' cried Jem, swallowing his
secret with great difficulty, and then tumbling head over heels four
times running.

A carriage passed the window, and stopped at the door. Jem ran out; it
was his mistress. She came in smiling, and soon made the old woman
smile, too, by praising the neatness of everything in the house.

We shall pass over, however important as they were deemed at the time,
the praises of the strawberries, and of 'my grandmother's china plate.'

Another knock was heard at the door. 'Run, Jem,' said his mother. 'I
hope it's our milk-woman with cream for the lady.' No; it was Farmer
Truck come for Lightfoot. The old woman's countenance fell. 'Fetch him
out, dear,' said she, turning to her son; but Jem was gone; he flew out
to the stable the moment he saw the flap of Farmer Truck's greatcoat.

'Sit ye down, farmer,' said the old woman, after they had waited about
five minutes in expectation of Jem's return. 'You'd best sit down, if
the lady will give you leave; for he'll not hurry himself back again. My
boy's a fool, madam, about that there horse.' Trying to laugh, she
added, 'I knew how Lightfoot and he would be loth enough to part. He
won't bring him out to the last minute; so do sit ye down, neighbour.'

The farmer had scarcely sat down when Jem, with a pale, wild
countenance, came back. 'What's the matter?' said his mistress. 'God
bless the boy!' said his mother, looking at him quite frightened, whilst
he tried to speak but could not.

She went up to him, and then leaning his head against her, he cried,
'It's gone!--it's all gone!' and, bursting into tears, he sobbed as if
his little heart would break. 'What's gone, love?' said his mother. 'My
two guineas--Lightfoot's two guineas. I went to fetch 'em to give you,
mammy; but the broken flower-pot that I put them in and all's
gone!--quite gone!' repeated he, checking his sobs. 'I saw them safe
last night, and was showing 'em to Lightfoot; and I was so glad to think
I had earned them all myself; and I thought how surprised you'd look,
and how glad you'd be, and how you'd kiss me, and all!'

His mother listened to him with the greatest surprise, whilst his
mistress stood in silence, looking first at the old woman and then at
Jem with a penetrating eye, as if she suspected the truth of his story,
and was afraid of becoming the dupe of her own compassion.

[Illustration: _'What's the matter?' said his mistress. 'God bless the
boy!' said his mother._]

'This is a very strange thing!' said she gravely. 'How came you to leave
all your money in a broken flower-pot in the stable? How came you not to
give it to your mother to take care of?' 'Why, don't you remember?' said
Jem, looking up in the midst of his tears--'why, don't you remember you,
your own self, bid me not tell her about it till you were by?' 'And did
you not tell her?' 'Nay, ask mammy,' said Jem, a little offended; and
when afterwards the lady went on questioning him in a severe manner, as
if she did not believe him, he at last made no answer. 'O Jem! Jem! why
don't you speak to the lady?' said his mother. 'I have spoke, and spoke
the truth,' said Jem proudly; 'and she did not believe me.'

Still the lady, who had lived too long in the world to be without
suspicion, maintained a cold manner, and determined to wait the event
without interfering, saying only that she hoped the money would be
found, and advised Jem to have done crying.

'I have done,' said Jem; 'I shall cry no more.' And as he had the
greatest command over himself, he actually did not shed another tear,
not even when the farmer got up to go, saying he could wait no longer.

Jem silently went to bring out Lightfoot. The lady now took her seat,
where she could see all that passed at the open parlour-window. The old
woman stood at the door, and several idle people of the village, who had
gathered round the lady's carriage examining it, turned about to listen.
In a minute or two Jem appeared, with a steady countenance, leading
Lightfoot, and, when he came up, without saying a word, put the bridle
into Farmer Truck's hand. 'He _has been_ a good horse,' said the farmer.
'He _is_ a good horse!' cried Jem, and threw his arm over Lightfoot's
neck, hiding his own face as he leaned upon him.

At this instant a party of milk-women went by; and one of them, having
set down her pail, came behind Jem and gave him a pretty smart blow upon
the back. He looked up. 'And don't you know me?' said she. 'I forget,'
said Jem; 'I think I have seen your face before, but I forget.' 'Do you
so? and you'll tell me just now,' said she, half opening her hand, 'that
you forget who gave you this, and who charged you not to part with it,
too.' Here she quite opened her large hand, and on the palm of it
appeared Jem's silver penny.

'Where?' exclaimed Jem, seizing it, 'oh, where did you find it? and have
you--oh, tell me, have you got the rest of my money?' 'I know nothing of
your money--I don't know what you would be at,' said the milk-woman.
'But where--pray tell me where--did you find this?' 'With them that you
gave it to, I suppose,' said the milk-woman, turning away suddenly to
take up her milk-pail. But now Jem's mistress called to her through the
window, begging her to stop, and joining in his entreaties to know how
she came by the silver penny.

'Why, madam,' said she, taking up the corner of her apron, 'I came by it
in an odd way, too. You must know my Betty is sick, so I came with the
milk myself, though it's not what I'm used to; for my Betty--you know my
Betty?' said she, turning round to the old woman, 'my Betty serves you,
and she's a tight and stirring lassy, ma'am, I can assure----' 'Yes, I
don't doubt it,' said the lady impatiently; 'but about the silver
penny?' 'Why, that's true; as I was coming along all alone, for the rest
came round, and I came a short cut across yon field--no, you can't see
it, madam, where you stand--but if you were here----' 'I see it--I know
it,' said Jem, out of breath with anxiety. 'Well--well--I rested my pail
upon the stile, and sets me down awhile, and there comes out of the
hedge--I don't know well how, for they startled me so I'd like to have
thrown down my milk--two boys, one about the size of he,' said she,
pointing to Jem, 'and one a matter taller, but ill-looking like; so I
did not think to stir to make way for them, and they were like in a
desperate hurry: so, without waiting for the stile, one of 'em pulled at
the gate, and when it would not open (for it was tied with a pretty
stout cord) one of 'em whips out with his knife and cuts it----Now, have
you a knife about you, sir?' continued the milk-woman to the farmer. He
gave her his knife. 'Here, now, ma'am, just sticking, as it were here,
between the blade and the haft, was the silver penny. The lad took no
notice; but when he opened it, out it falls. Still he takes no heed, but
cuts the cord, as I said before, and through the gate they went, and out
of sight in half a minute. I picks up the penny, for my heart misgave me
that it was the very one my husband had had a long time, and had given
against my voice to he,' pointing to Jem; 'and I charged him not to part
with it; and, ma'am, when I looked I knew it by the mark, so I thought
I would show it to _he_,' again pointing to Jem, 'and let him give it
back to those it belongs to.' 'It belongs to me,' said Jem, 'I never
gave it to anybody--but----' 'But,' cried the farmer, 'those boys have
robbed him; it is they who have all his money.' 'Oh, which way did they
go?' cried Jem, 'I'll run after them.'

'No, no,' said the lady, calling to her servant; and she desired him to
take his horse and ride after them. 'Ay,' added Farmer Truck, 'do you
take the road, and I'll take the field way, and I'll be bound we'll have
'em presently.'

Whilst they were gone in pursuit of the thieves, the lady, who was now
thoroughly convinced of Jem's truth, desired her coachman would produce
what she had ordered him to bring with him that evening. Out of the boot
of the carriage the coachman immediately produced a new saddle and
bridle.

How Jem's eyes sparkled when the saddle was thrown upon Lightfoot's
back! 'Put it on your horse yourself, Jem,' said the lady; 'it is
yours.'

Confused reports of Lightfoot's splendid accoutrements, of the pursuit
of thieves, and of the fine and generous lady who was standing at dame
Preston's window, quickly spread through the village, and drew everybody
from their houses. They crowded round Jem to hear the story. The
children especially, who were fond of him, expressed the strongest
indignation against the thieves. Every eye was on the stretch; and now
some, who had run down the lane, came back shouting, 'Here they are!
they've got the thieves!'

The footman on horseback carried one boy before him; and the farmer,
striding along, dragged another. The latter had on a red jacket, which
little Jem immediately recollected, and scarcely dared lift his eyes to
look at the boy on horseback. 'Good God!' said he to himself, 'it must
be--yet surely it can't be Lawrence!' The footman rode on as fast as the
people would let him. The boy's hat was slouched, and his head hung
down, so that nobody could see his face.

At this instant there was a disturbance in the crowd. A man who was
half-drunk pushed his way forwards, swearing that nobody should stop
him; that he had a right to see--and he _would_ see. And so he did; for,
forcing through all resistance, he staggered up to the footman just as
he was lifting down the boy he had carried before him. 'I _will_--I
tell you I _will_ see the thief!' cried the drunken man, pushing up the
boy's hat. It was his own son. 'Lawrence!' exclaimed the wretched
father. The shock sobered him at once, and he hid his face in his hands.

There was an awful silence. Lawrence fell on his knees, and in a voice
that could scarcely be heard made a full confession of all the
circumstances of his guilt.

'Such a young creature so wicked!' the bystanders exclaimed; 'what could
put such wickedness in your head?' 'Bad company,' said Lawrence. 'And
how came you--what brought you into bad company?' 'I don't know, except
it was idleness.'

While this was saying, the farmer was emptying Lazy Lawrence's pockets;
and when the money appeared, all his former companions in the village
looked at each other with astonishment and terror. Their parents grasped
their little hands closer, and cried, 'Thank God! he is not my son. How
often when he was little we used, as he lounged about, to tell him that
idleness was the root of all evil.'

As for the hardened wretch, his accomplice, every one was impatient to
have him sent to gaol. He put on a bold, insolent countenance, till he
heard Lawrence's confession; till the money was found upon him; and he
heard the milk-woman declare that she would swear to the silver penny
which he had dropped. Then he turned pale, and betrayed the strongest
signs of fear.

'We must take him before the justice,' said the farmer, 'and he'll be
lodged in Bristol gaol.'

'Oh!' said Jem, springing forwards when Lawrence's hands were going to
be tied, 'let him go--won't you?--can't you let him go?' 'Yes, madam,
for mercy's sake,' said Jem's mother to the lady; 'think what a disgrace
to his family to be sent to gaol.'

His father stood by wringing his hands in an agony of despair. 'It's all
my fault,' cried he; 'brought him up in _idleness_.' 'But he'll never be
idle any more,' said Jem; 'won't you speak for him, ma'am?' 'Don't ask
the lady to speak for him,' said the farmer; 'it's better he should go
to Bridewell now, than to the gallows by and by.'

Nothing more was said; for everybody felt the truth of the farmer's
speech.

Lawrence was eventually sent to Bridewell for a month, and the
stable-boy was sent for trial, convicted, and transported to Botany Bay.

During Lawrence's confinement, Jem often visited him, and carried him
such little presents as he could afford to give; and Jem could afford to
be _generous_, because he was _industrious_. Lawrence's heart was
touched by his kindness, and his example struck him so forcibly that,
when his confinement was ended, he resolved to set immediately to work;
and, to the astonishment of all who knew him, soon became remarkable for
industry. He was found early and late at his work, established a new
character, and for ever lost the name of '_Lazy Lawrence_.'



THE FALSE KEY


Mr. Spencer, a very benevolent and sensible man, undertook the education
of several poor children. Among the best was a boy of the name of
Franklin, whom he had bred up from the time he was five years old.
Franklin had the misfortune to be the son of a man of infamous
character; and for many years this was a disgrace and reproach to his
child. When any of the neighbours' children quarrelled with him, they
used to tell him that he would turn out like his father. But Mr. Spencer
always assured him that he might make himself whatever he pleased; that
by behaving well he would certainly, sooner or later, secure the esteem
and love of all who knew him, even of those who had the strongest
prejudice against him on his father's account.

This hope was very delightful to Franklin, and he showed the strongest
desire to learn and to do everything that was right; so that Mr. Spencer
soon grew fond of him, and took great pains to instruct him, and to give
him all the good habits and principles which might make him a useful,
respectable, and happy man.

When he was about thirteen years of age, Mr. Spencer one day sent for
him into his closet; and as he was folding up a letter which he had been
writing, said to him, with a very kind look, but in a graver tone than
usual, 'Franklin, you are going to leave me.' 'Sir!' said Franklin. 'You
are now going to leave me, and to begin the world for yourself. You will
carry this letter to my sister, Mrs. Churchill, in Queen's Square. You
know Queen's Square?' Franklin bowed. 'You must expect,' continued Mr.
Spencer, 'to meet with several disagreeable things, and a great deal of
rough work, at your first setting out; but be faithful and obedient to
your mistress, and obliging to your fellow-servants, and all will go
well. Mrs. Churchill will make you a very good mistress, if you behave
properly; and I have no doubt but you will.' 'Thank you, sir.' 'And you
will always--I mean, as long as you deserve it--find a friend in me.'
'Thank you, sir--I am sure you are----' There Franklin stopped short,
for the recollection of all Mr. Spencer's goodness rushed upon him at
once, and he could not say another word. 'Bring me a candle to seal this
letter,' said his master; and he was very glad to get out of the room.
He came back with the candle, and, with a stout heart, stood by whilst
the letter was sealing; and, when his master put it into his hand, said,
in a cheerful voice, 'I hope you will let me see you again, sir,
sometimes.' 'Certainly; whenever your mistress can spare you, I shall be
very glad to see you; and remember, if ever you get into any difficulty,
don't be afraid to come to me. I have sometimes spoken harshly to you;
but you will not meet with a more indulgent friend.' Franklin at this
turned away with a full heart; and, after making two or three attempts
to express his gratitude, left the room without being able to speak.

He got to Queen's Square about three o'clock. The door was opened by a
large, red-faced man, in a blue coat and scarlet waistcoat, to whom he
felt afraid to give his message, lest he should not be a servant. 'Well,
what's your business, sir?' said the butler. 'I have a letter for Mrs.
Churchill, _sir_,' said Franklin, endeavouring to pronounce his _sir_ in
a tone as respectful as the butler's was insolent.

The man, having examined the direction, seal, and edges of the letter,
carried it upstairs, and in a few minutes returned, and ordered Franklin
to rub his shoes well and follow him. He was then shown into a handsome
room, where he found his mistress--an elderly lady. She asked him a few
questions, examining him attentively as she spoke; and her severe eye at
first and her gracious smile afterwards, made him feel that she was a
person to be both loved and feared. 'I shall give you in charge,' said
she, ringing a bell, 'to my housekeeper, and I hope she will have no
reason to be displeased with you.'

The housekeeper, when she first came in, appeared with a smiling
countenance; but the moment she cast her eyes on Franklin, it changed to
a look of surprise and suspicion. Her mistress recommended him to her
protection, saying, 'Pomfret, I hope you will keep this boy under your
own eye.' And she received him with a cold 'Very well, ma'am,' which
plainly showed that she was not disposed to like him. In fact, Mrs.
Pomfret was a woman so fond of power, and so jealous of favour, that she
would have quarrelled with an angel who had got so near her mistress
without her introduction. She smothered her displeasure, however, till
night; when, as she attended her mistress's toilette, she could not
refrain from expressing her sentiments. She began cautiously: 'Ma'am, is
not this the boy Mr. Spencer was talking of one day--that has been
brought up by the _Villaintropic Society_, I think they call
it?'--'Philanthropic Society; yes,' said her mistress; 'and my brother
gives him a high character: I hope he will do very well.' 'I'm sure I
hope so too,' observed Mrs. Pomfret; 'but I can't say; for my part, I've
no great notion of those low people. They say all those children are
taken from the very lowest _drugs_ and _refuges_ of the town, and surely
they are like enough, ma'am, to take after their own fathers and
mothers.' 'But they are not suffered to be with their parents,' rejoined
the lady; 'and therefore cannot be hurt by their example. This little
boy, to be sure, was unfortunate in his father, but he has had an
excellent education.' 'Oh, _edication_! to be sure, ma'am, I know. I
don't say but what _edication_ is a great thing. But then, ma'am,
_edication_ can't change the _natur_ that's in one, they say; and one
that's born naturally bad and low, they say, all the _edication_ in the
world won't do no good; and, for my part, ma'am, I know you knows best;
but I should be afraid to let any of those _Villaintropic_ folks get
into my house; for nobody can tell the _natur_ of them aforehand. I
declare it frights me.' 'Pomfret, I thought you had better sense: how
would this poor boy earn his bread? he would be forced to starve or
steal, if everybody had such prejudices.'

Pomfret, who really was a good woman, was softened at this idea, and
said, 'God forbid he should starve or steal, and God forbid I should say
anything _prejudiciary_ of the boy; for there may be no harm in him.'

'Well,' said Mrs. Churchill, changing her tone, 'but, Pomfret, if we
don't like the boy at the end of the month, we have done with him; for I
have only promised Mr. Spencer to keep him a month upon trial: there is
no harm done.' 'Dear, no, ma'am, to be sure; and cook must put up with
her disappointment, that's all.' 'What disappointment?' 'About her
nephew, ma'am; the boy she and I was speaking to you for.' 'When?' 'The
day you called her up about the almond pudding, ma'am. If you remember,
you said you should have no objections to try the boy; and upon that
cook bought him new shirts; but they are to the good, as I tell her.'
'But I did not promise to take her nephew.' 'Oh no, ma'am, not at all;
she does not think to _say that_, else I should be very angry; but the
poor woman never let fall a word, any more than frets that the boy
should miss such a good place.' 'Well, but since I did say that I should
have no objection to try him, I shall keep my word; let him come
to-morrow. Let them both have a fair trial, and at the end of the month
I can decide which I like best, and which we had better keep.'

Dismissed with these orders, Mrs. Pomfret hastened to report all that
had passed to the cook, like a favourite minister, proud to display the
extent of her secret influence. In the morning Felix, the cook's nephew,
arrived; and, the moment he came into the kitchen, every eye, even the
scullion's, was fixed upon him with approbation, and afterwards glanced
upon Franklin with contempt--contempt which Franklin could not endure
without some confusion, though quite unconscious of having deserved it;
nor, upon the most impartial and cool self-examination, could he
comprehend the justice of his judges. He perceived indeed--for the
comparisons were minutely made in audible and scornful whispers--that
Felix was a much handsomer, or as the kitchen maid expressed it, a much
more genteeler gentlemanly looking like sort of person than he was; and
he was made to understand that he wanted a frill to his shirt, a cravat,
a pair of thin shoes, and, above all, shoe-strings, besides other
nameless advantages, which justly made his rival the admiration of the
kitchen. However, upon calling to mind all that his friend Mr. Spencer
had ever said to him, he could not recollect his having warned him that
shoe-strings were indispensable requisites to the character of a good
servant; so that he could only comfort himself with resolving, if
possible, to make amends for these deficiencies, and to dissipate the
prejudices which he saw were formed against him, by the strictest
adherence to all that his tutor had taught him to be his duty. He hoped
to secure the approbation of his mistress by scrupulous obedience to all
her commands, and faithful care of all that belonged to her. At the same
time he flattered himself he should win the goodwill of his
fellow-servants by showing a constant desire to oblige them. He pursued
this plan of conduct steadily for nearly three weeks, and found that he
succeeded beyond his expectations in pleasing his mistress; but
unfortunately he found it more difficult to please his fellow-servants,
and he sometimes offended when he least expected it. He had made great
progress in the affections of Corkscrew, the butler, by working indeed
very hard for him, and doing every day at least half his business. But
one unfortunate night the butler was gone out; the bell rang: he went
upstairs; and his mistress asking where Corkscrew was, he answered that
he was gone out. 'Where to?' said his mistress. 'I don't know,' answered
Franklin. And, as he had told exactly the truth, and meant to do no
harm, he was surprised, at the butler's return, when he repeated to him
what had passed, at receiving a sudden box on the ear, and the
appellation of a mischievous, impertinent, mean-spirited brat.

'Mischievous, impertinent, mean!' repeated Franklin to himself; but,
looking in the butler's face, which was a deeper scarlet than usual, he
judged that he was far from sober, and did not doubt but that the next
morning, when he came to the use of his reason, he would be sensible of
his injustice, and apologise for his box of the ear. But no apology
coming all day, Franklin at last ventured to request an explanation, or
rather, to ask what he had best do on the next occasion. 'Why,' said
Corkscrew, 'when mistress asked for me, how came you to say I was gone
out?' 'Because, you know, I saw you go out.' 'And when she asked you
where I was gone, how came you to say that you did not know?' 'Because,
indeed, I did not.' 'You are a stupid blockhead! could you not say I was
gone to the washerwoman's?' 'But _were_ you?' said Franklin. 'Was I?'
cried Corkscrew, and looked as if he would have struck him again: 'how
dare you give me the lie, Mr. Hypocrite? You would be ready enough, I'll
be bound, to make excuses for yourself. Why are not mistress's clogs
cleaned? Go along and blacken 'em, this minute, and send Felix to me.'

From this time forward Felix alone was privileged to enter the butler's
pantry. Felix became the favourite of Corkscrew; and, though Franklin by
no means sought to pry into the mysteries of their private conferences,
nor ever entered without knocking at the door, yet it was his fate once
to be sent of a message at an unlucky time; and, as the door was
half-open, he could not avoid seeing Felix drinking a bumper of red
liquor, which he could not help suspecting to be wine; and, as the
decanter, which usually went upstairs after dinner, was at this time in
the butler's grasp, without any stopper in it, he was involuntarily
forced to suspect they were drinking his mistress's wine.

Nor were the bumpers of port the only unlawful rewards which Felix
received: his aunt, the cook, had occasion for his assistance, and she
had many delicious _douceurs_ in her gift. Many a handful of currants,
many a half-custard, many a triangular remnant of pie, besides the
choice of his own meal at breakfast, dinner, and supper, fell to the
share of the favourite Felix; whilst Franklin was neglected, though he
took the utmost pains to please the cook in all honourable service, and,
when she was hot, angry, or hurried, he was always at hand to help her;
and in the hour of adversity, when the clock struck five, and no dinner
was dished, and no kitchen-maid with twenty pair of hands was to be had,
Franklin would answer to her call, with flowers to garnish her dishes,
and presence of mind to know, in the midst of the commotion, where
everything that was wanting was to be found; so that, quick as
lightning, all difficulties vanished before him. Yet when the danger was
over, and the hour of adversity had passed, the ungrateful cook would
forget her benefactor, and, when it came to his supper time, would throw
him, with a carelessness that touched him sensibly, anything which the
other servants were too nice to eat. All this Franklin bore with
fortitude; nor did he envy Felix the dainties which he ate, sometimes
close beside him: 'For,' said he to himself, 'I have a clear conscience,
and that is more than Felix can have. I know how he wins cook's favour
too well, and I fancy I know how I have offended her; for since the day
I saw the basket, she has done nothing but huff me.'

The history of the basket was this. Mrs. Pomfret, the housekeeper, had
several times, directly and indirectly, given the world below to
understand that she and her mistress thought there was a prodigious
quantity of meat eaten of late. Now, when she spoke, it was usually at
dinner time; she always looked, or Franklin imagined that she looked,
suspiciously at him. Other people looked more maliciously; but, as he
felt himself perfectly innocent, he went on eating his dinner in
silence.

But at length it was time to explain. One Sunday there appeared a
handsome sirloin of beef, which before noon on Monday had shrunk almost
to the bare bone, and presented such a deplorable spectacle to the
opening eyes of Mrs. Pomfret that her long-smothered indignation burst
forth, and she boldly declared she was now certain there had been foul
play, and she would have the beef found, or she would know why. She
spoke, but no beef appeared, till Franklin, with a look of sudden
recollection, cried, 'Did not I see something like a piece of beef in a
basket in the dairy?--I think----'

The cook, as if somebody had smote her a deadly blow, grew pale; but,
suddenly recovering the use of her speech, turned upon Franklin, and,
with a voice of thunder, gave him the lie direct; and forthwith, taking
Mrs. Pomfret by the ruffle, led the way to the dairy, declaring she
could defy the world--'that so she could, and would.' 'There, ma'am,'
said she kicking an empty basket which lay on the floor--'there's malice
for you. Ask him why he don't show you the beef in the basket.' 'I
thought I saw----' poor Franklin began. 'You thought you saw!' cried the
cook, coming close up to him with kimboed arms, and looking like a
dragon; 'and pray, sir, what business has such a one as you to think you
see? And pray, ma'am, will you be pleased to speak--perhaps, ma'am,
he'll condescend to obey you--ma'am, will you be pleased to forbid him
my dairy? for here he comes prying and spying about; and how, ma'am, am
I to answer for my butter and cream, or anything at all? I'm sure it's
what I can't pretend to, unless you do me the justice to forbid him my
places.'

Mrs. Pomfret, whose eyes were blinded by her prejudices against the
folks of the _Villaintropic Society_, and also by her secret jealousy of
a boy whom she deemed to be a growing favourite of her mistress's, took
part with the cook, and ended, as she began, with a firm persuasion
that Franklin was the guilty person. 'Let him alone, let him alone!'
said she, 'he has as many turns and windings as a hare; but we shall
catch him yet, I'll be bound, in some of his doublings. I knew the
nature of him well enough, from the first time I ever set my eyes upon
him; but mistress shall have her own way, and see the end of it.'

These words, and the bitter sense of injustice, drew tears at length
fast down the proud cheek of Franklin, which might possibly have touched
Mrs. Pomfret, if Felix, with a sneer, had not called them _crocodile
tears_. 'Felix, too!' thought he; 'this is too much.' In fact, Felix had
till now professed himself his firm ally, and had on his part received
from Franklin unequivocal proofs of friendship; for it must be told that
every other morning, when it was Felix's turn to get breakfast, Felix
never was up in decent time, and must inevitably have come to public
disgrace if Franklin had not got all the breakfast things ready for him,
the bread and butter spread, and the toast toasted; and had not,
moreover, regularly, when the clock struck eight, and Mrs. Pomfret's
foot was heard overhead, run to call the sleeping Felix, and helped him
constantly through the hurry of getting dressed one instant before the
housekeeper came downstairs. All this could not but be present to his
memory; but, scorning to reproach him, Franklin wiped away his crocodile
tears, and preserved a magnanimous silence.

The hour of retribution was; however, not so far off as Felix imagined.
Cunning people may go on cleverly in their devices for some time; but
although they may escape once, twice, perhaps ninety-nine times, what
does that signify?--for the hundredth time they come to shame, and lose
all their character. Grown bold by frequent success, Felix became more
careless in his operations; and it happened that one day he met his
mistress full in the passage, as he was going on one of the cook's
secret errands. 'Where are you going, Felix?' said his mistress. 'To the
washerwoman's, ma'am,' answered he, with his usual effrontery. 'Very
well,' said she. 'Call at the bookseller's in--stay, I must write down
the direction. Pomfret,' said she, opening the housekeeper's room door.
'have you a bit of paper?' Pomfret came with the writing-paper, and
looked very angry to see that Felix was going out without her
knowledge; so, while Mrs. Churchill was writing the direction, she stood
talking to him about it; whilst he, in the greatest terror imaginable,
looked up in her face as she spoke; but was all the time intent on
parrying on the other side the attacks of a little French dog of his
mistress's, which, unluckily for him, had followed her into the passage.
Manchon was extremely fond of Felix, who, by way of pleasing his
mistress, had paid most assiduous court to her dog; yet now his caresses
were rather troublesome. Manchon leaped up, and was not to be rebuffed.
'Poor fellow--poor fellow--down! down! poor fellow!' cried Felix, and
put him away. But Manchon leaped up again, and began smelling near the
fatal pocket in a most alarming manner. 'You will see by this direction
where you are to go,' said his mistress. 'Manchon, come here--and you
will be so good as to bring me--down! down! Manchon, be quiet!' But
Manchon knew better--he had now got his head into Felix's pocket, and
would not be quiet till he had drawn from thence, rustling out of its
brown paper, half a cold turkey, which had been missing since morning.
'My cold turkey, as I'm alive!' exclaimed the housekeeper, darting upon
it with horror and amazement. 'What is all this?' said Mrs. Churchill,
in a composed voice. 'I don't know, ma'am,' answered Felix, so confused
that he knew not what to say; 'but----' 'But what?' cried Mrs. Pomfret,
indignation flashing from her eyes. 'But what?' repeated his mistress,
waiting for his reply with a calm air of attention, which still more
disconcerted Felix; for, though with an angry person he might have some
chance of escape, he knew that he could not invent any excuse in such
circumstances, which could stand the examination of a person in her
sober senses. He was struck dumb. 'Speak,' said Mrs. Churchill, in a
still lower tone; 'I am ready to hear all you have to say. In my house
everybody shall have justice; speak--but what?' '_But_,' stammered
Felix; and, after in vain attempting to equivocate, confessed that he
was going to take the turkey to his cousin's; but he threw all the blame
upon his aunt, the cook, who, he said, had ordered him upon this
expedition.

The cook was now summoned; but she totally denied all knowledge of the
affair, with the same violence with which she had lately confounded
Franklin about the beef in the basket; not entirely, however, with the
same success; for Felix, perceiving by his mistress's eye that she was
on the point of desiring him to leave the house immediately; and not
being very willing to leave a place in which he had lived so well with
the butler, did not hesitate to confront his aunt with assurance equal
to her own. He knew how to bring his charge home to her. He produced a
note in her own handwriting, the purport of which was to request her
cousin's acceptance of 'some _delicate cold turkey_,' and to beg she
would send her, by the return of the bearer, a little of her
cherry-brandy.

Mrs. Churchill coolly wrote upon the back of the note her cook's
discharge, and informed Felix she had no further occasion for his
services, but, upon his pleading with many tears, which Franklin did not
call _crocodile tears_, that he was so young, that he was under the
dominion of his aunt, he touched Mrs. Pomfret's compassion, and she
obtained for him permission to stay till the end of the month, to give
him yet a chance of redeeming his character.

Mrs. Pomfret, now seeing how far she had been imposed upon, resolved,
for the future, to be more upon her guard with Felix, and felt that she
had treated Franklin with great injustice, when she accused him of
malpractices about the sirloin of beef.

Good people, when they are made sensible that they have treated any one
with injustice, are impatient to have an opportunity to rectify their
mistake; and Mrs. Pomfret was now prepared to see everything which
Franklin did in the most favourable point of view; especially as the
next day she discovered that it was he who every morning boiled the
water for her tea, and buttered her toast--services for which she had
always thought she was indebted to Felix. Besides, she had rated Felix's
abilities very highly, because he made up her weekly accounts for her;
but unluckily once, when Franklin was out of the way, and she brought a
bill in a hurry to her favourite to cast up, she discovered that he did
not know how to cast up pounds, shillings, and pence, and he was obliged
to confess that she must wait till Franklin came home.

But, passing over a number of small incidents which gradually unfolded
the character of the two boys, we must proceed to a more serious affair.

Corkscrew frequently, after he had finished taking away supper, and
after the housekeeper was gone to bed, sallied forth to a neighbouring
alehouse to drink with his friends. The alehouse was kept by that cousin
of Felix's who was so fond of '_delicate_ cold turkey,' and who had such
choice cherry-brandy. Corkscrew kept the key of the house door, so that
he could return home whenever he thought proper; and, if he should by
accident be called for by his mistress after supper, Felix knew where to
find him, and did not scruple to make any of those excuses which poor
Franklin had too much integrity to use.

All these precautions taken, the butler was at liberty to indulge his
favourite passion, which so increased with indulgence that his wages
were by no means sufficient to support him in this way of life. Every
day he felt less resolution to break through his bad habits; for every
day drinking became more necessary to him. His health was ruined. With a
red, pimpled, bloated face, emaciated legs, and a swelled, diseased
body, he appeared the victim of intoxication. In the morning, when he
got up, his hands trembled, his spirits flagged, he could do nothing
until he had taken a dram--an operation which he was obliged to repeat
several times in the course of the day, as all those wretched people
_must_ who once acquire this habit.

He had run up a long bill at the alehouse which he frequented; and the
landlord, who grew urgent for his money, refused to give further credit.

One night, when Corkscrew had drunk enough only to make him fretful, he
leaned with his elbow surlily upon the table, began to quarrel with the
landlord, and swore that he had not of late treated him like a
gentleman. To which the landlord coolly replied, 'That as long as he had
paid like a gentleman, he had been treated like one, and _that_ was as
much as any one could expect, or, at any rate, as much as any one would
meet with in this world.' For the truth of this assertion he appealed,
laughing, to a party of men who were drinking in the room. The men,
however, took part with Corkscrew, and, drawing him over to their table,
made him sit down with them. They were in high good-humour, and the
butler soon grew so intimate with them that, in the openness of his
heart, he soon communicated to them not only all his own affairs, but
all that he knew, and more than all that he knew, of his mistress's.

His new friends were by no means uninterested by his conversation, and
encouraged him as much as possible to talk; for they had secret views,
which the butler was by no means sufficiently sober to discover.

Mrs. Churchill had some fine old family plate; and these men belonged to
a gang of housebreakers. Before they parted with Corkscrew, they engaged
him to meet them again the next night; their intimacy was still more
closely cemented. One of the men actually offered to lend Corkscrew
three guineas towards the payment of his debt, and hinted that, if he
thought proper, he could easily get the whole cleared off. Upon this
hint, Corkscrew became all attention, till, after some hesitation on
their part, and repeated promises of secrecy on his, they at length
disclosed their plans to him. They gave him to understand that, if he
would assist in letting them into his mistress's house, they would let
him have an ample share in the booty. The butler, who had the reputation
of being an honest man, and indeed whose integrity had hitherto been
proof against everything but his mistress's port, turned pale and
trembled at this proposal, drank two or three bumpers to drown thought,
and promised to give an answer the next day.

He went home more than half-intoxicated. His mind was so full of what
had passed, that he could not help bragging to Felix, whom he found
awake at his return, that he could have his bill paid off at the
alehouse whenever he pleased; dropping, besides, some hints which were
not lost upon Felix.

In the morning Felix reminded him of the things which he had said; and
Corkscrew, alarmed, endeavoured to evade his questions by saying that he
was not in his senses when he talked in that manner. Nothing, however,
that he could urge made any impression upon Felix, whose recollection on
the subject was perfectly distinct, and who had too much cunning
himself, and too little confidence in his companion, to be the dupe of
his dissimulation. The butler knew not what to do when he saw that Felix
was absolutely determined either to betray their scheme or to become a
sharer in the booty.

The next night came, and he was now to make a final decision; either to
determine on breaking off entirely with his new acquaintances, or taking
Felix with him to join in the plot.

His debt, his love of drinking, the impossibility of indulging it
without a fresh supply of money, all came into his mind at once and
conquered his remaining scruples. It is said by those whose fatal
experience gives them a right to be believed, that a drunkard will
sacrifice anything, everything, sooner than the pleasure of habitual
intoxication.

How much easier is it never to begin a bad custom than to break through
it when once formed!

The hour of rendezvous came, and Corkscrew went to the alehouse, where
he found the housebreakers waiting for him, and a glass of brandy ready
poured out. He sighed--drank--hesitated--drank again--heard the landlord
talk of his bill, saw the money produced which would pay it in a
moment--drank again--cursed himself, and, giving his hand to the villain
who was whispering in his ear, swore that he could not help it, and must
do as they would have him. They required of him to give up the key of
the house door, that they might get another made by it. He had left it
with Felix, and was now obliged to explain the new difficulty which had
arisen. Felix knew enough to ruin them, and must therefore be won over.
This was no very difficult task; he had a strong desire to have some
worked cravats, and the butler knew enough of him to believe that this
would be a sufficient bribe. The cravats were bought and shown to Felix.
He thought them the only things wanting to make him a complete fine
gentleman; and to go without them, especially when he had once seen
himself in the glass with one tied on in a splendid bow, appeared
impossible. Even this paltry temptation, working upon his vanity, at
length prevailed with a boy whose integrity had long been corrupted by
the habits of petty pilfering and daily falsehood. It was agreed that,
the first time his mistress sent him out on a message, he should carry
the key of the house door to his cousin's, and deliver it into the hands
of one of the gang, who were there in waiting for it. Such was the
scheme.

Felix, the night after all this had been planned, went to bed and fell
fast asleep; but the butler, who had not yet stifled the voice of
conscience, felt, in the silence of the night, so insupportably
miserable that, instead of going to rest, he stole softly into the
pantry for a bottle of his mistress's wine, and there drinking glass
after glass, he stayed till he became so far intoxicated that, though he
contrived to find his way back to bed, he could by no means undress
himself. Without any power of recollection, he flung himself upon the
bed, leaving his candle half hanging out of the candlestick beside him.
Franklin slept in the next room to him, and presently awaking, thought
he perceived a strong smell of something burning. He jumped up, and
seeing a light under the butler's door, gently opened it, and, to his
astonishment, beheld one of the bed curtains in flames. He immediately
ran to the butler, and pulled him with all his force to rouse him from
his lethargy. He came to his senses at length, but was so terrified and
so helpless that, if it had not been for Franklin, the whole house would
soon inevitably have been on fire. Felix, trembling and cowardly, knew
not what to do; and it was curious to see him obeying Franklin, whose
turn it now was to command. Franklin ran upstairs to awaken Mrs.
Pomfret, whose terror of fire was so great that she came from her room
almost out of her senses, whilst he, with the greatest presence of mind,
recollected where he had seen two large tubs of water, which the maids
had prepared the night before for their washing, and seizing the wet
linen which had been left to soak, he threw them upon the flames. He
exerted himself with so much good sense, that the fire was presently
extinguished.

Everything was now once more safe and quiet. Mrs. Pomfret, recovering
from her fright, postponed all inquiries till the morning, and rejoiced
that her mistress had not been awakened, whilst Corkscrew flattered
himself that he should be able to conceal the true cause of the
accident.

'Don't you tell Mrs. Pomfret where you found the candle when you came
into the room,' said he to Franklin. 'If she asks me, you know I must
tell the truth,' replied he. 'Must!' repeated Felix, sneeringly; 'what,
you _must_ be a tell-tale!' 'No, I never told any tales of anybody, and
I should be very sorry to get any one into a scrape; but for all that I
shall not tell a lie, either for myself or anybody else, let you call me
what names you will.' 'But if I were to give you something that you
would like,' said Corkscrew--'something that I know you would like?'
repeated Felix. 'Nothing you can give me will do,' answered Franklin,
steadily; 'so it is useless to say any more about it--I hope I shall not
be questioned.' In this hope he was mistaken; for the first thing Mrs.
Pomfret did in the morning was to come into the room to examine and
deplore the burnt curtains, whilst Corkscrew stood by, endeavouring to
exculpate himself by all the excuses he could invent.

Mrs. Pomfret, however, though sometimes blinded by her prejudices, was
no fool; and it was absolutely impossible to make her believe that a
candle which had been left on the hearth, where Corkscrew protested he
had left it, could have set curtains on fire which were at least six
feet distant. Turning short round to Franklin, she desired that he would
show her where he found the candle when he came into the room. He took
up the candlestick; but the moment the housekeeper cast her eye upon it,
she snatched it from his hands. 'How did this candlestick come here?
This was not the candlestick you found here last night,' cried she.
'Yes, indeed it was,' answered Franklin. 'That is impossible,' retorted
she, vehemently, 'for I left this candlestick with my own hands, last
night, in the hall, the last thing I did, after you,' said she, turning
to the butler, 'was gone to bed--I'm sure of it. Nay, don't you
recollect my taking this _japanned candlestick_ out of your hand, and
making you to go up to bed with the brass one, and I bolted the door at
the stair-head after you?'

This was all very true; but Corkscrew had afterwards gone down from his
room by a back staircase, unbolted that door, and, upon his return from
the alehouse, had taken the japanned candlestick by mistake upstairs,
and had left the brass one in its stead upon the hall table.

'Oh, ma'am,' said Felix, 'indeed you forget; for Mr. Corkscrew came into
my room to desire me to call him betimes in the morning, and I happened
to take particular notice, and he had the japanned candlestick in his
hand, and that was just as I heard you bolting the door. Indeed, ma'am,
you forget.' 'Indeed, sir,' retorted Mrs. Pomfret, rising in anger, 'I
do not forget; I'm not come to be _superannuated_ yet, I hope. How do
you dare to tell me I forget?' 'Oh, ma'am,' cried Felix, 'I beg your
pardon, I did not--I did not mean to say you forgot, but only I thought,
perhaps, you might not particularly remember; for if you please to
recollect----' 'I won't please to recollect just whatever you please,
sir! Hold your tongue; why should you poke yourself into this scrape;
what have you to do with it, I should be glad to know?' 'Nothing in the
world, oh nothing in the world; I'm sure I beg your pardon, ma'am,'
answered Felix, in a soft tone; and, sneaking off, left his friend
Corkscrew to fight his own battle, secretly resolving to desert in good
time, if he saw any danger of the alehouse transactions coming to light.

Corkscrew could make but very blundering excuses for himself; and,
conscious of guilt, he turned pale, and appeared so much more terrified
than butlers usually appear when detected in a lie, that Mrs. Pomfret
resolved, as she said, to sift the matter to the bottom. Impatiently did
she wait till the clock struck nine, and her mistress's bell rang, the
signal for her attendance at her levee. 'How do you find yourself this
morning, ma'am?' said she, undrawing the curtains. 'Very sleepy,
indeed,' answered her mistress in a drowsy voice; 'I think I must sleep
half an hour longer--shut the curtains.' 'As you please, ma'am; but I
suppose I had better open a little of the window shutter, for it's past
nine.' 'But just struck.' 'Oh dear, ma'am, it struck before I came
upstairs, and you know we are twenty minutes slow--Lord bless us!'
exclaimed Mrs. Pomfret, as she let fall the bar of the window, which
roused her mistress. 'I'm sure I beg your pardon a thousand times--it's
only the bar--because I had this great key in my hand.' 'Put down the
key, then, or you'll knock something else down; and you may open the
shutters now, for I'm quite awake.' 'Dear me! I'm so sorry to think of
disturbing you,' cried Mrs. Pomfret, at the same time throwing the
shutters wide open; 'but, to be sure, ma'am, I have something to tell
you which won't let you sleep again in a hurry. I brought up this here
key of the house door for reasons of my own, which I'm sure you'll
approve of; but I'm not come to that part of my story yet. I hope you
were not disturbed by the noise in the house last night, ma'am.' 'I
heard no noise.' 'I am surprised at that, though,' continued Mrs.
Pomfret, and proceeded to give a most ample account of the fire, of her
fears and her suspicions. 'To be sure, ma'am, what I say _is_, that
without the spirit of prophecy one can nowadays account for what has
passed. I'm quite clear in my own judgment that Mr. Corkscrew must have
been out last night after I went to bed; for, besides the japanned
candlestick, which of itself I'm sure is strong enough to hang a man,
there's another circumstance, ma'am, that certifies it to me--though I
have not mentioned it, ma'am, to no one yet,' lowering her
voice--'Franklin, when I questioned him, told me that he left the
lantern in the outside porch in the court last night, and this morning
it was on the kitchen table. Now, ma'am, that lantern could not come
without hands; and I could not forget about that, you know; for Franklin
says he's sure he left the lantern out.' 'And do you believe _him_?'
inquired her mistress. 'To be sure, ma'am--how can I help believing him?
I never found him out in the least symptom of a lie since ever he came
into the house; so one can't help believing in him, like him or not.'
'Without meaning to tell a falsehood, however,' said the lady, 'he might
make a mistake.' 'No, ma'am, he never makes mistakes; it is not his way
to go gossiping and tattling; he never tells anything till he's asked,
and then it's fit he should. About the sirloin of beef, and all, he was
right in the end, I found, to do him justice; and I'm sure he's right
now about the lantern--he's _always right_.'

Mrs. Churchill could not help smiling.

'If you had seen him, ma'am, last night in the midst of the fire--I'm
sure we may thank him that we were not burned alive in our beds--and I
shall never forget his coming to call me. Poor fellow! he that I was
always scolding and scolding, enough to make him hate me. But he's too
good to hate anybody; and I'll be bound I'll make it up to him now.'
'Take care that you don't go from one extreme into another, Pomfret;
don't spoil the boy.' 'No, ma'am, there's no danger of that; but I'm
sure if you had seen him last night yourself, you would think he
deserved to be rewarded.' 'And so he shall be rewarded,' said Mrs.
Churchill; 'but I will try him more fully yet.' 'There's no occasion, I
think, for trying him any more, ma'am,' said Mrs. Pomfret, who was as
violent in her likings as in her dislikes. 'Pray desire,' continued her
mistress, 'that he will bring up breakfast this morning; and leave the
key of the house door, Pomfret, with me.'

When Franklin brought the urn into the breakfast-parlour, his mistress
was standing by the fire with the key in her hand. She spoke to him of
his last night's exertions in terms of much approbation. 'How long have
you lived with me?' said she, pausing; 'three weeks, I think?' 'Three
weeks and four days, madam.' 'That is but a short time; yet you have
conducted yourself so as to make me think I may depend upon you. You
know this key?' 'I believe, madam, it is the key of the house door.' 'It
is; I shall trust it in your care. It is a great trust for so young a
person as you are.' Franklin stood silent, with a firm but modest
look. 'If you take the charge of this key,' continued his mistress,
'remember it is upon condition that you never give it out of your own
hands. In the daytime it must not be left in the door. You must not tell
anybody where you keep it at night; and the house door must not be
unlocked after eleven o'clock at night, unless by my orders. Will you
take charge of the key upon these conditions?' 'I will, madam, do
anything you order me,' said Franklin, and received the key from her
hands.

[Illustration: _'You know this key? I shall trust it in your care.'_]

When Mrs. Churchill's orders were made known, they caused many secret
marvellings and murmurings. Corkscrew and Felix were disconcerted, and
dared not openly avow their discontent; and they treated Franklin with
the greatest seeming kindness and cordiality.

Everything went on smoothly for three days. The butler never attempted
his usual midnight visits to the alehouse, but went to bed in proper
time, and paid particular court to Mrs. Pomfret, in order to dispel her
suspicions. She had never had any idea of the real fact, that he and
Felix were joined in a plot with housebreakers to rob the house, but
thought he only went out at irregular hours to indulge himself in his
passion for drinking.

Thus stood affairs the night before Mrs. Churchill's birthday.
Corkscrew, by the housekeeper's means, ventured to present a petition
that he might go to the play the next day, and his request was granted.
Franklin came into the kitchen just when all the servants had gathered
round the butler, who, with great importance, was reading aloud the
play-bill. Everybody present soon began to speak at once, and with great
enthusiasm talked of the playhouse, the actors and actresses; and then
Felix, in the first pause, turned to Franklin and said, 'Lord, you know
nothing of all this! _you_ never went to a play, did you?' 'Never,' said
Franklin, and felt, he did not know why, a little ashamed; and he longed
extremely to go to one. 'How should you like to go to the play with me
to-morrow?' said Corkscrew. 'Oh,' exclaimed Franklin, 'I should like it
exceedingly.' 'And do you think mistress would let you if I asked?' 'I
think--maybe she would, if Mrs. Pomfret asked her.' 'But then you have
no money, have you?' 'No,' said Franklin, sighing. 'But stay,' said
Corkscrew, 'what I'm thinking of is, that if mistress will let you go,
I'll treat you myself, rather than that you should be disappointed.'

Delight, surprise, and gratitude appeared in Franklin's face at these
words. Corkscrew rejoiced to see that now, at least, he had found a most
powerful temptation. 'Well, then, I'll go just now and ask her. In the
meantime, lend me the key of the house door for a minute or two.' 'The
key!' answered Franklin, starting; 'I'm sorry, but I can't do that, for
I've promised my mistress never to let it out of my own hands.' 'But how
will she know anything of the matter? Run, run, and get it for us.' 'No,
I _cannot_,' replied Franklin, resisting the push which the butler gave
his shoulder. 'You can't?' cried Corkscrew, changing his tone; 'then,
sir, I can't take you to the play.' 'Very well, sir,' said Franklin,
sorrowfully, but with steadiness. 'Very well, sir,' said Felix,
mimicking him, 'you need not look so important, nor fancy yourself such
a great man, because you're master of a key.'

'Say no more to him,' interrupted Corkscrew; 'let him alone to take his
own way. Felix, you would have no objection, I suppose, to going to the
play with me?' 'Oh, I should like it of all things, if I did not come
between anybody else. But come, come!' added the hypocrite, assuming a
tone of friendly persuasion, 'you won't be such a blockhead, Franklin,
as to lose going to the play for nothing; it's only just obstinacy. What
harm can it do to lend Mr. Corkscrew the key for five minutes? he'll
give it you back again safe and sound.' 'I don't doubt _that_,' answered
Franklin. 'Then it must be all because you don't wish to oblige Mr.
Corkscrew.' 'No, but I can't oblige him in this; for, as I told you
before, my mistress trusted me. I promised never to let the key out of
my own hands, and you would not have me break my trust. Mr. Spencer told
me _that_ was worse than _robbing_.'

At the word _robbing_ both Corkscrew and Felix involuntarily cast down
their eyes, and turned the conversation immediately, saying that he did
very right, that they did not really want the key, and had only asked
for it just to try if he would keep his word. 'Shake hands,' said
Corkscrew, 'I am glad to find you out to be an honest fellow!' 'I am
sorry you did not think me an honest fellow before, Mr. Corkscrew,' said
Franklin giving his hand rather proudly, and he walked away.

'We shall make no hand of this prig,' said Corkscrew. 'But we'll have
the key from him in spite of all his obstinacy,' said Felix; 'and let
him make his story good as he can afterwards. He shall repent of these
airs. To-night I'll watch him, and find out where he hides the key; and
when he's asleep we'll get it without thanking him.'

This plan Felix put into execution. They discovered the place where
Franklin kept the key at night, stole it whilst he slept, took off the
impression in wax, and carefully replaced it in Franklin's trunk,
exactly where they found it.

Probably our young readers cannot guess what use they could mean to make
of this impression of the key in wax. Knowing how to do mischief is very
different from wishing to do it, and the most innocent persons are
generally the least ignorant. By means of the impression which they had
thus obtained, Corkscrew and Felix proposed to get a false key made by
Picklock, a smith who belonged to their gang of housebreakers; and with
this false key knew they could open the door whenever they pleased.

Little suspecting what had happened, Franklin, the next morning, went to
unlock the house door as usual; but finding the key entangled in the
lock, he took it out to examine it, and perceived a lump of wax sticking
in one of the wards. Struck with this circumstance, it brought to his
mind all that had passed the preceding evening, and, being sure that he
had no wax near the key, he began to suspect what had happened; and he
could not help recollecting what he had once heard Felix say, that 'give
him but a halfpenny worth of wax, and he could open the strongest lock
that ever was made by hands.'

All these things considered, Franklin resolved to take the key just as
it was, with the wax sticking to it, to his mistress.

'I was not mistaken when I thought I might trust _you_ with this key,'
said Mrs. Churchill, after she had heard his story. 'My brother will be
here to-day, and I shall consult him. In the meantime, say nothing of
what has passed.'

Evening came, and after tea Mr. Spencer sent for Franklin upstairs. 'So,
Mr. Franklin,' said he, 'I'm glad to find you are in such high _trust_
in this family.' Franklin bowed. 'But you have lost, I understand, the
pleasure of going to the play to-night.' 'I don't think anything--much,
I mean, of that, sir,' answered Franklin, smiling. 'Are Corkscrew and
Felix _gone_ to the play?' 'Yes; half an hour ago, sir.' 'Then I shall
look into his room and examine the pantry and the plate that is under
his care.'

When Mr. Spencer came to examine the pantry, he found the large salvers
and cups in a basket behind the door, and the other things placed so as
to be easily carried off. Nothing at first appeared in Corkscrew's
bedchamber to strengthen their suspicions, till, just as they were going
to leave the room, Mrs. Pomfret exclaimed, 'Why, if there is not Mr.
Corkscrew's dress coat hanging up there! and if here isn't Felix's fine
cravat that he wanted in such a hurry to go to the play! Why, sir, they
can't be gone to the play. Look at the cravat. Ah! upon my word I am
afraid they are not at the play. No, sir, you may be sure that they are
plotting with their barbarous gang at the alehouse; and they'll
certainly break into the house to-night. We shall all be murdered in our
beds, as sure as I'm a living woman, sir; but if you'll only take my
advice----' 'Pray, good Mrs. Pomfret,' Mr. Spencer observed, 'don't be
alarmed.' 'Nay, sir, but I won't pretend to sleep in the house, if
Franklin isn't to have a blunderbuss, and I a _baggonet_.' 'You shall
have both, indeed, Mrs. Pomfret; but don't make such a noise, for
everybody will hear you.'

The love of mystery was the only thing which could have conquered Mrs.
Pomfret's love of talking. She was silent; and contented herself the
rest of the evening with making signs, looking _ominous_, and stalking
about the house like one possessed with a secret.

Escaped from Mrs. Pomfret's fears and advice, Mr. Spencer went to a shop
within a few doors of the alehouse which he heard Corkscrew frequented,
and sent to beg to speak to the landlord. He came; and, when Mr. Spencer
questioned him, confessed that Corkscrew and Felix were actually
drinking in his house, with two men of suspicious appearance; that, as
he passed through the passage, he heard them disputing about a key; and
that one of them said, 'Since we've got the key, we'll go about it
to-night.' This was sufficient information. Mr. Spencer, lest the
landlord should give them information of what was going forwards, took
him along with him to Bow Street.

A constable and proper assistance was sent to Mrs. Churchill's. They
stationed themselves in a back parlour which opened on a passage leading
to the butler's pantry, where the plate was kept. A little after
midnight they heard the hall door open. Corkscrew and his accomplices
went directly to the pantry; and there Mr. Spencer and the constable
immediately secured them, as they were carrying off their booty.

Mrs. Churchill and Pomfret had spent the night at the house of an
acquaintance in the same street. 'Well, ma'am,' said Mrs. Pomfret, who
had heard all the news in the morning, 'the villains are all safe, thank
God. I was afraid to go to the window this morning; but it was my luck
to see them all go by to gaol. They looked so shocking! I am sure I
never shall forget Felix's look to my dying day! But poor Franklin!
ma'am; that boy has the best heart in the world. I could not get him to
give a second look at them as they passed. Poor fellow! I thought he
would have dropped; and he was so modest, ma'am, when Mr. Spencer spoke
to him, and told him he had done his duty.' 'And did my brother tell him
what reward I intend for him?' 'No, ma'am, and I'm sure Franklin thinks
no more of _reward_ than I do.' 'I intend,' continued Mrs. Churchill,
'to sell some of my old useless plate, and to lay it out in an annuity
for Franklin's life.' 'La, ma'am!' exclaimed Mrs. Pomfret, with
unfeigned joy, 'I'm sure you are very good; and I'm very glad of it.'
'And,' continued Mrs. Churchill, 'here are some tickets for the play,
which I shall beg you, Pomfret, to give him, and to take him with you.'

'I am very much obliged to you, indeed, ma'am; and I'll go with him with
all my heart, and choose such plays as won't do no prejudice to his
morality. And, ma'am,' continued Mrs. Pomfret, 'the night after the fire
I left him my great Bible and my watch, in my will; for I never was more
mistaken at the first in any boy in my born days; but he has won me by
his own _deserts_, and I shall from this time forth love all the
_Villaintropic_ folks for his sake.'



SIMPLE SUSAN


CHAPTER I

  Waked, as her custom was, before the day,
  To do the observance due to sprightly May.
                                      DRYDEN.

In a retired hamlet on the borders of Wales, between Oswestry and
Shrewsbury, it is still the custom to celebrate the 1st of May.

The children of the village, who look forward to this rural festival
with joyful eagerness, usually meet on the last day of April to make up
their nosegays for the morning and to choose their queen. Their
customary place of meeting is at a hawthorn which stands in a little
green nook, open on one side to a shady lane, and separated on the other
side by a thick sweet-brier and hawthorn hedge from the garden of an
attorney.

This attorney began the world with nothing, but he contrived to scrape
together a good deal of money, everybody knew how. He built a new house
at the entrance of the village, and had a large well-fenced garden, yet,
notwithstanding his fences, he never felt himself secure. Such were his
litigious habits and his suspicious temper that he was constantly at
variance with his simple and peaceable neighbours. Some pig, or dog, or
goat, or goose was for ever trespassing. His complaints and his
extortions wearied and alarmed the whole hamlet. The paths in his fields
were at length unfrequented, his stiles were blocked up with stones, or
stuffed with brambles and briers, so that not a gosling could creep
under, or a giant get over them. Indeed, so careful were even the
village children of giving offence to this irritable man of the law,
that they would not venture to fly a kite near his fields lest it should
entangle in his trees or fall upon his meadow.

Mr. Case, for this was the name of our attorney, had a son and a
daughter, to whose education he had not time to attend, as his whole
soul was intent upon accumulating for them a fortune. For several years
he suffered his children to run wild in the village; but suddenly, on
his being appointed to a considerable agency, he began to think of
making his children a little genteel. He sent his son to learn Latin; he
hired a maid to wait upon his daughter Barbara, and he strictly forbade
her _thenceforward_ to keep company with any of the poor children who
had hitherto been her playfellows. They were not sorry for this
prohibition, because she had been their tyrant rather than their
companion. She was vexed to observe that her absence was not regretted,
and she was mortified to perceive that she could not humble them by any
display of airs and finery.

There was one poor girl, amongst her former associates, to whom she had
a peculiar dislike,--Susan Price, a sweet-tempered, modest, sprightly,
industrious lass, who was the pride and delight of the village. Her
father rented a small farm, and, unfortunately for him, he lived near
Attorney Case.

Barbara used often to sit at her window, watching Susan at work.
Sometimes she saw her in the neat garden raking the beds or weeding the
borders; sometimes she was kneeling at her beehive with fresh flowers
for her bees; sometimes she was in the poultry yard, scattering corn
from her sieve amongst the eager chickens; and in the evening she was
often seated in a little honeysuckle arbour, with a clean, light,
three-legged deal table before her, upon which she put her plain work.

Susan had been taught to work neatly by her good mother, who was very
fond of her, and to whom she was most gratefully attached.

Mrs. Price was an intelligent, active, domestic woman; but her health
was not robust. She earned money, however, by taking in plain work; and
she was famous for baking excellent bread and breakfast cakes. She was
respected in the village, for her conduct as a wife and as a mother, and
all were eager to show her attention. At her door the first branch of
hawthorn was always placed on May morning, and her Susan was usually
Queen of the May.

It was now time to choose the Queen. The setting sun shone full upon the
pink blossoms of the hawthorn, when the merry group assembled upon their
little green. Barbara was now walking in sullen state in her father's
garden. She heard the busy voices in the lane, and she concealed herself
behind the high hedge, that she might listen to their conversation.

'Where's Susan?' were the first unwelcome words which she overheard.
'Ay, where's Susan?' repeated Philip, stopping short in the middle of a
new tune that he was playing on his pipe. 'I wish Susan would come! I
want her to sing me this same tune over again; I have not it yet.'

'And I wish Susan would come, I'm sure,' cried a little girl, whose lap
was full of primroses. 'Susan will give me some thread to tie up my
nosegays, and she'll show me where the fresh violets grow; and she has
promised to give me a great bunch of her double cowslips to wear
to-morrow. I wish she would come.'

'Nothing can be done without Susan! She always shows us where the nicest
flowers are to be found in the lanes and meadows,' said they. 'She must
make up the garlands; and she shall be Queen of the May!' exclaimed a
multitude of little voices.

'But she does not come!' said Philip.

Rose, who was her particular friend, now came forward to assure the
impatient assembly 'that she would answer for it Susan would come as
soon as she possibly could, and that she probably was detained by
business at home.'

The little electors thought that all business should give way to theirs,
and Rose was despatched to summon her friend immediately.

'Tell her to make haste,' cried Philip. 'Attorney Case dined at the
Abbey to-day--luckily for us. If he comes home and finds us here, maybe
he'll drive us away; for he says this bit of ground belongs to his
garden: though that is not true, I'm sure; for Farmer Price knows, and
says, it was always open to the road. The Attorney wants to get our
playground, so he does. I wish he and his daughter Bab, or Miss
Barbara, as she must now be called, were a hundred miles off, out of
our way, I know. No later than yesterday she threw down my ninepins in
one of her ill-humours, as she was walking by with her gown all trailing
in the dust.'

'Yes,' cried Mary, the little primrose-girl, 'her gown is always
trailing. She does not hold it up nicely, like Susan; and with all her
fine clothes she never looks half so neat. Mamma says she wishes I may
be like Susan, when I grow up to be a great girl, and so do I. I should
not like to look conceited as Barbara does, if I was ever so rich.'

'Rich or poor,' said Philip, 'it does not become a girl to look
conceited, much less _bold_, as Barbara did the other day, when she was
at her father's door without a hat upon her head, staring at the strange
gentleman who stopped hereabout to let his horse drink. I know what he
thought of Bab by his looks, and of Susan too; for Susan was in her
garden, bending down a branch of the laburnum tree, looking at its
yellow flowers, which were just come out; and when the gentleman asked
her how many miles it was from Shrewsbury, she answered him so
modest!--not bashful, like as if she had never seen nobody before--but
just right: and then she pulled on her straw hat, which was fallen back
with her looking up at the laburnum, and she went her ways home; and the
gentleman says to me, after she was gone, "Pray, who is that neat modest
girl----?" But I wish Susan would come,' cried Philip, interrupting
himself.

Susan was all this time, as her friend Rose rightly guessed, busy at
home. She was detained by her father's returning later than usual. His
supper was ready for him nearly an hour before he came home; and Susan
swept up the ashes twice, and twice put on wood to make a cheerful blaze
for him; but at last, when he did come in, he took no notice of the
blaze or of Susan; and when his wife asked him how he did, he made no
answer, but stood with his back to the fire, looking very gloomy. Susan
put his supper upon the table, and set his own chair for him; but he
pushed away the chair and turned from the table, saying--'I shall eat
nothing, child! Why have you such a fire to roast me at this time of the
year?'

'You said yesterday, father, I thought, that you liked a little cheerful
wood fire in the evening; and there was a great shower of hail; your
coat is quite wet, we must dry it.'

'Take it, then, child,' said he, pulling it off--'I shall soon have no
coat to dry--and take my hat too,' said he, throwing it upon the ground.

Susan hung up his hat, put his coat over the back of a chair to dry, and
then stood anxiously looking at her mother, who was not well; she had
this day fatigued herself with baking; and now, alarmed by her husband's
moody behaviour, she sat down pale and trembling. He threw himself into
a chair, folded his arms, and fixed his eyes upon the fire.

Susan was the first who ventured to break silence. Happy the father who
has such a daughter as Susan!--her unaltered sweetness of temper, and
her playful, affectionate caresses, at last somewhat dissipated her
father's melancholy.

He could not be prevailed upon to eat any of the supper which had been
prepared for him; however, with a faint smile, he told Susan that he
thought he could eat one of her guinea-hen's eggs. She thanked him, and
with that nimble alacrity which marks the desire to please, she ran to
her neat chicken-yard; but, alas! her guinea-hen was not there--it had
strayed into the attorney's garden. She saw it through the paling, and
timidly opening the little gate, she asked Miss Barbara, who was walking
slowly by, to let her come in and take her guinea-hen. Barbara, who was
at this instant reflecting, with no agreeable feelings, upon the
conversation of the village children, to which she had recently
listened, started when she heard Susan's voice, and with a proud,
ill-humoured look and voice, refused her request.

'Shut the gate,' said Barbara, 'you have no business in _our_ garden;
and as for your hen, I shall keep it; it is always flying in here and
plaguing us, and my father says it is a trespasser; and he told me I
might catch it and keep it the next time it got in, and it is in now.'
Then Barbara called to her maid, Betty, and bid her catch the
mischievous hen.

'Oh, my guinea-hen! my pretty guinea-hen!' cried Susan, as they hunted
the frightened, screaming creature from corner to corner.

'Here we have got it!' said Betty, holding it fast by the legs.

'Now pay damages, Queen Susan, or good-bye to your pretty guinea-hen,'
said Barbara, in an insulting tone.

'Damages! what damages?' said Susan; 'tell me what I must pay.' 'A
shilling,' said Barbara. 'Oh, if sixpence would do!' said Susan; 'I have
but sixpence of my own in the world, and here it is.' 'It won't do,'
said Barbara, turning her back. 'Nay, but hear me,' cried Susan; 'let me
at least come in to look for its eggs. I only want _one_ for my father's
supper; you shall have all the rest.' 'What's your father, or his supper
to us? is he so nice that he can eat none but guinea-hen's eggs?' said
Barbara. 'If you want your hen and your eggs, pay for them, and you'll
have them.' 'I have but sixpence, and you say that won't do,' said
Susan, with a sigh, as she looked at her favourite, which was in the
maid's grasping hands, struggling and screaming in vain.

Susan retired disconsolate. At the door of her father's cottage she saw
her friend Rose, who was just come to summon her to the hawthorn bush.

'They are all at the hawthorn, and I am come for you. We can do nothing
without _you_, dear Susan,' cried Rose, running to meet her, at the
moment she saw her. 'You are chosen Queen of the May--come, make haste.
But what is the matter? why do you look so sad?'

'Ah!' said Susan, 'don't wait for me; I can't come to you, but,' added
she, pointing to the tuft of double cowslips in the garden, 'gather
those for poor little Mary; I promised them to her, and tell her the
violets are under a hedge just opposite the turnstile, on the right as
we go to church. Good-bye! never mind me; I can't come--I can't stay,
for my father wants me.'

'But don't turn away your face; I won't keep you a moment; only tell me
what's the matter,' said her friend, following her into the cottage.

'Oh, nothing, not much,' said Susan; 'only that I wanted the egg in a
great hurry for father, it would not have vexed me--to be sure I should
have clipped my guinea-hen's wings, and then she could not have flown
over the hedge; but let us think no more about it, now,' added she,
twinkling away a tear.

When Rose, however, learnt that her friend's guinea-hen was detained
prisoner by the attorney's daughter, she exclaimed, with all the honest
warmth of indignation, and instantly ran back to tell the story to her
companions.

[Illustration: _'It won't do,' said Barbara, turning her back._]

'Barbara! ay; like father, like daughter,' cried Farmer Price, starting
from the thoughtful attitude in which he had been fixed, and drawing his
chair closer to his wife.

'You see something is amiss with me, wife--I'll tell you what it is.' As
he lowered his voice, Susan, who was not sure that he wished she should
hear what he was going to say, retired from behind his chair. 'Susan,
don't go; sit you down here, my sweet Susan,' said he, making room for
her upon his chair; 'I believe I was a little cross when I came in first
to-night; but I had something to vex me, as you shall hear.

'About a fortnight ago, you know, wife,' continued he, 'there was a
balloting in our town for the militia; now at that time I wanted but ten
days of forty years of age; and the attorney told me I was a fool for
not calling myself plump forty. But the truth is the truth, and it is
what I think fittest to be spoken at all times come what will of it. So
I was drawn for a militiaman; but when I thought how loth you and I
would be to part, I was main glad to hear that I could get off by paying
eight or nine guineas for a substitute--only I had not the nine
guineas--for, you know, we had bad luck with our sheep this year, and
they died away one after another--but that was no excuse, so I went to
Attorney Case, and, with a power of difficulty, I got him to lend me the
money; for which, to be sure, I gave him something, and left my lease of
our farm with him, as he insisted upon it, by way of security for the
loan. Attorney Case is too many for me. He has found what he calls a
_flaw_ in my lease; and the lease, he tells me, is not worth a farthing,
and that he can turn us all out of our farm to-morrow if he pleases; and
sure enough he will please; for I have thwarted him this day, and he
swears he'll be revenged of me. Indeed, he has begun with me badly
enough already. I'm not come to the worst part of my story yet----'

Here Farmer Price made a dead stop; and his wife and Susan looked up in
his face, breathless with anxiety.

'It must come out,' said he, with a short sigh; 'I must leave you in
three days, wife.'

'Must you?' said his wife, in a faint, resigned voice. 'Susan, love,
open the window.' Susan ran to open the window, and then returned to
support her mother's head. When she came a little to herself she sat up,
begged that her husband would go on, and that nothing might be concealed
from her. Her husband had no wish indeed to conceal anything from a
wife he loved so well; but, firm as he was, and steady to his maxim,
that the truth was the thing the fittest to be spoken at all times, his
voice faltered, and it was with great difficulty that he brought himself
to speak the whole truth at this moment.

The fact was this. Case met Farmer Price as he was coming home,
whistling, from a new-ploughed field. The attorney had just dined at
_The Abbey_. The Abbey was the family seat of an opulent baronet in the
neighbourhood, to whom Mr. Case had been agent. The baronet died
suddenly, and his estate and title devolved to a younger brother, who
was now just arrived in the country, and to whom Mr. Case was eager to
pay his court, in hopes of obtaining his favour. Of the agency he
flattered himself that he was pretty secure; and he thought that he
might assume a tone of command towards the tenants, especially towards
one who was some guineas in debt, and in whose lease there was a flaw.

Accosting the farmer in a haughty manner, the attorney began with, 'So,
Farmer Price, a word with you, if you please. Walk on here, man, beside
my horse, and you'll hear me. You have changed your opinion, I hope,
about that bit of land--that corner at the end of my garden?' 'As how,
Mr. Case?' said the farmer. 'As how, man! Why, you said something about
it's not belonging to me, when you heard me talk of enclosing it the
other day.' 'So I did,' said Price, 'and so I do.'

Provoked and astonished at the firm tone in which these words were
pronounced, the attorney was upon the point of swearing that he would
have his revenge; but, as his passions were habitually attentive to the
_letter_ of the law, he refrained from any hasty expression, which
might, he was aware, in a court of justice, be hereafter brought against
him.

'My good friend, Mr. Price,' said he, in a soft voice, and pale with
suppressed rage. He forced a smile. 'I'm under the necessity of calling
in the money I lent you some time ago, and you will please to take
notice that it must be paid to-morrow morning. I wish you a good
evening. You have the money ready for me, I daresay.'

'No,' said the farmer, 'not a guinea of it; but John Simpson, who was my
substitute, has not left our village yet. I'll get the money back from
him, and go myself, if so be it must be so, into the militia--so I
will.'

The attorney did not expect such a determination, and he represented, in
a friendly, hypocritical tone to Price, that he had no wish to drive him
to such an extremity; that it would be the height of folly in him _to
run his head against a wall for no purpose_. 'You don't mean to take the
corner into your own garden, do you, Price?' said he. 'I,' said the
farmer, 'God forbid! it's none of mine; I never take what does not
belong to me.' 'True, right, very proper, of course,' said Mr. Case;
'but then you have no interest in life in the land in question?' 'None.'
'Then why so stiff about it, Price? All I want of you to say----' 'To
say that black is white, which I won't do, Mr. Case. The ground is a
thing not worth talking of; but it's neither yours nor mine. In my
memory, since the _new_ lane was made, it has always been open to the
parish; and no man shall enclose it with my good-will. Truth is truth,
and must be spoken; justice is justice, and should be done, Mr.
Attorney.'

'And law is law, Mr. Farmer, and shall have its course, to your cost,'
cried the attorney, exasperated by the dauntless spirit of this village
Hampden.

Here they parted. The glow of enthusiasm, the pride of virtue, which
made our hero brave, could not render him insensible. As he drew nearer
home, many melancholy thoughts pressed upon his heart. He passed the
door of his own cottage with resolute steps, however, and went through
the village in search of the man who had engaged to be his substitute.
He found him, told him how the matter stood; and luckily the man, who
had not yet spent the money, was willing to return it; as there were
many others drawn for the militia, who, he observed, would be glad to
give him the same price, or more, for his services.

The moment Price got the money, he hastened to Mr. Case's house, walked
straight forward into his room, and laying the money down upon his desk,
'There, Mr. Attorney, are your nine guineas; count them; now I have done
with you.'

'Not yet,' said the attorney, jingling the money triumphantly in his
hand. 'We'll give you a taste of the law, my good sir, or I'm mistaken.
You forgot the flaw in your lease, which I have safe in this desk.'

'Ah, my lease,' said the farmer, who had almost forgot to ask for it
till he was thus put in mind of it by the attorney's imprudent threat.

'Give me my lease, Mr. Case. I've paid my money; you have no right to
keep the lease any longer, whether it is a bad one or a good one.'

'Pardon me,' said the attorney, locking his desk and putting the key
into his pocket, 'possession, my honest friend,' cried he, striking his
hand upon the desk, 'is nine points of the law. Good-night to you. I
cannot in conscience return a lease to a tenant in which I know there is
a capital flaw. It is my duty to show it to my employer; or, in other
words, to your new landlord, whose agent I have good reasons to expect I
shall be. You will live to repent your obstinacy, Mr. Price. Your
servant, sir.'

Price retired with melancholy feelings, but not intimidated. Many a man
returns home with a gloomy countenance, who has not quite so much cause
for vexation.

When Susan heard her father's story, she quite forgot her guinea-hen,
and her whole soul was intent upon her poor mother, who, notwithstanding
her utmost exertion, could not support herself under this sudden stroke
of misfortune.

In the middle of the night Susan was called up; her mother's fever ran
high for some hours; but towards morning it abated, and she fell into a
soft sleep with Susan's hand locked fast in hers.

Susan sat motionless, and breathed softly, lest she should disturb her.
The rushlight, which stood beside the bed, was now burnt low; the long
shadow of the tall wicker chair flitted, faded, appeared, and vanished,
as the flame rose and sank in the socket. Susan was afraid that the
disagreeable smell might waken her mother; and, gently disengaging her
hand, she went on tiptoe to extinguish the candle. All was silent: the
gray light of the morning was now spreading over every object; the sun
rose slowly, and Susan stood at the lattice window, looking through the
small leaded, crossbarred panes at the splendid spectacle. A few birds
began to chirp; but, as Susan was listening to them, her mother started
in her sleep, and spoke unintelligibly. Susan hung up a white apron
before the window to keep out the light, and just then she heard the
sound of music at a distance in the village. As it approached nearer,
she knew that it was Philip playing upon his pipe and tabor. She
distinguished the merry voices of her companions 'carolling in honour of
the May,' and soon she saw them coming towards her father's cottage,
with branches and garlands in their hands. She opened quick, but gently,
the latch of the door, and ran out to meet them.

'Here she is!--here's Susan!' they exclaimed joyfully. 'Here's the Queen
of the May.' 'And here's her crown!' cried Rose, pressing forward; but
Susan put her finger upon her lips, and pointed to her mother's window.
Philip's pipe stopped instantly.

'Thank you,' said Susan, 'my mother is ill; I can't leave her, you
know.' Then gently putting aside the crown, her companions bid her say
who should wear it for her.

'Will you, dear Rose?' said she, placing the garland upon her friend's
head. 'It's a charming May morning,' added she, with a smile; 'good-bye.
We shan't hear your voices or the pipe when you have turned the corner
into the village; so you need only stop till then, Philip.'

'I shall stop for all day,' said Philip; 'I've no mind to play any
more.'

'Good-bye, poor Susan. It is a pity you can't come with us,' said all
the children; and little Mary ran after Susan to the cottage door.

'I forgot to thank you,' said she, 'for the double cowslips; look how
pretty they are, and smell how sweet the violets are in my bosom, and
kiss me quick, for I shall be left behind.' Susan kissed the little
breathless girl, and returned softly to the side of her mother's bed.

'How grateful that child is to me for a cowslip only! How can I be
grateful enough to such a mother as this?' said Susan to herself, as she
bent over her sleeping mother's pale countenance.

Her mother's unfinished knitting lay upon a table near the bed, and
Susan sat down in her wicker arm-chair, and went on with the row, in the
middle of which her hand stopped the preceding evening. 'She taught me
to knit, she taught me everything that I know,' thought Susan, 'and the
best of all, she taught me to love her, to wish to be like her.'

Her mother, when she awakened, felt much refreshed by her tranquil
sleep, and observing that it was a delightful morning, said 'that she
had been dreaming she heard music; but that the drum frightened her,
because she thought it was the signal for her husband to be carried away
by a whole regiment of soldiers, who had pointed their bayonets at him.
But that was but a dream, Susan; I awoke, and knew it was a dream, and I
then fell asleep, and have slept soundly ever since.'

How painful it is to awake to the remembrance of misfortune. Gradually
as this poor woman collected her scattered thoughts, she recalled the
circumstances of the preceding evening. She was too certain that she had
heard from her husband's own lips the words, '_I must leave you in three
days_'; and she wished that she could sleep again, and think it all a
dream.

'But he'll want, he'll want a hundred things,' said she, starting up. 'I
must get his linen ready for him. I'm afraid it's very late. Susan, why
did you let me lie so long?'

'Everything shall be ready, dear mother; only don't hurry yourself,'
said Susan. And indeed her mother was ill able to bear any hurry, or to
do any work this day. Susan's affectionate, dexterous, sensible activity
was never more wanted, or more effectual. She understood so readily, she
obeyed so exactly; and when she was left to her own discretion, judged
so prudently, that her mother had little trouble and no anxiety in
directing her. She said that Susan never did too little, or too much.

Susan was mending her father's linen, when Rose tapped softly at the
window, and beckoned to her to come out. She went out. 'How does your
mother do, in the first place?' said Rose. 'Better, thank you.' 'That's
well, and I have a little bit of good news for you besides--here,' said
she, pulling out a glove, in which there was money, 'we'll get the
guinea-hen back again--we have all agreed about it. This is the money
that has been given to us in the village this May morning. At every door
they gave silver. See how generous they have been--twelve shillings, I
assure you. Now we are a match for Miss Barbara. You won't like to leave
home; I'll go to Barbara, and you shall see your guinea-hen in ten
minutes.'

Rose hurried away, pleased with her commission, and eager to accomplish
her business. Miss Barbara's maid, Betty, was the first person that was
visible at the attorney's house. Rose insisted upon seeing Miss Barbara
herself, and she was shown into a parlour to the young lady, who was
reading a dirty novel, which she put under a heap of law papers as they
entered.

'Dear, how you _startled_ me! Is it only you?' said she to her maid; but
as soon as she saw Rose behind the maid, she put on a scornful air.
'Could not ye say I was not at home, Betty? Well, my good girl, what
brings you here? Something to borrow or beg, I suppose.'

May every ambassador--every ambassador in as good a cause--answer with
as much dignity and moderation as Rose replied to Barbara upon the
present occasion. She assured her that the person from whom she came did
not send her either to beg or borrow; that she was able to pay the full
value of that for which she came to ask; and, producing her well-filled
purse, 'I believe that this is a very good shilling,' said she. 'If you
don't like it, I will change it, and now you will be so good as to give
me Susan's guinea-hen. It is in her name I ask for it.'

'No matter in whose name you ask for it,' replied Barbara, 'you will not
have it. Take up your shilling, if you please. I would have taken a
shilling yesterday, if it had been paid at the time properly; but I told
Susan, that if it was not paid then, I should keep the hen, and so I
shall, I promise her. You may go back, and tell her so.'

The attorney's daughter had, whilst Rose opened her negotiation,
measured the depth of her purse with a keen eye; and her penetration
discovered that it contained at least ten shillings. With proper
management she had some hopes that the guinea-hen might be made to bring
in at least half the money.

Rose, who was of a warm temper, not quite so fit a match as she had
thought herself for the wily Barbara, incautiously exclaimed, 'Whatever
it costs us, we are determined to have Susan's favourite hen; so, if one
shilling won't do, take two; and if two won't do, why, take three.'

The shillings sounded provoking upon the table, as she threw them down
one after another, and Barbara coolly replied, 'Three won't do.' 'Have
you no conscience, Miss Barbara? Then take four.' Barbara shook her
head. A fifth shilling was instantly proffered; but Bab, who now saw
plainly that she had the game in her own hands, preserved a cold, cruel
silence. Rose went on rapidly, bidding shilling after shilling, till she
had completely emptied her purse. The twelve shillings were spread upon
the table. Barbara's avarice was moved; she consented for this ransom to
liberate her prisoner.

Rose pushed the money towards her; but just then, recollecting that she
was acting for others more than for herself, and doubting whether she
had full powers to conclude such an extravagant bargain, she gathered up
the public treasure, and with newly-recovered prudence observed that she
must go back to consult her friends. Her generous little friends were
amazed at Barbara's meanness, but with one accord declared that they
were most willing, for their parts, to give up every farthing of the
money. They all went to Susan in a body, and told her so. 'There's our
purse,' said they; 'do what you please with it.' They would not wait for
one word of thanks, but ran away, leaving only Rose with her to settle
the treaty for the guinea-hen.

There is a certain manner of accepting a favour, which shows true
generosity of mind. Many know how to give, but few know how to accept a
gift properly. Susan was touched, but not astonished, by the kindness of
her young friends, and she received the purse with as much simplicity as
she would have given it.

'Well,' said Rose, 'shall I go back for the guinea-hen?' 'The
guinea-hen!' said Susan, starting from a reverie into which she had
fallen, as she contemplated the purse. 'Certainly I _do_ long to see my
pretty guinea-hen once more; but I was not thinking of her just then--I
was thinking of my father.'

Now Susan had heard her mother often, in the course of this day, wish
that she had but money enough in the world to pay John Simpson for going
to serve in the militia instead of her husband. 'This, to be sure, will
go but a little way,' thought Susan; 'but still it may be of some use to
my father.' She told her mind to Rose, and concluded by saying,
decidedly, that 'if the money was given to her to dispose of as she
pleased, she would give it to her father.'

'It is all yours, my dear good Susan,' cried Rose, with a look of warm
approbation. 'This is so like you!--but I'm sorry that Miss Bab must
keep your guinea-hen. I would not be her for all the guinea-hens, or
guineas either, in the whole world. Why, I'll answer for it, the
guinea-hen won't make her happy, and you'll be happy _even_ without;
because you are good. Let me come and help you to-morrow,' continued
she, looking at Susan's work, 'if you have any more mending work to
do--I never liked work till I worked with you. I won't forget my thimble
or my scissors,' added she, laughing--'though I used to forget them when
I was a giddy girl. I assure you I am a great hand at my needle,
now--try me.'

Susan assured her friend that she did not doubt the powers of her
needle, and that she would most willingly accept of her services, but
that _unluckily_ she had finished all her needlework that was
immediately wanted.

'But do you know,' said she, 'I shall have a great deal of business
to-morrow; but I won't tell you what it is that I have to do, for I am
afraid I shall not succeed; but if I do succeed, I'll come and tell you
directly, because you will be so glad of it.'

Susan, who had always been attentive to what her mother taught her, and
who had often assisted her when she was baking bread and cakes for the
family at the Abbey, had now formed the courageous, but not
presumptuous, idea that she could herself undertake to bake a batch of
bread. One of the servants from the Abbey had been sent all round the
village in the morning in search of bread, and had not been able to
procure any that was tolerable. Mrs. Price's last baking failed for want
of good barm. She was not now strong enough to attempt another herself;
and when the brewer's boy came with eagerness to tell her that he had
some fine fresh yeast, she thanked him, but sighed, and said it would be
of no use to her. Accordingly she went to work with much prudent care,
and when her bread the next morning came out of the oven, it was
excellent; at least her mother said so, and she was a good judge. It was
sent to the Abbey; and as the family there had not tasted any good bread
since their arrival in the country, they also were earnest and warm in
its praise. Inquiries were made from the housekeeper, and they heard,
with some surprise, that this excellent bread was made by a young girl
only twelve years old.

The housekeeper, who had known Susan from a child, was pleased to have
an opportunity in speaking in her favour. 'She is the most industrious
little creature, ma'am, in the world,' said she to her mistress. 'Little
I can't so well call her now, since she's grown tall and slender to look
at; and glad I am she is grown up likely to look at; for handsome is
that handsome does; she thinks no more of her being handsome than I do
myself; yet she has as proper a respect for herself, ma'am, as you have;
and I always see her neat, and with her mother, ma'am, or fit people, as
a girl should be. As for her mother, she dotes upon her, as well she
may; for I should myself if I had half such a daughter; and then she has
two little brothers; and she's as good to them, and, my boy Philip says,
taught 'em to read more than the schoolmistress, all with tenderness and
good nature; but I beg your pardon, ma'am, I cannot stop myself when I
once begin to talk of Susan.'

'You have really said enough to excite my curiosity,' said her mistress;
'pray send for her immediately; we can see her before we go out to
walk.'

The benevolent housekeeper despatched her boy Philip for Susan, who
never happened to be in such an _untidy_ state as to be unable to obey a
summons without a long preparation. She had, it is true, been very busy;
but orderly people can be busy and neat at the same time. She put on her
usual straw hat, and accompanied Rose's mother, who was going with a
basket of cleared muslin to the Abbey.

The modest simplicity of Susan's appearance, and the artless good sense
and propriety of the answers she gave to all the questions that were
asked her, pleased the ladies at the Abbey, who were good judges of
character and manners.

Sir Arthur Somers had two sisters, sensible, benevolent women. They were
not of that race of fine ladies who are miserable the moment they come
to _the country_; nor yet were they of that bustling sort, who quack and
direct all their poor neighbours, for the mere love of managing, or the
want of something to do. They were judiciously generous; and whilst they
wished to diffuse happiness, they were not peremptory in requiring that
people should be happy precisely their own way. With these dispositions,
and with a well-informed brother, who, though he never wished to
direct, was always willing to assist in their efforts to do good, there
were reasonable hopes that these ladies would be a blessing to the poor
villagers amongst whom they were now settled.

As soon as Miss Somers had spoken to Susan, she inquired for her
brother; but Sir Arthur was in his study, and a gentleman was with him
on business.

Susan was desirous of returning to her mother, and the ladies therefore
would not detain her. Miss Somers told her, with a smile, when she took
leave, that she would call upon her in the evening at six o'clock.

It was impossible that such a grand event as Susan's visit to the Abbey
could long remain unknown to Barbara Case and her gossiping maid. They
watched eagerly for the moment of her return, that they might satisfy
their curiosity. 'There she is, I declare, just come into her garden,'
cried Bab; 'I'll run in and get it all out of her in a minute.'

Bab could descend, without shame, whenever it suited her purposes, from
the height of insolent pride to the lowest meanness of fawning
familiarity.

Susan was gathering some marigolds and some parsley for her mother's
broth.

'So, Susan,' said Bab, who came close up to her before she perceived it,
'how goes the world with you to-day?' 'My mother is rather better
to-day, she says, ma'am--thank you,' replies Susan, coldly but civilly.
'_Ma'am!_ dear, how polite we are grown of a sudden!' cried Bab, winking
at her maid. 'One may see you've been in good company this morning--hey,
Susan? Come, let's hear about it.' 'Did you see the ladies themselves,
or was it only the housekeeper sent for you?' said the maid. 'What room
did you go into?' continued Bab. 'Did you see Miss Somers, or Sir
Arthur?' 'Miss Somers.' 'La! she saw Miss Somers! Betty, I must hear
about it. Can't you stop gathering those things for a minute and chat a
bit with us, Susan?' 'I can't stay, indeed, Miss Barbara; for my
mother's broth is just wanted, and I'm in a hurry.' Susan ran home.

'Lord, her head is full of broth now,' said Bab to her maid; 'and she
has not a word for herself, though she has been abroad. My papa may well
call her _Simple Susan_; for simple she is, and simple she will be, all
the world over. For my part, I think she's little better than a
downright simpleton. But, however, simple or not, I'll get what I want
out of her. She'll be able to speak, maybe, when she has settled the
grand matter of the broth. I'll step in and ask to see her mother, that
will put her in a good humour in a trice.'

Barbara followed Susan into the cottage, and found her occupied with the
grand affair of the broth. 'Is it ready?' said Bab, peeping into the pot
that was over the fire. 'Dear, how savoury it smells! I'll wait till you
go in with it to your mother; for I must ask her how she does myself.'
'Will you please to sit down then, miss?' said Simple Susan, with a
smile; for at this instant she forgot the guinea-hen; 'I have but just
put the parsley into the broth; but it soon will be ready.'

During this interval Bab employed herself, much to her own satisfaction,
in cross-questioning Susan. She was rather provoked indeed that she
could not learn exactly how each of the ladies was dressed, and what
there was to be for dinner at the Abbey; and she was curious beyond
measure to find out what Miss Somers meant by saying that she would call
at Mr. Price's cottage at six o'clock in the evening. 'What do you think
she could mean?' 'I thought she meant what she said,' replied Susan,
'that she would come here at six o'clock.' 'Ay, that's as plain as a
pike-staff,' said Barbara; 'but what else did she mean, think you?
People, you know, don't always mean exactly, downright, neither more nor
less than what they say.' 'Not always,' said Susan, with an arch smile,
which convinced Barbara that she was not quite a simpleton. '_Not
always_,' repeated Barbara colouring,--'oh, then I suppose you have some
guess at what Miss Somers meant.' 'No,' said Susan, 'I was not thinking
about Miss Somers, when I said not always.' 'How nice that broth does
look,' resumed Barbara, after a pause.

Susan had now poured the broth into a basin, and as she strewed over it
the bright orange marigolds, it looked very tempting. She tasted it, and
added now a little salt, and now a little more, till she thought it was
just to her mother's taste. 'Oh, _I_ must taste it,' said Bab, taking
the basin up greedily. 'Won't you take a spoon?' said Susan, trembling
at the large mouthfuls which Barbara sucked up with a terrible noise.
'Take a spoonful, indeed!' exclaimed Barbara, setting down the basin in
high anger. 'The next time I taste your broth you shall affront me, if
you dare! The next time I set my foot in this house, you shall be as
saucy to me as you please.' And she flounced out of the house, repeating
'_Take a spoon, pig_, was what you meant to say.'

Susan stood in amazement at the beginning of this speech; but the
concluding words explained to her the mystery.

Some years before this time, when Susan was a very little girl, and
could scarcely speak plain, as she was eating a basin of bread and milk
for her supper at the cottage door, a great pig came up and put his nose
into the basin. Susan was willing that the pig should have some share of
the bread and milk; but as she ate with a spoon and he with his large
mouth, she presently discovered that he was likely to have more than his
share; and in a simple tone of expostulation she said to him, 'Take a
_poon_, pig.'[7] The saying became proverbial in the village. Susan's
little companions repeated it, and applied it upon many occasions,
whenever any one claimed more than his share of anything good. Barbara,
who was then not Miss Barbara, but plain Bab, and who had played with
all the poor children in the neighbourhood, was often reproved in her
unjust methods of division by Susan's proverb. Susan, as she grew up,
forgot the childish saying; but the remembrance of it rankled in
Barbara's mind, and it was to this that she suspected Susan had alluded,
when she recommended a spoon to her, whilst she was swallowing the basin
of broth.

  [7] This is a true anecdote.

'La, miss,' said Barbara's maid, when she found her mistress in a
passion upon her return from Susan's, 'I only wondered you did her the
honour to set your foot within her doors. What need have you to trouble
her for news about the Abbey folks, when your own papa has been there
all the morning, and is just come in, and can tell you everything?'

Barbara did not know that her father meant to go to the Abbey that
morning, for Attorney Case was mysterious even to his own family about
his morning rides. He never chose to be asked where he was going, or
where he had been; and this made his servants more than commonly
inquisitive to trace him.

Barbara, against whose apparent childishness and real cunning he was not
sufficiently on his guard, had often the art of drawing him into
conversation about his visits. She ran into her father's parlour; but
she knew, the moment she saw his face, that it was no time to ask
questions; his pen was across his mouth, and his brown wig pushed
oblique upon his contracted forehead. The wig was always pushed crooked
whenever he was in a brown, or rather a black, study. Barbara, who did
not, like Susan, bear with her father's testy humour from affection and
gentleness of disposition, but who always humoured him from artifice,
tried all her skill to fathom his thoughts, and when she found that _it_
would not do, she went to tell her maid so, and to complain that her
father was so cross there was no bearing him.

It is true that Attorney Case was not in the happiest mood possible; for
he was by no means satisfied with his morning's work at the Abbey. Sir
Arthur Somers, the _new man_, did not suit him, and he began to be
rather apprehensive that he should not suit Sir Arthur. He had sound
reasons for his doubts.

Sir Arthur Somers was an excellent lawyer, and a perfectly honest man.
This seemed to our attorney a contradiction in terms; in the course of
his practice the case had not occurred; and he had no precedents ready
to direct his proceedings. Sir Arthur was also a man of wit and
eloquence, yet of plain dealing and humanity. The attorney could not
persuade himself to believe that his benevolence was anything but
enlightened cunning, and his plain dealing he one minute dreaded as the
masterpiece of art, and the next despised as the characteristic of
folly. In short, he had not yet decided whether he was an honest man or
a knave. He had settled accounts with him for his late agency, and had
talked about sundry matters of business. He constantly perceived,
however, that he could not impose upon Sir Arthur; but the idea that he
could know all the mazes of the law, and yet prefer the straight road,
was incomprehensible.

Mr. Case having paid Sir Arthur some compliments on his great legal
abilities, and his high reputation at the bar, he coolly replied, 'I
have left the bar.' The attorney looked in unfeigned astonishment that a
man who was actually making £3000 per annum at the bar should leave it.

'I am come,' said Sir Arthur, 'to enjoy that kind of domestic life in
the country which I prefer to all others, and amongst people whose
happiness I hope to increase.' At this speech the attorney changed his
ground, flattering himself that he should find his man averse to
business, and ignorant of country affairs. He talked of the value of
land, and of new leases.

[Illustration: _Tried all her skill to fathom his thoughts._]

Sir Arthur wished to enlarge his domain, and to make a ride round it. A
map of it was lying upon the table, and Farmer Price's garden came
exactly across the new road for the ride. Sir Arthur looked
disappointed; and the keen attorney seized the moment to inform him that
'Price's whole land was at his disposal.'

'At my disposal! how so?' cried Sir Arthur, eagerly; 'it will not be out
of lease, I believe, these ten years. I'll look into the rent-roll
again; perhaps I am mistaken.'

'You are mistaken, my good sir, and you are not mistaken,' said Mr.
Case, with a shrewd smile. 'In one sense, the land will not be out of
lease these ten years, and in another it is out of lease at this present
time. To come to the point at once, the lease is, _ab origine_, null and
void. I have detected a capital flaw in the body of it. I pledge my
credit upon it, sir, it can't stand a single term in law or equity.'

The attorney observed that at these words Sir Arthur's eye was fixed
with a look of earnest attention. 'Now I have him,' said the cunning
tempter to himself.

'Neither in law nor equity,' repeated Sir Arthur, with apparent
incredulity. 'Are you sure of that, Mr. Case?' 'Sure! As I told you
before, sir, I'd pledge my whole credit upon the thing--I'd stake my
existence.' '_That's something_,' said Sir Arthur, as if he was
pondering upon the matter.

The attorney went on with all the eagerness of a keen man, who sees a
chance at one stroke of winning a rich friend and of ruining a poor
enemy. He explained, with legal volubility and technical amplification,
the nature of the mistake in Mr. Price's lease. 'It was, sir,' said he,
'a lease for the life of Peter Price, Susanna his wife, and to the
survivor or survivors of them, or for the full time and term of twenty
years, to be computed from the first day of May then next ensuing. Now,
sir, this, you see, is a lease in reversion, which the late Sir Benjamin
Somers had not, by his settlement, a right to make. This is a curious
mistake, you see, Sir Arthur; and in filling up those printed leases
there's always a good chance of some flaw. I find it perpetually; but I
never found a better than this in the whole course of my practice.'

Sir Arthur stood in silence.

'My dear sir,' said the attorney, taking him by the button, 'you have no
scruple of stirring in this business?'

'A little,' said Sir Arthur.

'Why, then, that can be done away in a moment. Your name shall not
appear in it at all. You have nothing to do but to make over the lease
to me. I make all safe to you with my bond. Now, being in possession, I
come forward in my own proper person. _Shall I proceed?_'

'No--you have said enough,' replied Sir Arthur.

'The case, indeed, lies in a nutshell,' said the attorney, who had by
this time worked himself up to such a pitch of professional enthusiasm
that, intent upon his vision of a lawsuit, he totally forgot to observe
the impression his words made upon Sir Arthur.

'There's only one thing we have forgotten all this time,' said Sir
Arthur. 'What can that be, sir?' 'That we shall ruin this poor man.'

Case was thunderstruck at these words, or rather, by the look which
accompanied them. He recollected that he had laid himself open before he
was sure of Sir Arthur's _real_ character. He softened, and said he
should have had certainly more _consideration_ in the case of any but a
litigious, pig-headed fellow, as he knew Price to be.

'If he be litigious,' said Sir Arthur, 'I shall certainly be glad to get
him fairly out of the parish as soon as possible. When you go home, you
will be so good, sir, as to send me his lease, that I may satisfy myself
before we stir in this business.'

The attorney, brightening up, prepared to take leave; but he could not
persuade himself to take his departure without making one push at Sir
Arthur about the agency.

'I will not trouble _you_, Sir Arthur, with this lease of Price's,'
said Case; 'I'll leave it with your agent. Whom shall I apply to?'
'_To myself_, sir, if you please,' replied Sir Arthur.

The courtiers of Louis the Fourteenth could not have looked more
astounded than our attorney, when they received from their monarch a
similar answer. It was this unexpected reply of Sir Arthur's which had
deranged the temper of Mr. Case, and caused his wig to stand so crooked
upon his forehead, and which had rendered him impenetrably silent to his
inquisitive daughter Barbara.

After having walked up and down his room, conversing with himself, for
some time, the attorney concluded that the agency must be given to
somebody when Sir Arthur should have to attend his duty in Parliament;
that the agency, even for the winter season, was not a thing to be
neglected; and that, if he managed well, he might yet secure it for
himself. He had often found that small timely presents worked
wonderfully upon his own mind, and he judged of others by himself. The
tenants had been in the reluctant but constant practice of making him
continual petty offerings; and he resolved to try the same course with
Sir Arthur, whose resolution to be his own agent, he thought, argued a
close, saving, avaricious disposition. He had heard the housekeeper at
the Abbey inquiring, as he passed through the servants, whether there
was any lamb to be gotten. She said that Sir Arthur was remarkably fond
of lamb, and that she wished she could get a quarter for him.
Immediately he sallied into his kitchen, as soon as the idea struck him,
and asked a shepherd, who was waiting there, whether he knew of a nice
fat lamb to be had anywhere in the neighbourhood.

'I know of one,' cried Barbara. 'Susan Price has a pet lamb that's as
fat as fat could be.' The attorney easily caught at these words, and
speedily devised a scheme for obtaining Susan's lamb for nothing.

It would be something strange if an attorney of his talents and standing
was not an over-match for Simple Susan. He prowled forth in search of
his prey. He found Susan packing up her father's little wardrobe; and
when she looked up as she knelt, he saw that she had been in tears.

'How is your mother to-day, Susan?' inquired the attorney. 'Worse, sir.
My father goes to-morrow.' 'That's a pity.' 'It can't be helped,' said
Susan, with a sigh. 'It can't be helped--how do you know that?' said
Case. 'Sir, _dear_ sir!' cried she, looking up at him, and a sudden ray
of hope beamed in her ingenuous countenance. 'And if _you_ could help
it, Susan?' said he. Susan clasped her hands in silence, more
expressive than words. 'You _can_ help it, Susan.' She started up in an
ecstasy. 'What would you give now to have your father at home for a
whole week longer?' 'Anything!--but I have nothing.' 'Yes, but you have,
a lamb,' said the hard-hearted attorney. 'My poor little lamb!' said
Susan; 'but what can that do?' 'What good can any lamb do? Is not lamb
good to eat? Why do you look so pale, girl? Are not sheep killed every
day, and don't you eat mutton? Is your lamb better than anybody else's,
think you?' 'I don't know,' said Susan, 'but I love it better.' 'More
fool you,' said he. 'It feeds out of hand, it follows me about; I have
always taken care of it; my mother gave it to me.' 'Well, say no more
about it, then,' he cynically observed; 'if you love your lamb better
than both your father and your mother, keep it, and good morning to
you.'

'Stay, oh stay!' cried Susan, catching the skirt of his coat with an
eager, trembling hand;--'a whole week, did you say? My mother may get
better in that time. No, I do not love my lamb half so well.' The
struggle of her mind ceased, and with a placid countenance and calm
voice, 'Take the lamb,' said she. 'Where is it?' said the attorney.
'Grazing in the meadow, by the river-side.' 'It must be brought up
before nightfall for the butcher, remember.' 'I shall not forget it,'
said Susan, steadily.

As soon, however, as her persecutor turned his back and quitted the
house, Susan sat down and hid her face in her hands. She was soon
aroused by the sound of her mother's feeble voice, who was calling
_Susan_ from the inner room where she lay. Susan went in, but did not
undraw the curtain as she stood beside the bed.

'Are you there, love? Undraw the curtain, that I may see you, and tell
me;--I thought I heard some strange voice just now talking to my child.
Something's amiss, Susan,' said her mother, raising herself as well as
she was able in the bed, to examine her daughter's countenance.

'Would you think it amiss, then, my dear mother,' said Susan, stooping
to kiss her--'would you think it amiss, if my father was to stay with us
a week longer?' 'Susan! you don't say so?' 'He is, indeed, a whole
week;--but how burning hot your hand is still.' 'Are you sure he will
stay?' inquired her mother. 'How do you know? Who told you so? Tell me
all quick.' 'Attorney Case told me so; he can get him a week's longer
leave of absence, and he has promised he will.' 'God bless him for it,
for ever and ever!' said the poor woman, joining her hands. 'May the
blessing of heaven be with him!'

Susan closed the curtains, and was silent. She _could not say Amen_. She
was called out of the room at this moment, for a messenger was come from
the Abbey for the bread-bills. It was she who always made out the bills,
for though she had not a great number of lessons from the
writing-master, she had taken so much pains to learn that she could
write a very neat, legible hand, and she found this very useful. She was
not, to be sure, particularly inclined to draw out a long bill at this
instant, but business must be done. She set to work, ruled her lines for
the pounds, shillings, and pence, made out the bill for the Abbey, and
despatched the impatient messenger. She then resolved to make out all
the bills for the neighbours, who had many of them taken a few loaves
and rolls of her baking. 'I had better get all my business finished,'
said she to herself, 'before I go down to the meadow to take leave of my
poor lamb.'

This was sooner said than done, for she found that she had a great
number of bills to write, and the slate on which she had entered the
account was not immediately to be found, and when it was found the
figures were almost rubbed out. Barbara had sat down upon it. Susan
pored over the number of loaves, and the names of the persons who took
them; and she wrote and cast up sums, and corrected and re-corrected
them, till her head grew quite puzzled.

The table was covered with little square bits of paper, on which she had
been writing bills over and over again, when her father came in with a
bill in his hand. 'How's this, Susan?' said he. 'How can ye be so
careless, child? What is your head running upon? Here, look at the bill
you were sending up to the Abbey? I met the messenger, and luckily asked
to see how much it was. Look at it.'

Susan looked and blushed; it was written, 'Sir Arthur Somers, to John
Price, debtor, six dozen _lambs_, so much.' She altered it, and returned
it to her father; but he had taken up some of the papers which lay upon
the table. 'What are all these, child?' 'Some of them are wrong, and
I've written them out again,' said Susan. 'Some of them! All of them, I
think, seem to be wrong, if I can read,' said her father, rather
angrily, and he pointed out to her sundry strange mistakes. Her head,
indeed, had been running upon her poor lamb. She corrected all the
mistakes with so much patience, and bore to be blamed with so much good
humour, that her father at last said that it was impossible ever to
scold Susan, without being in the wrong at the last.

As soon as all was set right, Price took the bills, and said he would go
round to the neighbours and collect the money himself; for that he
should be very proud to have it to say to them that it was all earned by
his own little daughter.

Susan resolved to keep the pleasure of telling him of his week's
reprieve till he should come home to sup, as he had promised to do, in
her mother's room. She was not sorry to hear him sigh as he passed the
knapsack, which she had been packing up for his journey. 'How delighted
he will be when he hears the good news!' said she to herself; 'but I
know he will be a little sorry too for my poor lamb.'

As Susan had now settled all her business, she thought she could have
time to go down to the meadow by the river-side to see her favourite;
but just as she had tied on her straw hat the village clock struck four,
and this was the hour at which she always went to fetch her little
brothers home from a dame-school near the village. She knew that they
would be disappointed if she was later than usual, and she did not like
to keep them waiting, because they were very patient, good boys; so she
put off the visit to her lamb, and went immediately for her brothers.


CHAPTER II

    Evn in the spring and playtime of the year,
    That calls th' unwonted villager abroad,
    With all her little ones, a sportive train,
    To gather kingcups in the yellow mead,
    And prink their heads with daisies.
                                        COWPER.

The dame-school, which was about a mile from the hamlet, was not a showy
edifice: but it was reverenced as much by the young race of village
scholars as if it had been the most stately mansion in the land; it was
a low-roofed, long, thatched tenement, sheltered by a few reverend oaks,
under which many generations of hopeful children had gambolled in their
turn.

The close-shaven green, which sloped down from the hatch-door of the
schoolroom, was paled round with a rude paling, which, though decayed in
some parts by time, was not in any place broken by violence.

The place bespoke order and peace. The dame who governed was well
obeyed, because she was just and well beloved, and because she was ever
glad to give well-earned praise and pleasure to her little subjects.

Susan had once been under her gentle dominion, and had been deservedly
her favourite scholar. The dame often cited her as the best example to
the succeeding tribe of emulous youngsters. She had scarcely opened the
wicket which separated the green before the schoolroom door from the
lane, when she heard the merry voices of the children, and saw the
little troup issuing from the hatchway and spreading over the green.

'Oh, there's Susan!' cried her two little brothers, running, leaping,
and bounding up to her; and many of the other rosy girls and boys
crowded round her, to talk of their plays; for Susan was easily
interested in all that made others happy; but she could not make them
comprehend that, if they all spoke at once, it was not possible that she
could hear what was said.

The voices were still raised one above another, all eager to establish
some important observation about ninepins, or marbles, or tops, or bows
and arrows, when suddenly music was heard and the crowd was silenced.
The music seemed to be near the spot where the children were standing,
and they looked round to see whence it could come. Susan pointed to the
great oak tree, and they beheld, seated under its shade, an old man
playing upon his harp. The children all approached--at first timidly,
for the sounds were solemn; but as the harper heard their little
footsteps coming towards him, he changed his hand and played one of his
most lively tunes. The circle closed, and pressed nearer and nearer to
him; some who were in the foremost row whispered to each other, 'He is
blind!' 'What a pity!' and 'He looks very poor,--what a ragged coat he
wears!' said others. 'He must be very old, for all his hair is white:
and he must have travelled a great way, for his shoes are quite worn
out,' observed another.

All these remarks were made whilst he was tuning his harp, for when he
once more began to play, not a word was uttered. He seemed pleased by
their simple exclamations of wonder and delight, and, eager to amuse his
young audience, he played now a gay and now a pathetic air, to suit
their several humours.

Susan's voice, which was soft and sweet, expressive of gentleness and
good nature, caught his ear the moment she spoke. He turned his face
eagerly to the place where she stood; and it was observed that, whenever
she said that she liked any tune particularly, he played it over again.

'I am blind,' said the old man, 'and cannot see your faces; but I know
you all asunder by your voices, and I can guess pretty well at all your
humours and characters by your voices.'

'Can you so, indeed?' cried Susan's little brother William, who had
stationed himself between the old man's knees. 'Then you heard _my_
sister Susan speak just now. Can you tell us what sort of person she
is?' 'That I can, I think, without being a conjurer,' said the old man,
lifting the boy up on his knee; '_your_ sister Susan is good-natured.'
The boy clapped his hands. 'And good-tempered.' '_Right_,' said little
William, with a louder clap of applause. 'And very fond of the little
boy who sits upon my knee.' 'O right! right! quite right!' exclaimed the
child, and 'quite right' echoed on all sides.

'But how came you to know so much, when you are blind?' said William,
examining the old man attentively.

'Hush,' said John, who was a year older than his brother, and very sage,
'you should not put him in mind of his being blind.'

'Though I am blind,' said the harper, 'I can hear, you know, and I heard
from your sister herself all that I told you of her, that she was
good-tempered and good-natured and fond of you.' 'Oh, that's wrong--you
did not hear all that from herself, I'm sure,' said John, 'for nobody
ever hears her praising herself.' 'Did not I hear her tell you,' said
the harper, 'when you first came round me, that she was in a great hurry
to go home, but that she would stay a little while, since you wished it
so much? Was not that good-natured? And when you said you did not like
the tune she liked best, she was not angry with you, but said, "Then
play William's first, if you please,"--was not that good-tempered?'
'Oh,' interrupted William, 'it's all true; but how did you find out that
she was fond of me?' 'That is such a difficult question,' said the
harper, 'that I must take time to consider.' The harper tuned his
instrument, as he pondered, or seemed to ponder; and at this instant two
boys who had been searching for birds' nests in the hedges, and who had
heard the sound of the harp, came blustering up, and pushing their way
through the circle, one of them exclaimed, 'What's going on here? Who
are you, my old fellow? A blind harper! Well, play us a tune, if you can
play ever a good one--play me--let's see, what shall he play, Bob?'
added he, turning to his companion. 'Bumper Squire Jones.'

The old man, though he did not seem quite pleased with the peremptory
manner of the request, played, as he was desired, 'Bumper Squire Jones';
and several other tunes were afterwards bespoke by the same rough and
tyrannical voice.

The little children shrank back in timid silence, and eyed the brutal
boy with dislike. This boy was the son of Attorney Case; and as his
father had neglected to correct his temper when he was a child, as he
grew up it became insufferable. All who were younger and weaker than
himself dreaded his approach, and detested him as a tyrant.

When the old harper was so tired that he could play no more, a lad, who
usually carried his harp for him, and who was within call, came up, and
held his master's hat to the company, saying, 'Will you be pleased to
remember us?' The children readily produced their halfpence, and
thought their wealth well bestowed upon this poor, good-natured man, who
had taken so much pains to entertain them, better even than upon the
gingerbread woman, whose stall they loved to frequent. The hat was held
some time to the attorney's son before he chose to see it. At last he
put his hand surlily into his waistcoat pocket and pulled out a
shilling. There were sixpennyworth of halfpence in the hat. 'I'll take
these halfpence,' said he, 'and here's a shilling for you.'

'God bless you, sir,' said the lad; but as he took the shilling, which
the young gentleman had slily put _into the blind man's hand_, he saw
that it was not worth one farthing. 'I am afraid it is not good, sir,'
said the lad, whose business it was to examine the money for his master.
'I am afraid, then, you'll get no other,' said young Case, with an
insulting laugh. 'It never will do, sir,' persisted the lad; 'look at it
yourself; the edges are all yellow! you can see the copper through it
quite plain. Sir, nobody will take it from us.' 'That's your affair,'
said the brutal boy, pushing away his hand. 'You may pass it, you know,
as well as I do, if you look sharp. You have taken it from me, and I
shan't take it back again, I promise you.'

A whisper of 'that's very unjust,' was heard. The little assembly,
though under evident constraint, could no longer suppress their
indignation.

'Who says it's unjust?' cried the tyrant sternly, looking down upon his
judges.

Susan's little brothers had held her gown fast, to prevent her from
moving at the beginning of this contest, and she was now so much
interested to see the end of it, that she stood still, without making
any resistance.

'Is any one here amongst yourselves a judge of silver?' said the old
man. 'Yes, here's the butcher's boy,' said the attorney's son; 'show it
to him.' He was a sickly-looking boy, and of a remarkably peaceful
disposition. Young Case fancied that he would be afraid to give judgment
against him. However, after some moments' hesitation, and after turning
the shilling round several times, he pronounced, 'that, as far as his
judgment went, but he did not pretend to be a downright _certain sure_
of it, the shilling was not over and above good.' Then turning to Susan,
to screen himself from manifest danger, for the attorney's son looked
upon him with a vengeful mien, 'But here's Susan here, who understands
silver a great deal better than I do; she takes a power of it for bread,
you know.'

'I'll leave it to her,' said the old harper; 'if she says the shilling
is good, keep it, Jack.' The shilling was handed to Susan, who, though
she had with becoming modesty forborne all interference, did not
hesitate, when she was called upon, to speak the truth: 'I think that
this shilling is a bad one,' said she; and the gentle but firm tone in
which she pronounced the words for a moment awed and silenced the angry
and brutal boy. 'There's another, then,' cried he; 'I have sixpences and
shillings too in plenty, thank my stars.'

Susan now walked away with her two little brothers, and all the other
children separated to go to their several homes. The old harper called
to Susan, and begged that, if she was going towards the village, she
would be so kind as to show him the way. His lad took up his harp, and
little William took the old man by the hand. 'I'll lead him, I can lead
him,' said he; and John ran on before them, to gather kingcups in the
meadow.

There was a small rivulet which they had to cross, and as a plank which
served for a bridge over it was rather narrow, Susan was afraid to trust
the old blind man to his little conductor; she therefore went on the
tottering plank first herself, and then led the old harper carefully
over. They were now come to a gate, which opened upon the highroad to
the village. 'There is the highroad straight before you,' said Susan to
the lad, who was carrying his master's harp; 'you can't miss it. Now I
must bid you a good evening; for I'm in a great hurry to get home, and
must go the short way across the fields here, which would not be so
pleasant for you, because of the stiles. Good-bye.' The old harper
thanked her, and went along the highroad, whilst she and her brothers
tripped on as fast as they could by the short way across the fields.

'Miss Somers, I am afraid, will be waiting for us,' said Susan. 'You
know she said she would call at six; and by the length of our shadows
I'm sure it is late.'

When they came to their own cottage door, they heard many voices, and
they saw, when they entered, several ladies standing in the kitchen.
'Come in, Susan; we thought you had quite forsaken us,' said Miss
Somers to Susan, who advanced timidly. 'I fancy you forgot that we
promised to pay you a visit this evening; but you need not blush so much
about the matter; there is no great harm done; we have only been here
about five minutes; and we have been well employed in admiring your neat
garden and your orderly shelves. Is it you, Susan, who keep these things
in such nice order?' continued Miss Somers, looking round the kitchen.

Before Susan could reply, little William pushed forward and answered,
'Yes, ma'am, it is _my_ sister Susan that keeps everything neat; and she
always comes to school for us, too, which was what caused her to be so
late.' 'Because as how,' continued John, 'she was loth to refuse us the
hearing a blind man play on the harp. It was we kept her, and we hopes,
ma'am, as you _are_--as you _seem_ so good, you won't take it amiss.'

Miss Somers and her sister smiled at the affectionate simplicity with
which Susan's little brothers undertook her defence, and they were, from
this slight circumstance, disposed to think yet more favourably of a
family which seemed so well united. They took Susan along with them
through the village. Many neighbours came to their doors, and far from
envying, they all secretly wished Susan well as she passed.

'I fancy we shall find what we want here,' said Miss Somers, stopping
before a shop, where unfolded sheets of pins and glass buttons glistened
in the window, and where rolls of many coloured ribbons appeared ranged
in tempting order. She went in, and was rejoiced to see the shelves at
the back of the counter well furnished with glossy tiers of stuffs, and
gay, neat printed linens and calicoes.

'Now, Susan, choose yourself a gown,' said Miss Somers; 'you set an
example of industry and good conduct, of which we wish to take public
notice, for the benefit of others.'

The shopkeeper, who was father to Susan's friend Rose, looked much
satisfied by this speech, and as if a compliment had been paid to
himself, bowed low to Miss Somers, and then with alertness, which a
London linendraper might have admired, produced piece after piece of his
best goods to his young customer--unrolled, unfolded, held the bright
stuffs and calendered calicoes in various lights. Now stretched his arm
to the highest shelves, and brought down in a trice what seemed to be
beyond the reach of any but a giant's arm; now dived into some hidden
recess beneath the counter, and brought to light fresh beauties and
fresh temptations.

Susan looked on with more indifference than most of the spectators. She
was thinking much of her lamb, and more of her father.

Miss Somers had put a bright guinea into her hand, and had bid her pay
for her own gown; but Susan, as she looked at the guinea, thought it was
a great deal of money to lay out upon herself, and she wished, but did
not know how to ask, that she might keep it for a better purpose.

Some people are wholly inattentive to the lesser feelings, and incapable
of reading the countenances of those on whom they bestow their bounty.
Miss Somers and her sister were not of this roughly charitable class.

'She does not like any of these things,' whispered Miss Somers to her
sister. Her sister observed that Susan looked as if her thoughts were
far distant from gowns.

'If you don't fancy any of these things,' said the civil shopkeeper to
Susan, 'we shall have a new assortment of calicoes for the spring season
soon from town.' 'Oh,' interrupted Susan, with a smile and a blush,
'these are all pretty, and too good for me, but----' '_But_ what,
Susan?' said Miss Somers. 'Tell us what is passing in your little mind.'
Susan hesitated. 'Well then, we will not press you, you are scarcely
acquainted with us yet; when you are, you will not be afraid, I hope, to
speak your mind. Put this shining yellow counter,' continued she,
pointing to the guinea, 'in your pocket, and make what use of it you
please. From what we know, and from what we have heard of you, we are
persuaded that you will make a good use of it.'

'I think, madam,' said the master of the shop, with a shrewd,
good-natured look, 'I could give a pretty good guess myself what will
become of that guinea; but I say nothing.'

'No, that is right,' said Miss Somers; 'we leave Susan entirely at
liberty; and now we will not detain her any longer. Good night, Susan,
we shall soon come again to your neat cottage.' Susan curtsied, with an
expressive look of gratitude, and with a modest frankness in her
countenance which seemed to say, 'I would tell you, and welcome, what I
want to do with the guinea; but I am not used to speak before so many
people. When you come to our cottage again you shall know all.'

When Susan had departed, Miss Somers turned to the obliging shopkeeper,
who was folding up all the things he had opened. 'You have had a great
deal of trouble with us, sir,' said she; 'and since Susan will not
choose a gown for herself, I must.' She selected the prettiest; and
whilst the man was rolling it in paper, she asked him several questions
about Susan and her family, which he was delighted to answer, because he
had now an opportunity of saying as much as he wished in her praise.

'No later back, ma'am, than last May morning,' said he, 'as my daughter
Rose was telling us, Susan did a turn, in her quiet way, by her mother,
that would not displease you if you were to hear it. She was to have
been Queen of the May, which in our little village, amongst the younger
tribe, is a thing that is thought of a good deal; but Susan's mother was
ill, and Susan, after sitting up with her all night, would not leave her
in the morning, even when they brought the crown to her. She put the
crown upon my daughter Rose's head with her own hands; and, to be sure,
Rose loves her as well as if she was her own sister. But I don't speak
from partiality; for I am no relation whatever to the Prices--only a
well-wisher, as every one, I believe, who knows them is. I'll send the
parcel up to the Abbey, shall I, ma'am?'

'If you please,' said Miss Somers, 'and, as soon as you receive your new
things from town, let us know. You will, I hope, find us good customers
and well-wishers,' added she, with a smile; 'for those who wish well to
their neighbours surely deserve to have well-wishers themselves.'

A few words may encourage the benevolent passions, and may dispose
people to live in peace and happiness; a few words may set them at
variance, and may lead to misery and lawsuits. Attorney Case and Miss
Somers were both equally convinced of this, and their practice was
uniformly consistent with their principles.

But now to return to Susan. She put the bright guinea carefully into the
glove with the twelve shillings which she had received from her
companions on May day. Besides this treasure, she calculated that the
amount of the bills for bread could not be less than eight or nine and
thirty shillings; and as her father was now sure of a week's reprieve,
she had great hopes that, by some means or other, it would be possible
to make up the whole sum necessary to pay for a substitute. 'If that
could but be done,' said she to herself, 'how happy would my mother be.
She would be quite stout again, for she certainly is a great deal better
since I told her that father would stay a week longer. Ah! but she would
not have blessed Attorney Case, though, if she had known about my poor
Daisy.'

Susan took the path that led to the meadow by the water-side, resolved
to go by herself and take leave of her innocent favourite. But she did
not pass by unperceived. Her little brothers were watching for her
return, and as soon as they saw her they ran after her, and overtook her
as she reached the meadow.

'What did that good lady want with you?' cried William; but looking up
in his sister's face he saw tears in her eyes, and he was silent, and
walked on quietly. Susan saw her lamb by the water-side. 'Who are those
two men?' said William. 'What are they going to do with _Daisy_?' The
two men were Attorney Case and the butcher. The butcher was feeling
whether the lamb was fat.

Susan sat down upon the bank in silent sorrow; her little brothers ran
up to the butcher, and demanded whether he was going to _do any harm_ to
the lamb. The butcher did not answer, but the attorney replied, 'It is
not your sister's lamb any longer; it's mine--mine to all intents and
purposes.' 'Yours!' cried the children, with terror; 'and will you kill
it?' 'That's the butcher's business.'

The little boys now burst into piercing lamentations. They pushed away
the butcher's hand; they threw their arms round the neck of the lamb;
they kissed its forehead--it bleated. 'It will not bleat to-morrow!'
said William, and he wept bitterly. The butcher looked aside, and
hastily rubbed his eyes with the corner of his blue apron. The attorney
stood unmoved; he pulled up the head of the lamb, which had just stooped
to crop a mouthful of clover. 'I have no time to waste,' said he;
'butcher, you'll account with me. If it's fat--the sooner the better.
I've no more to say.' And he walked off, deaf to the prayers of the poor
children.

As soon as the attorney was out of sight, Susan rose from the bank where
she was seated, came up to her lamb, and stooped to gather some of the
fresh dewy trefoil, to let it eat out of her hand for the last time.
Poor Daisy licked her well-known hand.

[Illustration: _Let it eat out of her hand for the last time._]

'Now, let us go,' said Susan. 'I'll wait as long as you please,' said
the butcher. Susan thanked him, but walked away quickly, without looking
again at her lamb. Her little brothers begged the man to stay a few
minutes, for they had gathered a handful of blue speedwell and yellow
crowsfoot, and they were decking the poor animal. As it followed the
boys through the village, the children collected as they passed, and the
butcher's own son was amongst the number. Susan's steadiness about the
bad shilling was full in this boy's memory; it had saved him a beating.
He went directly to his father to beg the life of Susan's lamb.

'I was thinking about it, boy, myself,' said the butcher; 'it's a sin to
kill a _pet lamb_, I'm thinking--any way, it's what I'm not used to, and
don't fancy doing, and I'll go and say as much to Attorney Case; but
he's a hard man; there's but one way to deal with him, and that's the
way I must take, though so be I shall be the loser thereby; but we'll
say nothing to the boys, for fear it might be the thing would not take;
and then it would be worse again to poor Susan, who is a good girl, and
always was, as well she may, being of a good breed, and well reared from
the first.'

'Come, lads, don't keep a crowd and a scandal about my door,' continued
he, aloud, to the children; 'turn the lamb in here, John, in the
paddock, for to-night, and go your ways home.'

The crowd dispersed, but murmured, and the butcher went to the attorney.
'Seeing that all you want is a good, fat, tender lamb, for a present for
Sir Arthur, as you told me,' said the butcher, 'I could let you have
what's as good or better for your purpose.' 'Better--if it's better, I'm
ready to hear reason.' The butcher had choice, tender lamb, he said, fit
to eat the next day; and as Mr. Case was impatient to make his offering
to Sir Arthur, he accepted the butcher's proposal, though with such
seeming reluctance, that he actually squeezed out of him, before he
would complete the bargain, a bribe of a fine sweetbread.

In the meantime Susan's brothers ran home to tell her that her lamb was
put into the paddock for the night; this was all they knew, and even
this was some comfort to her. Rose, her good friend, was with her, and
she had before her the pleasure of telling her father of his week's
reprieve. Her mother was better, and even said she was determined to sit
up to supper in her wicker armchair.

Susan was getting things ready for supper, when little William, who was
standing at the house door, watching in the dusk for his father's
return, suddenly exclaimed, 'Susan! if here is not our old man!'

'Yes,' said the old harper, 'I have found my way to you. The neighbours
were kind enough to show me whereabouts you lived; for, though I didn't
know your name, they guessed who I meant by what I said of you all.'
Susan came to the door, and the old man was delighted to hear her speak
again. 'If it would not be too bold,' said he, 'I'm a stranger in this
part of the country, and come from afar off. My boy has got a bed for
himself here in the village, but I have no place. Could you be so
charitable as to give an old blind man a night's lodging?' Susan said
she would step in and ask her mother; and she soon returned with an
answer that he was heartily welcome, if he could sleep upon the
children's bed, which was but small.

The old man thankfully entered the hospitable cottage. He struck his
head against the low roof, as he stepped over the door-sill. 'Many roofs
that are twice as high are not half so good,' said he. Of this he had
just had experience at the house of the Attorney Case, while he had
asked, but had been roughly refused all assistance by Miss Barbara, who
was, according to her usual custom, standing staring at the hall door.

The old man's harp was set down in Farmer Price's kitchen, and he
promised to play a tune for the boys before they went to bed; their
mother giving them leave to sit up to supper with their father. He came
home with a sorrowful countenance; but how soon did it brighten when
Susan, with a smile, said to him, 'Father, we've good news for you! good
news for us all!--You have a whole week longer to stay with us; and
perhaps,' continued she, putting her little purse into his hands,
'perhaps with what's here and the bread bills, and what may somehow be
got together before a week's at an end, we may make up the nine guineas
for the substitute, as they call him. Who knows, dearest mother, but we
may keep him with us for ever!' As she spoke, she threw her arms round
her father, who pressed her to his bosom without speaking, for his heart
was full. He was some little time before he could perfectly believe that
what he heard was true; but the revived smiles of his wife, the noisy
joy of his little boys, and the satisfaction that shone in Susan's
countenance, convinced him that he was not in a dream.

As they sat down to supper, the old harper was made welcome to his share
of the cheerful though frugal meal.

Susan's father, as soon as supper was finished, even before he would let
the harper play a tune for his boys, opened the little purse which Susan
had given him. He was surprised at the sight of the twelve shillings,
and still more, when he came to the bottom of the purse, to see the
bright golden guinea.

'How did you come by all this money, Susan?' said he. 'Honestly and
handsomely, that I'm sure of beforehand,' said her proud mother; 'but
how I can't make out, except by the baking. Hey, Susan, is this your
first baking?' 'Oh no, no,' said her father, 'I have her first baking
snug here, besides, in my pocket. I kept it for a surprise, to do your
mother's heart good, Susan. Here's twenty-nine shillings, and the Abbey
bill, which is not paid yet, comes to ten more. What think you of this,
wife? Have we not a right to be proud of our Susan? Why,' continued he,
turning to the harper, 'I ask your pardon for speaking out so free
before strangers in praise of my own, which I know is not mannerly; but
the truth is the fittest thing to be spoken, as I think, at all times;
therefore, here's your good health, Susan; why, by-and-by she'll be
worth her weight in gold--in silver at least. But tell us, child, how
came you by all this riches? and how comes it that I don't go to-morrow?
All this happy news makes me so gay in myself, I'm afraid I shall hardly
understand it rightly. But speak on, child--first bringing us a bottle
of the good mead you made last year from your own honey.'

Susan did not much like to tell the history of her guinea-hen--of the
gown and of her poor lamb. Part of this would seem as if she was
vaunting of her own generosity, and part of it she did not like to
recollect. But her mother pressed to know the whole, and she related it
as simply as she could. When she came to the story of her lamb, her
voice faltered, and everybody present was touched. The old harper sighed
once, and cleared his throat several times. He then asked for his harp,
and, after tuning it for a considerable time, he recollected--for he had
often fits of absence--that he had sent for it to play the tune he had
promised to the boys.

This harper came from a great distance, from the mountains of Wales, to
contend with several other competitors for a prize, which had been
advertised by a musical society about a year before this time. There was
to be a splendid ball given upon the occasion at Shrewsbury, which was
about five miles from our village. The prize was ten guineas for the
best performer on the harp, and the prize was now to be decided in a few
days.

All this intelligence Barbara had long since gained from her maid, who
often paid visits to the town of Shrewsbury, and she had long had her
imagination inflamed with the idea of this splendid music-meeting and
ball. Often had she sighed to be there, and often had she revolved in
her mind schemes for introducing herself to some _genteel_ neighbours,
who might take her to the ball _in their carriage_. How rejoiced, how
triumphant was she when this very evening, just about the time when the
butcher was bargaining with her father about Susan's lamb, a _livery_
servant from the Abbey rapped at the door, and left a card for Mr. and
Miss Barbara Case.

'There,' cried Bab, '_I_ and _papa_ are to dine and drink tea at the
Abbey to-morrow. Who knows? I daresay, when they see that I'm not a
vulgar-looking person, and all that, and if I go cunningly to work with
Miss Somers, as I shall, to be sure--I daresay she'll take me to the
ball with her.'

'To be sure,' said the maid; 'it's the least one may expect from a lady
who _demeans_ herself to visit Susan Price, and goes about a-shopping
for her. The least she can do for you is to take you in her carriage,
_which_ costs nothing, but is just a common civility, to a ball.'

'Then pray, Betty,' continued Miss Barbara, 'don't forget to-morrow, the
first thing you do, to send off to Shrewsbury for my new bonnet. I must
have it _to dine in_, at the Abbey, or the ladies will think nothing of
me; and, Betty, remember the mantua-maker too. I must see and coax papa
to buy me a new gown against the ball. I can see, you know, something of
the fashions to-morrow at the Abbey. I shall _look the ladies well
over_, I promise you. And, Betty, I have thought of the most charming
present for Miss Somers, as papa says it's good never to go empty-handed
to a great house, I'll make Miss Somers, who is fond, as her maid told
you, of such things--I'll make Miss Somers a present of that guinea-hen
of Susan's; it's of no use to me, so do you carry it up early in the
morning to the Abbey, with my compliments. That's the thing.'

In full confidence that her present and her bonnet would operate
effectually in her favour, Miss Barbara paid her first visit at the
Abbey. She expected to see wonders. She was dressed in all the finery
which she had heard from her maid, who had heard from the 'prentice of a
Shrewsbury milliner, was _the thing_ in London; and she was much
surprised and disappointed, when she was shown into the room where the
Miss Somerses and the ladies of the Abbey were sitting, to see that they
did not, in any one part of their dress, agree with the picture her
imagination had formed of fashionable ladies. She was embarrassed when
she saw books and work and drawings upon the table, and she began to
think that some affront was meant to her, because _the company_ did not
sit with their hands before them.

When Miss Somers endeavoured to find out conversation that would
interest her, and spoke of walks and flowers and gardening, of which she
was herself fond, Miss Barbara still thought herself undervalued, and
soon contrived to expose her ignorance most completely, by talking of
things which she did not understand.

Those who never attempt to appear what they are not--those who do not in
their manners pretend to anything unsuited to their habits and situation
in life, never are in danger of being laughed at by sensible, well-bred
people of any rank; but affectation is the constant and just object of
ridicule.

Miss Barbara Case, with her mistaken airs of gentility, aiming to be
thought a woman and a fine lady, whilst she was, in reality, a child and
a vulgar attorney's daughter, rendered herself so thoroughly ridiculous,
that the good-natured, yet discerning spectators were painfully divided
between their sense of comic absurdity and a feeling of shame for one
who could feel nothing for herself.

One by one the ladies dropped off. Miss Somers went out of the room for
a few minutes to alter her dress, as it was the custom of the family,
before dinner. She left a portfolio of pretty drawings and good prints
for Miss Barbara's amusement; but Miss Barbara's thoughts were so intent
upon the harpers' ball, that she could not be entertained with such
_trifles_. How unhappy are those who spend their time in expectation!
They can never enjoy the present moment. Whilst Barbara was contriving
means of interesting Miss Somers in her favour, she recollected, with
surprise, that not one word had yet been said of her present of the
guinea-hen. Mrs. Betty, in the hurry of her dressing her young lady in
the morning, had forgotten it; but it came just whilst Miss Somers was
dressing; and the housekeeper came into her mistress's room to announce
its arrival.

'Ma'am,' said she, 'here's a beautiful guinea-hen just come, _with_ Miss
Barbara Case's compliments to you.'

Miss Somers knew, by the tone in which the housekeeper delivered this
message, that there was something in the business which did not
perfectly please her. She made no answer, in expectation that the
housekeeper, who was a woman of a very open temper, would explain her
cause of dissatisfaction. In this she was not mistaken. The housekeeper
came close up to the dressing-table, and continued, 'I never like to
speak till I'm sure, ma'am, and I'm not quite sure, to say certain, in
this case, ma'am, but still I think it right to tell you, which can't
wrong anybody, what came across my mind about this same guinea-hen,
ma'am; and you can inquire into it, and do as you please afterwards,
ma'am. Some time ago we had fine guinea-fowls of our own, and I made
bold, not thinking, to be sure, that all our own would die away from us,
as they have done, to give a fine couple last Christmas to Susan Price,
and very fond and pleased she was at the time, and I'm sure would never
have parted with the hen with her good-will; but if my eyes don't
strangely mistake, this hen, that comes from Miss Barbara, is the
self-same identical guinea-hen that I gave to Susan. And how Miss Bab
came by it is the thing that puzzles me. If my boy Philip was at home,
maybe, as he's often at Mrs. Price's (which I don't disapprove), he
might know the history of the guinea-hen. I expect him home this night,
and if you have no objection, I will sift the affair.'

'The shortest way, I think,' said Henrietta, 'would be to ask Miss Case
herself about it, which I will do this evening.' 'If you please, ma'am,'
said the housekeeper, coldly; for she knew that Miss Barbara was not
famous in the village for speaking truth.

Dinner was now served. Attorney Case expected to smell mint sauce, and,
as the covers were taken from off the dishes, looked around for lamb;
but no lamb appeared. He had a dexterous knack of twisting the
conversation to his point. Sir Arthur was speaking, when they sat down
to dinner, of a new carving knife, which he lately had had made for his
sister. The Attorney immediately went from carving-knives to poultry;
thence to butchers meat. Some joints, he observed, were much more
difficult to carve than others. He never saw a man carve better than the
gentleman opposite him, who was the curate of the parish. 'But, sir,'
said the vulgar attorney, 'I must make bold to differ with you in one
point, and I'll appeal to Sir Arthur. Sir Arthur, pray may I ask, when
you carve a forequarter of lamb, do you, when you raise the shoulder,
throw in salt, or not?' This well-prepared question was not lost upon
Sir Arthur. The attorney was thanked for his intended present; but
mortified and surprised to hear Sir Arthur say that it was a constant
rule of his never to accept of any presents from his neighbours. 'If we
were to accept a lamb from a rich neighbour on my estate,' said he, 'I
am afraid we should mortify many of our poor tenants, who can have
little to offer, though, perhaps, they may bear us thorough good-will
notwithstanding.'

After the ladies left the dining-room, as they were walking up and down
the large hall, Miss Barbara had a fair opportunity of imitating her
keen father's method of conversing. One of the ladies observed that this
hall would be a charming place for music. Bab brought in harps and
harpers, and the harpers' ball, in a breath. 'I know so much about
it,--about the ball I mean,' said she, 'because a lady in Shrewsbury, a
friend of papa's, offered to take me with her; but papa did not like to
give her the trouble of sending so far for me, though she has a coach of
her own.' Barbara fixed her eyes upon Miss Somers as she spoke; but she
could not read her countenance as distinctly as she wished, because Miss
Somers was at this moment letting down the veil of her hat.

'Shall we walk out before tea?' said Miss Somers to her companions;
'I have a pretty guinea-hen to show you.' Barbara, secretly drawing
propitious omens from the guinea-hen, followed with a confidential
step. The pheasantry was well filled with pheasants, peacocks, etc.;
and Susan's pretty little guinea-hen appeared well, even in this high
company. It was much admired. Barbara was in glory; but her glory was of
short duration.

Just as Miss Somers was going to inquire into the guinea-hen's history,
Philip came up, to ask permission to have a bit of sycamore, to turn a
nutmeg box for his mother. He was an ingenious lad, and a good turner
for his age. Sir Arthur had put by a bit of sycamore on purpose for him;
and Miss Somers told him where it was to be found. He thanked her; but
in the midst of his bow of thanks his eye was struck by the sight of the
guinea-hen, and he involuntarily exclaimed, 'Susan's guinea-hen, I
declare!' 'No, it's not Susan's guinea-hen,' said Miss Barbara,
colouring furiously; 'it is mine, and I have made a present of it to
Miss Somers.'

At the sound of Bab's voice, Philip turned--saw her--and indignation,
unrestrained by the presence of all the amazed spectators, flashed in
his countenance.

'What is the matter, Philip?' said Miss Somers, in a pacifying tone; but
Philip was not inclined to be pacified. 'Why, ma'am,' said he, 'may I
speak out?' and, without waiting for permission, he spoke out, and gave
a full, true, and warm account of Rose's embassy, and of Miss Barbara's
cruel and avaricious proceedings.

Barbara denied, prevaricated, stammered, and at last was overcome with
confusion; for which even the most indulgent spectators could scarcely
pity her.

Miss Somers, however, mindful of what was due to her guest, was anxious
to despatch Philip for his piece of sycamore. Bab recovered herself as
soon as he was out of sight; but she further exposed herself by
exclaiming, 'I'm sure I wish this pitiful guinea-hen had never come into
my possession. I wish Susan had kept it at home, as she should have
done!'

'Perhaps she will be more careful now that she has received so strong a
lesson,' said Miss Somers. 'Shall we try her?' continued she. 'Philip
will, I daresay, take the guinea-hen back to Susan, if we desire it.'
'If you please, ma'am,' said Barbara, sullenly; 'I have nothing more to
do with it.'

So the guinea-hen was delivered to Philip, who set off joyfully with
his prize, and was soon in sight of Farmer Price's cottage. He stopped
when he came to the door. He recollected Rose and her generous
friendship for Susan. He was determined that she should have the
pleasure of restoring the guinea-hen. He ran into the village. All the
children who had given up their little purse on May-day were assembled
on the play-green. They were delighted to see the guinea-hen once more.
Philip took his pipe and tabor, and they marched in innocent triumph
towards the white washed cottage.

'Let me come with you--let me come with you,' said the butcher's boy to
Philip. 'Stop one minute! my father has something to say to you.' He
darted into his father's house. The little procession stopped, and in a
few minutes the bleating of a lamb was heard. Through a back passage,
which led into the paddock behind the house, they saw the butcher
leading a lamb.

'It is Daisy!' exclaimed Rose. 'It's Daisy!' repeated all her
companions. 'Susan's lamb! Susan's lamb!' and there was a universal
shout of joy.

'Well, for my part,' said the good butcher, as soon as he could be
heard,--'for my part, I would not be so cruel as Attorney Case for the
whole world. These poor brute beasts don't know aforehand what's going
to happen to them; and as for dying, it's what we must all do some time
or another; but to keep wringing the hearts of the living, that have as
much sense as one's self, is what I call cruel; and is not this what
Attorney Case has been doing by poor Susan and her whole family, ever
since he took a spite against them? But, at any rate, here's Susan's
lamb safe and sound. I'd have taken it back sooner, but I was off before
day to the fair, and am but just come back. Daisy, however, has been as
well off in my paddock as he would have been in the field by the
water-side.'

The obliging shopkeeper, who showed the pretty calicoes to Susan, was
now at his door, and when he saw the lamb, and heard that it was
Susan's, and learned its history, he said that he would add his mite;
and he gave the children some ends of narrow riband, with which Rose
decorated her friend's lamb.

The pipe and tabor now once more began to play, and the procession
moved on in joyful order, after giving the humane butcher three cheers;
three cheers which were better deserved than 'loud huzzas' usually are.

Susan was working in her arbour, with her little deal table before her.
When she heard the sound of the music, she put down her work and
listened. She saw the crowd of children coming nearer and nearer. They
had closed round Daisy, so that she did not see it; but as they came up
to the garden gate she saw that Rose beckoned to her. Philip played as
loud as he could, that she might not hear, till the proper moment, the
bleating of the lamb. Susan opened the garden-wicket, and at this signal
the crowd divided, and the first thing that Susan saw, in the midst of
her taller friends, was little smiling Mary, with the guinea-hen in her
arms.

'Come on! Come on!' cried Mary, as Susan started with joyful surprise;
'you have more to see.'

At this instant the music paused, Susan heard the bleating of a lamb,
and scarcely daring to believe her senses, she pressed eagerly forward,
and beheld poor Daisy!--she burst into tears. 'I did not shed one tear
when I parted with you, my dear little Daisy!' said she. 'It was for my
father and mother. I would not have parted with you for anything else in
the whole world. Thank you, thank you all,' added she, to her
companions, who sympathised in her joy, even more than they had
sympathised in her sorrow. 'Now, if my father was not to go away from us
next week, and if my mother was quite stout, I should be the happiest
person in the world!'

As Susan pronounced these words, a voice behind the little listening
crowd cried, in a brutal tone, 'Let us pass, if you please; you have no
right to stop up the public road!' This was the voice of Attorney Case,
who was returning with his daughter Barbara from his visit to the Abbey.
He saw the lamb, and tried to whistle as he went on. Barbara also saw
the guinea-hen, and turned her head another way, that she might avoid
the contemptuous, reproachful looks of those whom she only affected to
despise. Even her new bonnet, in which she had expected to be so much
admired, was now only serviceable to hide her face and conceal her
mortification.

'I am glad she saw the guinea-hen,' cried Rose, who now held it in her
hands. 'Yes,' said Philip, 'she'll not forget May-day in a hurry.' 'Nor
I neither, I hope,' said Susan, looking round upon her companions with
a most affectionate smile: 'I hope, whilst I live, I shall never forget
your goodness to me last May-day. Now I've my pretty guinea-hen safe
once more, I should think of returning your money.' 'No! no! no!' was
the general cry. 'We don't want the money--keep it, keep it--you want it
for your father.' 'Well,' said Susan, 'I am not too proud to be obliged.
I _will_ keep your money for my father. Perhaps some time or other I may
be able to earn----' 'Oh,' interrupted Philip, 'don't let us talk of
earning; don't let us talk to her of money now; she has not had time
hardly to look at poor Daisy and her guinea-hen. Come, we had best go
about our business, and let her have them all to herself.'

The crowd moved away in consequence of Philip's considerate advice; but
it was observed that he was the very last to stir from the garden-wicket
himself. He stayed, first, to inform Susan that it was Rose who tied the
ribands on Daisy's head. Then he stayed a little longer to let her into
the history of the guinea-hen, and to tell her who it was that brought
the hen home from the Abbey.

Rose held the sieve, and Susan was feeding her long-lost favourite,
whilst Philip leaned over the wicket, prolonging his narration. 'Now, my
pretty guinea-hen,' said Susan--'my naughty guinea-hen, that flew away
from me, you shall never serve me so again. I must cut your nice wings;
but I won't hurt you.' 'Take care,' cried Philip; 'you'd better, indeed
you'd better let me hold her whilst you cut her wings.'

When this operation was successfully performed, which it certainly could
never have been if Philip had not held the hen for Susan, he recollected
that his mother had sent him with a message to Mrs. Price. This message
led to another quarter of an hour's delay; for he had the whole history
of the guinea-hen to tell over again to Mrs. Price, and the farmer
himself luckily came in whilst it was going on, so it was but civil to
begin it afresh; and then the farmer was so rejoiced to see his Susan so
happy again with her two little favourites, that he declared he must see
Daisy fed himself; and Philip found that he was wanted to hold the
jugful of milk, out of which Farmer Price filled the pan for Daisy.
Happy Daisy! who lapped at his ease whilst Susan caressed him, and
thanked her fond father and her pleased mother.

'But, Philip,' said Mrs. Price, 'I'll hold the jug--you'll be late with
your message to your mother; we'll not detain you any longer.'

Philip departed, and as he went out of the garden-wicket he looked up,
and saw Bab and her maid Betty staring out of the window, as usual. On
this, he immediately turned back to try whether he had shut the gate
fast, lest the guinea-hen might stray, out and fall again into the hands
of the enemy.

Miss Barbara, in the course of this day, felt considerable
mortification, but no contrition. She was vexed that her meanness was
discovered, but she felt no desire to cure herself of any of her faults.
The ball was still uppermost in her vain, selfish soul. 'Well,' said she
to her _confidante_, Betty, 'you hear how things have turned out; but if
Miss Somers won't think of asking me to go out with her, I've a notion I
know who will. As papa says, it's a good thing to have two strings to
one's bow.'

Now some officers, who were quartered at Shrewsbury, had become
acquainted with Mr. Case. They had gotten into some quarrel with a
tradesman of the town, and Attorney Case had promised to bring them
through the affair, as the man threatened to take the law of them. Upon
the faith of this promise, and with the vain hope that, by civility,
they might dispose him to bring in a _reasonable_ bill of costs, these
officers sometimes invited Mr. Case to the mess; and one of them, who
had lately been married, prevailed upon his bride _sometimes_ to take a
little notice of Miss Barbara. It was with this lady that Miss Barbara
now hoped to go to the harpers' ball.

'The officers and Mrs. Strathspey, or, more properly, Mrs. Strathspey
and the officers, are to breakfast here, to-morrow, do you know?' said
Bab to Betty. 'One of them dined at the Abbey to-day, and told papa
they'd all come. They are going out on a party, somewhere into the
country, and breakfast here on their way. Pray, Betty, don't forget that
Mrs. Strathspey can't breakfast without honey. I heard her say so
myself.' 'Then, indeed,' said Betty, 'I'm afraid Mrs. Strathspey will be
likely to go without her breakfast here; for not a spoonful of honey
have we, let her long for it ever so much.' 'But, surely,' said Bab, 'we
can contrive to get some honey in the neighbourhood.' 'There's none to
be bought, as I know of,' said Betty. 'But is there none to be begged
or borrowed?' said Bab, laughing. 'Do you forget Susan's beehive? Step
over to her in the morning with _my compliments_, and see what you can
do. Tell her it's for Mrs. Strathspey.'

In the morning Betty went with Miss Barbara's compliments to Susan, to
beg some honey for Mrs. Strathspey who could not breakfast without it.
Susan did not like to part with her honey, because her mother loved it,
and she therefore gave Betty but a small quantity. When Barbara saw how
little Susan sent, she called her a _miser_, and she said she _must_
have some more for Mrs. Strathspey. 'I'll go myself and speak to her.
Come with me, Betty,' said the young lady, who found it at present
convenient to forget her having declared, the day that she sucked up the
broth, that she never would honour Susan with another visit. 'Susan,'
said she, accosting the poor girl, whom she had done everything in her
power to injure, 'I must beg a little more honey from you for Mrs.
Strathspey's breakfast. You know, on a particular occasion such as this,
neighbours must help one another.' 'To be sure they should,' added
Betty.

Susan, though she was generous, was not weak; she was willing to give to
those she loved, but not disposed to let anything be taken from her, or
coaxed out of her, by those she had reason to despise. She civilly
answered that she was sorry she had no more honey to spare.

Barbara grew angry, and lost all command of herself, when she saw that
Susan, without regarding her reproaches, went on looking through the
glass pane in the beehive. 'I'll tell you what, Susan Price,' said she,
in a high tone, 'the honey I _will_ have, so you may as well give it to
me by fair means. Yes or no? Speak! Will you give it me or not? Will you
give me that piece of the honeycomb that lies there?' 'That bit of
honeycomb is for my mother's breakfast,' said Susan; 'I cannot give it
you.' 'Can't you?' said Bab, 'then see if I don't take it!' She
stretched across Susan for the honeycomb, which was lying by some
rosemary leaves that Susan had freshly gathered for her mother's tea.
Bab grasped, but at her first effort she only reached the rosemary. She
made a second dart at the honeycomb, and, in her struggle to obtain it,
she overset the beehive. The bees swarmed about her. Her maid Betty
screamed and ran away. Susan, who was sheltered by a laburnum tree,
called to Barbara, upon whom the black clusters of bees were now
settling, and begged her to stand still, and not to beat them away. 'If
you stand quietly you won't be stung, perhaps.' But instead of standing
quietly, Bab buffeted and stamped and roared, and the bees stung her
terribly. Her arms and her face swelled in a frightful manner. She was
helped home by poor Susan and treacherous Mrs. Betty, who, now the
mischief was done, thought only of exculpating herself to her master.

'Indeed, Miss Barbara,' said she, 'this was quite wrong of you to go and
get yourself into such a scrape. I shall be turned away for it, you'll
see.'

'I don't care whether you are turned away or not,' said Barbara; 'I
never felt such pain in my life. Can't you do something for me? I don't
mind the pain either so much as being such a fright. Pray, how am I to
be fit to be seen at breakfast by Mrs. Strathspey; and I suppose I can't
go to the ball either to-morrow, after all!'

'No, that you can't expect to do, indeed,' said Betty, the comforter.
'You need not think of balls; for those lumps and swellings won't go off
your face this week. That's not what pains me; but I'm thinking of what
your papa will say to me when he sees you, miss.'

Whilst this amiable mistress and maid were in their adversity reviling
one another, Susan, when she saw that she could be of no further use,
was preparing to depart, but at the house-door she was met by Mr. Case.
Mr. Case had revolved things in his mind; for his second visit at the
Abbey pleased him as little as his first, owing to a few words which Sir
Arthur and Miss Somers dropped in speaking of Susan and Farmer Price.
Mr. Case began to fear that he had mistaken his game in quarrelling with
this family. The refusal of his present dwelt upon the attorney's mind;
and he was aware that, if the history of Susan's lamb ever reached the
Abbey, he was undone. He now thought that the most prudent course he
could possibly follow would be to _hush up_ matters with the _Prices_
with all convenient speed. Consequently, when he met Susan at his door,
he forced a gracious smile. 'How is your mother, Susan?' said he. 'Is
there anything in our house can be of service to her?' On hearing his
daughter he cried out, 'Barbara, Barbara--Bab! come downstairs, child,
and speak to Susan Price.' But as no Barbara answered, her father
stalked upstairs directly, opened the door, and stood amazed at the
spectacle of her swelled visage.

Betty instantly began to tell the story of Barbara's mishap her own way.
Bab contradicted her as fast as she spoke. The attorney turned the maid
away on the spot; and partly with real anger, and partly with feigned
affectation of anger, he demanded from his daughter how she dared to
treat Susan Price so ill, 'when,' as he said, 'she was so neighbourly
and obliging as to give you some of her honey? Couldn't you be content,
without seizing upon the honeycomb by force? This is scandalous
behaviour, and what, I assure you, I can't countenance.'

Susan now interceded for Barbara; and the attorney, softening his voice,
said that 'Susan was a great deal too good to her; as you are, indeed,'
added he, 'to everybody. I forgive her for your sake.' Susan curtsied,
in great surprise; but her lamb could not be forgotten, and she left the
attorney's house as soon as she could, to make her mother's rosemary tea
breakfast.

Mr. Case saw that Susan was not so simple as to be taken in by a few
fair words. His next attempt was to conciliate Farmer Price. The farmer
was a blunt, honest man, and his countenance remained inflexibly
contemptuous, when the attorney addressed him in his softest tone.

So stood matters the day of the long-expected harpers' ball. Miss
Barbara Case, stung by Susan's bees, could not, after all her
manoeuvres, go with Mrs. Strathspey to the ball. The ballroom was
filled early in the evening. There was a numerous assembly. The harpers,
who contended for the prize, were placed under the music-gallery at the
lower end of the room. Amongst them was our old blind friend, who, as he
was not so well clad as his competitors, seemed to be disdained by many
of the spectators. Six ladies and six gentlemen were now appointed to be
judges of the performance. They were seated in a semicircle, opposite to
the harpers. The Miss Somerses, who were fond of music, were amongst the
ladies in the semicircle; and the prize was lodged in the hands of Sir
Arthur. There was now silence. The first harp sounded, and as each
musician tried his skill, the audience seemed to think that each
deserved the prize. The old blind man was the last. He tuned his
instrument; and such a simple pathetic strain was heard as touched every
heart. All were fixed in delighted attention; and when the music ceased,
the silence for some moments continued.

The silence was followed by a universal buzz of applause. The judges
were unanimous in their opinions, and it was declared that the old blind
harper, who played the last, deserved the prize.

The simple pathetic air which won the suffrages of the whole assembly,
was his own composition. He was pressed to give the words belonging to
the music; and at last he modestly offered to repeat them, as he could
not see to write. Miss Somers' ready pencil was instantly produced; and
the old harper dictated the words of his ballad, which he
called--_Susan's Lamentation for her Lamb_.

Miss Somers looked at her brother from time to time, as she wrote; and
Sir Arthur, as soon as the old man had finished, took him aside, and
asked him some questions, which brought the whole history of Susan's
lamb and of Attorney Case's cruelty to light.

The attorney himself was present when the harper began to dictate his
ballad. His colour, as Sir Arthur steadily looked at him, varied
continually; till at length, when he heard the words 'Susan's
Lamentation for her Lamb,' he suddenly shrank back, skulked through the
crowd, and disappeared. We shall not follow him; we had rather follow
our old friend, the victorious harper.

No sooner had he received the ten guineas, his well-merited prize, than
he retired to a small room belonging to the people of the house, asked
for pen, ink, and paper, and dictated, in a low voice, to his boy, who
was a tolerably good scribe, a letter, which he ordered him to put
directly into the Shrewsbury post-office. The boy ran with the letter to
the post-office. He was but just in time, for the postman's horn was
sounding.

The next morning, when Farmer Price, his wife, and Susan, were sitting
together, reflecting that his week's leave of absence was nearly at an
end, and that the money was not yet made up for John Simpson, the
substitute, a knock was heard at the door, and the person who usually
delivered the letters in the village put a letter into Susan's hand,
saying, 'A penny, if you please--here's a letter for your father.'

'For me!' said Farmer Price; 'here's the penny then; but who can it be
from, I wonder? Who can think of writing to me, in this world?' He tore
open the letter; but the hard name at the bottom of the page puzzled
him--'_your obliged friend_, Llewellyn.'

'And what's this?' said he, opening a paper that was enclosed in the
letter. 'It's a song, seemingly; it must be somebody that has a mind to
make an April fool of me.' 'But it is not April, it is May, father,'
said Susan. 'Well, let us read the letter, and we shall come to the
truth all in good time.'

Farmer Price sat down in his own chair, for he could not read entirely
to his satisfaction in any other, and read as follows:--

  'MY WORTHY FRIEND--I am sure you will be glad to hear that I have had
  good success this night. I have won the ten guinea prize, and for that
  I am in a great measure indebted to your sweet daughter Susan; as you
  will see by a little ballad I enclose for her. Your hospitality to me
  has afforded to me an opportunity of learning some of your family
  history. You do not, I hope, forget that I was present when you were
  counting the treasure in Susan's little purse, and that I heard for
  what purpose it was all destined. You have not, I know, yet made up
  the full sum for your substitute, John Simpson; therefore do me the
  favour to use the five guinea banknote which you will find within the
  ballad. You shall not find me as hard a creditor as Attorney Case.
  Pay me the money at your own convenience. If it is never convenient
  to you to pay it, I shall never ask it. I shall go my rounds again
  through this country, I believe, about this time next year, and will
  call to see how you do, and to play the new tune for Susan and the
  dear little boys.

  'I should just add, to set you hearts at rest about the money, that it
  does not distress me at all to lend it to you. I am not quite so poor
  as I appear to be. But it is my humour to go about as I do. I see more
  of the world under my tattered garb than, perhaps, I should ever see
  in a better dress. There are many of my profession who are of the same
  mind as myself in this respect; and we are glad, when it lies in our
  way, to do any kindness to such a worthy family as yours. So, fare ye
  well.--Your obliged Friend, LLEWELLYN.'

Susan now, by her father's desire, opened the ballad. He picked up the
five-guinea banknote, whilst she read, with surprise, 'Susan's
Lamentation for her Lamb.' Her mother leaned over her shoulder to read
the words; but they were interrupted, before they had finished the first
stanza, by another knock at the door. It was not the postman with
another letter. It was Sir Arthur and his sisters.

They came with an intention, which they were much disappointed to find
that the old harper had rendered vain--they came to lend the farmer and
his good family the money to pay for his substitute.

'But, since we are here,' said Sir Arthur, 'let me do my own business,
which I had like to have forgotten. Mr. Price, will you come out with
me, and let me show you a piece of your land, through which I want to
make a road? Look there,' said Sir Arthur, pointing to the spot; 'I am
laying out a ride round my estate, and that bit of land of yours stops
me.'

'Why, sir,' said Price, 'the land's mine, to be sure, for that matter;
but I hope you don't look upon me to be that sort of person that would
be stiff about a trifle or so.'

'The fact is,' said Sir Arthur, 'I had heard you were a litigious,
pig-headed fellow; but you do not seem to deserve this character.'

'Hope not, sir,' said the farmer; 'but about the matter of the land, I
don't want to take any advantage of your wishing for it. You are welcome
to it; and I leave it to you to find me out another bit of land
convenient to me that will be worth neither more nor less; or else to
make up the value to me some way or other. I need say no more about it.'

'I hear something,' continued Sir Arthur, after a short silence--'I hear
something, Mr. Price, of a _flaw_ in your lease. I would not speak to
you about it whilst we were bargaining about your land, lest I should
overawe you; but, tell me, what is this _flaw_?'

'In truth, and the truth is the fittest thing to be spoken at all
times,' said the farmer, 'I didn't know myself what a _flaw_, as they
call it, meant, till I heard of the word from Attorney Case; and, I take
it, a _flaw_ is neither more nor less than a mistake, as one should say.
Now, by reason a man does not make a mistake on purpose, it seems to me
to be the fair thing that if a man finds out his mistake, he might set
it right; but Attorney Case says this is not law; and I've no more to
say. The man who drew up my lease made a mistake; and if I must suffer
for it, I must,' said the farmer. 'However, I can show you, Sir Arthur,
just for my own satisfaction and yours, a few lines of a memorandum on a
slip of paper, which was given me by your relation, the gentleman who
lived here before, and let me my farm. You'll see, by that bit of paper,
what was meant; but the attorney says the paper's not worth a button in
a court of justice, and I don't understand these things. All I
understand is the common honesty of the matter. I've no more to say.'

'This attorney, whom you speak of so often,' said Sir Arthur, 'you seem
to have some quarrel with. Now, would you tell me frankly what is the
matter between----?'

'The matter between us, then,' said Price, 'is a little bit of ground,
not worth much, that is there open to the lane at the end of Mr. Case's
garden, and he wanted to take it in. Now I told him my mind, that it
belonged to the parish, and that I never would willingly give my consent
to his cribbing it in that way. Sir, I was the more loth to see it shut
into his garden, which, moreover, is large enough of all conscience
without it, because you must know, Sir Arthur, the children in our
village are fond of making a little play-green of it; and they have a
custom of meeting on May-day at a hawthorn that stands in the middle of
it, and altogether I was very loth to see 'em turned out of it by those
who have no right.'

'Let us go and see this nook,' said Sir Arthur. 'It is not far off, is
it?'

'Oh no, sir, just hard by here.'

When they got to the ground, Mr. Case, who saw them walking together,
was in a hurry to join them, that he might put a stop to any
explanations. Explanations were things of which he had a great dread;
but, fortunately, he was upon this occasion a little too late.

'Is this the nook in dispute?' said Sir Arthur. 'Yes; this is the whole
thing,' said Price. 'Why, Sir Arthur,' interposed the politic attorney,
with an assumed air of generosity, 'don't let us talk any more about it.
Let it belong to whom it will, I give it up to you.'

'So great a lawyer, Mr. Case, as you are,' replied Sir Arthur, 'must
know that a man cannot give up that to which he has no legal title; and
in this case it is impossible that, with the best intentions to oblige
me in the world, you can give up this bit of land to me, because it is
mine already, as I can convince you effectually by a map of the
adjoining land, which I have fortunately safe amongst my papers. This
piece of ground belonged to the farm on the opposite side of the road,
and it was cut off when the lane was made.'

'Very possibly. I daresay you are quite correct; you must know best,'
said the attorney, trembling for the agency.

'Then,' said Sir Arthur, 'Mr. Price, you will observe that I now promise
this little green to the children for a playground; and I hope they may
gather hawthorn many a May-day at this their favourite bush.' Mr. Price
bowed low, which he seldom did, even when he received a favour himself.
'And now, Mr. Case,' said Sir Arthur, turning to the attorney, who did
not know which way to look, 'you sent me a lease to look over.'

'Ye--ye--yes,' stammered Mr. Case. 'I thought it my duty to do so; not
out of any malice or ill-will to this good man.'

'You have done him no injury,' said Sir Arthur coolly. 'I am ready to
make him a new lease, whenever he pleases, of his farm, and I shall be
guided by a memorandum of the original bargain, which he has in his
possession. I hope I never shall take an unfair advantage of any one.'

'Heaven forbid, sir,' said the attorney, sanctifying his face, 'that I
should suggest the taking an _unfair_ advantage of any man, rich or
poor; but to break a bad lease is not taking an unfair advantage.'

'You really think so?' said Sir Arthur. 'Certainly I do, and I hope I
have not hazarded your good opinion by speaking my mind concerning the
flaw so plainly. I always understood that there could be nothing
ungentlemanlike, in the way of business, in taking advantage of the flaw
in a lease.'

'Now,' said Sir Arthur, 'you have pronounced judgment _undesignedly_ in
your own case. You intended to send me this poor man's lease; but your
son, by some mistake, brought me your own, and I have discovered a fatal
error in it.' 'A fatal error!' said the alarmed attorney. 'Yes, sir,'
said Sir Arthur, pulling the lease out of his pocket. 'Here it is. You
will observe that it is neither signed nor sealed by the grantor.' 'But
you won't take advantage of me, surely, Sir Arthur?' said Mr. Case,
forgetting his own principles. 'I shall not take advantage of you, as
you would have taken of this honest man. In both cases I shall be guided
by memoranda which I have in my possession. I shall not, Mr. Case,
defraud you of one shilling of your property. I am ready, at a fair
valuation, to pay the exact value of your house and land; but upon this
condition--that you quit the parish within one month!'

Attorney Case was thus compelled to submit to the hard necessity of the
case, for he knew that he could not legally resist. Indeed he was glad
to be let off so easily; and he bowed and sneaked away, secretly
comforting himself with the hope that when they came to the valuation of
the house and land he should be the gainer, perhaps, of a few guineas.
His reputation he justly held very cheap.

'You are a scholar; you write a good hand; you can keep accounts, cannot
you?' said Sir Arthur to Mr. Price, as they walked home towards the
cottage. 'I think I saw a bill of your little daughter's drawing out the
other day, which was very neatly written. Did you teach her to write?'

'No, sir,' said Price, 'I can't say I did _that_; for she mostly taught
it herself; but I taught her a little arithmetic, as far as I knew, on
our winter nights, when I had nothing better to do.'

'Your daughter shows that she has been well taught,' said Sir Arthur;
'and her good conduct and good character speak strongly in favour of her
parents.'

'You are very good, very good indeed, sir, to speak in this sort of
way,' said the delighted father.

'But I mean to do more than _pay you with words_,' said Sir Arthur. 'You
are attached to your own family, perhaps you may become attached to me,
when you come to know me, and we shall have frequent opportunities of
judging of one another. I want no agent to squeeze my tenants, or do my
dirty work. I only want a steady, intelligent, honest man, like you, to
collect my rents, and I hope, Mr. Price, you will have no objection to
the employment.' 'I hope, sir,' said Price, with joy and gratitude
glowing in his honest countenance, 'that you'll never have cause to
repent your goodness.'

'And what are my sisters about here?' said Sir Arthur, entering the
cottage, and going behind his sisters, who were busily engaged in
measuring an extremely pretty coloured calico.

'It is for Susan, my dear brother,' said they. 'I knew she did not keep
that guinea for herself,' said Miss Somers. 'I have just prevailed upon
her mother to tell me what became of it. Susan gave it to her father;
but she must not refuse a gown of our choosing this time; and I am sure
she will not, because her mother, I see, likes it. And, Susan, I hear
that instead of becoming Queen of the May this year, you were sitting in
your sick mother's room. Your mother has a little colour in her cheeks
now.'

'Oh, ma'am,' interrupted Mrs. Price, 'I'm quite well. Joy, I think, has
made me quite well.'

'Then,' said Miss Somers, 'I hope you will be able to come out on your
daughter's birthday, which, I hear, is the 25th of this month. Make
haste and get quite well before that day; for my brother intends that
all the lads and lassies of the village shall have a dance on Susan's
birthday.'

'Yes,' said Sir Arthur, 'and I hope on that day, Susan, you will be very
happy with your little friends upon their play-green. I shall tell them
that it is your good conduct which has obtained it for them; and if you
have anything to ask, any little favour for any of your companions,
which we can grant, now ask, Susan. These ladies look as if they would
not refuse you anything that is reasonable; and, I think, you look as if
you would not ask anything unreasonable.'

'Sir,' said Susan, after consulting her mother's eyes, 'there is, to be
sure, a favour I should like to ask; it is for Rose.'

'Well, I don't know who Rose is,' said Sir Arthur, smiling; 'but go on.'

'Ma'am, you have seen her, I believe; she is a very good girl, indeed,'
said Mrs. Price. 'And works very neatly, indeed,' continued Susan,
eagerly, to Miss Somers; 'and she and her mother heard you were looking
out for some one to wait upon you.'

'Say no more,' said Miss Somers; 'your wish is granted. Tell Rose to
come to the Abbey to-morrow morning, or, rather, come with her yourself;
for our housekeeper, I know, wants to talk to you about a certain cake.
She wishes, Susan, that you should be the maker of the cake for the
dance; and she has good things ready looked out for it already, I know.
It must be large enough for everybody to have a slice, and the
housekeeper will ice it for you. I only hope your cake will be as good
as your bread. Fare ye well.'

How happy are those who bid farewell to a whole family, silent with
gratitude, who will bless them aloud when they are far out of hearing!

'How do I wish, now,' said Farmer Price, 'and it's almost a sin for one
who has had such a power of favours done him to wish for anything more;
but how I _do_ wish, wife, that our good friend, the harper, was only
here at this time. It would do his old warm heart good. Well, the best
of it is, we shall be able next year, when he comes his rounds, to pay
him his money with thanks, being all the time, and for ever, as much
obliged to him as if we kept it. I long, so I do, to see him in this
house again, drinking, as he did, just in this spot, a glass of Susan's
mead, to her very good health.'

'Yes,' said Susan, 'and the next time he comes, I can give him one of my
guinea-hen's eggs, and I shall show my lamb, Daisy.'

'True, love,' said her mother, 'and he will play that tune and sing that
pretty ballad. Where is it? for I have not finished it.'

'Rose ran away with it, mother, but I'll step after her, and bring it
back to you this minute,' said Susan.

Susan found her friend Rose at the hawthorn, in the midst of a crowded
circle of her companions, to whom she was reading 'Susan's Lamentation
for her Lamb.'

'The words are something, but the tune--the tune--I must have the tune,'
cried Philip. 'I'll ask my mother to ask Sir Arthur to try and find out
which way that good old man went after the ball; and if he's above
ground, we'll have him back by Susan's birthday, and he shall sit
here--just exactly here--by this, our bush, and he shall play--I mean,
if he pleases--that same tune for us, and I shall learn it--I mean, if I
can--in a minute.'

The good news that Farmer Price was to be employed to collect the rents,
and that Attorney Case was to leave the parish in a month, soon spread
over the village. Many came out of their houses to have the pleasure of
hearing the joyful tidings confirmed by Susan herself. The crowd on the
play-green increased every minute.

'Yes,' cried the triumphant Philip, 'I tell you it's all true, every
word of it. Susan's too modest to say it herself; but I tell ye all, Sir
Arthur gave us this play-green for ever, on account of her being so
good.'

You see, at last Attorney Case, with all his cunning, has not proved a
match for 'Simple Susan.'



THE WHITE PIGEON


The little town of Somerville, in Ireland, has, within these few years,
assumed the neat and cheerful appearance of an English village. Mr.
Somerville, to whom this town belongs, wished to inspire his tenantry
with a taste for order and domestic happiness, and took every means in
his power to encourage industrious, well-behaved people to settle in his
neighbourhood. When he had finished building a row of good slated houses
in his town, he declared that he would let them to the best tenants he
could find, and proposals were publicly sent to him from all parts of
the country.

By the best tenants, Mr. Somerville did not, however, mean the best
bidders; and many, who had offered an extravagant price for the houses,
were surprised to find their proposals rejected. Amongst these was Mr.
Cox, an alehouse-keeper, who did not bear a very good character.

'Please your honour, sir,' said he to Mr. Somerville, 'I _expected_,
since I bid as fair and fairer for it than any other, that you would
have let me the house next the apothecary's. Was not it fifteen guineas
I mentioned in my proposal? and did not your honour give it against me
for thirteen?' 'My honour did just so,' replied Mr. Somerville calmly.
'And please your honour, but I don't know what it is I or mine have done
to offend you. I'm sure there is not a gentleman in all Ireland I'd go
further to sarve. Would not I go to Cork to-morrow for the least word
from your honour?' 'I am much obliged to you, Mr. Cox, but I have no
business at Cork at present,' answered Mr. Somerville drily. 'It is all
I wish,' exclaimed Mr. Cox, 'that I could find out and light upon the
man that has belied me to your honour.' 'No man has belied you, Mr.
Cox, but your nose belies you much, if you do not love drinking a
little, and your black eye and cut chin belie you much if you do not
love quarrelling a little.'

'Quarrel! I quarrel, please your honour! I defy any man, or set of men,
ten mile round, to prove such a thing, and I am ready to fight him that
dares to say the like of me. I'd fight him here in your honour's
presence, if he'd only come out this minute and meet me like a man.'

Here Mr. Cox put himself into a boxing attitude, but observing that Mr.
Somerville looked at his threatening gesture with a smile, and that
several people, who had gathered round him as he stood in the street,
laughed at the proof he gave of his peaceable disposition, he changed
his attitude, and went on to vindicate himself against the charge of
drinking.

'And as to drink, please your honour, there's no truth in it. Not a drop
of whisky, good or bad, have I touched these six months, except what I
took with Jemmy M'Doole the night I had the misfortune to meet your
honour coming home from the fair of Ballynagrish.'

To this speech Mr. Somerville made no answer, but turned away to look at
the bow-window of a handsome new inn, which the glazier was at this
instant glazing. 'Please your honour, that new inn is not let, I hear,
as yet,' resumed Mr. Cox; 'if your honour recollects, you promised to
make me a compliment of it last Seraphtide was twelvemonth.'

'Impossible!' cried Mr. Somerville, 'for I had no thoughts of building
an inn at that time.' 'Oh, I beg your honour's pardon, but if you'd be
just pleased to recollect, it was coming through the gap in the bog
meadows, _forenent_ Thady O'Connor, you made me the promise--I'll leave
it to him, so I will.' 'But I will not leave it to him, I assure you,'
cried Mr. Somerville; 'I never made any such promise. I never thought of
letting this inn to you.' 'Then your honour won't let me have it?' 'No;
you have told me a dozen falsehoods. I do not wish to have you for a
tenant.'

'Well, God bless your honour; I've no more to say, but God bless your
honour,' said Mr. Cox; and he walked away, muttering to himself, as he
slouched his hat over his face, 'I hope I'll live to be revenged on
him!'

Mr. Somerville the next morning went with his family to look at the new
inn, which he expected to see perfectly finished; but he was met by the
carpenter, who, with a rueful face, informed him that six panes of glass
in the large bow-window had been broken during the night.

'Ha! perhaps Mr. Cox has broken my windows, in revenge for my refusing
to let him my house,' said Mr. Somerville; and many of the neighbours,
who knew the malicious character of this Mr. Cox, observed that this was
like one of his tricks. A boy of about twelve years old, however,
stepped forward and said, 'I don't like Mr. Cox, I'm sure; for once he
beat me when he was drunk; but, for all that, no one should be accused
wrongfully. He _could_ not be the person that broke these windows last
night, for he was six miles off. He slept at his cousin's last night,
and he has not returned home yet. So I think he knows nothing of the
matter.'

Mr. Somerville was pleased with the honest simplicity of this boy, and
observing that he looked in eagerly at the staircase, when the house
door was opened, he asked him whether he would like to go in and see the
new house. 'Yes, sir,' said the boy, 'I should like to go up those
stairs, and to see what I should come to.' 'Up with you, then!' said Mr.
Somerville; and the boy ran up the stairs. He went from room to room
with great expressions of admiration and delight. At length, as he was
examining one of the garrets, he was startled by a fluttering noise over
his head; and looking up he saw a white pigeon, who, frightened at his
appearance, began to fly round and round the room, till it found its way
out of the door, and flew into the staircase.

The carpenter was speaking to Mr. Somerville upon the landing-place of
the stairs; but, the moment he spied the white pigeon, he broke off in
the midst of a speech about _the nose_ of the stairs, and exclaimed,
'There he is, please your honour! There's he that has done all the
damage to our bow-window--that's the very same wicked white pigeon that
broke the church windows last Sunday was se'nnight; but he's down for it
now; we have him safe, and I'll chop his head off, as he deserves, this
minute.'

'Stay! oh stay! don't chop his head off: he does not deserve it,' cried
the boy, who came running out of the garret with the greatest
eagerness--'_I_ broke your window, sir,' said he to Mr. Somerville. 'I
broke your window with this ball; but I did not know that I had done it,
till this moment, I assure you, or I should have told you before.
Don't chop his head off,' added the boy to the carpenter, who had now
the white pigeon in his hands. 'No,' said Mr. Somerville, 'the pigeon's
head shall not be chopped off, nor yours either, my good boy, for
breaking a window. I am persuaded by your open, honest countenance, that
you are speaking the truth; but pray explain this matter to us; for you
have not made it quite clear. How happened it that you could break my
windows without knowing it? and how came you to find it out at last?'
'Sir,' said the boy, 'if you'll come up here, I'll show you all I know,
and how I came to know it.'

[Illustration: _'Stay! oh stay! don't chop his head off.'_]

Mr. Somerville followed the boy into the garret, who pointed to a pane
of glass that was broken in a small window that looked out upon a piece
of waste ground behind the house. Upon this piece of waste ground the
children of the village often used to play. 'We were playing there at
ball yesterday evening,' continued the boy, addressing himself to Mr.
Somerville, 'and one of the lads challenged me to hit a mark in the
wall, which I did; but he said I did not hit it, and bade me give him up
my ball as the forfeit. This I would not do; and when he began to
wrestle with me for it, I threw the ball, as I thought, over the house.
He ran to look for it in the street, but could not find it, which I was
very glad of; but I was very sorry just now to find it myself lying upon
this heap of shavings, sir, under this broken window; for, as soon as I
saw it lying there, I knew I must have been the person that broke the
window; and through this window came the white pigeon. Here's one of his
white feathers sticking in the gap.'

'Yes,' said the carpenter, 'and in the bow-window room below there's
plenty of his feathers to be seen; for I've just been down to look. It
was the pigeon broke _them_ windows, sure enough.' 'But he could not
have got in had I not broke this little window,' said the boy eagerly;
'and I am able to earn sixpence a day, and I'll pay for all the
mischief, and welcome. The white pigeon belongs to a poor neighbour, a
friend of ours, who is very fond of him, and I would not have him killed
for twice as much money.'

'Take the pigeon, my honest, generous lad,' said Mr. Somerville, 'and
carry him back to your neighbour. I forgive him all the mischief he has
done me, tell your friend, for your sake. As to the rest, we can have
the windows mended; and do you keep all the sixpences you earn for
yourself.'

'That's what he never did yet,' said the carpenter. 'Many's the sixpence
he earns, but not a halfpenny goes into his own pocket: it goes every
farthing to his poor father and mother. Happy for them to have such a
son!'

'More happy for him to have such a father and mother,' exclaimed the
boy. 'Their good days they took all the best care of me that was to be
had for love or money, and would, if I would let them, go on paying for
my schooling now, falling as they be in the world; but I must learn to
mind the shop now. Good morning to you, sir; and thank you kindly,' said
he to Mr. Somerville.

'And where does this boy live, and who are his father and mother? They
cannot live in town,' said Mr. Somerville, 'or I should have heard of
them.'

'They are but just come into the town, please your honour,' said the
carpenter. 'They lived formerly upon Counsellor O'Donnel's estate; but
they were ruined, please your honour, by taking a joint lease with a man
who fell afterwards into bad company, ran out all he had, so could not
pay the landlord; and these poor people were forced to pay his share and
their own too, which almost ruined them. They were obliged to give up
the land; and now they have furnished a little shop in this town with
what goods they could afford to buy with the money they got by the sale
of their cattle and stock. They have the goodwill of all who know them;
and I am sure I hope they will do well. The boy is very ready in the
shop, though he said only that he could earn sixpence a day. He writes a
good hand, and is quick at casting up accounts, for his age. Besides, he
is likely to do well in the world, because he is never in idle company,
and I've known him since he was two foot high, and never heard of his
telling a lie.'

'This is an excellent character of the boy, indeed,' said Mr.
Somerville, 'and from his behaviour this morning I am inclined to think
that he deserves all your praises.'

Mr. Somerville resolved to inquire more fully concerning this poor
family, and to attend to their conduct himself, fully determined to
assist them if he should find them such as they had been represented.

In the meantime, this boy, whose name was Brian O'Neill, went to return
the white pigeon to its owner. 'You have saved its life,' said the woman
to whom it belonged, 'and I'll make you a present of it.' Brian thanked
her; and he from that day began to grow fond of the pigeon. He always
took care to scatter some oats for it in his father's yard; and the
pigeon grew so tame at last that it would hop about the kitchen, and eat
off the same trencher with the dog.

Brian, after the shop was shut up at night, used to amuse himself with
reading some little books which the schoolmaster who formerly taught him
arithmetic was so good as to lend him. Amongst these he one evening met
with a little book full of the history of birds and beasts; he looked
immediately to see whether the pigeon was mentioned amongst the birds,
and, to his great joy, he found a full description and history of his
favourite bird.

'So, Brian, I see your schooling has not been thrown away upon you; you
like your book, I see, when you have no master over you to bid you
read,' said his father, when he came in and saw Brian reading his book
very attentively.

'Thank you for having me taught to read, father,' said Brian. 'Here I've
made a great discovery: I've found out in this book, little as it looks,
father, a most curious way of making a fortune; and I hope it will make
your fortune, father, and if you'll sit down, I'll tell it to you.'

Mr. O'Neill, in hopes of pleasing his son rather than in the expectation
of having his fortune made, immediately sat down to listen; and his son
explained to him that he had found in his book an account of pigeons who
carried notes and letters: 'and, father,' continued Brian, 'I find my
pigeon is of this sort; and I intend to make my pigeon carry messages.
Why should not he? If other pigeons have done so before him, I think he
is as good, and, I daresay, will be as easy to teach as any pigeon in
the world. I shall begin to teach him to-morrow morning; and then,
father, you know people often pay a great deal for sending messengers:
and no boy can run, no horse can gallop, so fast as a bird can fly;
therefore the bird must be the best messenger, and I should be paid the
best price. Hey, father?'

'To be sure, to be sure, my boy,' said his father, laughing; 'I wish you
may make the best messenger in Ireland of your pigeon; but all I beg, my
dear boy, is that you won't neglect our shop for your pigeon; for I've
a notion we have a better chance of making a fortune by the shop than by
the white pigeon.'

Brian never neglected the shop: but in his leisure hours he amused
himself with training his pigeon; and after much patience he at last
succeeded so well, that one day he went to his father and offered to
send him word by his pigeon what beef was a pound in the market of
Ballynagrish, where he was going. 'The pigeon will be home long before
me, father; and he will come in at the kitchen window and light upon the
dresser; then you must untie the little note which I shall have tied
under his left wing, and you'll know the price of beef directly.'

The pigeon carried his message well; and Brian was much delighted with
his success. He soon was employed by the neighbours, who were aroused by
Brian's fondness of his swift messenger; and soon the fame of the white
pigeon was spread amongst all who frequented the markets and fairs of
Somerville.

At one of these fairs a set of men of desperate fortunes met to drink,
and to concert plans of robberies. Their place of meeting was at the
alehouse of Mr. Cox, the man who, as our readers may remember, was
offended by Mr. Somerville's hinting that he was fond of drinking and of
quarrelling, and who threatened vengeance for having been refused the
new inn.

Whilst these men were talking over their schemes, one of them observed
that one of their companions was not arrived. Another said, 'No.' 'He's
six miles off,' said another; and a third wished that he could make him
hear at that distance. This turned the discourse upon the difficulties
of sending messages secretly and quickly. Cox's son, a lad of about
nineteen, who was one of this gang, mentioned the white carrier pigeon,
and he was desired to try all means to get it into his possession.
Accordingly, the next day young Cox went to Brian O'Neill, and tried, at
first by persuasion and afterwards by threats, to prevail upon him to
give up the pigeon. Brian was resolute in his refusal, more especially
when the petitioner began to bully him.

'If we can't have it by fair means, we will by foul,' said Cox; and a
few days afterwards the pigeon was gone. Brian searched for it in
vain--inquired from all the neighbours if they had seen it, and
applied, but to no purpose, to Cox. He swore that he knew nothing about
the matter. But this was false, for it was he who during the night-time
had stolen the white pigeon. He conveyed it to his employers, and they
rejoiced that they had gotten it into their possession, as they thought
it would serve them for a useful messenger.

Nothing can be more short-sighted than cunning. The very means which
these people took to secure secrecy were the means of bringing their
plots to light. They endeavoured to teach the pigeon, which they had
stolen, to carry messages for them in a part of the country at some
distance from Somerville; and when they fancied that it had forgotten
its former habits and its old master, they thought that they might
venture to employ him nearer home. The pigeon, however, had a better
memory than they imagined. They loosed him from a bag near the town of
Ballynagrish, in hopes that he would stop at the house of Cox's cousin,
which was on its road between Ballynagrish and Somerville. But the
pigeon, though he had been purposely fed at this house for a week before
this trial, did not stop there, but flew on to his old master's house in
Somerville, and pecked at the kitchen window, as he had formerly been
taught to do. His father, fortunately, was within hearing, and poor
Brian ran with the greatest joy to open the window and to let him in.

'Oh, father, here's my white pigeon come back of his own accord,'
exclaimed Brian; 'I must run and show him to my mother.' At this instant
the pigeon spread his wings, and Brian discovered under one of its wings
a small and very dirty-looking billet. He opened it in his father's
presence. The scrawl was scarcely legible; but these words were at
length deciphered:--

  'Thare are eight of uz sworn: I send yo at botom thare names. We meat
  at tin this nite at my faders, and have harms and all in radiness to
  brak into the grate 'ouse. Mr. Summervill is to lye out to nite--kip
  the pigeon untill to-morrow. For ever yours,      MURTAGH COX, JUN.'

Scarcely had they finished reading this note, than both father and son
exclaimed, 'Let us go and show it to Mr. Somerville.' Before they set
out, they had, however, the prudence to secure the pigeon, so that he
should not be seen by any one but themselves.

Mr. Somerville, in consequence of this fortunate discovery, took proper
measures for the apprehension of the eight men who had sworn to rob his
house. When they were all safely lodged in the county gaol, he sent for
Brian O'Neill and his father; and after thanking them for the service
they had done him, he counted out ten bright guineas upon a table, and
pushed them towards Brian, saying, 'I suppose you know that a reward of
ten guineas was offered some weeks ago for the discovery of John
MacDermod, one of the eight men whom we have just taken up?'

'No, sir,' said Brian; 'I did not know it, and I did not bring that note
to you to get ten guineas, but because I thought it was right. I don't
want to be paid for doing it.' 'That's my own boy,' said his father. 'We
thank you, sir; but we'll not take the money; _I don't like to take the
price of blood._'

'I know the difference, my good friends,' said Mr. Somerville, 'between
vile informers and courageous, honest men.' 'Why, as to that, please
your honour, though we are poor, I hope we are honest.' 'And, what is
more,' said Mr. Somerville, 'I have a notion that you would continue to
be honest, even if you were rich.

'Will you, my good lad,' continued Mr. Somerville, after a moment's
pause--'will you trust me with your pigeon a few days?' 'Oh, and
welcome, sir,' said the boy, with a smile; and he brought the pigeon to
Mr. Somerville when it was dark, and nobody saw him.

A few days afterwards, Mr. Somerville called at O'Neill's house, and bid
him and his son follow him. They followed till he stopped opposite to
the bow-window of the new inn. The carpenter had just put up a sign,
which was covered over with a bit of carpeting.

'Go up the ladder, will you?' said Mr. Somerville to Brian, 'and pull
that sign straight, for it hangs quite crooked. There, now it is
straight. Now pull off the carpet, and let us see the new sign.'

The boy pulled off the cover, and saw a white pigeon painted upon the
sign, and the name of O'Neill in large letters underneath.

[Illustration: _The boy pulled off the cover, and saw a white pigeon
painted upon the sign._]

'Take care you do not tumble down and break your neck upon this joyful
occasion,' said Mr. Somerville, who saw that Brian's surprise was too
great for his situation. 'Come down from the ladder, and wish your
father joy of being master of the new inn called the "White Pigeon." And
I wish him joy of having such a son as you are. Those who bring up their
children well, will certainly be rewarded for it, be they poor or
rich.'



THE BIRTHDAY PRESENT


'Mamma,' said Rosamond, after a long silence, 'do you know what I have
been thinking of all this time?' 'No, my dear--What?' 'Why, mamma, about
my cousin Bell's birthday; do you know what day it is?' 'No, I don't
remember.' 'Dear mother! don't you remember it's the 22nd of December;
and her birthday is the day after to-morrow? Don't you recollect now?
But you never remember about birthdays, mamma. That was just what I was
thinking of, that you never remember my sister Laura's birthday,
or--or--or _mine_, mamma.'

'What do you mean, my dear? I remember your birthday perfectly well.'
'Indeed! but you never _keep_ it, though.' 'What do you mean by keeping
your birthday?' 'Oh, mamma, you know very well--as Bell's birthday is
kept. In the first place, there is a great dinner.' 'And can Bell eat
more upon her birthday than upon any other day?' 'No; nor I should not
mind about the dinner, except the mince-pies. But Bell has a great many
nice things--I don't mean nice eatable things, but nice new playthings,
given to her always on her birthday; and everybody drinks her health,
and she's so happy.'

'But stay, Rosamond, how you jumble things together! Is it everybody's
drinking her health that makes her so happy? or the new playthings, or
the nice mince-pies? I can easily believe that she is happy whilst she
is eating a mince-pie, or whilst she is playing; but how does
everybody's drinking her health at dinner make her happy?'

Rosamond paused, and then said she did not know. 'But,' added she, 'the
_nice new_ playthings, mother!' 'But why the nice new playthings? Do you
like them only because they are _new_?' 'Not _only_--_I_ do not like
playthings _only_ because they are new: but Bell _does_, I believe--for
that puts me in mind--Do you know, mother, she had a great drawer full
of _old_ playthings that she never used, and she said that they were
good for nothing, because they were _old_; but I thought many of them
were good for a great deal more than the new ones. Now you shall be
judge, mamma; I'll tell you all that was in the drawer.'

'Nay, Rosamond, thank you, not just now; I have not time to listen to
you.'

'Well then, mamma, the day after to-morrow I can show you the drawer. I
want you to judge very much, because I am sure I was in the right. And,
mother,' added Rosamond, stopping her as she was going out of the room,
'will you--not now, but when you've time--will you tell me why you never
keep my birthday--why you never make any difference between that day and
any other day?' 'And will you, Rosamond--not now, but when you have time
to think about it--tell me why I should make any difference between your
birthday and any other day?'

Rosamond thought, but she could not find out any reason; besides, she
suddenly recollected that she had not time to think any longer; for
there was a certain work-basket to be finished, which she was making for
her cousin Bell, as a present upon her birthday. The work was at a stand
for want of some filigree-paper, and, as her mother was going out, she
asked her to take her with her, that she might buy some. Her sister
Laura went with them.

'Sister,' said Rosamond, as they were walking along, 'what have you done
with your half-guinea?' 'I have it in my pocket.' 'Dear! you will keep
it for ever in your pocket. You know, my godmother when she gave it to
you said you would keep it longer than I should keep mine; and I know
what she thought by her look at the time. I heard her say something to
my mother.' 'Yes,' said Laura, smiling; 'she whispered so loud that I
could not help hearing her too. She said I was a little miser.' 'But did
not you hear her say that I was very _generous_? and she'll see that she
was not mistaken. I hope she'll be by when I give my basket to
Bell--won't it be beautiful? There is to be a wreath of myrtle, you
know, round the handle, and a frost ground, and then the
medallions----'

'Stay,' interrupted her sister, for Rosamond, anticipating the glories
of her work-basket, talked and walked so fast that she had passed,
without perceiving it, the shop where the filigree-paper was to be
bought. They turned back. Now it happened that the shop was the corner
house of a street, and one of the windows looked out into a narrow lane.
A coach full of ladies stopped at the door, just before they went in, so
that no one had time immediately to think of Rosamond and her
filigree-paper, and she went to the window where she saw her sister
Laura looking earnestly at something that was passing in the lane.

Opposite to the window, at the door of a poor-looking house, there was
sitting a little girl weaving lace. Her bobbins moved as quick as
lightning, and she never once looked up from her work. 'Is not she very
industrious?' said Laura; 'and very honest, too?' added she in a minute
afterwards; for just then a baker with a basket of rolls on his head
passed, and by accident one of the rolls fell close to the little girl.
She took it up eagerly, looked at it as if she was very hungry, then put
aside her work, and ran after the baker to return it to him. Whilst she
was gone, a footman in a livery laced with silver, who belonged to the
coach that stood at the shop door, as he was lounging with one of his
companions, chanced to spy the weaving pillow, which she had left upon a
stone before the door. To divert himself (for idle people do mischief
often to divert themselves) he took up the pillow, and entangled all the
bobbins. The little girl came back out of breath to her work; but what
was her surprise and sorrow to find it spoiled. She twisted and
untwisted, placed and replaced, the bobbins, while the footman stood
laughing at her distress. She got up gently, and was retiring into the
house, when the silver-laced footman stopped her, saying, insolently,
'Sit still, child.' 'I must go to my mother, sir,' said the child;
'besides, you have spoiled all my lace. I can't stay.' 'Can't you?' said
the brutal footman, snatching her weaving-pillow again, 'I'll teach you
to complain of me.' And he broke off, one after another, all the
bobbins, put them into his pocket, rolled her weaving-pillow down the
dirty lane, then jumped up behind his mistress's coach, and was out of
sight in an instant.

'Poor girl!' exclaimed Rosamond, no longer able to restrain her
indignation at this injustice; 'poor little girl!'

[Illustration: _She twisted and untwisted, placed and replaced, the
bobbins, while the footman stood laughing at her distress._]

At this instant her mother said to Rosamond--'Come, now, my dear, if you
want this filigree-paper, buy it.' 'Yes, madam,' said Rosamond; and the
idea of what her godmother and her cousin Bell would think of her
generosity rushed again upon her imagination. All her feelings of pity
were immediately suppressed. Satisfied with bestowing another
exclamation upon the '_poor little girl_!' she went to spend her
half-guinea upon her filigree basket. In the meantime, she that was
called the '_little miser_' beckoned to the poor girl, and, opening the
window, said, pointing to the cushion, 'Is it quite spoiled?' 'Quite!
quite spoiled! and I can't, nor mother neither, buy another; and I can't
do anything else for my bread.' A few, but very few, tears fell as she
said this.

'How much would another cost?' said Laura. 'Oh, a great--_great_ deal.'
'More than that?' said Laura, holding up her half-guinea. 'Oh no.' 'Then
you can buy another with that,' said Laura, dropping the half-guinea
into her hand; and she shut the window before the child could find words
to thank her, but not before she saw a look of joy and gratitude, which
gave Laura more pleasure probably than all the praise which could have
been bestowed upon her generosity.

Late on the morning of her cousin's birthday, Rosamond finished her
work-basket. The carriage was at the door--Laura came running to call
her; her father's voice was heard at the same instant; so she was
obliged to go down with her basket but half wrapped up in silver
paper--a circumstance at which she was a good deal disconcerted; for the
pleasure of surprising Bell would be utterly lost if one bit of the
filigree should peep out before the proper time. As the carriage went
on, Rosamond pulled the paper to one side and to the other, and by each
of the four corners.

'It will never do, my dear,' said her father, who had been watching her
operations. 'I am afraid you will never make a sheet of paper cover a
box which is twice as large as itself.'

'It is not a box, father,' said Rosamond, a little peevishly; 'it's a
basket.'

'Let us look at this basket,' said he, taking it out of her unwilling
hands, for she knew of what frail materials it was made, and she dreaded
its coming to pieces under her father's examination. He took hold of the
handle rather roughly; when, starting off the coach seat, she cried,
'Oh, sir! father! sir! you will spoil it indeed!' said she, with
increased vehemence, when, after drawing aside the veil of silver paper,
she saw him grasp the myrtle-wreathed handle. 'Indeed, sir, you will
spoil the poor handle.'

'But what is the use of _the poor handle_,' said her father, 'if we are
not to take hold of it? And pray,' continued he, turning the basket
round with his finger and thumb, rather in a disrespectful manner,
'pray, is this the thing you have been about all this week? I have seen
you all this week dabbling with paste and rags; I could not conceive
what you were about. Is this the thing?' 'Yes, sir. You think, then,
that I have wasted my time, because the basket is of no use; but then it
is for a present for my cousin Bell.' 'Your cousin Bell will be very
much obliged to you for a present that is of no use. You had better have
given her the purple jar.'

'Oh, father! I thought you had forgotten that--it was two years ago; I'm
not so silly now. But Bell will like the basket, I know, though it is of
no use.'

'Then you think Bell is sillier _now_ than you were two years
ago,--well, perhaps that is true; but how comes it, Rosamond, now that
you are so wise, that you are fond of such a silly person?' '_I_,
father?' said Rosamond, hesitating; 'I don't think I am _very_ fond of
her.' 'I did not say _very_ fond.' 'Well, but I don't think I am at all
fond of her.' 'But you have spent a whole week in making this thing for
her.' 'Yes, and all my half-guinea besides.'

'Yet you think her silly, and you are not fond of her at all; and you
say you know this thing will be of no use to her.'

'But it is her birthday, sir; and I am sure she will _expect_ something,
and everybody else will give her something.'

'Then your reason for giving is because she expects you to give her
something. And will you, or can you, or should you, always give, merely
because others _expect_, or because somebody else gives?' 'Always?--no,
not always.' 'Oh, only on birthdays.'

Rosamond, laughing: 'Now you are making a joke of me, papa, I see; but I
thought you liked that people should be generous,--my godmother said
that she did.' 'So do I, full as well as your godmother; but we have not
yet quite settled what it is to be generous.' 'Why, is it not generous
to make presents?' said Rosamond. 'That is the question which it would
take up a great deal of time to answer. But, for instance, to make a
present of a thing that you know can be of no use to a person you
neither love nor esteem, because it is her birthday, and because
everybody gives her something, and because she expects something, and
because your godmother says she likes that people should be generous,
seems to me, my dear Rosamond, to be, since I must say it, rather more
like folly than generosity.'

Rosamond looked down upon the basket, and was silent. 'Then I am a fool,
am I?' said she, looking up at last. 'Because you have made _one_
mistake? No. If you have sense enough to see your own mistakes, and can
afterwards avoid them, you will never be a fool.'

Here the carriage stopped, and Rosamond recollected that the basket was
uncovered.

Now we must observe that Rosamond's father had not been too severe upon
Bell when he called her a silly girl. From her infancy she had been
humoured; and at eight years old she had the misfortune to be a spoiled
child. She was idle, fretful, and selfish; so that nothing could make
her happy. On her birthday she expected, however, to be perfectly happy.
Everybody in the house tried to please her, and they succeeded so well
that between breakfast and dinner she had only six fits of crying. The
cause of five of these fits no one could discover: but the last, and
most lamentable, was occasioned by a disappointment about a worked
muslin frock; and accordingly, at dressing time, her maid brought it to
her, exclaiming, 'See here, miss, what your mamma has sent you on your
birthday. Here's a frock fit for a queen--if it had but lace round the
cuffs.' 'And why has not it lace around the cuffs? mamma said it
should.' 'Yes, but mistress was disappointed about the lace; it is not
come home.' 'Not come home, indeed! and didn't they know it was my
birthday? But then I say I won't wear it without the lace--I can't wear
it without the lace, and I won't.'

The lace, however, could not be had; and Bell at length submitted to let
the frock be put on. 'Come, Miss Bell, dry your eyes,' said the maid who
_educated_ her; 'dry your eyes, and I'll tell you something that will
please you.'

'What, then?' said the child, pouting and sobbing. 'Why----but you must
not tell that I told you.' 'No,--but if I am asked?' 'Why, if you are
asked, you must tell the truth, to be sure. So I'll hold my tongue,
miss.' 'Nay, tell me, though, and I'll never tell--if I _am_ asked.'
'Well, then,' said the maid, 'your cousin Rosamond is come, and has
brought you the most _beautifullest_ thing you ever saw in your life;
but you are not to know anything about it till after dinner, because she
wants to surprise you; and mistress has put it into her wardrobe till
after dinner.' 'Till after dinner!' repeated Bell impatiently; 'I can't
wait till then; I must see it this minute.' The maid refused her several
times, till Bell burst into another fit of crying, and the maid, fearing
that her mistress would be angry with _her_, if Bell's eyes were red at
dinner time, consented to show her the basket.

'How pretty!--but let me have it in my own hands,' said Bell, as the
maid held the basket up out of her reach. 'Oh, no, you must not touch
it; for if you should spoil it, what would become of me?' 'Become of
you, indeed!' exclaimed the spoiled child, who never considered anything
but her own immediate gratification--'Become of _you_, indeed! what
signifies that?--I shan't spoil it; and I will have it in my own hands.
If you don't hold it down for me directly, I'll tell that you showed it
to me.' 'Then you won't snatch it?' 'No, no, I won't indeed,' said Bell;
but she had learned from her maid a total disregard of truth. She
snatched the basket the moment it was within her reach. A struggle
ensued, in which the handle and lid were torn off, and one of the
medallions crushed inwards, before the little fury returned to her
senses.

Calmed at this sight, the next question was, how she should conceal the
mischief which she had done. After many attempts, the handle and lid
were replaced; the basket was put exactly in the same spot in which it
had stood before, and the maid charged the child '_to look as if nothing
was the matter_.'

We hope that both children and parents will here pause for a moment to
reflect. The habits of tyranny, meanness, and falsehood, which children
acquire from living with bad servants, are scarcely ever conquered in
the whole course of their future lives.

After shutting up the basket they left the room, and in the adjoining
passage they found a poor girl waiting with a small parcel in her
hand. 'What's your business?' said the maid. 'I have brought home the
lace, madam, that was bespoke for the young lady.' 'Oh, you have, have
you, at last?' said Bell; 'and pray why didn't you bring it sooner?' The
girl was going to answer, but the maid interrupted her, saying, 'Come,
come, none of your excuses; you are a little idle, good-for-nothing
thing, to disappoint Miss Bell upon her birthday. But now you have
brought it, let us look at it!'

[Illustration: _'I shan't spoil it; and I will have it in my own
hands.'_]

The little girl gave the lace without reply, and the maid desired her to
go about her business, and not to expect to be paid; for that her
mistress could not see anybody, _because_ she was in a room full of
company.

'May I call again, madam, this afternoon?' said the child, timidly.

'Lord bless my stars!' replied the maid, 'what makes people so poor, I
_wonders_! I wish mistress would buy her lace at the warehouse, as I
told her, and not of these folks. Call again! yes, to be sure. I believe
you'd call, call, call twenty times for twopence.'

However ungraciously the permission to call again was granted, it was
received with gratitude. The little girl departed with a cheerful
countenance, and Bell teased her maid till she got her to sew the
long-wished-for lace upon her cuffs.

Unfortunate Bell!--All dinner time passed, and people were so hungry, so
busy, or so stupid, that not an eye observed her favourite piece of
finery. Till at length she was no longer able to conceal her impatience,
and turning to Laura, who sat next to her, she said, 'You have no lace
upon your cuffs. Look how beautiful mine is!--is not it? Don't you wish
your mamma could afford to give some like it? But you can't get any if
she would, for this was made on purpose for me on my birthday, and
nobody can get a bit more anywhere, if they would give the world for
it.' 'But cannot the person who made it,' said Laura, 'make any more
like it?' 'No, no, no!' cried Bell; for she had already learned, either
from her maid or her mother, the mean pride which values things not for
being really pretty or useful, but for being such as nobody else can
procure. 'Nobody can get any like it, I say,' repeated Bell; 'nobody in
all London can make it but one person, and that person will never make a
bit for anybody but me, I am sure. Mamma won't let her, if I ask her
not.' 'Very well,' said Laura coolly, 'I do not want any of it; you
need not be so violent: I assure you that I don't want any of it.' 'Yes,
but you do, though,' said Bell, more angrily. 'No, indeed,' said Laura,
smiling. 'You do, in the bottom of your heart; but you say you don't to
plague me, I know,' cried Bell, swelling with disappointed vanity. 'It
is pretty for all that, and it cost a great deal of money too, and
nobody shall have any like it, if they cried their eyes out.'

Laura received this declaration in silence--Rosamond smiled; and at her
smile the ill-suppressed rage of the spoiled child burst forth into the
seventh and loudest fit of crying which had yet been heard on her
birthday.

'What's the matter, my pet?' cried her mother; 'come to me and tell me
what's the matter.' Bell ran roaring to her mother; but no otherwise
explained the cause of her sorrow than by tearing the fine lace with
frantic gestures from her cuffs, and throwing the fragments into her
mother's lap. 'Oh! the lace, child!--are you mad?' said her mother,
catching hold of both her hands. 'Your beautiful lace, my dear love--do
you know how much it cost?' 'I don't care how much it cost--it is not
beautiful, and I'll have none of it,' replied Bell, sobbing; 'for it is
not beautiful.' 'But it is beautiful,' retorted her mother; 'I chose the
pattern myself. Who has put it into your head, child, to dislike it? Was
it Nancy?' 'No, not Nancy, but _them_, mamma,' said Bell, pointing to
Laura and Rosamond. 'Oh, fie! don't _point_,' said her mother, putting
down her stubborn finger; 'nor say _them_, like Nancy; I am sure you
misunderstood. Miss Laura, I am sure, did not mean any such thing.' 'No,
madam; and I did not say any such thing, that I recollect,' said Laura,
gently. 'Oh no, indeed!' cried Rosamond, warmly, rising in her sister's
defence.

No defence or explanation, however, was to be heard, for everybody had
now gathered round Bell, to dry her tears, and to comfort her for the
mischief she had done to her own cuffs. They succeeded so well, that in
about a quarter of an hour the young lady's eyes and the reddened arches
over her eyebrows came to their natural colour; and the business being
thus happily hushed up, the mother, as a reward to her daughter for her
good humour, begged that Rosamond would now be so good as to produce her
'charming present.'

Rosamond, followed by all the company, amongst whom, to her great joy,
was her godmother, proceeded to the dressing-room. 'Now I am sure,'
thought she, 'Bell will be surprised, and my godmother will see she was
right about my generosity.'

The doors of the wardrobe were opened with due ceremony, and the
filigree basket appeared in all its glory. 'Well, this is a charming
present, indeed!' said the godmother, who was one of the company; '_my_
Rosamond knows how to make presents.' And as she spoke, she took hold of
the basket, to lift it down to the admiring audience. Scarcely had she
touched it, when, lo! the basket fell to the ground, and only the handle
remained in her hand. All eyes were fixed upon the wreck. Exclamations
of sorrow were heard in various tones; and 'Who can have done this?' was
all that Rosamond could say. Bell stood in sullen silence, which she
obstinately preserved in the midst of the inquiries that were made about
the disaster.

At length the servants were summoned, and amongst them Nancy, Miss
Bell's maid and governess. She affected much surprise when she saw what
had befallen the basket, and declared that she knew nothing of the
matter, but that she had seen her mistress in the morning put it quite
safe into the wardrobe; and that, for her part, she had never touched
it, or thought of touching it, in her born days. 'Nor Miss Bell,
neither, ma'am,--I can answer for her; for she never knew of its being
there, because I never so much as mentioned it to her, that there was
such a thing in the house, because I knew Miss Rosamond wanted to
surprise her with the secret; so I never mentioned a sentence of it--did
I, Miss Bell?'

Bell, putting on the deceitful look which her maid had taught her,
answered boldly, '_No_'; but she had hold of Rosamond's hand, and at the
instant she uttered this falsehood she squeezed it terribly. 'Why do you
squeeze my hand so?' said Rosamond, in a low voice; 'what are you afraid
of?' 'Afraid of!' cried Bell, turning angrily; 'I'm not afraid of
anything--I've nothing to be afraid about.' 'Nay, I did not say you
had,' whispered Rosamond; 'but only if you did by accident--you know
what I mean--I should not be angry if you did--only say so.' 'I say I
did not!' cried Bell furiously. 'Mamma, mamma! Nancy! my cousin Rosamond
won't believe me! That's very hard. It's very rude, and I won't bear
it--I won't.' 'Don't be angry, love. Don't,' said the maid. 'Nobody
suspects you, darling,' said her mother; 'but she has too much
sensibility. Don't cry, love; nobody suspected you.' 'But you know,'
continued she, turning to the maid, 'somebody must have done this, and I
must know how it was done. Miss Rosamond's charming present must not be
spoiled in this way, in my house, without my taking proper notice of it.
I assure you I am very angry about it, Rosamond.'

Rosamond did not rejoice in her anger, and had nearly made a sad mistake
by speaking aloud her thoughts--'_I was very foolish_----' she began and
stopped.

'Ma'am,' cried the maid, suddenly, 'I'll venture to say I know who did
it.' 'Who?' said every one, eagerly. 'Who?' said Bell, trembling. 'Why,
miss, don't you recollect that little girl with the lace, that we saw
peeping about in the passage? I'm sure she must have done it; for here
she was by herself half an hour or more, and not another creature has
been in mistress's dressing-room, to my certain knowledge, since
morning. Those sort of people have so much curiosity. I'm sure she must
have been meddling with it,' added the maid.

'Oh yes, that's the thing,' said the mistress, decidedly. 'Well, Miss
Rosamond, for your comfort she shall never come into my house again.'
'Oh, that would not comfort me at all,' said Rosamond; 'besides, we are
not sure that she did it, and if----' A single knock at the door was
heard at this instant. It was the little girl, who came to be paid for
her lace. 'Call her in,' said the lady of the house; 'let us see her
directly.'

The maid, who was afraid that the girl's innocence would appear if she
were produced, hesitated; but upon her mistress repeating her commands,
she was forced to obey. The girl came in with a look of simplicity; but
when she saw a room full of company she was a little abashed. Rosamond
and Laura looked at her and one another with surprise, for it was the
same little girl whom they had seen weaving lace. 'Is not it she?'
whispered Rosamond to her sister. 'Yes, it is; but hush,' said Laura,
'she does not know us. Don't say a word, let us hear what she will say.'

Laura got behind the rest of the company as she spoke, so that the
little girl could not see her.

'Vastly well!' said Bell's mother; 'I am waiting to see how long you
will have the assurance to stand there with that innocent look. Did you
ever see that basket before?' 'Yes, ma'am,' said the girl. '_Yes,
ma'am!_' cried the maid; 'and what else do you know about it? You had
better confess it at once, and mistress, perhaps, will say no more about
it.' 'Yes, do confess it,' added Bell, earnestly. 'Confess what, madam?'
said the little girl; 'I never touched the basket, madam.' 'You never
_touched_ it; but you confess,' interrupted Bell's mother, 'that you
_did see_ it before. And, pray, how came you to see it? You must have
opened my wardrobe.' 'No, indeed, ma'am,' said the little girl; 'but I
was waiting in the passage, ma'am, and this door was partly open; and
looking at the maid, you know, I could not help seeing it.' 'Why, how
could you see through the doors of my wardrobe?' rejoined the lady.

The maid, frightened, pulled the little girl by the sleeve.

'Answer me,' said the lady, 'where did you see this basket?' Another
stronger pull. 'I saw it, madam, in her hands,' looking at
the maid; 'and----' 'Well, and what became of it afterwards?'
'Ma'am'--hesitating--'miss pulled, and by accident--I believe, I saw,
ma'am--miss, you know what I saw.' 'I do not know--I do not know; and if
I did, you had no business there; and mamma won't believe you, I am
sure.' Everybody else, however, did believe; and their eyes were fixed
upon Bell in a manner which made her feel rather ashamed. 'What do you
all look at me so for? Why do you all look so? And am I to be put to
shame on my birthday?' cried she, bursting into a roar of passion; 'and
all for this nasty thing!' added she, pushing away the remains of the
basket, and looking angrily at Rosamond. 'Bell! Bell! oh, fie! fie!--Now
I _am_ ashamed of you; that's quite rude to your cousin,' said her
mother, who was more shocked at her daughter's want of politeness than
at her falsehood. 'Take her away, Nancy, till she has done crying,'
added she to the maid, who accordingly carried off her pupil.

Rosamond, during this scene, especially at the moment when her present
was pushed away with such disdain, had been making reflections upon the
nature of true generosity. A smile from her father, who stood by, a
silent spectator of the catastrophe of the filigree basket, gave rise to
these reflections; nor were they entirely dissipated by the condolence
of the rest of the company, nor even by the praises of her godmother,
who, for the purpose of condoling with her, said, 'Well, my dear
Rosamond, I admire your generous spirit. You know I prophesied that your
half-guinea would be gone the soonest. Did I not, Laura?' said she,
appealing, in a sarcastic tone, to where she thought Laura was. 'Where
is Laura? I don't see her.' Laura came forward. 'You are too _prudent_
to throw away your money like your sister. Your half-guinea, I'll answer
for it, is snug in your pocket--is it not?' 'No, madam,' answered she,
in a low voice.

But low as the voice of Laura was, the poor little lace-girl heard it;
and now, for the first time, fixing her eyes upon Laura, recollected her
benefactress. 'Oh, that's the young lady!' she exclaimed, in a tone of
joyful gratitude, 'the good, good young lady who gave me the
half-guinea, and would not stay to be thanked for it; but I _will_ thank
her now.'

'The half-guinea, Laura!' said her godmother. 'What is all this?' 'I'll
tell you, madam, if you please,' said the little girl.

It was not in expectation of being praised for it that Laura had been
generous, and therefore everybody was really touched with the history of
the weaving-pillow; and whilst they praised, felt a certain degree of
respect, which is not always felt by those who pour forth eulogiums.
_Respect_ is not an improper word, even applied to a child of Laura's
age; for let the age or situation of the person be what it may, they
command respect who deserve it.

'Ah, madam!' said Rosamond to her godmother, 'now you see--you see she
is _not_ a little miser. I'm sure that's better than wasting half a
guinea upon a filigree basket; is it not, ma'am?' said she, with an
eagerness which showed that she had forgotten all her own misfortunes in
sympathy with her sister. 'This is being _really generous_, father, is
it not?'

'Yes, Rosamond,' said her father, and he kissed her; 'this _is_ being
really generous. It is not only by giving away money that we can show
generosity; it is by giving up to others anything that we like
ourselves; and therefore,' added he, smiling, 'it is really generous of
you to give your sister the thing you like best of all others.'

'The thing I like the best of all others, father,' said Rosamond, half
pleased, half vexed. 'What is that, I wonder? You don't mean _praise_,
do you, sir?' 'Nay, you must decide that yourself, Rosamond.' 'Why,
sir,' said she, ingenuously, 'perhaps it _was_ ONCE the thing I liked
best; but the pleasure I have just felt makes me like something else
much better.'



ETON MONTEM

[_Extracted from the 'Courier' of May 1799._]


'Yesterday this triennial ceremony took place, with which the public are
too well acquainted to require a particular description. A collection,
called _Salt_, is taken from the public, which forms a purse, to support
the Captain of the School in his studies at Cambridge. This collection
is made by the Scholars, dressed in fancy dresses, all round the
country.

'At eleven o'clock, the youths being assembled in their habiliments at
the College, the Royal Family set off from the Castle to see them, and,
after walking round the Courtyard, they proceeded to Salt Hill in the
following order:--

'His Majesty, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and the Earl of
Uxbridge.

'Their Royal Highnesses the Dukes of Kent and Cumberland, Earl Morton,
and General Gwynne, all on horseback, dressed in the Windsor uniform,
except the Prince of Wales, who wore a suit of dark blue, and a brown
surtout over.

'Then followed the Scholars, preceded by the Marechal Serjeant, the
Musicians of the Staffordshire Band, and Mr. Ford, Captain of the
Seminary, the Serjeant-Major, Serjeants, Colonels, Corporals, Musicians,
Ensign, Lieutenant, Steward, Salt-Bearers, Polemen, and Runners.

'The cavalcade was brought up by Her Majesty and her amiable daughters
in two carriages, and a numerous company of equestrians and pedestrians,
all eager to behold their Sovereign and his family. Among the former,
Lady Lade was foremost in the throng; only two others dared venture
their persons on horseback in such a multitude.

'The King and Royal Family were stopped on Eton Bridge by Messrs. Young
and Mansfield, the Salt-Bearers, to whom their Majesties delivered their
customary donation of fifty guineas each.

'At Salt Hill, His Majesty, with his usual affability, took upon himself
to arrange the procession round the Royal carriages; and even when the
horses were taken off, with the assistance of the Duke of Kent,
fastened the traces round the pole of the coaches, to prevent any
inconvenience.

'An exceeding heavy shower of rain coming on, the Prince took leave, and
went to the "Windmill Inn" till it subsided. The King and his attendants
weathered it out in their greatcoats.

'After the young gentlemen walked round the carriage, Ensign Vince and
the Salt-Bearers proceeded to the summit of the hill; but the wind being
boisterous, he could not exhibit his dexterity in displaying his flag,
and the space being too small before the carriages, from the concourse
of spectators, the King kindly acquiesced in not having it displayed
under such inconvenience.

'Their Majesties and the Princesses then returned home, the King
occasionally stopping to converse with the Dean of Windsor, the Earl of
Harrington, and other noblemen.

'The Scholars partook of an elegant dinner at the "Windmill Inn," and in
the evening walked on Windsor Terrace.

'Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cumberland,
after taking leave of their Majesties, set off for town, and honoured
the Opera House with their presence in the evening.

'The profit arising from the Salt collected, according to account,
amounted to £800.

'The Stadtholder, the Duke of Gordon, Lord and Lady Melbourne, Viscount
Brome, and a numerous train of fashionable nobility were present.

'The following is an account of their dresses, made as usual, very
handsomely, by Mrs. Snow, milliner, of Windsor:--

    'Mr. Ford, Captain, with eight Gentlemen to attend him as servitors.

                          'Mr. Sarjeant, Marechal.

                           'Mr. Bradith, Colonel.

                         'Mr. Plumtree, Lieutenant.

                            'Mr. Vince, Ensign.

   'Mr. Young, College Salt-Bearer; white and gold dress, rich satin
                       bag, covered with gold netting.

   'Mr. Mansfield, Oppidin, white, purple, and orange dress, trimmed
     with silver; rich satin bag, purple and silver: each carrying
                elegant poles, with gold and silver cord.

     'Mr. Keity, yellow and black velvet; helmet trimmed with silver.

     'Mr. Bartelot, plain mantle and sandals, Scotch bonnet, a very
                                 Douglas.

      'Mr. Knapp, flesh-colour and blue; Spanish hat and feathers.

                      'Mr. Ripley, rose-colour; helmet.

  'Mr. Islip (being in mourning), a scarf; helmet, black velvet; and
                                white satin.

                  'Mr. Tomkins, violet and silver; helmet.

                 'Mr. Thackery, lilac and silver; Roman cap.

                    'Mr. Drury, mazarin blue; fancy cap.

                    'Mr. Davis, slate-colour and straw.

                 'Mr. Routh, pink and silver; Spanish hat.

                      'Mr. Curtis, purple; fancy cap.

                          'Mr. Lloyd, blue; ditto.

'At the conclusion of the ceremony the Royal Family returned to Windsor,
and the boys were all sumptuously entertained at the tavern at Salt
Hill. About six in the evening all the boys returned in the order of
procession, and, marching round the great square of Eton, were
dismissed. The Captain then paid his respects to the Royal Family, at
the Queen's Lodge, Windsor, previously to his departure for King's
College, Cambridge, to defray which expense the produce of the Montem
was presented to him.

'The day concluded by a brilliant promenade of beauty, rank, and fashion
on Windsor Terrace, enlivened by the performance of several bands of
music.

'The origin of the procession is from the custom by which the Manor was
held.

'The custom of hunting the Ram belonged to Eton College, as well as the
custom of Salt; but it was discontinued by Dr. Cook, late Dean of Ely.
Now this custom we know to have been entered on the register of the
Royal Abbey of Bee, in Normandy, as one belonging to the Manor of East
or Great Wrotham, in Norfolk, given by Ralph de Toni to the Abbey of
Bee, and was as follows:--When the harvest was finished, the tenants
were to have half an acre of barley, and a ram let loose; and if they
caught him he was their own to make merry with, but if he escaped from
them he was the Lord's. The Etonians, in order to secure the ram,
houghed him in the Irish fashion, and then attacked him with great
clubs. The cruelty of this proceeding brought it into disuse, and now it
exists no longer.--_See Register of the Royal Abbey of Bee_, folio 58.

'After the dissolution of the alien priories, in 1414, by the Parliament
of Leicester, they remained in the Crown till Henry VI., who gave
Wrotham Manor to Eton College; and if the Eton Fellows would search,
they would perhaps find the Manor in their possession, that was held by
the custom of Salt.'

MEN

  Alderman Bursal, Father of young Bursal.
  Lord John,  }
  Talbot,     }
  Wheeler,    } Young Gentlemen of Eton, from 17 to 19 years of age.
  Bursal,     }
  Rory O'Ryan }
  Mr. Newington, Landlord of the Inn at Salt Hill.
  Farmer Hearty.
  A Waiter and crowd of Eton Lads.

WOMEN

  The Marchioness of Piercefield, Mother of Lord John.
  Lady Violetta--her Daughter, a Child of six or seven years old.
  Mrs. Talbot.
  Louisa Talbot, her Daughter.
  Miss Bursal, Daughter to the Alderman.
  Mrs. Newington, Landlady of the Inn at Salt Hill.
  Sally, a Chambermaid.
  Patty, a Country Girl.

Pipe and Tabor, and Dance of Peasants.


ACT THE FIRST


    SCENE I

    _The Bar of the 'Windmill Inn' at Salt Hill_

    MR. _and_ MRS. NEWINGTON, _the Landlord and Landlady_

_Landlady._ 'Tis an unpossibility, Mr. Newington; and that's enough. Say
no more about it; 'tis an unpossibility in the _natur_ of things. (_She
ranges jellies, etc., in the Bar._) And pray, do you take your great
old-fashioned tankard, Mr. Newington, from among my jellies and
confectioneries.

_Landlord_ (_takes his tankard and drinks_). Anything for a quiet life.
If it is an unpossibility, I've no more to say; only, for the soul of
me, I can't see the great unpossibility, wife.

_Landlady._ Wife, indeed!--wife!--wife! wife every minute.

_Landlord._ Heyday! Why, what a plague would you have me call you? The
other day you quarrelled with me for calling you Mrs. Landlady.

_Landlady._ To be sure I did, and very proper in me I should. I've
turned off three waiters and five chambermaids already, for screaming
after me _Mrs. Landlady!_ _Mrs. Landlady!_ But 'tis all your ill
manners.

_Landlord._ Ill manners! Why, if I may be so bold, if you are not Mrs.
Landlady, in the name of wonder what are you?

_Landlady._ Mrs. Newington, Mr. Newington.

_Landlord_ (_drinks_). Mrs. Newington, Mr. Newington drinks your health;
for I suppose I must not be landlord any more in my own house
(_shrugs_).

_Landlady._ Oh, as to that, I have no objections nor impediments to your
being called _Landlord_. You look it, and become it very proper.

_Landlord._ Why, yes, indeed, thank my tankard, I do look it, and become
it, and am nowise ashamed of it; but every one to their mind, as you,
wife, don't fancy the being called Mrs. Landlady.

_Landlady._ To be sure I don't. Why, when folks hear the old-fashioned
cry of Mrs. Landlady! Mrs. Landlady! who do they expect, think you, to
see, but an overgrown, fat, featherbed of a woman coming waddling along
with her thumbs sticking on each side of her apron, o' this fashion?
Now, to see me coming, nobody would take me to be a landlady.

_Landlord._ Very true, indeed, wife--Mrs. Newington, I mean--I ask
pardon; but now to go on with what we were saying about the
unpossibility of letting that old lady and the civil-spoken young lady
there above have them there rooms for another day.

_Landlady._ Now, Mr. Newington, let me hear no more about that old
gentlewoman and that civil-spoken young lady. Fair words cost nothing;
and I've a notion that's the cause they are so plenty with the young
lady. Neither o' them, I take it, by what they've ordered since their
coming into the house, are such grand folk that one need be so
_petticular_ about them.

_Landlord._ Why, they came only in a chaise and pair, to be sure; I
can't deny that.

_Landlady._ But, bless my stars! what signifies talking? Don't you know,
as well as I do, Mr. Newington, that to-morrow is Eton Montem, and that
if we had twenty times as many rooms and as many more to the back of
them, it would not be one too many for all the company we've a right to
expect, and those the highest quality of the land? Nay, what do I talk
of to-morrow? isn't my Lady Piercefield and suite expected? and,
moreover, Mr. and Miss Bursal's to be here, and will call for as much in
an hour as your civil-spoken young lady in a twelvemonth, I reckon. So,
Mr. Newington, if you don't think proper to go up and inform the ladies
above that the Dolphin rooms are not for them, I must _speak_ myself,
though 'tis a thing I never do when I can help it.

_Landlord_ (_aside_). She not like to speak! (_Aloud._) My dear, you
can speak a power better than I can; so take it all upon yourself, if
you please; for, old-fashioned as I and my tankard here be, I can't make
a speech that borders on the uncivil order, to a lady like, for the life
and lungs of me. So, in the name of goodness, do you go up, Mrs.
Newington.

_Landlady._ And so I will, Mr. Newington. Help ye! Civilities and
rarities are out o' season for them that can't pay for them in this
world; and very proper.

        (_Exit Landlady._)

_Landlord._ And very proper! Ha! who comes yonder? The Eton chap who
wheedled me into lending him my best hunter last year, and was the
ruination of him; but that must be paid for, wheedle or no wheedle; and,
for the matter of wheedling, I'd stake this here Mr. Wheeler, that is
making up to me, do you see, against e'er a boy, or hobbledehoy, in all
Eton, London, or Christendom, let the other be who he will.

    _Enter_ WHEELER.

_Wheeler._ A fine day, Mr. Newington.

_Landlord._ A fine day, Mr. Wheeler.

_Wheel._ And I hope, for _your_ sake, we may have as fine a day for the
Montem to-morrow. It will be a pretty penny in your pocket! Why, all the
world will be here; and (_looking round at the jellies_, _etc._) so much
the better for them; for here are good things enough, and enough for
them. And here's the best thing of all, the good old tankard still; not
empty, I hope.

_Landlord._ Not empty, I hope. Here's to you, Mr. Wheeler.

_Wheel._ _Mr._ Wheeler!--_Captain_ Wheeler, if you please.

_Landlord._ _You_, Captain Wheeler!--Why, I thought in former times it
was always the oldest scholar at Eton that was Captain at the Montems;
and didn't Mr. Talbot come afore you?

_Wheel._ Not at all; we came on the same day. Some say I came first;
some say Talbot. So the choice of which of us is to be captain is to be
put to the vote amongst the lads--most votes carry it; and I have most
votes, I fancy; so I shall be captain, to-morrow, and a pretty deal of
_salt_[8] I reckon I shall pocket. Why, the collection at the last
Montem, they say, came to a plump thousand! No bad thing for a young
fellow to set out with for Oxford or Cambridge--hey?

  [8] _Salt_, the _cant_ name given by the Eton lads to the money
      collected at Montem.

_Landlord._ And no bad thing, before he sets out for Cambridge or
Oxford, 'twould be for a young gentleman to pay his debts.

_Wheel._ Debts! Oh, time enough for that. I've a little account with you
in horses, I know; but that's between you and me, you know--mum.

_Landlord._ Mum me no mums, Mr. Wheeler. Between you and me, my best
hunter has been ruinationed; and I can't afford to be mum. So you'll
take no offence if I speak; and as you'll set off to-morrow, as soon as
the Montem's over, you'll be pleased to settle with me some way or other
to-day, as we've no other time.

_Wheel._ No time so proper, certainly. Where's the little account?--I
have money sent me for my Montem dress, and I can squeeze that much out
of it. I came home from Eton on purpose to settle with you. But as to
the hunter, you must call upon Talbot--do you understand? to pay for
him; for though Talbot and I had him the same day, 'twas Talbot did for
him, and Talbot must pay. I spoke to him about it, and charged him to
remember you; for I never forget to speak a good word for my friends.

_Landlord._ So I perceive.

_Wheel._ I'll make bold just to give you my opinion of these jellies
whilst you are getting my account, Mr. Newington.

        (_He swallows down a jelly or two--Landlord is going._)

    _Enter_ TALBOT.

_Talbot._ Hallo, Landlord! where are you making off so fast? Here, your
jellies are all going as fast as yourself.

_Wheel._ (_aside_). Talbot!--I wish I was a hundred miles off.

_Landlord._ You are heartily welcome, Mr. Talbot. A good morning to you,
sir; I'm glad to see you--very glad to see you, Mr. Talbot.

_Talb._ Then shake hands, my honest landlord.

        (_Talbot, in shaking hands with him, puts a purse into the
        Landlord's hands._)

[Illustration: _'Then shake hands, my honest landlord.'_]

_Landlord._ What's here? Guineas?

_Talb._ The hunter, you know; since Wheeler won't pay, I must--that's
all. Good morning.

_Wheel._ (_aside._) What a fool!

        (_Landlord, as Talbot is going catches hold of his coat._)

_Landlord._ Hold, Mr. Talbot, this won't do!

_Talb._ Won't it? Well, then, my watch must go.

_Landlord._ Nay, nay! but you are in such a hurry to pay--you won't hear
a man. Half this is enough for your share o' the mischief, in all
conscience. Mr. Wheeler, there, had the horse on the same day.

_Wheel._ But Bursal's my witness----

_Talb._ Oh, say no more about witnesses; a man's conscience is always
his best witness, or his worst. Landlord, take your money, and no more
words.

_Wheel._ This is very genteel of you, Talbot. I always thought you would
do the genteel thing, as I knew you to be so generous and considerate.

_Talb._ Don't waste your fine speeches, Wheeler, I advise you, this
election time. Keep them for Bursal or Lord John, or some of those who
like them. They won't go down with _me_. Good morning to you. I give you
notice, I'm going back to Eton as fast as I can gallop; and who knows
what plain speaking may do with the Eton lads? I may be captain yet,
Wheeler. Have a care! Is my horse ready there?

_Landlord._ Mr. Talbot's horse, there! Mr. Talbot's horse, I say.

    _Talbot sings._

      He carries weight--he rides a race--
      'Tis for a thousand pound!

        (_Exit Talbot._)

_Wheel._ And, dear me! I shall be left behind. A horse for me, pray; a
horse for Mr. Wheeler!

        (_Exit Wheeler._)

_Landlord_ (_calls very loud_). Mr. Talbot's horse! Hang the hostler!
I'll saddle him myself.

        (_Exit Landlord._)


    SCENE II

    _A Dining-room in the Inn at Salt Hill_

    MRS. TALBOT _and_ LOUISA

_Louisa_ (_laughing_). With what an air Mrs. Landlady made her exit!

_Mrs. Talbot._ When I was young, they say, I was proud; but I am humble
enough now: these petty mortifications do not vex me.

_Louisa._ It is well my brother was gone before Mrs. Landlady made her
_entrée_; for if he had heard her rude speech, he would at least have
given her the retort courteous.

_Mrs. Talb._ Now tell me honestly, my Louisa----You were, a few days
ago, at Bursal House. Since you have left it and have felt something of
the difference that is made in this world between splendour and no
splendour, you have never regretted that you did not stay there, and
that you did not bear more patiently with Miss Bursal's little airs?

_Louisa._ Never for a moment. At first Miss Bursal paid me a vast deal
of attention; but, for what reason I know not, she suddenly changed her
manner, grew first strangely cold, then condescendingly familiar, and at
last downright rude. I could not guess the cause of these variations.

_Mrs. Talb._ (_aside_). I guess the cause too well.

_Louisa._ But as I perceived the lady was out of tune, I was in haste to
leave her. I should make a very bad, and, I am sure, a miserable toad
eater. I had much rather, if I were obliged to choose, earn my own
bread, than live as toad eater with anybody.

_Mrs. Talb._ Fine talking, dear Louisa!

_Louisa._ Don't you believe me to be in earnest, mother? To be sure, you
cannot know what I would do, unless I were put to the trial.

_Mrs. Talb._ Nor you either, my dear.

        (_She sighs, and is silent._)

_Louisa_ (_takes her mother's hand_). What is the matter, dear mother?
You used to say that seeing my brother always made you feel ten years
younger; yet even while he was here, you had, in spite of all your
efforts to conceal them, those sudden fits of sadness.

_Mrs. Talb._ The Montem--is not it to-morrow? Ay, but my boy is not sure
of being captain.

_Louisa._ No; there is one Wheeler, who, as he says, is most likely to
be chosen captain. He has taken prodigious pains to flatter and win over
many to his interest. My brother does not so much care about it; he is
not avaricious.

_Mrs. Talb._ I love your generous spirit and his! but, alas! my dear,
people may live to want, and wish for money, without being avaricious. I
would not say a word to Talbot; full of spirits as he was this morning,
I would not say a word to him, till after the Montem, of what has
happened.

_Louisa._ And what has happened, dear mother? Sit down,--you tremble.

_Mrs. Talb._ (_sits down and puts a letter into Louisa's hand_). Read
that, love. A messenger brought me that from town a few hours ago.

_Louisa_ (_reads_). 'By an express from Portsmouth, we hear the _Bombay
Castle_ East Indiaman is lost, with all your fortune on board.' _All!_ I
hope there is something left for you to live upon.

_Mrs. Talb._ About £150 a year for us all.

_Louisa._ That is enough, is it not, for you?

_Mrs. Talb._ For me, love? I am an old woman, and want but little in
this world, and shall be soon out of it.

_Louisa_ (_kneels down beside her_). Do not speak so, dearest mother.

_Mrs. Talb._ Enough for me, love! Yes, enough, and too much for me. I am
not thinking of myself.

_Louisa._ Then, as to my brother, he has such abilities, and such
industry, he will make a fortune at the bar for himself, most certainly.

_Mrs. Talb._ But his education is not completed. How shall we provide
him with money at Cambridge?

_Louisa._ This Montem. The last time the captain had eight hundred, the
time before a thousand, pounds. Oh, I hope--I fear! Now, indeed, I know
that, without being avaricious, we may want, and wish for money.

        (_Landlady's voice heard behind the scenes._)

_Landlady._ Waiter!--Miss Bursal's curricle, and Mr. Bursal's
_vis-à-vis_. Run! see that the Dolphin's empty. I say run!--run!

_Mrs. Talb._ I will rest for a few moments upon the sofa, in this
bedchamber, before we set off.

_Louisa_ (_goes to open the door_). They have bolted or locked it. How
unlucky!

        (_She turns the key, and tries to unlock the door._)

    _Enter_ WAITER.

_Waiter._ Ladies, I'm sorry--Miss Bursal and Mr. Bursal are come--just
coming upstairs.

_Mrs. Talb._ Then, will you be so good, sir, as to unlock this door?

        (_Waiter tries to unlock the door._)

_Waiter._ It must be bolted on the inside. Chambermaid! Sally! Are you
within there? Unbolt this door.

_Mr. Bursal's voice behind the scenes._ Let me have a basin of good soup
directly.

_Waiter._ I'll go round and have the door unbolted immediately, ladies.

        (_Exit Waiter._)

    _Enter_ MISS BURSAL, _in a riding dress, and with a long whip._

_Miss Bursal._ Those creatures, the ponies, have a'most pulled my _'and_
off. Who _'ave_ we _'ere_? Ha! Mrs. Talbot! Louisa, _'ow_ are ye? I'm so
vastly glad to see you; but I'm so shocked to _'ear_ of the loss of the
_Bombay Castle_. Mrs. Talbot, you look but poorly; but this Montem will
put everybody in spirits. I _'ear_ everybody's to be _'ere_; and my
brother tells me, 'twill be the finest ever seen at _H_ Eton. Louisa, my
dear, I'm sorry I've not a seat for you in my curricle for to-morrow;
but I've promised Lady Betty; so, you know, 'tis impossible for me.

[Illustration: _Enter Miss Bursal, in a riding dress._]

_Louisa._ Certainly; and it would be impossible for me to leave my
mother at present.

_Chambermaid_ (_opens the bedchamber door_). The room's ready now,
ladies.

_Mrs. Talb._ Miss Bursal, we intrude upon you no longer.

_Miss Burs._ Nay, why do you decamp, Mrs. Talbot? I _'ad_ a thousand
things to say to you, Louisa; but am so tired and so annoyed----

        (_Seats herself. Exeunt Mrs. Talbot, Louisa, and Chambermaid._)

    _Enter_ MR. BURSAL, _with a basin of soup in his hand._

_Mr. Burs._ Well, thank my stars the _Airly Castle_ is safe in the
Downs.

_Miss Burs._ Mr. Bursal, can you inform me why Joe, my groom, does not
make his appearance?

_Mr. Burs._ (_eating and speaking_). Yes, that I can, child; because he
is with his _'orses_, where he ought to be. 'Tis fit they should be
looked after well; for they cost me a pretty penny--more than their
heads are worth, and yours into the bargain; but I was resolved, as we
were to come to this Montem, to come in style.

_Miss Burs._ In style, to be sure; for all the world's to be here--the
King, the Prince of W_h_ales, and Duke o' York, and all the first
people; and we shall cut a dash! Dash! dash! will be the word
to-morrow!--(_playing with her whip_).

_Mr. Burs._ (_aside_). Dash! dash! ay, just like her brother. He'll pay
away finely, I warrant, by the time he's her age. Well, well, he can
afford it; and I do love to see my children make a figure for their
money. As Jack Bursal says, what's money for, if it e'nt to make a
figure? (_Aloud._) There's your brother Jack, now. The extravagant dog!
he'll have such a dress as never was seen, I suppose, at this here
Montem. Why, now, Jack Bursal spends more money at Eton, and has more to
spend, than my Lord John, though my Lord John's the son of a
marchioness.

_Miss Burs._ Oh, that makes no difference nowadays. I wonder whether her
ladyship is to be at this Montem. The only good I ever got out of these
stupid Talbots was an introduction to their friend Lady Piercefield.
What she could find to like in the Talbots, heaven knows. I've a notion
she'll drop them, when she hears of the loss of the _Bombay Castle_.

    _Enter a_ WAITER, _with a note._

_Waiter._ A note from my Lady Piercefield, sir.

_Miss B._ Charming woman! Is she here, pray, sir?

_Waiter._ Just come. Yes, ma'am.

        (_Exit Waiter._)

_Miss B._ Well, Mr. Bursal, what is it?

_Mr. B._ (_reads_). 'Business of importance to communicate----' Hum!
what can it be?--(_going_).

_Miss B._ (_aside_). Perhaps some match to propose for me! (_Aloud._)
Mr. Bursal, pray before you go to her ladyship, do send my _ooman_ to me
to make me _presentable_.

        (_Exit Miss Bursal at one door._)

_Mr. B._ (_at the opposite door_). 'Business of importance!' Hum! I'm
glad I'm prepared with a good basin of soup. There's no doing business
well upon an empty stomach. Perhaps the business is to lend cash; and
I've no great stomach for that. But it will be an honour, to be sure.

        (_Exit._)


    SCENE III

    _Landlady's Parlour_

    _Landlady_--MR. FINSBURY, _a man-milliner, with bandboxes--a fancy
    cap, or helmet, with feathers, in the Landlady's hand--a satin bag,
    covered with gold netting, in the man-milliner's hand--a mantle
    hanging over his arm. A rough-looking Farmer is sitting with his
    back towards them, eating bread and cheese, and reading a
    newspaper._

_Landlady._ Well, this, to be sure, will be the best-dressed Montem that
ever was seen at Eton; and you Lon'on gentlemen have the most
fashionablest notions; and this is the most elegantest fancy cap----

_Finsbury._ Why, as you observe, ma'm, that is the most elegant fancy
cap of them all. That is Mr. Hector Hogmorton's fancy cap, ma'm; and
here, ma'm, is Mr. Saul's rich satin bag, covered with gold net. He is
college salt-bearer, I understand, and has a prodigious superb white and
gold dress. But, in my humble opinion, ma'm, the marshal's white and
purple and orange fancy-dress, trimmed with silver, will bear the bell;
though, indeed, I shouldn't say that,--for the colonel's and
lieutenant's, and ensign's, are beautiful in the extreme. And, to be
sure, nothing could be better imagined than Mr. Marlborough's lilac and
silver, with a Roman cap. And it must be allowed that nothing in nature
can have a better effect than Mr. Drake's flesh-colour and blue, with
this Spanish hat, ma'm, you see.

        (_The Farmer looks over his shoulder from time to time during
        this speech, with contempt._)

_Farmer_ (_reads the newspaper_). French fleet at sea--Hum!

_Landlady._ O gemini: Mr. Drake's Spanish hat is the sweetest, tastiest
thing! Mr. Finsbury, I protest----

_Finsb._ Why, _ma'm_, I knew a lady of your taste couldn't but approve
of it. My own invention entirely, ma'm. But it's nothing to the
captain's cap, ma'm. Indeed, ma'm, Mr. Wheeler, the captain that is to
be, has the prettiest taste in dress. To be sure, his sandals were my
suggestion; but the mantle he has the entire credit of, to do him
justice; and when you see it, ma'm, you will be really surprised; for
(for contrast and elegance, and richness, and lightness, and propriety,
and effect, and costume) you've never yet seen anything at all to be
compared to Captain Wheeler's mantle, ma'm.

_Farmer_ (_to the Landlady_). Why, now, pray, Mrs. Landlady, how long
may it have been the fashion for milliners to go about in men's clothes?

_Landlady_ (_aside to Farmer_). Lord, Mr. Hearty, hush! This is Mr.
Finsbury, the great man-milliner.

_Farm._ The great man-milliner! This is a sight I never thought to see
in Old England.

_Finsb._ (_packing up bandboxes_). Well, ma'm, I'm glad I have your
approbation. It has ever been my study to please the ladies.

_Farm._ (_throws a fancy mantle over his frieze coat_). And is this the
way to please the ladies, Mrs. Landlady, nowadays?

_Finsb._ (_taking off the mantle_). Sir, with your leave--I ask
pardon--but the least thing detriments these tender colours; and as you
have just been eating cheese with your hands----

_Farm._ 'Tis my way to eat cheese with my mouth, man.

_Finsb._ _Man!_

_Farm._ I ask pardon--man-milliner, I mean.

    _Enter_ LANDLORD.

_Landlord._ Why, wife!

_Landlady._ Wife!

_Landlord._ I ask pardon--Mrs. Newington I mean. Do you know who them
ladies are that you have been and turned out of the Dolphin?

_Landlady_ (_alarmed_). Not I, indeed. Who are they, pray? Why, if they
are quality it's no fault of mine. It is their own fault for coming,
like scrubs, without four horses. Why, if quality will travel the road
this way, incognito, how can they expect to be known and treated as
quality? 'Tis no fault of mine. Why didn't you find out sooner who they
were, Mr. Newington? What else in the 'versal world have you to do, but
to go basking about in the yards and places with your tankard in your
hand, from morning till night? What have you else to ruminate, all day
long, but to find out who's who, I say?

_Farm._ Clapper! clapper! clapper! like my mill in a high wind,
landlord. Clapper! clapper! clapper!--enough to stun a body.

_Landlord._ That is not used to it; but use is all, they say.

_Landlady._ Will you answer me, Mr. Newington? Who are the grandees that
were in the Dolphin?--and what's become _on_ them?

_Landlord._ Grandees was your own word, wife. They be not to call
grandees; but I reckon you'd be sorry not to treat 'em civil, when I
tell you their name is Talbot, mother and sister to our young Talbot of
Eton; he that paid me so handsome for the hunter this very morning.

_Landlady._ Mercy! is that all? What a combustion for nothing in life!

_Finsb._ For nothing in life, as you say, ma'm; that is, nothing in high
life, I'm sure, ma'm; nay, I dare a'most venture to swear. Would you
believe it, Mr. Talbot is one of the few young gentlemen of Eton that
has not bespoke from me a fancy-dress for this grand Montem?

_Landlady._ There, Mr. Newington; there's your Talbot for you! and
there's your grandees! Oh, trust me, I know your scrubs at first sight.

_Landlord._ Scrubs, I don't, nor can't, nor won't call them that pay
their debts honestly. Scrubs, I don't, nor won't, nor can't call them
that behave as handsome as young Mr. Talbot did here to me this morning
about the hunter. A scrub he is not, wife. Fancy-dress or no
fancy-dress, Mr. Finsbury, this young gentleman is no scrub.

_Finsb._ Dear me! 'Twas not I said _scrub_. Did I say scrub?

_Farm._ No matter if you did.

_Finsb._ No matter, certainly; and yet it is a matter; for I'm confident
I wouldn't for the world leave it in any one's power to say that I
said--that I called--any young gentleman of Eton a _scrub_! Why, you
know, sir, it might breed a riot!

_Farm._ And a pretty figure you'd make in a riot!

_Landlady._ Pray let me hear nothing about riots in my house.

_Farm._ Nor about scrubs.

_Finsb._ But I beg leave to explain, gentlemen. All I ventured to remark
or suggest was, that as there was some talk of Mr. Talbot's being
captain to-morrow, I didn't conceive how he could well appear without
any dress. That was all, upon my word and honour. A good morning to you,
gentlemen; it is time for me to be off. Mrs. Newington, you were so
obliging as to promise to accommodate me with a return chaise as far as
Eton.

        (_Finsbury bows and exit._)

_Farm._ A good day to you and your bandboxes. There's a fellow for you
now! Ha! ha! ha!--A man-milliner, forsooth!

_Landlord._ Mrs. Talbot's coming--stand back.

_Landlady._ Lord! why does Bob show them through this way?

    _Enter_ MRS. TALBOT, _leaning on_ LOUISA; _Waiter showing the way._

_Landlady._ You are going on, I suppose, ma'am?

_Waiter_ (_aside to Landlord_). Not if she could help it; but there's no
beds, since Mr. Bursal and Miss Bursal's come.

_Landlord._ I say nothing, for it is vain to say more. But isn't it a
pity she can't stay for the Montem, poor old lady! Her son--as good and
fine a lad as ever you saw--they say, has a chance, too, of being
captain. She may never live to see another such a sight.

        (_As Mrs. Talbot walks slowly on, the Farmer puts himself across
        her way, so as to stop her short._)

_Farm._ No offence, madam, I hope; but I have a good snug farmhouse, not
far off hand; and if so be you'd be so good to take a night's lodging,
you and the young lady with you, you'd have a hearty welcome. That's all
I can say; and you'd make my wife very happy; for she's a good woman, to
say nothing of myself.

_Landlord._ If I may be so bold to put in my word, madam, you'd have as
good beds, and be as well lodged, with Farmer Hearty, as in e'er a house
at Salt Hill.

_Mrs. Talb._ I am very much obliged----

_Farm._ Oh, say nothing o' that, madam. I am sure I shall be as much
obliged if you do come. Do, miss, speak for me.

_Louisa._ Pray, dear mother----

_Farm._ She will. (_Calls behind the scenes._) Here, waiter! hostler!
driver! what's your name? drive the chaise up here to the door, smart,
close. Lean on my arm, madam, and we'll have you in and home in a whiff.

        (_Exeunt Mrs. Talbot, Louisa, Farmer, Landlord, and Waiter._)

_Landlady_ (_sola_). What a noise and a rout this farmer man makes! and
my husband, with his great broad face, bowing, as great a nincompoop as
t'other. The folks are all bewitched with the old woman, I verily
believe. (_Aloud._) A good morning to you, ladies.


ACT THE SECOND


    SCENE I

    _A field near Eton College;--several boys crossing backwards and
    forwards in the background. In front,_ TALBOT, WHEELER, LORD JOHN
    _and_ BURSAL.

_Talbot._ Fair play, Wheeler! Have at 'em, my boy! There they stand,
fair game! There's Bursal there, with his _dead_ forty-five votes at
command; and Lord John with his--how many live friends?

_Lord John_ (_coolly_). Sir, I have fifty-six friends, I believe.

_Talb._ Fifty-six friends, his lordship believes--Wheeler inclusive no
doubt.

_Lord J._ That's as hereafter may be.

_Wheeler._ Hereafter! Oh, fie, my _lud_! You know your own Wheeler has,
from the first minute he ever saw you, been your fast friend.

_Talb._ Your fast friend from the first minute he ever saw you, my lord!
That's well hit, Wheeler; stick to that; stick fast. Fifty-six friends,
Wheeler _in_clusive, hey, my lord! hey, my _lud_!

_Lord J._ Talbot _ex_clusive, I find, contrary to my expectations.

_Talb._ Ay, contrary to your expectations, you find that Talbot is not a
dog that will lick the dust: but then there's enough of the true spaniel
breed to be had for whistling for; hey, Wheeler?

_Bursal_ (_aside to Wheeler_). A pretty electioneerer. So much the
better for you, Wheeler. Why, unless he bought a vote, he'd never win
one, if he talked from this to the day of judgment.

_Wheeler_ (_aside to Bursal_). And as he has no money to buy votes--he!
he! he!--we are safe enough.

_Talb._ That's well done, Wheeler; fight the by-battle there with
Bursal, now you are sure of the main with Lord John.

_Lord J._ Sure! I never made Mr. Wheeler any promise yet.

_Wheel._ Oh, I ask no promise from his lordship; we are upon honour: I
trust entirely to his lordship's good nature and generosity, and to his
regard for his own family; I having the honour, though distantly, to be
related.

_Lord J._ Related! How, Wheeler?

_Wheel._ Connected, I mean, which is next door, as I may say, to being
related. Related slipped out by mistake; I beg pardon, my Lord John.

_Lord J._ Related!--a strange mistake, Wheeler.

_Talb._ Overshot yourself, Wheeler; overshot yourself, by all that's
awkward. And yet, till now, I always took you for '_a dead-shot at a
yellow-hammer_.'[9]

  [9] Young noblemen at Oxford wear yellow tufts at the tops of
      their caps. Hence their flatterers are said to be dead-shots
      at yellow-hammers.

_Wheel._ (_taking Bursal by the arm_). Bursal, a word with you. (_Aside
to Bursal._) What a lump of family pride that Lord John is.

_Talb._ Keep out of my hearing, Wheeler, lest I should spoil sport. But
never fear: you'll please Bursal sooner than I shall. I can't, for the
soul of me, bring myself to say that Bursal's not purse-proud, and you
can. Give you joy.

_Burs._ A choice electioneerer!--ha! ha! ha!

_Wheel._ (_faintly_). He! he! he!--a choice electioneerer, as you say.

        (_Exeunt Wheeler and Bursal; manent Lord J. and Talbot._)

_Lord J._ There was a time, Talbot----

_Talb._ There was a time, my lord--to save trouble and a long
explanation--there was a time when you liked Talbots better than
spaniels; you understand me?

_Lord J._ I have found it very difficult to understand you of late, Mr.
Talbot.

_Talb._ Yes, because you have used other people's understandings instead
of your own. Be yourself, my lord. See with your own eyes, and hear with
your own ears, and then you'll find me still, what I've been these seven
years; not your under-strapper, your hanger-on, your flatterer, but your
friend! If you choose to have me for a friend, here's my hand. I am your
friend, and you'll not find a better.

_Lord J._ (_giving his hand_). You are a strange fellow, Talbot; I
thought I never could have forgiven you for what you said last night.

_Talb._ What? for I don't keep a register of my sayings. Oh, it was
something about gaming--Wheeler was flattering your taste for it, and he
put me into a passion--I forget what I said. But, whatever it was, I'm
sure it was well meant, and I believe it was well said.

_Lord J._ But you laugh at me sometimes to my face.

_Talb._ Would you rather I should laugh at you behind your back?

_Lord J._ But of all things in the world I hate to be laughed at. Listen
to me, and don't fumble in your pockets while I'm talking to you.

_Talb._ I'm fumbling for--oh, here it is. Now, Lord John, I once did
laugh at you behind your back, and what's droll enough, it was _at_ your
back I laughed. Here's a caricature I drew of you--I really am sorry I
did it; but 'tis best to show it to you myself.

_Lord J._ (_aside_). It is all I can do to forgive this. (_After a
pause, he tears the paper._) I have heard of this caricature before; but
I did not expect, Talbot, that you would come and show it to me
yourself, Talbot, so handsomely, especially at such a time as this.
Wheeler might well say you are a bad electioneerer.

_Talb._ Oh, hang it! I forgot my election, and your fifty-six friends.

    _Enter_ RORY O'RYAN.

_Rory_ (_claps Talbot on the back_). Fifty-six friends, have you,
Talbot? Say seven--fifty-seven, I mean; for I'll lay you a wager, you've
forgot me; and that's a shame for you, too; for out of the whole
posse-comitatus entirely now, you have not a stauncher friend than poor
little Rory O'Ryan. And a good right he has to befriend you; for you
stood by him when many who ought to have known better were hunting him
down for a wild Irishman. Now that same wild Irishman has as much
gratitude in him as any tame Englishman of them all. But don't let's be
talking s_i_ntim_i_nt; for, for my share I'd not give a bogberry a
bushel for s_i_ntim_i_nt, when I could get anything better.

_Lord J._ And pray, sir, what may a bogberry be?

_Rory._ Phoo! don't be playing the innocent, now. Where have you lived
all your life (I ask pardon, my l_a_rd) not to know a bogberry when you
see or hear of it? (_Turns to Talbot._) But what are ye standing idling
here for? Sure, there's Wheeler, and Bursal along with him, canvassing
out yonder at a terrible fine rate. And haven't I been huzzaing for you
there till I'm hoarse? So I am, and just stepped away to suck an orange
for my voice--(_sucks an orange_). I am a _thoroughgoing_ friend, at any
rate.

_Talb._ Now, Rory, you are the best fellow in the world, and a
_thoroughgoing_ friend; but have a care, or you'll get yourself and me
into some scrape, before you have done with this violent _thoroughgoing_
work.

_Rory._ Never fear! never fear, man!--a warm _frind_ and a bitter enemy,
that's my maxim.

_Talb._ Yes, but too warm a friend is as bad as a bitter enemy.

_Rory._ Oh, never fear me! I'm as cool as a cucumber all the time; and
whilst they _tink_ I'm _tinking_ of nothing in life but making a noise,
I make my own snug little remarks in prose and verse, as--now my voice
is after coming back to me, you shall hear, if you _plase_.

_Talb._ I do please.

_Rory._ I call it Rory's song. Now, mind, I have a verse for
everybody--o' the leading lads, I mean; and I shall put 'em in or _lave_
'em out, according to their inclinations and deserts, _wise-a-wee_ to
you, my little _frind_. So you comprehend it will be Rory's song, with
variations.

_Talbot and Lord John._ Let's have it; let's have it without further
preface.

    _Rory sings._

      I'm true game to the last, and no _Wheeler_ for me.

_Rory._ There's a stroke, in the first place, for Wheeler,--you take it?

_Talb._ Oh yes, yes, we take it; go on.

    _Rory sings._

      I'm true game to the last, and no Wheeler for me.
      Of all birds, beasts, or fishes, that swim in the sea,
      Webb'd or finn'd, black or white, man or child, Whig or Tory,
      None but Talbot, O Talbot's the dog for Rory.

_Talb._ 'Talbot the dog' is much obliged to you.

_Lord J._ But if I have any ear, one of your lines is a foot too long,
Mr. O'Ryan.

_Rory._ Phoo, put the best foot foremost for a _frind_. Slur it in the
singing, and don't be quarrelling, anyhow, for a foot more or less. The
more feet the better it will stand, you know. Only let me go on, and
you'll come to something that will _plase_ you.

    _Rory sings._

      Then there's he with the purse that's as long as my arm.

_Rory._ That's Bursal, mind now, whom I mean to allude to in this verse.

_Lord J._ If the allusion's good, we shall probably find out your
meaning.

_Talb._ On with you, Rory, and don't read us notes on a song.

_Lord J._ Go on, and let us hear what you say of Bursal.

    _Rory sings._

      Then there's he with the purse that's as long as my arm;
      His father's a tanner,--but then where's the harm?
      Heir to houses, and hunters, and horseponds in fee,
      Won't his skins sure soon buy him a pedigree?

_Lord J._ Encore! encore! Why, Rory, I did not think you could make so
good a song.

_Rory._ Sure 'twas none of I made it--'twas Talbot here.

_Talb._ I!

_Rory_ (_aside_). Not a word: I'll make you a present of it: sure, then,
it's your own.

_Talb._ I never wrote a word of it.

_Rory_ (_to Lord J._) Phoo, phoo! he's only denying it out of false
modesty.

_Lord J._ Well, no matter who wrote it,--sing it again.

_Rory._ Be easy; so I will, and as many more verses as you will to the
back of it. (_Winking at Talbot aside._) You shall have the credit of
all. (_Aloud._) Put me in when I'm out, Talbot, and you (_to Lord John_)
join--join.

    _Rory sings, and Lord John sings with him._

      Then there's he with the purse that's as long as my arm;
      His father's a tanner,--but then where's the harm?
      Heir to houses, and hunters, and horseponds in fee,
      Won't his skins sure soon buy him a pedigree?
      There's my lord with the back that never was bent----

        (_Lord John stops singing; Talbot makes signs to Rory to stop;
        but Rory does not see him, and sings on._)

      There's my lord with the back that never was bent;
      Let him live with his ancestors, I am content.

        (_Rory pushes Lord J. and Talbot with his elbows._)

_Rory._ Join, join, both of ye--why don't you join? (_Sings._)

      Who'll buy my Lord John? the arch fishwoman cried,
      A nice oyster shut up in a choice shell of pride.

_Rory._ But join or ye spoil all.

_Talb._ You have spoiled all, indeed.

_Lord J._ (_making a formal low bow_). Mr. Talbot, Lord John thanks you.

_Rory._ Lord John! blood and thunder! I forgot you were by--quite and
clean.

_Lord J._ (_puts him aside and continues speaking to Talbot_). Lord John
thanks you, Mr. Talbot: this is the second part of the caricature. Lord
John thanks you for these proofs of friendship--Lord John has reason to
thank you, Mr. Talbot.

_Rory._ No reason in life now. Don't be thanking so much for nothing in
life; or if you must be thanking of somebody, it's me you ought to
thank.

_Lord J._ I ought and do, sir, for unmasking one who----

_Talb._ (_warmly_). Unmasking, my lord----

_Rory_ (_holding them asunder_). Phoo! phoo! phoo! be easy, can't
ye?--there's no unmasking at all in the case. My Lord John, Talbot's
writing the song was all a mistake.

_Lord J._ As much a mistake as your singing it, sir, I presume----

_Rory._ Just as much. 'Twas all a mistake. So now don't you go and make
a mistake into a misunderstanding. It was I made every word of the song
_out o' the face_[10]--that about the back that never was bent, and the
ancestors of the oyster, and all. He did not waste a word of it; upon my
conscience, I wrote it all--though I'll engage you didn't think I could
write such a good thing. (_Lord John turns away._) I'm telling you the
truth, and not a word of a lie, and yet you won't believe me.

  [10] From beginning to end.

_Lord J._ You will excuse me, sir, if I cannot believe two contradictory
assertions within two minutes. Mr. Talbot, I thank you (_going_).

        (_Rory tries to stop Lord John from going, but cannot.--Exit
        Lord John._)

_Rory._ Well, if he _will_ go, let him go then, and much good may it do
him. Nay, but don't you go too.

_Talb._ O Rory, what have you done?--(_Talbot runs after Lord J._) Hear
me, my lord.

        (_Exit Talbot._)

_Rory._ Hear him! hear him! hear him!--Well, I'm point blank mad with
myself for making this blunder; but how could I help it? As sure as ever
I am meaning to do the best thing on earth, it turns out the worst.

    _Enter a party of lads, huzzaing._

_Rory_ (_joins_). Huzza! huzza!--Who, pray, are ye huzzaing for?

_1st Boy._ Wheeler! Wheeler for ever! huzza!

_Rory._ Talbot! Talbot for ever! huzza! Captain Talbot for ever! huzza!

_2nd Boy._ _Captain_ he'll never be,--at least not to-morrow; for Lord
John has just declared for Wheeler.

_1st Boy._ And that turns the scale.

_Rory._ Oh, the scale may turn back again.

_3rd Boy._ Impossible! Lord John has just given his _promise_ to
Wheeler. I heard him with my own ears.

(_Several speak at once._) And I heard him; and I! and I! and I!--Huzza!
Wheeler for ever!

_Rory._ Oh, murder! murder! murder! (_Aside._) This goes to my heart!
it's all my doing. O, my poor Talbot! murder! murder! murder! But I
won't let them see me cast down, and it is good to be huzzaing at all
events. Huzza for Talbot! Talbot for ever! huzza!

        (_Exit._)

    _Enter_ WHEELER _and_ BURSAL.

_Wheel._ Who was that huzzaing for Talbot?

        (_Rory behind the scenes_, 'Huzza for Talbot! Talbot for ever!
        huzza!')

_Burs._ Pooh, it is only Rory O'Ryan, or the roaring lion, as I call
him. Ha! ha! ha! Rory O'Ryan, _alias_ O'Ryan, the roaring lion; that's a
good one; put it about--Rory O'Ryan, the roaring lion, ha! ha! ha! but
you don't take it--you don't laugh, Wheeler.

_Wheeler._ Ha! ha! ha! Oh, upon my honour I do laugh; ha! ha! ha! (_It
is the hardest work to laugh at his wit--aside._) (_Aloud._) Rory
O'Ryan, the roaring lion--ha! ha! ha! You know I always laugh, Bursal,
at your jokes--he! he! he!--ready to kill myself.

_Burs._ (_sullenly_). You are easily killed, then, if that much laughing
will do the business.

_Wheel._ (_coughing_). Just then--something stuck in my throat; I beg
your pardon.

_Burs._ (_still sullen_). Oh, you need not beg my pardon about the
matter; I don't care whether you laugh or no--not I. Now you have got
Lord John to declare for you, you are above laughing at my jokes, I
suppose.

_Wheel._ No, upon my word and honour, _I did_ laugh.

_Burs._ (_aside_). A fig for your word and honour. (_Aloud._) I know I'm
of no consequence now; but you'll remember that, if his lordship has the
honour of making you captain, he must have the honour to pay for your
captain's accoutrements; for I shan't pay the piper, I promise you,
since I'm of no consequence.

_Wheel._ Of no consequence! But, my dear Bursal, what could put that
into your head? that's the strangest, oddest fancy. Of no consequence!
Bursal, of no consequence! Why, everybody that knows anything--everybody
that has seen Bursal House--knows that you are of the greatest
consequence, my dear Bursal.

_Burs._ (_taking out his watch, and opening it, looks at it_). No, I'm
of no consequence. I wonder that rascal Finsbury is not come yet with
the dresses (_still looking at his watch_).

_Wheel._ (_aside_). If Bursal takes it into his head not to lend me the
money to pay for my captain's dress, what will become of me? for I have
not a shilling--and Lord John won't pay for me--and Finsbury has orders
not to leave the house till he is paid by everybody. What will become of
me?--(_bites his nails_).

_Burs._ (_aside_). How I love to make him bite his nails! (_Aloud._) I
know I'm of no consequence. (_Strikes his repeater._)

_Wheel._ What a fine repeater that is of yours, Bursal! It is the best I
ever heard.

_Burs._ So it well may be; for it cost a mint of money.

_Wheel._ No matter to you what anything costs. Happy dog as you are! You
roll in money; and yet you talk of being of no consequence.

_Burs._ But I am not of half so much consequence as Lord John--am I?

_Wheel._ Are you? Why, aren't you twice as rich as he!

_Burs._ Very true, but I'm not purse-proud.

_Wheel._ You purse-proud! I should never have thought of such a thing.

_Burs._ Nor I, if Talbot had not used the word.

_Wheel._ But Talbot thinks everybody purse-proud that has a purse.

_Burs._ (_aside_). Well, this Wheeler does put one into a good humour
with one's self in spite of one's teeth. (_Aloud._) Talbot says blunt
things; but I don't think he's what you can call clever--hey, Wheeler?

_Wheel._ Clever! Oh, not he.

_Burs._ I think I could walk round him.

_Wheel._ To be sure you could. Why, do you know, I've _quizzed_ him
famously myself within this quarter of an hour?

_Burs._ Indeed! I wish I had been by.

_Wheel._ So do I, 'faith! It was the best thing. I wanted, you see, to
get him out of my way, that I might have the field clear for
electioneering to-day. So I bowls up to him with a long face--such a
face as this. 'Mr. Talbot, do you know--I'm sorry to tell you, here's
Jack Smith has just brought the news from Salt Hill. Your mother, in
getting into the carriage, slipped, and has _broke_ her leg, and there
she's lying at a farmhouse, two miles off. Is not it true, Jack?' said
I. 'I saw the farmer helping her in with my own eyes,' cries Jack. Off
goes Talbot like an arrow. '_Quizzed_ him, _quizzed_ him!' said I.

_Burs._ Ha! ha! ha! quizzed him indeed, with all his cleverness; that
was famously done.

_Wheel._ Ha! ha! ha! With all his cleverness he will be all the evening
hunting for the farmhouse and the mother that has _broke_ her leg; so he
is out of our way.

_Burs._ But what need have you to want him out of your way, now Lord
John has come over to your side? You have the thing at a dead beat.

_Wheel._ Not so dead either; for there's a great independent party, you
know; and if _you_ don't help me, Bursal, to canvass them, I shall be no
captain. It is you I depend upon after all. Will you come and canvass
them with me? Dear Bursal, pray--all depends upon you.

        (_Pulls him by the arm--Bursal follows._)

_Burs._ Well, if all depends upon me, I'll see what I can do for you.
(_Aside._) Then I am of some consequence! Money makes a man of some
consequence, I see; at least with some folks.


    SCENE II

    _In the back scene a flock of sheep are seen penned. In front, a
    party of country lads and lasses, gaily dressed, as in
    sheep-shearing time, with ribands and garlands of flowers, etc., are
    dancing and singing._

    _Enter_ PATTY, _dressed as the Queen of the Festival, with a lamb in
    her arms. The dancers break off when she comes in, and direct their
    attention towards her._

_1st Peasant._ Oh, here comes Patty! Here comes the Queen o' the day.
What has kept you from us so long, Patty?

_2nd Peasant._ '_Please your Majesty_,' you should say.

_Patty._ This poor little lamb of mine was what kept me so long. It
strayed away from the rest; and I should have lost him, so I should, for
ever, if it had not been for a good young gentleman. Yonder he is,
talking to Farmer Hearty. That's the young gentleman who pulled my lamb
out of the ditch for me, into which he had fallen--pretty creature!

_1st Peasant._ Pretty creature--or, your Majesty, whichever you choose
to be called--come and dance with them, and I'll carry your lamb.

        (_Exeunt, singing and dancing._)

    _Enter_ FARMER HEARTY _and_ TALBOT.

_Farmer._ Why, young gentleman, I'm glad I happened to light upon you
here, and so to hinder you from going farther astray, and set your heart
at ease like.

_Talb._ Thanks, good farmer, you have set my heart at ease, indeed. But
the truth is, they did frighten me confoundedly--more fool I.

_Farm._ No fool at all, to my notion. I should, at your age, ay, or at
my age, just the self-same way have been frightened myself, if so be
that mention had been made to me, that way, of my own mother's having
broke her leg or so. And greater, by a great deal, the shame for them
that frighted you, than for you to be frighted. How young gentlemen,
now, can bring themselves for to tell such lies, is to me, now, a matter
of amazement, like, that I can't noways get over.

_Talb._ Oh, farmer, such lies are very witty, though you and I don't
just now like the wit of them. This is fun, this is _quizzing_; but you
don't know what we young gentlemen mean by _quizzing_.

_Farm._ Ay, but I do though, to my cost, ever since last year. Look you,
now, at yon fine field of wheat. Well, it was just as fine, and finer,
last year, till a young Eton jackanapes----

_Talb._ Take care what you say, farmer; for I am a young Eton
jackanapes.

_Farm._ No; but you be not the young Eton jackanapes that I'm a-thinking
on. I tell you it was this time last year, man; he was a-horseback, I
tell ye, mounted upon a fine bay hunter, out o' hunting, like.

_Talb._ I tell you 'it was this time last year, man, that I was mounted
upon a fine bay hunter, out a-hunting.

_Farm._ Zooks! would you argufy a man out of his wits? You won't go for
to tell me that you are that impertinent little jackanapes!

_Talb._ No! no! I'll not tell you that I am an impertinent little
jackanapes!

_Farm._ (_wiping his forehead_). Well, don't then, for I can't believe
it; and you put me out. Where was I?

_Talb._ Mounted upon a fine bay hunter.

_Farm._ Ay, so he was. 'Here, _you_,' says he, meaning me--'open this
gate for me.' Now, if he had but a-spoke me fair, I would not have
gainsaid him; but he falls to swearing, so I bid him open the gate for
himself. 'There's a bull behind you, farmer,' says he. I turns.
'_Quizzed_ him!' cries my jackanapes, and off he gallops him, through
the very thick of my corn; but he got a fall, leaping the ditch out
yonder, which pacified me, like, at the minute. So I goes up to see
whether he was killed; but he was not a whit the worse for his tumble.
So I should ha' fell into a passion with him then, to be sure, about my
corn; but his horse had got such a terrible sprain, I couldn't say
anything to him; for I was a-pitying the poor animal. As fine a hunter
as ever you saw! I am s_a_rtain sure he could never come to good after.

_Talb._ (_aside_). I do think, from the description, that this was
Wheeler; and I have paid for the horse which he spoiled! (_Aloud._)
Should you know either the man or the horse again, if you were to see
them?

_Farm._ Ay, that I should, to my dying day.

_Talb._ Will you come with me, then, and you'll do me some guineas'
worth of service?

_Farm._ Ay, that I will, with a deal of pleasure; for you be a
civil-spoken young gentleman; and, besides, I don't think the worse _on_
you for being _frighted_ a little about your mother; being what I might
ha' been, at your age, myself; for I had a mother myself once. So lead
on, master.

        (_Exeunt._)


ACT THE THIRD


    SCENE I

    _The Garden of the 'Windmill Inn' at Salt Hill_

    MISS BURSAL, MRS. NEWINGTON, SALLY _the Chambermaid_

    (_Miss Bursal, in a fainting state, is sitting on a garden stool,
    and leaning her head against the Landlady. Sally is holding a glass
    of water and a smelling bottle._)

_Miss Bursal._ Where am I? Where am I?

_Landlady._ At the 'Windmill,' at Salt Hill, young lady; and ill or
well, you can't be better.

_Sally._ Do you find yourself better since coming into the air, miss?

_Miss B._ Better! Oh, I shall never be better!

        (_Leans her head on hand, and rocks herself backwards and
        forwards._)

_Landlady._ My dear young lady, don't take on so. (_Aside._) Now would I
give something to know what it was my Lady Piercefield said to the
father, and what the father said to this one, and what's the matter at
the bottom of affairs. Sally, did you hear anything at the doors?

_Sally_ (_aside_). No, indeed, ma'am; I never _be's_ at the doors.

_Landlady_ (_aside_). Simpleton! (_Aloud._) But, my dear Miss Bursal, if
I may be so bold--if you'd only disembosom your mind of what's on it----

_Miss B._ Disembosom my mind! Nonsense! I've nothing on my mind. Pray
leave me, madam.

_Landlady_ (_aside_). Madam, indeed! madam, forsooth! Oh, I'll make her
pay for that! That _madam_ shall go down in the bill as sure as my
name's Newington. (_In a higher tone._) Well, I wish you better, ma'am.
I suppose I'd best send your own servant?

_Miss B._ (_sullenly_). Yes, I suppose so. (_To Sally._) You need not
wait, child, nor look so curious.

_Sally._ _Cur'ous!_ Indeed, miss, if I look a little _cur'ous_, or so
(_looking at her dress_), 'tis only because I was _frighted_ to see you
take on, which made me forget my clean apron when I came out; and this
apron----

_Miss B._ Hush! hush! child. Don't tell me about clean aprons, nor run
on with your vulgar talk. Is there ever a seat one can set on in that
_h_arbour yonder?

_Sally._ O dear _'art_, yes, miss; 'tis the pleasantest _h_arbour on
_h_earth. Be pleased to lean on my _h_arm, and you'll soon be there.

_Miss B._ (_going_). Then tell my woman she need not come to me, and let
nobody _interude_ on me--do you _'ear_? (_Aside._) Oh, what will become
of me? and the Talbots will soon know it! And the ponies, and the
curricle, and the _vis-à-vis_--what will become of them? and how shall I
make my appearance at the Montem, or any _ware_ else?


    SCENE II

    LORD JOHN--WHEELER--BURSAL

_Wheeler._ Well, but, my lord--Well, but, Bursal--though my Lady
Piercefield--though Miss Bursal is come to Salt Hill, you won't leave us
all at sixes and sevens. What can we do without you?

_Lord J._ You can do very well without _me_.

_Bursal._ You can do very well without _me_.

_Wheel._ (_to Burs._). Impossible!--impossible! You know Mr. Finsbury
will be here just now, with the dresses; and we have to try them on.

_Burs._ And to pay for them.

_Wheel._ And to settle about the procession. And then, my lord, the
election is to come on this evening. You won't go till that's over, as
your lordship has _promised_ me your lordship's vote and interest.

_Lord J._ My vote I promised you, Mr. Wheeler; but I said not a syllable
about my _interest_. My friends, perhaps, have not been offended, though
I have, by Mr. Talbot. I shall leave them to their own inclinations.

_Burs._ (_whistling_). Wheugh! wheugh! wheugh! Wheeler, the principal's
nothing without the interest.

_Wheel._ Oh, the interest will go along with the principal, of course;
for I'm persuaded, if my lord leaves his friends to their inclinations,
it will be the inclination of my lord's friends to vote as he does, if
he says nothing to them to the contrary.

_Lord J._ I told you, Mr. Wheeler, that I should leave them to
themselves.

_Burs._ (_still whistling_). Well, I'll do my best to make that father
of mine send me off to Oxford. I'm sure I'm fit to go--along with
Wheeler. Why, you'd best be my tutor, Wheeler!--a devilish good thought.

_Wheel._ An excellent thought.

_Burs._ And a cursed fine dust we should kick up at Oxford, with your
Montem money and all!--Money's _the go_ after all. I wish it was come to
my making you my last bow, 'ye distant spires, ye _antic_ towers!'

_Wheel._ (_aside to Lord J._). Ye _antic_ towers!--fit for Oxford, my
lord!

_Lord J._ _Antique_ towers, I suppose Mr. Bursal means.

_Burs._ Antique, to be sure!--I said antique, did not I, Wheeler?

_Wheel._ Oh yes.

_Lord J._ (_aside_). What a mean animal is this!

    _Enter_ RORY O'RYAN.

_Rory._ Why, now, what's become of Talbot, I want to know? There he is
not to be found anywhere in the wide world; and there's a hullabaloo
amongst his friends for him.

        (_Wheeler and Bursal wink at one another._)

_Wheel._ We know nothing of him.

_Lord J._ I have not the honour, sir, to be one of Mr. Talbot's friends.
It is his own fault, and I am sorry for it.

_Rory._ 'Faith, so am I, especially as it is mine--fault I mean; and
especially as the election is just going to come on.

_Enter a party of boys, who cry_, Finsbury's come!--Finsbury's come with
the dresses!

_Wheel._ Finsbury's come? Oh, let us see the dresses, and let us try 'em
on to-night.

_Burs._ (_pushing the crowd_). On with ye--on with ye, there!--Let's try
'em on!--Try 'em on--I'm to be colonel.

_1st Boy._ And I lieutenant.

_2nd Boy._ And I ensign.

_3rd Boy._ And I college salt-bearer.

_4th Boy._ And I oppidan.

_5th Boy._ Oh, what a pity I'm in mourning.

(_Several speak at once._) And we are servitors. We are to be the eight
servitors.

_Wheel._ And I am to be your Captain, I hope. Come on, my Colonel (_to
Bursal_). My lord, you are coming?

_Rory._ By-and-by--I've a word in his ear, by your _lave_ and his.

_Burs._ Why, what the devil stops the way, there?--Push on--on with
them.

_6th Boy._ I'm marshal.

_Burs._ On with you--on with you--who cares what you are?

_Wheel._ (_to Bursal, aside_). You'll pay Finsbury for me, you rich Jew?
(_To Lord John._) Your lordship will remember your lordship's promise?

_Lord J._ I do not usually forget my promises, sir; and therefore need
not to be reminded of them.

_Wheel._ I beg pardon--I beg ten thousand pardons, my lord.

_Burs._ (_taking him by the arm_). Come on, man, and don't stand begging
pardon there, or I'll leave you.

_Wheel._ (_to Burs._). I beg pardon, Bursal--I beg pardon, ten thousand
times.

        (_Exeunt._)

    MANENT LORD JOHN and RORY O'RYAN.

_Rory._ Wheugh!--Now put the case. If I was going to be hanged, for the
life of me I couldn't be after begging so many pardons for nothing at
all. But many men, many minds--(_Hums._) True game to the last! No
Wheeler for me. Oh, murder! I forgot, I was nigh letting the cat out o'
the bag again.

_Lord J._ You had something to say to me, sir? I wait till your
recollection returns.

_Rory._ 'Faith, and that's very kind of you; and if you had always done
so, you would never have been offended with me, my lord.

_Lord J._ You are mistaken, Mr. O'Ryan, if you think that you did or
could offend me.

_Rory._ Mistaken was I, then, sure enough; but we are all liable to
mistakes, and should forget and forgive one another; that's the way to
go through.

_Lord J._ You will go through the world your own way, Mr. O'Ryan, and
allow me to go through it my way.

_Rory._ Very fair--fair enough--then we shan't cross. But now, to come
to the point. I don't like to be making disagreeable retrospects, if I
could any way avoid it; nor to be going about the bush, especially at
this time o' day; when, as Mr. Finsbury's come, we've not so much time
to lose as we had. Is there any truth, then, my lord, in the report that
is going about this hour past, that you have gone in a huff and given
your promise there to that sneaking Wheeler to vote for him now?

_Lord J._ In answer to your question, sir, I am to inform you that I
_have_ promised Mr. Wheeler to vote for him.

_Rory._ In a huff?--Ay, now, there it is!--Well, when a man's _mad_, to
be sure, he's mad--and that's all that can be said about it. And I know,
if I had been _mad_ myself, I might have done a foolish thing as well as
another. But now, my lord, that you are not mad----

_Lord J._ I protest, sir, I cannot understand you. In one word, sir, I'm
neither mad nor a fool!--Your most obedient (_going, angrily_).

_Rory_ (_holding him_). Take care, now; you are going mad with me again.
But phoo! I like you the better for being mad. I'm very often mad
myself, and I would not give a potato for one that had never been mad in
his life.

_Lord J._ (_aside_). He'll not be quiet till he makes me knock him down.

_Rory._ Agh! agh! agh!--I begin to guess whereabouts I am at last.
_Mad_, in your country, I take it, means fit for Bedlam; but with us in
Ireland, now, 'tis no such thing; it means nothing in life but the being
in a passion. Well, one comfort is, my lord, as you're a bit of a
scholar, we have the Latin proverb in our favour--'_Ira furor brevis
est_' (Anger is short madness). The shorter the better, I think. So, my
lord, to put an end to whatever of the kind you may have felt against
poor Talbot, I'll assure you he's as innocent o' that unfortunate song
as the babe unborn.

_Lord J._ It is rather late for Mr. Talbot to make apologies to me.

_Rory._ He make apologies! Not he, 'faith; he'd send me to Coventry, or
maybe to a worse place, did he but know I was condescending to make
this bit of explanation, unknown to him. But, upon my conscience, I've a
regard for you both, and don't like to see you go together by the ears.
Now, look you, my lord. By this book, and all the books that were ever
shut and opened, he never saw or heard of that unlucky song of mine till
I came out with it this morning.

_Lord J._ But you told me this morning that it was he who wrote it.

_Rory._ For that I take shame to myself, as it turned out; but it was
only a _white_ lie to s_a_rve a friend, and make him cut a dash with a
new song at election time. But I've done for ever with white lies.

_Lord J._ (_walking about as if agitated_). I wish you had never begun
with them, Mr. O'Ryan. This may be a good joke to you, but it is none to
me or Talbot. So Talbot never wrote a word of the song?

_Rory._ Not a word or syllable, good or bad.

_Lord J._ And I have given my promise to vote against him. He'll lose
his election.

_Rory._ Not if you'll give me leave to speak to your friends in your
name.

_Lord J._ I have promised to leave them to themselves; and Wheeler, I am
sure, has engaged them by this time.

_Rory._ Bless my body! I'll not stay prating here then.

        (_Exit Rory._)

_Lord J._ (_follows_). But what can have become of Talbot? I have been
too hasty for once in my life. Well, I shall suffer for it more than
anybody else; for I love Talbot, since he did not make the song, of
which I hate to think.

        (_Exit._)


    SCENE III

    _A large hall in Eton College--A staircase at the end--Eton lads,
    dressed in their Montem Dresses, in the Scene--In front,_ WHEELER
    (_dressed as Captain_), BURSAL, _and_ FINSBURY.

_Fins._ I give you infinite credit, Mr. Wheeler, for this dress.

_Burs._ _Infinite credit!_ Why, he'll have no objection to that--hey,
Wheeler? But I thought Finsbury knew you too well to give you credit for
anything.

_Fins._ You are pleased to be pleasant, sir. Mr. Wheeler knows, in that
sense of the word, it is out of my power to give him credit, and I'm
sure he would not ask it.

_Wheel._ (_aside_). O, Bursal, pay him, and I'll pay you to-morrow.

_Burs._ Now, if you weren't to be captain after all, Wheeler, what a
pretty figure you'd cut. Ha! ha! ha!--Hey?

_Wheel._ Oh, I am as sure of being captain as of being alive. (_Aside._)
Do pay for me, now, there's a good, dear fellow, before _they_ (_looking
back_) come up.

_Burs._ (_aside_). I love to make him lick the dust. (_Aloud._) Hollo!
here's Finsbury waiting to be paid, lads. (_To the lads who are in the
back scene._) Who has paid, and who has not paid? I say.

(_The lads come forward, and several exclaim at once_,) I've paid! I've
paid!

    _Enter_ LORD JOHN _and_ RORY O'RYAN.

_Rory._ Oh, King of Fashion, how fine we are! Why, now, to look at ye
all one might fancy one's self at the playhouse at once, or at a fancy
ball in dear little Dublin. Come, strike up a dance.

_Burs._ Pshaw! Wherever you come, Rory O'Ryan, no one else can be heard.
Who has paid, and who has not paid? I say.

_Several boys exclaim_, We've all paid.

_1st Boy._ I've not paid, but here's my money.

_Several Boys._ We have not paid, but here's our money.

_6th Boy._ Order there, I am marshal. All that have paid march off to
the staircase, and take your seats there, one by one. March!

        (_As they march by, one by one, so as to display their dresses,
        Mr. Finsbury bows, and says,_)

A thousand thanks, gentlemen. Thank you, gentlemen. Thanks, gentlemen.
The finest sight ever I saw out of Lon'on.

_Rory, as each lad passes, catches his arm,_ Are you a Talbot_ite_, or a
Wheeler_ite_? _To each who answers_ 'A Wheelerite,' _Rory replies_,
'Phoo! dance off, then. Go to the devil and shake yourself.'[11] _Each
who answers_ 'A Talbotite,' _Rory shakes by the hand violently,
singing,_

      Talbot, oh, Talbot's the dog for Rory.

_When they have almost all passed, Lord John says,_ But where can Mr.
Talbot be all this time?

  [11] This is the name of a country dance.

_Burs._ Who knows? Who cares?

_Wheel._ A pretty electioneerer! (_Aside to Bursal._) Finsbury's waiting
to be paid.

_Lord J._ You don't wait for me, Mr. Finsbury. You know, I have settled
with you.

_Fins._ Yes, my lord--yes. Many thanks; and I have left your lordship's
dress here, and everybody's dress, I believe, as bespoke.

_Burs._ Here, Finsbury, is the money for Wheeler, who, between you and
me, is as poor as a rat.

_Wheeler_ (_affecting to laugh_). Well, I hope I shall be as rich as a
Jew to-morrow.

        (_Bursal counts money, in an ostentatious manner, into
        Finsbury's hand._)

_Fins._ A thousand thanks for all favours.

_Rory._ You will be kind enough to _lave_ Mr. Talbot's dress with me,
Mr. Finsbury, for I'm a friend.

_Fins._ Indubitably, sir; but the misfortune is--he! he! he!--Mr.
Talbot, sir, has bespoke no dress. Your servant, gentlemen.

        (_Exit Finsbury._)

_Burs._ So your friend Mr. Talbot could not afford to bespeak a
dress--(_Bursal and Wheeler laugh insolently_). How comes that, I
wonder?

_Lord J._ If I'm not mistaken, here comes Talbot to answer for himself.

_Rory._ But who, in the name of St. Patrick, has he along with him?

    _Enter_ TALBOT _and_ LANDLORD.

_Talb._ Come in along with us, Farmer Hearty--come in.

        (_Whilst the Farmer comes in, the boys who were sitting on the
        stairs rise and exclaim,_)

Whom have we here? What now? Come down, lads; here's more fun.

_Rory._ What's here, Talbot?

_Talb._ An honest farmer and a good-natured landlord, who _would_ come
here along with me to speak----

_Farm._ (_interrupting_). To speak the truth--(_strikes his stick on the
ground_).

_Landlord_ (_unbuttoning his waistcoat_). But I am so hot--so
short-winded, that (_panting and puffing_)--that for the soul and body
of me, I cannot say what I have got for to say.

_Rory._ 'Faith, now, the more short-winded a story, the better, to my
fancy.

_Burs._ Wheeler, what's the matter, man? you look as if your under jaw
was broke.

_Farm._ The matter is, young gentlemen, that there was once upon a time
a fine bay hunter.

_Wheel._ (_squeezing up to Talbot, aside_). Don't expose me, don't let
him tell. (_To the Farmer._) I'll pay for the corn I spoiled. (_To the
Landlord._) I'll pay for the horse.

_Farm._ I does not want to be paid for my corn. The short of it is,
young gentlemen, this 'un here, in the fine thing-em-bobs (_pointing to
Wheeler_), is a shabby fellow; he went and spoiled Master Newington's
best hunter.

_Land._ (_panting_). Ruinationed him! ruinationed him!

_Rory._ But was that all the shabbiness? Now I might, or any of us
might, have had such an accident as that. I suppose he paid the
gentleman for the horse, or will do so, in good time.

_Land._ (_holding his sides_). Oh, that I had but a little breath in
this body o' mine to speak all--speak on, Farmer.

_Farm._ (_striking his stick on the floor_). Oons, sir, when a man's put
out, he can't go on with his story.

_Omnes._ Be quiet, Rory--hush!

        (_Rory puts his finger on his lips._)

_Farm._ Why, sir, I was a-going to tell you the shabbiness--why, sir, he
did not pay the landlord, here, for the horse; but he goes and says to
the landlord, here--'Mr. Talbot had your horse on the self-same day;
'twas he did the damage; 'tis from he you must get your money.' So Mr.
Talbot, here, who is another sort of a gentleman (though he has not so
fine a coat), would not see a man at a loss, that could not afford it;
and not knowing which of 'em it was that spoiled the horse, goes, when
he finds the other would not pay a farthing, and pays all.

_Rory_ (_rubbing his hands_). There's Talbot for ye. And now, gentlemen
(_to Wheeler and Bursal_), you guess the _rason_, as I do, I suppose,
why he bespoke no dress; he had not money enough to be fine--and honest,
too. You are very fine, Mr. Wheeler, to do you justice.

_Lord J._ Pray, Mr. O'Ryan, let the farmer go on; he has more to say.
How did you find out, pray, my good friend, that it was not Talbot who
spoiled the horse? Speak loud enough to be heard by everybody.

_Farm._ Ay, that I will--I say (_very loudly_) I say I saw _him_ there
(_pointing to Wheeler_) take the jump which strained the horse; and I'm
ready to swear to it. Yet he let another pay; there's the shabbiness.

        (_A general groan from all the lads._ 'Oh, shabby Wheeler,
        shabby! I'll not vote for shabby Wheeler!')

_Lord J._ (_aside_). Alas! I must vote for him.

    _Rory sings._

      True game to the last; no Wheeler for me;
      Talbot, oh, Talbot's the dog for me.

        (_Several voices join the chorus._)

_Burs._ Wheeler, if you are not chosen Captain, you must see and pay me
for the dress.

_Wheel._ I am as poor as a rat.

_Rory._ Oh yes! oh yes! hear ye! hear ye, all manner of men--the
election is now going to begin forthwith in the big field, and Rory
O'Ryan holds the poll for Talbot. Talbot for ever!--huzza!

        (_Exit Rory followed by the Boys, who exclaim,_ Talbot for
        ever!--huzza! _The Landlord and Farmer join them._)

_Lord J._ Talbot, I am glad you _are_ what I always thought you--I'm
glad you did not write that odious song. I would not lose such a friend
for all the songs in the world. Forgive me for my hastiness this
morning. I've punished myself--I've promised to vote for Wheeler.

_Talb._ Oh, no matter whom you vote for, my lord, if you are still my
friend, and if you know me to be yours.

        (_They shake hands._)

_Lord J._ I must not say, '_Huzza for Talbot!_'

        (_Exeunt._)

[Illustration: _'I say I saw_ him _there take the jump which strained
the horse.'_]


    SCENE IV

    WINDSOR TERRACE

    LADY PIERCEFIELD, MRS. TALBOT, LOUISA, _and a little girl of six
    years old_, LADY VIOLETTA, _daughter to_ LADY PIERCEFIELD.

_Violetta_ (_looking at a paper which Louisa holds_). I like it _very_
much.

_Lady P._ What is it you like _very_ much, Violetta?

_Violet._ You are not to know _yet_, mamma; it is--I may tell her
that--it is a little drawing that Louisa is doing for me. Louisa, I wish
you would let me show it to mamma.

_Louisa._ And welcome, my dear; it is only a sketch of 'The Little
Merchants,' a story which Violetta was reading, and she asked me to try
to draw the pictures of the little merchants for her.

        (_Whilst Lady P. looks at the drawing, Violetta says to Louisa_)

But are you in earnest, Louisa, about what you were saying to me just
now,--quite in earnest?

_Louisa._ Yes, in earnest,--quite in earnest, my dear.

_Violet._ And may I ask mamma _now_?

_Louisa._ If you please, my dear.

_Violet._ (_runs to her mother_). Stoop down to me, mamma; I've
something to whisper to you.

        (_Lady Piercefield stoops down; Violetta throws her arms round
        her mother's neck._)

_Violet._ (_aside to her mother_). Mamma, do you know--you know you want
a governess for me.

_Lady P._ Yes, if I could find a good one.

_Violet._ (_aloud_). Stoop again, mamma, I've more to whisper. (_Aside
to her mother._) _She_ says she will be my governess, if you please.

_Lady P._ _She!_--who is _she_?

_Violet._ Louisa.

_Lady P._ (_patting Violetta's cheek_). You are a little fool. Miss
Talbot is only playing with you.

_Violet._ No, indeed, mamma; she is in earnest; are not you,
Louisa?--Oh, say yes!

_Louisa._ Yes.

_Violet._ (_claps her hands_). _Yes_, mamma; do you hear _yes_?

_Louisa._ If Lady Piercefield will trust you to my care, I am persuaded
that I should be much happier as your governess, my good little
Violetta, than as an humble dependent of Miss Bursal's. (_Aside to her
mother._) You see that, now I am put to the trial, I keep to my
resolution, dear mother.

_Mrs. T._ Your ladyship would not be surprised at this offer of my
Louisa, if you had heard, as we have done within these few hours, of the
loss of the East India ship in which almost our whole property was
embarked.

_Louisa._ The _Bombay Castle_ is wrecked.

_Lady P._ The _Bombay Castle_! I have the pleasure to tell you that you
are misinformed--it was the _Airly Castle_ that was wrecked.

_Louisa and Mrs. T._ Indeed!

_Lady P._ Yes; you may depend upon it--it was the _Airly Castle_ that
was lost. You know I am just come from Portsmouth, where I went to meet
my brother, Governor Morton, who came home with the last India fleet,
and from whom I had the intelligence.

        (_Here Violetta interrupts, to ask her mother for her
        nosegay--Lady P. gives it to her,--then goes on speaking._)

_Lady P._ They were in such haste, foolish people! to carry their news
to London, that they mistook one castle for another. But do you know
that Mr. Bursal loses fifty thousand pounds, it is said, by the _Airly
Castle_? When I told him she was lost, I thought he would have dropped
down. However, I found he comforted himself afterwards with a bottle of
Burgundy; but poor Miss Bursal has been in hysterics ever since.

_Mrs. T._ Poor girl! My Louisa, _you_ did not fall into hysterics, when
I told you of the loss of our whole fortune.

        (_Violetta, during this dialogue, has been seated on the ground
        making up a nosegay._)

_Violet._ (_aside_). Fall into hysterics! What are hysterics, I wonder.

[Illustration: _'Talbot and truth for ever! Huzza.'_]

_Louisa._ Miss Bursal is much to be pitied; for the loss of wealth will
be the loss of happiness to her.

_Lady P._ It is to be hoped that the loss may at least check the
foolish pride and extravagance of young Bursal, who, as my son tells
me----

        (_A cry of_ 'Huzza! huzza!' _behind the scenes._)

    _Enter_ LORD JOHN.

_Lord J._ (_hastily_). How d'ye do, mother? Miss Talbot, I give you joy.

_Lady P._ Take breath--take breath.

_Louisa._ It is my brother.

_Mrs. T._ Here he is!--Hark! hark!

        (_A cry behind the scenes of_ 'Talbot and truth for ever!
        Huzza!')

_Louisa._ They are chairing him.

_Lord J._ Yes, they are chairing him; and he has been chosen for his
honourable conduct, not for his electioneering skill; for, to do him
justice, Coriolanus himself was not a worse electioneerer.

    _Enter_ RORY O'RYAN _and another Eton lad, carrying_ TALBOT _in a
    chair, followed by a crowd of Eton lads._

_Rory._ By your _lave_, my lord--by your _lave_, ladies.

_Omnes._ Huzza! Talbot and truth for ever! Huzza!

_Talb._ Set me down! There's my mother! There's my sister!

_Rory._ Easy, easy. Set him down! No such _ting_! give him t'other
huzza! There's nothing like a good loud huzza in this world. Yes, there
is! for, as my Lord John said just now, out of some book or out of his
own head--

      One self-approving hour whole years outweighs
      Of stupid starers and of loud huzzas.


CURTAIN FALLS



FORGIVE AND FORGET


In the neighbourhood of a seaport town in the west of England there
lived a gardener, who had one son, called Maurice, to whom he was very
partial. One day his father sent him to the neighbouring town to
purchase some garden seeds for him. When Maurice got to the seed-shop,
it was full of people, who were all impatient to be served: first a
great tall man, and next a great fat woman pushed before him; and he
stood quietly beside the counter, waiting till somebody should be at
leisure to attend to him. At length, when all the other people who were
in the shop had got what they wanted, the shopman turned to
Maurice--'And what do you want, my patient little fellow?' said he.

'I want all these seeds for my father,' said Maurice, putting a list of
seeds into the shopman's hand; 'and I have brought money to pay for them
all.'

The seedsman looked out all the seeds that Maurice wanted, and packed
them up in paper: he was folding up some painted lady-peas, when, from a
door at the back of the shop, there came in a square, rough-faced man,
who exclaimed, the moment he came in, 'Are the seeds I ordered
ready?--The wind's fair--they ought to have been aboard yesterday. And
my china jar, is it packed up and directed? where is it?'

'It is up there on the shelf over your head, sir,' answered the
seedsman. 'It is very safe, you see; but we have not had time to pack it
yet. It shall be done to-day; and we will get the seeds ready for you,
sir, immediately.'

'Immediately! then stir about it. The seeds will not pack themselves up.
Make haste, pray.' 'Immediately, sir, as soon as I have done up the
parcel for this little boy.' 'What signifies the parcel for this little
boy? He can wait, and I cannot--wind and tide wait for no man. Here, my
good lad, take your parcel and sheer off,' said the impatient man; and,
as he spoke, he took up the parcel of seeds from the counter, as the
shopman stooped to look for a sheet of thick brown paper and packthread
to tie it up.

The parcel was but loosely folded up, and as the impatient man lifted
it, the weight of the peas which were withinside of it burst the paper,
and all the seeds fell out upon the floor, whilst Maurice in vain held
his hands to catch them. The peas rolled to all parts of the shop; the
impatient man swore at them, but Maurice, without being out of humour,
set about collecting them as fast as possible.

Whilst the boy was busied in this manner, the man got what seeds he
wanted; and as he was talking about them, a sailor came into the shop,
and said, 'Captain, the wind has changed within these five minutes, and
it looks as if we should have ugly weather.'

'Well, I'm glad of it,' replied the rough-faced man, who was the captain
of a ship. 'I am glad to have a day longer to stay ashore, and I've
business enough on my hands.' The captain pushed forward towards the
shop door. Maurice, who was kneeling on the floor, picking up his seeds,
saw that the captain's foot was entangled in some packthread which hung
down from the shelf on which the china jar stood. Maurice saw that, if
the captain took one more step forward, he must pull the string, so that
it would throw down the jar, round the bottom of which the packthread
was entangled. He immediately caught hold of the captain's leg, and
stopped him, 'Stay! Stand still, sir!' said he, 'or you will break your
china jar.'

The man stood still, looked, and saw how the packthread had caught in
his shoe buckle, and how it was near dragging down his beautiful china
jar. 'I am really very much obliged to you, my little fellow,' said he.
'You have saved my jar, which I would not have broken for ten guineas,
for it is for my wife, and I've brought it safe from abroad many a
league. It would have been a pity if I had broken it just when it was
safe landed. I am really much obliged to you, my little fellow, this was
returning good for evil. I am sorry I threw down your seeds, as you are
such a good-natured, forgiving boy. Be so kind,' continued he, turning
to the shopman, 'as to reach down that china jar for me.'

[Illustration: _'Stay! Stand still, sir! or you will break your china
jar.'_]

The shopman lifted down the jar very carefully, and the captain took off
the cover, and pulled out some tulip-roots. 'You seem, by the quantity
of seeds you have got, to belong to a gardener. Are you fond of
gardening?' said he to Maurice.

'Yes, sir,' replied Maurice, 'very fond of it; for my father is a
gardener, and he lets me help him at his work, and he has given me a
little garden of my own.'

'Then here are a couple of tulip-roots for you; and if you take care of
them, I'll promise you that you will have the finest tulips in England
in your little garden. These tulips were given to me by a Dutch
merchant, who told me that they were some of the rarest and finest in
Holland. They will prosper with you, I'm sure, wind and weather
permitting.'

Maurice thanked the gentleman, and returned home, eager to show his
precious tulip-roots to his father, and to a companion of his, the son
of a nurseryman, who lived near him. Arthur was the name of the
nurseryman's son.

The first thing Maurice did, after showing his tulip-roots to his
father, was to run to Arthur's garden in search of him. Their gardens
were separated only by a low wall of loose stones:--'Arthur! Arthur!
where are you? Are you in your garden? I want you.' But Arthur made no
answer, and did not, as usual, come running to meet his friend. 'I know
where you are,' continued Maurice, 'and I'm coming to you as fast as the
raspberry-bushes will let me. I have good news for you--something you'll
be delighted to see, Arthur!--Ha!--but here is something that I am not
delighted to see, I am sure,' said poor Maurice, who, when he had got
through the raspberry-bushes, and had come in sight of his own garden,
beheld his bell-glass--his beloved bell-glass, under which his cucumbers
were grown so finely--his only bell-glass, broken to pieces!

'I am sorry for it,' said Arthur, who stood leaning upon his spade in
his own garden; 'I am afraid you will be very angry with me.' 'Why, was
it you, Arthur, broke my bell-glass? Oh, how could you do so?' 'I was
throwing weeds and rubbish over the wall, and by accident a great lump
of couch-grass, with stones hanging to the roots, fell upon your
bell-glass, and broke it, as you see.'

Maurice lifted up the lump of couch-grass, which had fallen through the
broken glass upon his cucumbers, and he looked at his cucumbers for a
moment in silence--'Oh, my poor cucumbers! you must all die now. I shall
see all your yellow flowers withered to-morrow; but it is done, and it
cannot be helped; so, Arthur, let us say no more about it.'

'You are very good; I thought you would have been angry. I am sure I
should have been exceedingly angry if you had broken the glass, if it
had been mine.'

'Oh, forgive and forget, as my father always says; that's the best way.
Look what I have got for you.' Then he told Arthur the story of the
captain of the ship, and the china jar; the seeds having been thrown
down, and of the fine tulip-roots which had been given to him; and
Maurice concluded by offering one of the precious roots to Arthur, who
thanked him with great joy, and repeatedly said, 'How good you were not
to be angry with me for breaking your bell-glass! I am much more sorry
for it than if you had been in a passion with me!'

Arthur now went to plant his tulip-root; and Maurice looked at the beds
which his companion had been digging, and at all the things which were
coming up in his garden.

'I don't know how it is,' said Arthur, 'but you always seem as glad to
see the things in my garden coming up, and doing well, as if they were
all your own. I am much happier since my father came to live here, and
since you and I have been allowed to work and to play together, than I
ever was before; for you must know, before we came to live here, I had a
cousin in the house with me, who used to plague me. He was not nearly so
good-natured as you are. He never took pleasure in looking at my garden,
or at anything that I did that was well done; and he never gave me a
share of anything that he had; and so I did not like him; how could I?
But, I believe that hating people makes us unhappy; for I know I never
was happy when I was quarrelling with him; and I am always happy with
you, Maurice. You know we never quarrel.'

It would be well for all the world if they could be convinced, like
Arthur, that to live in friendship is better than to quarrel. It would
be well for all the world if they followed Maurice's maxim of 'Forgive
and Forget,' when they receive, or when they imagine that they receive,
an injury.

Arthur's father, Mr. Oakly, the nurseryman, was apt to take offence at
trifles; and when he thought that any of his neighbours disobliged him,
he was too proud to ask them to explain their conduct; therefore he was
often mistaken in his judgment of them. He thought that it showed
_spirit_, to remember and to resent an injury; and, therefore, though he
was not an ill-natured man, he was sometimes led, by this mistaken idea
of _spirit_, to do ill-natured things: 'A warm friend and a bitter
enemy,' was one of his maxims, and he had many more enemies than
friends. He was not very rich, but he was proud; and his favourite
proverb was, 'Better live in spite than in pity.'

When first he settled near Mr. Grant, the gardener, he felt inclined to
dislike him, because he was told that Mr. Grant was a Scotchman, and he
had a prejudice against Scotchmen; all of whom he believed to be cunning
and avaricious, because he had once been overreached by a Scotch
peddler. Grant's friendly manners in some degree conquered this
prepossession; but still he secretly suspected that _this civility_, as
he said, '_was all show_, and _that he was not, nor could not, being a
Scotchman, be such a hearty friend as a true-born Englishman_.'

Grant had some remarkably fine raspberries. The fruit was so large as to
be quite a curiosity. When it was in season, many strangers came from
the neighbouring town, which was a sea-bathing place, to look at these
raspberries, which obtained the name of _Brobdingnag_ raspberries.

'How came you, pray, neighbour Grant, if a man may ask, by these
wonderful fine raspberries?' said Mr. Oakly, one evening, to the
gardener. 'That's a secret,' replied Grant, with an arch smile.

'Oh, in case it's a secret, I've no more to say; for I never meddle with
any man's secrets that he does not choose to trust me with. But I wish,
neighbour Grant, you would put down that book. You are always poring
over some book or another when a man comes to see you, which is not,
according to my notions (being a plain, _unlarned_ Englishman bred and
born), so civil and neighbourly as might be.'

Mr. Grant hastily shut his book, but remarked, with a shrewd glance at
his son, that it was in that book he found his Brobdingnag raspberries.

'You are pleased to be pleasant upon them that have not the luck to be
as book-_larned_ as yourself, Mr. Grant; but I take it, being only a
plain-spoken Englishman, as I observed afore, that one is to the full as
like to find a raspberry in one's garden as in one's book, Mr. Grant.'

Grant, observing that his neighbour spoke rather in a surly tone, did
not contradict him; being well versed in the Bible, he knew that 'A soft
word turneth away wrath,' and he answered, in a good-humoured voice, 'I
hear, neighbour Oakly, you are likely to make a great deal of money of
your nursery this year. Here's to the health of you and yours, not
forgetting the seedling larches, which I see are coming on finely.'

'Thank ye, neighbour, kindly; the larches are coming on
tolerably well, that's certain; and here's to your good health,
Mr. Grant--you and yours, not forgetting your, what d'ye call 'em
raspberries'--(_drinks_)--and, after a pause, resumes, 'I'm not apt to
be a beggar, neighbour, but if you could give me----'

Here Mr. Oakly was interrupted by the entrance of some strangers, and he
did not finish making his request--Mr. Oakly was not, as he said of
himself, apt to ask favours, and nothing but Grant's cordiality could
have conquered his prejudices so far as to tempt him to ask a favour
from a Scotchman. He was going to have asked for some of the Brobdingnag
raspberry-plants. The next day the thought of the raspberry-plants
recurred to his memory, but, being a bashful man, he did not like to go
himself on purpose to make his request, and he desired his wife, who was
just setting out to market, to call at Grant's gate, and, if he was at
work in his garden, to ask him for a few plants of his raspberries.

The answer which Oakly's wife brought to him was that Mr. Grant had not
a raspberry-plant in the world to give him, and that if he had ever so
many, he would not give one away, except to his own son.

Oakly flew into a passion when he received such a message, declared it
was just such a mean, shabby trick as might have been expected from a
Scotchman--called himself a booby, a dupe, and a blockhead, for ever
having trusted to the civil speeches of a Scotchman--swore that he would
die in the parish workhouse before he would ever ask another favour, be
it ever so small, from a Scotchman; related to his wife, for the
hundredth time, the way in which he had been taken in by the Scotch
peddler ten years ago, and concluded by forswearing all further
intercourse with Mr. Grant, and all belonging to him.

'Son Arthur,' said he, addressing himself to the boy, who just then came
in from work--'Son Arthur, do you hear me? let me never again see you
with Grant's son.' 'With Maurice, father?' 'With Maurice Grant, I say; I
forbid you from this day and hour forward to have anything to do with
him.' 'Oh, why, dear father?' 'Ask me no questions, but do as I bid
you.'

Arthur burst out a-crying, and only said, 'Yes, father, I'll do as you
bid me, to be sure.'

'Why now, what does the boy cry for? Is there no other boy, simpleton,
think you, to play with, but this Scotchman's son? I'll find out another
playfellow for ye, child, if that be all.' 'That's not all, father,'
said Arthur, trying to stop himself from sobbing; 'but the thing is, I
shall never have such another playfellow,--I shall never have such
another friend as Maurice Grant.'

'Like father like son--you may think yourself well off to have done with
him.' 'Done with him! Oh, father, and shall I never go again to work in
his garden, and may not he come to mine?' 'No,' replied Oakly sturdily;
'his father has used me uncivil, and no man shall use me uncivil twice.
I say no. Wife, sweep up this hearth. Boy, don't take on like a fool;
but eat thy bacon and greens, and let's hear no more of Maurice Grant.'

Arthur promised to obey his father. He only begged that he might once
more speak to Maurice, and tell him that it was by his father's orders
he acted. This request was granted; but when Arthur further begged to
know what reason he might give for this separation, his father refused
to tell his reasons. The two friends took leave of one another very
sorrowfully.

Mr. Grant, when he heard of all this, endeavoured to discover what could
have offended his neighbour; but all explanation was prevented by the
obstinate silence of Oakly.

Now, the message which Grant really sent about the Brobdingnag
raspberries was somewhat different from that which Mr. Oakly received.
The message was, that the raspberries were not Mr. Grant's; that
therefore he had no right to give them away; that they belonged to his
son Maurice, and that this was not the right time of year for planting
them. This message had been unluckily misunderstood. Grant gave his
answer to his wife; she to a Welsh servant-girl, who did not perfectly
comprehend her mistress's broad Scotch; and she in her turn could not
make herself intelligible to Mrs. Oakly, who hated the Welsh accent, and
whose attention, when the servant-girl delivered the message, was
principally engrossed by the management of her own horse. The horse on
which Mrs. Oakly rode this day, being ill-broken, would not stand still
quietly at the gate, and she was extremely impatient to receive her
answer, and to ride on to market.

Oakly, when he had once resolved to dislike his neighbour Grant, could
not long remain without finding out fresh causes of complaint. There was
in Grant's garden a plum-tree, which was planted close to the loose
stone wall that divided the garden from the nursery. The soil in which
the plum-tree was planted happened not to be quite so good as that which
was on the opposite side of the wall, and the plum-tree had forced its
way through the wall, and gradually had taken possession of the ground
which it liked best.

Oakly thought the plum-tree, as it belonged to Mr. Grant, had no right
to make its appearance on his ground: an attorney told him that he might
oblige Grant to cut it down; but Mr. Grant refused to cut down his
plum-tree at the attorney's desire, and the attorney persuaded Oakly to
go to law about the business, and the lawsuit went on for some months.

The attorney, at the end of this time, came to Oakly with a demand for
money to carry on his suit, assuring him that, in a short time, it would
be determined in his favour. Oakly paid his attorney ten golden guineas,
remarked that it was a great sum for him to pay, and that nothing but
the love of justice could make him persevere in this lawsuit about a bit
of ground, 'which, after all,' said he, 'is not worth twopence. The
plum-tree does me little or no damage, but I don't like to be imposed
upon by a Scotchman.'

The attorney saw and took advantage of Oakly's prejudice against the
natives of Scotland; and he persuaded him, that to show the _spirit_ of
a true-born Englishman it was necessary, whatever it might cost him, to
persist in this lawsuit.

It was soon after this conversation with the attorney that Mr. Oakly
walked with resolute steps towards the plum-tree, saying to himself, 'If
it cost me a hundred pounds I will not let this cunning Scotchman get
the better of me.'

Arthur interrupted his father's reverie by pointing to a book and some
young plants which lay upon the wall. 'I fancy, father,' said he, 'those
things are for you, for there is a little note directed to you in
Maurice's handwriting. Shall I bring it to you?' 'Yes, let me read it,
child, since I must.' It contained these words:

  'DEAR MR. OAKLY--I don't know why you have quarrelled with us; I am
  very sorry for it. But though you are angry with me, I am not angry
  with you. I hope you will not refuse some of my Brobdingnag
  raspberry-plants, which you asked for a great while ago, when we were
  all good friends. It was not the right time of the year to plant them,
  which was the reason they were not sent to you; but it is just the
  right time to plant them now; and I send you the book, in which you
  will find the reason why we always put seaweed ashes about their
  roots; and I have got some seaweed ashes for you. You will find the
  ashes in the flower-pot upon the wall. I have never spoken to Arthur,
  nor he to me, since you bid us not. So, wishing your Brobdingnag
  raspberries may turn out as well as ours, and longing to be all
  friends again, I am, with love to dear Arthur and self, your
  affectionate neighbour's son,                       MAURICE GRANT.

  'P.S.--It is now about four months since the quarrel began, and that
  is a very long while.'

A great part of the effect of this letter was lost upon Oakly, because
he was not very expert in reading writing, and it cost him much trouble
to spell it and put it together. However, he seemed affected by it, and
said, 'I believe this Maurice loves you well enough, Arthur, and he
seems a good sort of boy; but as to the raspberries, I believe all that
he says about them is but an excuse; and, at any rate, as I could not
get 'em when I asked for them, I'll not have 'em now. Do you hear me, I
say, Arthur? What are you reading there?'

Arthur was reading the page that was doubled down in the book which
Maurice had left along with the raspberry-plants upon the wall. Arthur
read aloud as follows:--


(_Monthly Magazine_, Dec. '98, p. 421.)

'There is a sort of strawberry cultivated at Jersey which is almost
covered with seaweed in the winter, in like manner as many plants in
England are with litter from the stable. These strawberries are usually
of the largeness of a middle-sized apricot, and the flavour is
particularly grateful. In Jersey and Guernsey, situate scarcely one
degree farther south than Cornwall, all kinds of fruit, pulse, and
vegetables are produced in their seasons a fortnight or three weeks
sooner than in England, even on the southern shores; and snow will
scarcely remain twenty-four hours on the earth. Although this may be
attributed to these islands being surrounded with a salt, and
consequently a moist atmosphere, yet the ashes (seaweed ashes) made use
of as manure may also have their portion of influence.'[12]

  [12] It is necessary to observe that this experiment has never been
       actually tried upon raspberry-plants.

'And here,' continued Arthur, 'is something written with a pencil, on a
slip of paper, and it is Maurice's writing. I will read it to you.

'When I read in this book what is said about the strawberries growing as
large as apricots, after they had been covered over with seaweed, I
thought that perhaps seaweed ashes might be good for my father's
raspberries; and I asked him if he would give me leave to try them. He
gave me leave, and I went directly and gathered together some seaweed
that had been cast on shore; and I dried it, and burned it, and then I
manured the raspberries with it, and the year afterwards the raspberries
grew to the size that you have seen. Now, the reason I tell you this is,
first, that you may know how to manage your raspberries, and next,
because I remember you looked very grave, as if you were not pleased
with my father, Mr. Grant, when he told you that the way by which he
came by his Brobdingnag raspberries was a secret. Perhaps this was the
thing that has made you so angry with us all; for you never have come to
see father since that evening. Now I have told you all I know; and so I
hope you will not be angry with us any longer.'

Mr. Oakly was much pleased by this openness, and said, 'Why now, Arthur,
this is something like, this is telling one the thing one wants to
know, without fine speeches. This is like an Englishman more than a
Scotchman. Pray, Arthur, do you know whether your friend Maurice was
born in England or in Scotland?'

'No, indeed, sir, I don't know--I never asked--I did not think it
signified. All I know is that, wherever he was born, he is _very_ good.
Look, papa, my tulip is blowing.' 'Upon my word,' said his father, 'this
will be a beautiful tulip!' 'It was given to me by Maurice.' 'And did
you give him nothing for it?' was the father's inquiry. 'Nothing in the
world; and he gave it to me just at the time when he had good cause to
be angry with me, just when I had broken his bell-glass.'

'I have a great mind to let you play together again,' said Arthur's
father. 'Oh, if you would,' cried Arthur, clapping his hands, 'how happy
we should be! Do you know, father, I have often sat for an hour at a
time up in that crab-tree, looking at Maurice at work in his garden, and
wishing that I was at work with him.'

Here Arthur was interrupted by the attorney, who came to ask Mr. Oakly
some question about the lawsuit concerning the plum-tree. Oakly showed
him Maurice's letter; and to Arthur's extreme astonishment, the attorney
had no sooner read it than he exclaimed, 'What an artful little
gentleman this is! I never, in the course of all my practice, met with
anything better. Why, this is the most cunning letter I ever read.'
'Where's the cunning?' said Oakly, and he put on his spectacles. 'My
good sir, don't you see that all this stuff about Brobdingnag
raspberries is to ward off your suit about the plum-tree? They
know--that is, Mr. Grant, who is sharp enough, knows--that he will be
worsted in that suit; that he must, in short, pay you a good round sum
for damages, if it goes on----'

'Damages!' said Oakly, staring round him at the plum-tree; 'but I don't
know what you mean. I mean nothing but what's honest. I don't mean to
ask for any good round sum; for the plum-tree has done me no great harm
by coming into my garden; but only I don't choose it should come there
without my leave.'

'Well, well,' said the attorney, 'I understand all that; but what I want
to make you, Mr. Oakly, understand is, that this Grant and his son only
want to make up matters with you, and prevent the thing's coming to a
fair trial, by sending you, in this underhand sort of way, a bribe of a
few raspberries.'

'A bribe!' exclaimed Oakly, 'I never took a bribe, and I never will';
and, with sudden indignation, he pulled the raspberry plants from the
ground in which Arthur was planting them; and he threw them over the
wall into Grant's garden.

Maurice had put his tulip, which was beginning to blow, in a flower-pot,
on the top of the wall, in hopes that his friend Arthur would see it
from day to day. Alas! he knew not in what a dangerous situation he had
placed it. One of his own Brobdingnag raspberry-plants, swung by the
angry arm of Oakly, struck off the head of his precious tulip! Arthur,
who was full of the thought of convincing his father that the attorney
was mistaken in his judgment of poor Maurice, did not observe the fall
of the tulip.

The next day, when Maurice saw his raspberry-plants scattered upon the
ground, and his favourite tulip broken, he was in much astonishment,
and, for some moments, angry; but anger, with him, never lasted long. He
was convinced that all this must be owing to some accident or mistake.
He could not believe that any one could be so malicious as to injure him
on purpose--'And even if they did all this on purpose to vex me,' said
he to himself, 'the best thing I can do is not to let it vex me. Forgive
and forget.' This temper of mind Maurice was more happy in enjoying than
he could have been made, without it, by the possession of all the tulips
in Holland.

Tulips were, at this time, things of great consequence in the estimation
of the country several miles round where Maurice and Arthur lived. There
was a florist's feast to be held at the neighbouring town, at which a
prize of a handsome set of gardening tools was to be given to the person
who could produce the finest flower of its kind. A tulip was the flower
which was thought the finest the preceding year, and consequently
numbers of people afterwards endeavoured to procure tulip-roots, in
hopes of obtaining the prize this year. Arthur's tulip was beautiful. As
he examined it from day to day, and every day thought it improving, he
longed to thank his friend Maurice for it; and he often mounted into his
crab-tree, to look into Maurice's garden, in hopes of seeing his tulip
also in full bloom and beauty. He never could see it.

The day of the florist's feast arrived, and Oakly went with his son
and the fine tulip to the place of meeting. It was on a spacious
bowling-green. All the flowers of various sorts were ranged upon a
terrace at the upper end of the bowling-green; and, amongst all this gay
variety, the tulip which Maurice had given to Arthur appeared
conspicuously beautiful. To the owner of this tulip the prize was
adjudged; and, as the handsome garden-tools were delivered to Arthur, he
heard a well-known voice wish him joy. He turned, looked about him, and
saw his friend Maurice.

[Illustration: _When Maurice saw his raspberry-plants scattered upon the
ground, and his favourite tulip broken, he was in much astonishment._]

'But, Maurice, where is your own tulip?' said Mr. Oakly; 'I thought,
Arthur, you told me that he kept one for himself.' 'So I did,' said
Maurice; 'but somebody (I suppose by accident) broke it.' 'Somebody!
who?' cried Arthur and Mr. Oakly at once. 'Somebody who threw the
raspberry-plants back again over the wall,' replied Maurice. 'That was
me--that somebody was me,' said Oakly. 'I scorn to deny it; but I did
not intend to break your tulip, Maurice.'

'Dear Maurice,' said Arthur--'you know I may call him dear Maurice--now
you are by, papa; here are all the garden-tools; take them, and
welcome.' 'Not one of them,' said Maurice, drawing back. 'Offer them to
the father--offer them to Mr. Grant,' whispered Oakly; 'he'll take them,
I'll answer for it.'

Mr. Oakly was mistaken: the father would not accept of the tools. Mr.
Oakly stood surprised--'Certainly,' said he to himself, 'this cannot be
such a miser as I took him for'; and he walked immediately up to Grant,
and bluntly said to him, 'Mr. Grant, your son has behaved very
handsomely to my son, and you seem to be glad of it.' 'To be sure I am,'
said Grant. 'Which,' continued Oakly, 'gives me a better opinion of you
than ever I had before--I mean, than ever I had since the day you sent
me the shabby answer about those foolish, what d'ye call 'em, cursed
raspberries.'

'What shabby answer?' said Grant, with surprise; and Oakly repeated
exactly the message which he received; and Grant declared that he never
sent any such message. He repeated exactly the answer which he really
sent, and Oakly immediately stretched out his hand to him, saying, 'I
believe you; no more need be said. I'm only sorry I did not ask you
about this four months ago; and so I should have done if you had not
been a Scotchman. Till now, I never rightly liked a Scotchman. We may
thank this good little fellow,' continued he, turning to Maurice, 'for
our coming at last to a right understanding. There was no holding out
against his good nature. I'm sure, from the bottom of my heart, I'm
sorry I broke his tulip. Shake hands, boys; I'm glad to see you, Arthur,
look so happy again, and hope Mr. Grant will forgive----' 'Oh, forgive
and forget,' said Grant and his son at the same moment. And from this
time forward the two families lived in friendship with each other.

Oakly laughed at his own folly, in having been persuaded to go to law
about the plum-tree; and he, in process of time, so completely conquered
his early prejudice against Scotchmen, that he and Grant became partners
in business. Mr. Grant's book-_larning_ and knowledge of arithmetic he
found highly useful to him; and he, on his side, possessed a great many
active, good qualities, which became serviceable to his partner.

The two boys rejoiced in this family union; and Arthur often declared
that they owed all their happiness to Maurice's favourite maxim,
'Forgive and Forget.'



WASTE NOT, WANT NOT;

OR,

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
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.'

'"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 gentlemen'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.

'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. '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 hat-band?' 'I'll
manage to do without one,' said Hal, and he took the string off his hat
for his top. It soon was 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 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 some one 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 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 _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.'

[Illustration: _Playing at cat's cradle._]

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
mamma 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 mamma 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 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, '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 any one 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 never thought of buying uniforms
for this grand occasion, and that, amongst the number of their
acquaintance, they knew of but three 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 every one'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 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 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 for 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.

'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 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.'[13]
'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.

  [13] Vide Priestley's _History of Vision_, chapter on coloured
       shadows.

'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.'

'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 not it?'
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.

'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
mamma'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 mamma 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 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 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, papa will buy a
greatcoat for me; and I'll ask mamma 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' son's
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, 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.' '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 mamma 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 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 1st 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 wakened. 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 any one's imagination but his own.

'Papa,' said Patty, 'as we go up the hill where there is so much red
mud, I must take care to pick my way 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,
papa? 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, papa, 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, papa,' 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; 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 daresay; I'm
sure he has no reason to want to see me.'

'Here he comes--O 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 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 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 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 face 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.

'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 understood 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. 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.

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 he now 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 daresay. 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.

[Illustration: _He dragged poor Hal out of the red mud._]

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.'

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 into 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, 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 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 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 regulation.
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!' 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, papa!' 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.'



OLD POZ


    LUCY, _daughter to the Justice._
    MRS. BUSTLE, _landlady of the 'Saracen's Head.'_
    JUSTICE HEADSTRONG.
    OLD MAN.
    WILLIAM, _a Servant._


    SCENE I

    _The House of Justice Headstrong--A hall--Lucy watering some
    myrtles--A servant behind the scenes is heard to say--_

I tell you my master is not up. You can't see him, so go about your
business, I say.

_Lucy._ To whom are you speaking, William? Who's that?

_Will._ Only an old man, miss, with a complaint for my master.

_Lucy._ Oh, then, don't send him away--don't send him away.

_Will._ But master has not had his chocolate, ma'am. He won't ever see
anybody before he drinks his chocolate, you know, ma'am.

_Lucy._ But let the old man, then, come in here. Perhaps he can wait a
little while. Call him.

        (_Exit servant._)

        (_Lucy sings, and goes on watering her myrtles; the servant
        shows in the Old Man._)

_Will._ You can't see my master this hour; but miss will let you stay
here.

_Lucy_ (_aside_). Poor old man! how he trembles as he walks. (_Aloud._)
Sit down, sit down. My father will see you soon; pray sit down.

        (_He hesitates; she pushes a chair towards him._)

_Lucy._ Pray sit down.

        (_He sits down._)

_Old Man._ You are very good, miss; very good.

        (_Lucy goes to her myrtles again._)

_Lucy._ Ah! I'm afraid this poor myrtle is quite dead--quite dead.

        (_The Old Man sighs, and she turns round._)

_Lucy_ (_aside_). I wonder what can make him sigh so! (_Aloud._) My
father won't make you wait long.

_Old M._ Oh, ma'am, as long as he pleases. I'm in no haste--no haste.
It's only a small matter.

_Lucy._ But does a small matter make you sigh so?

_Old M._ Ah, miss; because though it is a small matter in itself, it is
not a small matter to me (_sighing again_); it was my all, and I've lost
it.

_Lucy._ What do you mean? What have you lost?

_Old M._ Why, miss--but I won't trouble you about it.

_Lucy._ But it won't trouble me at all--I mean, I wish to hear it; so
tell it me.

_Old M._ Why, miss, I slept last night at the inn here, in town--the
'Saracen's Head'----

_Lucy_ (_interrupts him_). Hark! there is my father coming downstairs;
follow me. You may tell me your story as we go along.

_Old M._ I slept at the 'Saracen's Head,' miss, and----

        (_Exit talking._)


    SCENE II

    _Justice Headstrong's Study_

    (_He appears in his nightgown and cap, with his gouty foot upon a
    stool--a table and chocolate beside him--Lucy is leaning on the arm
    of his chair._)

_Just._ Well, well, my darling, presently; I'll see him presently.

_Lucy._ Whilst you are drinking your chocolate, papa?

_Just._ No, no, no--I never see anybody till I have done my chocolate,
darling. (_He tastes his chocolate._) There's no sugar in this, child.

_Lucy._ Yes, indeed, papa.

_Just._ No, child--there's _no_ sugar, I tell you; that's poz!

_Lucy._ Oh, but, papa, I assure you I put in two lumps myself.

_Just._ There's _no_ sugar, I say; why will you contradict me, child,
for ever? There's no sugar, I say.

        (_Lucy leans over him playfully, and with his teaspoon pulls out
        two lumps of sugar._)

_Lucy._ What's this, papa?

_Just._ Pshaw! pshaw! pshaw!--it is not melted, child--it is the same as
no sugar.--Oh, my foot, girl, my foot!--you kill me. Go, go, I'm busy.
I've business to do. Go and send William to me; do you hear, love?

_Lucy._ And the old man, papa?

_Just._ What old man? I tell you what, I've been plagued ever since I
was awake, and before I was awake, about that old man. If he can't wait,
let him go about his business. Don't you know, child, I never see
anybody till I've drunk my chocolate; and I never will, if it were a
duke--that's poz! Why, it has but just struck twelve; if he can't wait,
he can go about his business, can't he?

_Lucy._ Oh, sir, he _can_ wait. It was not he who was impatient. (_She
comes back playfully._) It was only I, papa; don't be angry.

_Just._ Well, well, well (_finishing his cup of chocolate, and pushing
his dish away_); and at any rate there was not sugar enough. Send
William, send William, child; and I'll finish my own business, and
then----

        (_Exit Lucy, dancing, 'And then!--and then!'_)

    JUSTICE, _alone._

_Just._ Oh, this foot of mine!--(_twinges_)--Oh, this foot! Ay, if Dr.
Sparerib could cure one of the gout, then, indeed, I should think
something of him; but as to my leaving off my bottle of port, it's
nonsense; it's all nonsense; I can't do it; I can't, and I won't for all
the Dr. Spareribs in Christendom; that's poz!

    _Enter_ WILLIAM.

_Just._ William--oh! ay! hey! what answer, pray, did you bring from the
'Saracen's Head'? Did you see Mrs. Bustle herself, as I bid you?

_Will._ Yes, sir, I saw the landlady herself; she said she would come up
immediately, sir.

[Illustration: Lucy. _What's this, papa?_ Just. _Pshaw! pshaw!
pshaw!--it is not melted, child--it is the same as no sugar._]

_Just._ Ah, that's well--immediately?

_Will._ Yes, sir, and I hear her voice below now.

_Just._ Oh, show her up; show Mrs. Bustle in.

    _Enter_ MRS. BUSTLE, _the landlady of the 'Saracen's Head.'_

_Land._ Good-morrow to your worship! I'm glad to see your worship look
so purely. I came up with all speed (_taking breath_). Our pie is in the
oven; that was what you sent for me about, I take it.

_Just._ True, true; sit down, good Mrs. Bustle, pray----

_Land._ Oh, your worship's always very good (_settling her apron_). I
came up just as I was--only threw my shawl over me. I thought your
worship would excuse--I'm quite, as it were, rejoiced to see your
worship look so purely, and to find you up so hearty----

_Just._ Oh, I'm very hearty (_coughing_), always hearty, and thankful
for it. I hope to see many Christmas doings yet, Mrs. Bustle. And so our
pie is in the oven, I think you say?

_Land._ In the oven it is. I put it in with my own hands; and if we have
but good luck in the baking, it will be as pretty a goose-pie--though I
say it that should not say it--as pretty a goose-pie as ever your
worship set your eyes upon.

_Just._ Will you take a glass of anything this morning, Mrs. Bustle?--I
have some nice usquebaugh.

_Land._ Oh, no, your worship!--I thank your worship, though, as much as
if I took it; but I just took my luncheon before I came up; or more
proper, _my sandwich_, I should say, for the fashion's sake, to be sure.
A _luncheon_ won't go down with nobody nowadays (_laughs_). I expect
hostler and boots will be calling for their sandwiches just now (_laughs
again_). I'm sure I beg your worship's pardon for mentioning a
_luncheon_.

_Just._ Oh, Mrs. Bustle, the word's a good word, for it means a good
thing--ha! ha! ha! (_pulls out his watch_); but pray, is it luncheon
time? Why, it's past one, I declare; and I thought I was up in
remarkably good time, too.

_Land._ Well, and to be sure so it was, remarkably good time for _your
worship_; but folks in our way must be up betimes, you know. I've been
up and about these seven hours.

_Just._ (_stretching_). Seven hours!

_Land._ Ay, indeed--eight, I might say, for I am an early little body;
though I say it that should not say it--I _am_ an early little body.

_Just._ An early little body, as you say, Mrs. Bustle--so I shall have
my goose-pie for dinner, hey?

_Land._ For dinner, as sure as the clock strikes four--but I mustn't
stay prating, for it may be spoiling if I'm away; so I must wish your
worship a good morning.

        (_She curtsies._)

_Just._ No ceremony--no ceremony; good Mrs. Bustle, your servant.

    _Enter_ WILLIAM, _to take away the chocolate. The Landlady is
    putting on her shawl._

_Just._ You may let that man know, William, that I have dispatched my
_own_ business, and am at leisure for his now (_taking a pinch of
snuff_). Hum! pray, William (_Justice leans back gravely_), what sort of
a looking fellow is he, pray?

_Will._ Most like a sort of travelling man, in my opinion, sir--or
something that way, I take it.

        (_At these words the Landlady turns round inquisitively, and
        delays, that she may listen, while she is putting on and pinning
        her shawl._)

_Just._ Hum! a sort of a travelling man. Hum! lay my books out open at
the title Vagrant; and, William, tell the cook that Mrs. Bustle promises
me the goose-pie for dinner. Four o'clock, do you hear? And show the old
man in now.

        (_The Landlady looks eagerly towards the door, as it opens, and
        exclaims,_)

_Land._ My old gentleman, as I hope to breathe!

    _Enter the_ OLD MAN.

    (_Lucy follows the Old Man on tiptoe--The Justice leans back and
    looks consequential--The Landlady sets her arms akimbo--The Old Man
    starts as he sees her._)

_Just._ What stops you, friend? Come forward, if you please.

_Land._ (_advancing_). So, sir, is it you, sir? Ay, you little thought,
I warrant ye, to meet me here with his worship; but there you reckoned
without your host--Out of the frying-pan into the fire.

_Just._ What is all this? What is this?

_Land._ (_running on_). None of your flummery stuff will go down with
his worship no more than with me, I give you warning; so you may go
further and far worse, and spare your breath to cool your porridge.

_Just._ (_waves his hand with dignity_). Mrs. Bustle, good Mrs. Bustle,
remember where you are. Silence! silence! Come forward, sir, and let me
hear what you have to say.

        (_The Old Man comes forward._)

_Just._ Who and what may you be, friend, and what is your business with
me?

_Land._ Sir, if your worship will give me leave----

        (_Justice makes a sign to her to be silent._)

_Old M._ Please your worship, I am an old soldier.

_Land._ (_interrupting_). An old hypocrite, say.

_Just._ Mrs. Bustle, pray, I desire, let the man speak.

_Old M._ For these two years past--ever since, please your worship--I
wasn't able to work any longer; for in my youth I did work as well as
the best of them.

_Land._ (_eager to interrupt_). You work--you----

_Just._ Let him finish his story, I say.

_Lucy._ Ay, do, do, papa, speak for him. Pray, Mrs. Bustle----

_Land._ (_turning suddenly round to Lucy_). Miss, a good morrow to you,
ma'am. I humbly beg your apologies for not seeing you sooner, Miss Lucy.

        (_Justice nods to the Old Man, who goes on._)

_Old Man._ But, please your worship, it pleased God to take away the use
of my left arm; and since that I have never been able to work.

_Land._ Flummery! flummery!

_Just._ (_angrily_). Mrs. Bustle, I have desired silence, and I will
have it, that's poz! You shall have your turn presently.

_Old M._ For these two years past (for why should I be ashamed to tell
the truth?) I have lived upon charity, and I scraped together a guinea
and a half and upwards, and I was travelling with it to my grandson, in
the north, with him to end my days--_but_ (_sighing_)----

_Just._ _But_ what? Proceed, pray, to the point.

_Old M._ But last night I slept here in town, please your worship, at
the 'Saracen's Head.'

_Land._ (_in a rage_). At the 'Saracen's Head!' Yes, forsooth! none such
ever slept at the 'Saracen's Head' afore, or ever shall afterwards, as
long as my name's Bustle and the 'Saracen's Head' is the 'Saracen's
Head.'

_Just._ Again! again! Mrs. Landlady, this is downright--I have said you
should speak presently. He _shall_ speak first, since I've said
it--that's poz! Speak on, friend. You slept last night at the 'Saracen's
Head.'

[Illustration: '_Five times have I commanded silence, and I won't
command anything five times in vain_--that's poz!']

_Old M._ Yes, please your worship, and I accuse nobody; but at night I
had my little money safe, and in the morning it was gone.

_Land._ Gone!--gone, indeed, in my house! and this is the way I'm to be
treated! Is it so? I couldn't but speak, your worship, to such an
inhuman like, out o' the way, scandalous charge, if King George and all
the Royal Family were sitting in your worship's chair, beside you, to
silence me (_turning to the Old Man_). And this is your gratitude,
forsooth! Didn't you tell me that any hole in my house was good enough
for you, wheedling hypocrite? And the thanks I receive is to call me and
mine a pack of thieves.

_Old M._ Oh, no, no, no, _No_--a pack of thieves, by no means.

_Land._ Ay, I thought when _I_ came to speak we should have you upon
your marrow-bones in----

_Just._ (_imperiously_). Silence! Five times have I commanded silence,
and five times in vain; and I won't command anything five times in
vain--_that's poz_!

_Land._ (_in a pet, aside_). Old Poz! (_Aloud._) Then, your worship, I
don't see any business I have to be waiting here; the folks want me at
home (_returning and whispering_). Shall I send the goose-pie up, your
worship, if it's ready?

_Just._ (_with magnanimity_). I care not for the goose-pie, Mrs. Bustle.
Do not talk to me of goose-pies; this is no place to talk of pies.

_Land._ Oh, for that matter, your worship knows best, to be sure.

        (_Exit Landlady, angry._)


    SCENE III

    JUSTICE HEADSTRONG, OLD MAN, _and_ LUCY

_Lucy._ Ah, now, I'm glad he can speak; now tell papa; and you need not
be afraid to speak to him, for he is very good-natured. Don't contradict
him, though, because he told _me_ not.

_Just._ Oh, darling, _you_ shall contradict me as often as you
please--only not before I've drunk my chocolate, child--hey? Go on, my
good friend; you see what it is to live in Old England, where, thank
Heaven, the poorest of His Majesty's subjects may have justice, and
speak his mind before the first in the land. Now speak on; and you hear
she tells you that you need not be afraid of me. Speak on.

_Old M._ I thank your worship, I'm sure.

_Just._ Thank me! for what, sir? I won't be thanked for doing justice,
sir; so--but explain this matter. You lost your money, hey, at the
'Saracen's Head'? You had it safe last night, hey?--and you missed it
this morning? Are you sure you had it safe at night?

_Old M._ Oh, please your worship, quite sure; for I took it out and
looked at it just before I said my prayers.

_Just._ You did--did ye so?--hum! Pray, my good friend, where might you
put your money when you went to bed?

_Old M._ Please, your worship, where I always put it--always--in my
tobacco-box.

_Just._ Your tobacco-box! I never heard of such a thing--to make a
_strong box_ of a tobacco-box. Ha! ha! ha! hum!--and you say the box and
all were gone in the morning?

_Old M._ No, please your worship, no; not the box--the box was never
stirred from the place where I put it. They left me the box.

_Just._ Tut, tut, tut, man!--took the money and left the box? I'll never
believe _that_! I'll never believe that any one could be such a fool.
Tut, tut! the thing's impossible! It's well you are not upon oath.

_Old M._ If I were, please your worship, I should say the same; for it
is the truth.

_Just._ Don't tell me, don't tell me; I say the thing is impossible.

_Old M._ Please your worship, here's the box.

_Just._ (_goes on without looking at it_). Nonsense! nonsense! it's no
such thing; it's no such thing, I say--no man would take the money and
leave the tobacco-box. I won't believe it. Nothing shall make me believe
it ever--that's poz.

_Lucy_ (_takes the box and holds it up before her father's eyes_). You
did not see the box, did you, papa?

_Just._ Yes, yes, yes, child--nonsense! it's all a lie from beginning to
end. A man who tells one lie will tell a hundred. All a lie!--all a lie!

_Old M._ If your worship would give me leave----

_Just._ Sir, it does not signify--it does not signify! I've said it,
I've said it, and that's enough to convince me, and I'll tell you more;
if my Lord Chief Justice of England told it to me, I would not believe
it--that's poz!

_Lucy_ (_still playing with the box_). But how comes the box here, I
wonder?

_Just._ Pshaw! pshaw! pshaw! darling. Go to your dolls, darling, and
don't be positive--go to your dolls, and don't talk of what you don't
understand. What can you understand, I want to know, of the law?

_Lucy._ No, papa, I didn't mean about the law, but about the box;
because, if the man had taken it, how could it be here, you know, papa?

_Just._ Hey, hey, what? Why, what I say is this, that I don't dispute
that that box, that you hold in your hands, is a box; nay, for aught I
know, it may be a tobacco-box--but it's clear to me that if they left
the box they did not take the money; and how do you dare, sir, to come
before Justice Headstrong with a lie in your mouth? recollect yourself,
I'll give you time to recollect yourself.

    (_A pause._)

_Just._ Well, sir; and what do you say now about the box?

_Old M._ Please your worship, with submission, I _can_ say nothing but
what I said before.

_Just._ What, contradict me again, after I gave you time to recollect
yourself! I've done with you; I have done. Contradict me as often as you
please, but you cannot impose upon me; I defy you to impose upon me!

_Old M._ Impose!

_Just._ I know the law!--I know the law!--and I'll make you know it,
too. One hour I'll give you to recollect yourself, and if you don't give
up this idle story, I'll--I'll commit you as a vagrant--that's poz! Go,
go, for the present. William, take him into the servants' hall, do you
hear?--What, take the money, and leave the box? I'll never do it--that's
poz!

        (_Lucy speaks to the Old Man as he is going off._)

_Lucy._ Don't be frightened! don't be frightened!--I mean, if you tell
the truth, never be frightened.

_Old M._ _If_ I tell the truth--(_turning up his eyes_).

        (_Old Man is still held back by the young lady._)

_Lucy._ One moment--answer me one question--because of something that
just came into my head. Was the box shut fast when you left it?

_Old M._ No, miss, no!--open--it was open; for I could not find the lid
in the dark--my candle went out. _If_ I tell the truth--oh!

        (_Exit._)


    SCENE IV

    _Justice's Study--the Justice is writing_

_Old M._ Well!--I shall have but few days' more misery in this world!

_Just._ (_looks up_). Why! why--why then, why will you be so positive to
persist in a lie? Take the money and leave the box! Obstinate blockhead!
Here, William (_showing the committal_), take this old gentleman to
Holdfast, the constable, and give him this warrant.

    _Enter_ LUCY, _running, out of breath._

_Lucy._ I've found it! I've found it! Here, old man; here's your
money--here it is all--a guinea and a half, and a shilling and a
sixpence, just as he said, papa.

    _Enter_ LANDLADY.

_Land._ Oh la! your worship, did you ever hear the like?

_Just._ I've heard nothing yet that I can understand. First, have you
secured the thief, I say?

_Lucy_ (_makes signs to the landlady to be silent_). Yes, yes, yes! we
have him safe--we have him prisoner. Shall he come in, papa?

_Just._ Yes, child, by all means; and now I shall hear what possessed
him to leave the box. I don't understand--there's something deep in all
this; I don't understand it. Now I do desire, Mrs. Landlady, nobody may
speak a single word whilst I am cross-examining the thief.

        (_Landlady puts her finger upon her lips--Everybody looks
        eagerly towards the door._)

    _Re-enter_ LUCY, _with a huge wicker cage in her hand, containing a
    magpie--The Justice drops the committal out of his hand._

_Just._ Hey!--what, Mrs. Landlady--the old magpie? hey?

_Land._ Ay, your worship, my old magpie. Who'd have thought it? Miss
was very clever--it was she caught the thief. Miss was very clever.

_Old M._ Very good! very good!

_Just._ Ay, darling, her father's own child! How was it, child? Caught
the thief, _with the mainour_, hey? Tell us all; I will hear all--that's
poz.

_Lucy._ Oh! then first I must tell you how I came to suspect Mr. Magpie.
Do you remember, papa, that day last summer when I went with you to the
bowling-green at the 'Saracen's Head'?

_Land._ Oh, of all days in the year! but I ask pardon, miss.

_Lucy._ Well, that day I heard my uncle and another gentleman telling
stories of magpies hiding money; and they laid a wager about this old
magpie and they tried him--they put a shilling upon the table, and he
ran away with it and hid it; so I thought that he might do so again, you
know, this time.

_Just._ Right, right. It's a pity, child, you are not upon the
Bench--ha! ha! ha!

_Lucy._ And when I went to his old hiding-place, there it was; but you
see, papa, he did not take the box.

_Just._ No, no, no! because the thief was a magpie. No _man_ would have
taken the money and left the box. You see I was right; no _man_ would
have left the box, hey?

_Lucy._ Certainly not, I suppose; but I'm so very glad, old man, that
you have obtained your money.

_Just._ Well then, child, here--take my purse, and add that to it. We
were a little too hasty with the committal--hey?

_Land._ Ay, and I fear I was, too; but when one is touched about the
credit of one's house, one's apt to speak warmly.

_Old M._ Oh, I'm the happiest old man alive! You are all convinced that
I told you no lies. Say no more--say no more. I am the happiest man!
Miss, you have made me the happiest man alive! Bless you for it!

_Land._ Well, now, I'll tell you what. I know what I think--you must
keep that there magpie, and make a show of him, and I warrant he'll
bring you many an honest penny; for it's a _true story_, and folks would
like to hear it, I hopes----

_Just._ (_eagerly_). And, friend, do you hear? You'll dine here to-day,
you'll dine here. We have some excellent ale. I will have you drink my
health--that's poz!--hey? You'll drink my health, won't you--hey?

[Illustration: _'And Mr. Smack, the curate, and Squire Solid, and the
doctor, sir, are come, and dinner is upon the table.'_]

_Old M._ (_bows_). Oh! and the young lady's, if you please.

_Just._ Ay, ay, drink her health--she deserves it. Ay, drink my
darling's health.

_Land._ And please your worship, it's the right time, I believe, to
speak of the goose-pie now; and a charming pie it is, and it's on the
table.

_Will._ And Mr. Smack, the curate, and Squire Solid, and the doctor,
sir, are come, and dinner is upon the table.

_Just._ Then let us say no more, but do justice immediately to the
goose-pie; and, darling, put me in mind to tell this story after dinner.

        (_After they go out, the Justice stops._)

'Tell this story'--I don't know whether it tells well for me; but I'll
never be positive any more--_that's poz_!



THE MIMIC


CHAPTER I

Mr. and Mrs. Montague spent the summer of the year 1795 at Clifton with
their son Frederick, and their two daughters Sophia and Marianne. They
had taken much care of the education of their children; nor were they
ever tempted, by any motive of personal convenience or temporary
amusement, to hazard the permanent happiness of their pupils.

Sensible of the extreme importance of early impressions, and of the
powerful influence of external circumstances in forming the characters
and the manners, they were now anxious that the variety of new ideas and
new objects which would strike the minds of their children should appear
in a just point of view.

'Let children see and judge for themselves,' is often inconsiderately
said. Where children see only a part they cannot judge of the whole; and
from the superficial view which they can have in short visits and
desultory conversation, they can form only a false estimate of the
objects of human happiness, a false notion of the nature of society, and
false opinions of characters.

For the above reasons, Mr. and Mrs. Montague were particularly cautious
in the choice of their acquaintances, as they were well aware that
whatever passed in conversation before their children became part of
their education.

When they came to Clifton, they wished to have a house entirely to
themselves; but, as they came late in the season, almost all the
lodging-houses were full, and for a few weeks they were obliged to
remain in a house where some of the apartments were already occupied.

During the first fortnight they scarcely saw or heard anything of one of
the families who lodged on the same floor with them. An elderly Quaker
and his sister Bertha were their silent neighbours. The blooming
complexion of the lady had indeed attracted the attention of the
children, as they caught a glimpse of her face when she was getting into
her carriage to go out upon the Downs. They could scarcely believe that
she came to the Wells on account of her health.

Besides her blooming complexion, the delicate white of her garments had
struck them with admiration; and they observed that her brother
carefully guarded her dress from the wheel of the carriage, as he handed
her in. From this circumstance, and from the benevolent countenance of
the old gentleman, they concluded that he was very fond of his sister,
and that they were certainly very happy, except that they never spoke,
and could be seen only for a moment.

Not so the maiden lady who occupied the ground-floor. On the stairs, in
the passages, at her window, she was continually visible; and she
appeared to possess the art of being present in all these places at
once. Her voice was eternally to be heard, and it was not particularly
melodious. The very first day she met Mrs. Montague's children on the
stairs, she stopped to tell Marianne that she was a charming dear, and a
charming little dear; to kiss her, to inquire her name, and to inform
her that her own name was 'Mrs. Theresa Tattle,' a circumstance of which
there was little danger of their long remaining in ignorance; for, in
the course of one morning, at least twenty single and as many double
raps at the door were succeeded by vociferations of 'Mrs. Theresa
Tattle's servant!' 'Mrs. Theresa Tattle at home?' 'Mrs. Theresa Tattle
not at home!'

No person at the Wells was oftener at home and abroad than Mrs. Tattle.
She had, as she deemed it, the happiness to have a most extensive
acquaintance residing at Clifton. She had for years kept a register of
arrivals. She regularly consulted the subscriptions to the circulating
libraries, and the lists at the Ball and the Pump rooms; so that, with a
memory unencumbered with literature and free from all domestic cares,
she contrived to retain a most astonishing and correct list of births,
deaths, and marriages, together with all the anecdotes, amusing,
instructive, or scandalous, which are necessary to the conversation of
a water-drinking place, and essential to the character of a 'very
pleasant woman.'

'A very pleasant woman' Mrs. Tattle was usually called; and, conscious
of her accomplishments, she was eager to introduce herself to the
acquaintance of her new neighbours; having, with her ordinary
expedition, collected from their servants, by means of her own, all that
could be known, or rather all that could be told about them. The name of
Montague, at all events, she knew was a good name, and justified in
courting the acquaintance. She courted it first by nods and becks and
smiles at Marianne whenever she met her; and Marianne, who was a very
little girl, began presently to nod and smile in return, persuaded that
a lady who smiled so much could not be ill-natured. Besides, Mrs.
Theresa's parlour door was sometimes left more than half open, to afford
a view of a green parrot. Marianne sometimes passed very slowly by this
door. One morning it was left quite wide open, when she stopped to say
'Pretty Poll'; and immediately Mrs. Tattle begged she would do her the
honour to walk in and see 'Pretty Poll,' at the same time taking the
liberty to offer her a piece of iced plum-cake.

The next day Mrs. Theresa Tattle did herself the honour to wait upon
Mrs. Montague, 'to apologise for the liberty she had taken in inviting
Mrs. Montague's charming Miss Marianne into her apartment to see Pretty
Poll, and for the still greater liberty she had taken in offering her a
piece of plum-cake--inconsiderate creature that she was!--which might
possibly have disagreed with her, and which certainly were liberties she
never should have been induced to take, if she had not been
unaccountably bewitched by Miss Marianne's striking though highly
flattering resemblance to a young gentleman (an officer) with whom she
had danced, now nearly twelve years ago, of the name of Montague, a most
respectable young man, and of a most respectable family, with which, in
a remote degree, she might presume to say, she herself was someway
connected, having the honour to be nearly related to the Joneses of
Merionethshire, who were cousins to the Mainwarings of Bedfordshire, who
married into the family of the Griffiths, the eldest branch of which,
she understood, had the honour to be cousin-german to Mr. Montague; on
which account she had been impatient to pay a visit, so likely to be
productive of most agreeable consequences, by the acquisition of an
acquaintance whose society must do her infinite honour.'

[Illustration: _The next day Mrs. Theresa Tattle did herself the honour
to wait upon Mrs. Montague._]

Having thus happily accomplished her first visit, there seemed little
probability of escaping Mrs. Tattle's further acquaintance. In the
course of the first week she only hinted to Mr. Montague that 'some
people thought his system of education rather odd; that she should be
obliged to him if he would, some time or other, when he had nothing else
to do, just sit down and make her understand his notions, that she might
have something to say to her acquaintance, as she always wished to have
when she heard any friend attacked, or any friend's opinions.'

Mr. Montague declining to sit down and make this lady understand a
system of education only to give her something to say, and showing
unaccountable indifference about the attacks with which he was
threatened, Mrs. Tattle next addressed herself to Mrs. Montague,
prophesying, in a most serious whisper, 'that the charming Miss Marianne
would shortly and inevitably grow quite crooked, if she were not
immediately provided with a back-board, a French dancing-master, and a
pair of stocks.'

This alarming whisper could not, however, have a permanent effect upon
Mrs. Montague's understanding, because three days afterwards Mrs.
Theresa, upon the most anxious inspection, entirely mistook the just and
natural proportions of the hip and shoulder.

This danger vanishing, Mrs. Tattle presently, with a rueful length of
face, and formal preface, 'hesitated to assure Mrs. Montague that she
was greatly distressed about her daughter Sophy; that she was convinced
her lungs were affected; and that she certainly ought to drink the
waters morning and evening; and, above all things, must keep one of the
patirosa lozenges constantly in her mouth, and directly consult Dr.
Cardamum, the best physician in the world, and the person she would send
for herself upon her death-bed; because, to her certain knowledge, he
had recovered a young lady, a relation of her own, after she had lost
one whole _globe_[14] of her lungs.'

  [14] Lobe.

The medical opinion of a lady of so much anatomical precision could not
have much weight. Neither was this universal adviser more successful in
an attempt to introduce a tutor to Frederick, who, she apprehended, must
want some one to perfect him in the Latin and Greek, and dead languages,
of which, she observed, it would be impertinent for a woman to talk;
only she might venture to repeat what she had heard said by good
authority, that a competency of the dead tongues could be had nowhere
but at a public school, or else from a private tutor who had been abroad
(after the advantage of a classical education, finished in one of the
universities) with a good family; without which introduction it was idle
to think of reaping solid advantages from any continental tour; all
which requisites, from personal knowledge, she could aver to be
concentrated in the gentleman she had the honour to recommend, as having
been tutor to a young nobleman, who had no further occasion for him,
having, unfortunately for himself and his family, been killed in an
untimely duel.

All Mrs. Theresa Tattle's suggestions being lost upon these stoical
parents, her powers were next tried upon the children, and her success
soon became apparent. On Sophy, indeed, she could not make any
impression, though she had expended on her some of her finest strokes of
flattery. Sophy, though very desirous of the approbation of her friends,
was not very desirous of winning the favour of strangers. She was about
thirteen--that dangerous age at which ill-educated girls, in their
anxiety to display their accomplishments, are apt to become dependent
for applause upon the praise of every idle visitor; when the habits not
being formed, and the attention being suddenly turned to dress and
manners, girls are apt to affect and imitate, indiscriminately,
everything that they conceive to be agreeable.

Sophy, whose taste had been cultivated at the same time with her powers
of reasoning, was not liable to fall into these errors. She found that
she could please those whom she wished to please, without affecting to
be anything but what she really was; and her friends listened to what
she said, though she never repeated the sentiments, or adopted the
phrases, which she might easily have copied from the conversation of
those who were older or more fashionable than herself.

This word _fashionable_, Mrs. Theresa Tattle knew, had usually a great
effect, even at thirteen; but she had not observed that it had much
power upon Sophy; nor were her remarks concerning grace and manners much
attended to. Her mother had taught Sophy that it was best to let herself
alone, and not to distort either her person or her mind in acquiring
grimace, which nothing but the fashion of the moment can support, and
which is always detected and despised by people of real good sense and
politeness.

'Bless me!' said Mrs. Tattle, to herself, 'if I had such a tall
daughter, and so unformed, before my eyes from morning to night, it
would certainly break my poor heart. Thank heaven, I am not a mother! if
I were, Miss Marianne for me!'

Miss Marianne had heard so often from Mrs. Tattle that she was very
charming, that she could not help believing it; and from being a very
pleasing, unaffected little girl, she in a short time grew so conceited,
that she could neither speak, look, move, nor be silent, without
imagining that everybody was, or ought to be, looking at her; and when
Mrs. Theresa saw that Mrs. Montague looked very grave upon these
occasions, she, to repair the ill she had done, would say, after
praising Marianne's hair or her eyes, 'Oh, but little ladies should
never think about their beauty, you know. Nobody loves anybody for being
handsome, but for being good.' People must think children are very
silly, or else they can never have reflected upon the nature of belief
in their own minds, if they imagine that children will believe the words
that are said to them, by way of moral, when the countenance, manner,
and every concomitant circumstance tell them a different tale. Children
are excellent physiognomists--they quickly learn the universal language
of looks; and what is said _of_ them always makes a greater impression
than what is said _to_ them, a truth of which those prudent people
surely cannot be aware who comfort themselves, and apologise to parents,
by saying, 'Oh, but I would not say so and so to the child.'

Mrs. Theresa had seldom said to Frederick Montague 'that he had a vast
deal of drollery, and was a most incomparable mimic'; but she had said
so of him in whispers, which magnified the sound to his imagination, if
not to his ear. He was a boy of much vivacity, and had considerable
abilities; but his appetite for vulgar praise had not yet been
surfeited. Even Mrs. Theresa Tattle's flattery pleased him, and he
exerted himself for her entertainment so much that he became quite a
buffoon. Instead of observing characters and manners, that he might
judge of them, and form his own, he now watched every person he saw,
that he might detect some foible, or catch some singularity in their
gesture or pronunciation, which he might successfully mimic.

Alarmed by the rapid progress of these evils, Mr. and Mrs. Montague,
who, from the first day that they had been honoured with Mrs. Tattle's
visit, had begun to look out for new lodgings, were now extremely
impatient to decamp. They were not people who, from the weak fear of
offending a silly acquaintance, would hazard the happiness of their
family. They had heard of a house in the country which was likely to
suit them, and they determined to go directly to look at it. As they
were to be absent all day, they foresaw that their officious neighbour
would probably interfere with their children. They did not choose to
exact any promise from them which they might be tempted to break, and
therefore they only said at parting, 'If Mrs. Theresa Tattle should ask
you to come to her, do as you think proper.'

Scarcely had Mrs. Montague's carriage got out of hearing when a note was
brought, directed to 'Frederick Montague, Junior, Esq.,' which he
immediately opened, and read as follows:--

  'Mrs. Theresa Tattle presents her very best compliments to the
  entertaining Mr. Frederick Montague; she hopes he will have the
  charity to drink tea with her this evening, and bring his charming
  sister, Miss Marianne, with him, as Mrs. Theresa will be quite alone
  with a shocking headache, and is sensible her nerves are affected;
  and Dr. Cardamum says that (especially in Mrs. T. T.'s case) it is
  downright death to nervous patients to be alone an instant. She
  therefore trusts Mr. Frederick will not refuse to come and make her
  laugh. Mrs. Theresa has taken care to provide a few macaroons for
  her little favourite, who said she was particularly fond of them the
  other day. Mrs. Theresa hopes they will all come at six, or before,
  not forgetting Miss Sophy, if she will condescend to be of the
  party.'

At the first reading of this note, 'the entertaining' Mr. Frederick and
the 'charming' Miss Marianne laughed heartily, and looked at Sophy, as
if they were afraid that she should think it possible they could like
such gross flattery; but upon a second perusal, Marianne observed that
it certainly was very good-natured of Mrs. Theresa to remember the
macaroons; and Frederick allowed that it was wrong to laugh at the poor
woman because she had the headache. Then twisting the note in his
fingers, he appealed to Sophy:--

'Well, Sophy, leave off drawing for an instant,' said Frederick, 'and
tell us what answer can we send?'

'Can!--we can send what answer we please.'

'Yes, I know that,' said Frederick; 'I would refuse if I could; but we
ought not to do anything rude, should we? So I think we might as well
go, because we could not refuse, if we would, I say.'

'You have made such confusion,' replied Sophy, 'between "couldn't" and
"wouldn't" and "shouldn't," that I can't understand you: surely they are
all different things.'

'Different! no,' cried Frederick--'_could_, _would_, _should_, _might_,
and _ought_ are all the same thing in the Latin grammar; all of 'em
signs of the potential mood, you know.'

Sophy, whose powers of reasoning were not to be confounded, even by
quotations from the Latin grammar, looked up soberly from her drawing,
and answered 'that very likely those words might be signs of the same
thing in the Latin grammar, but she believed that they meant perfectly
different things in real life.'

'That's just as people please,' said her sophistical brother. 'You know
words mean nothing in themselves. If I choose to call my hat my
cadwallader, you would understand me just as well, after I had once
explained it to you, that by cadwallader I meant this black thing that I
put upon my head; cadwallader and hat would then be just the same thing
to you.'

'Then why have two words for the same thing?' said Sophy; 'and what has
this to do with _could_ and _should_? You wanted to prove----'

'I wanted to prove,' interrupted Frederick, 'that it's not worth while
to dispute for two hours about two words. Do keep to the point, Sophy,
and don't dispute with me.'

'I was not disputing, I was reasoning.'

'Well, reasoning or disputing. Women have no business to do either;
for, how should they know how to chop logic like men?'

At this contemptuous sarcasm upon her sex, Sophy's colour rose.

'There!' cried Frederick, exulting, 'now we shall see a philosopheress
in a passion; I'd give sixpence, half-price, for a harlequin
entertainment, to see Sophy in a passion. Now, Marianne, look at her
brush dabbing so fast in the water!'

Sophy, who could not easily bear to be laughed at, with some little
indignation, said, 'Brother, I wish----'

'There! there!' cried Frederick, pointing to the colour which rose in
her cheeks almost to her temples--'rising! rising! rising! look at the
thermometer! blood heat! blood! fever heat! boiling water heat!
Marianne.'

'Then,' said Sophy, smiling, 'you should stand a little farther off,
both of you. Leave the thermometer to itself a little while. Give it
time to cool. It will come down to "temperate" by the time you look
again.'

'Oh, brother!' cried Marianne, 'she's so good-humoured, don't tease her
any more, and don't draw heads upon her paper, and don't stretch her
india-rubber, and don't let us dirty any more of her brushes. See! the
sides of her tumbler are all manner of colours.'

'Oh, I only mixed red, blue, green, and yellow to show you, Marianne,
that all colours mixed together make white. But she is temperate now,
and I won't plague her; she shall chop logic, if she likes it, though
she is a woman.'

'But that's not fair, brother,' said Marianne, 'to say "woman" in that
way. I'm sure Sophy found out how to tie that difficult knot, which papa
showed us yesterday, long before you did, though you are a man.' 'Not
long,' said Frederick. 'Besides, that was only a conjuring trick.'

'It was very ingenious, though,' said Marianne; 'and papa said so.
Besides, she understood the "Rule of Three," which was no conjuring
trick, better than you did, though she is a woman; and she can reason,
too, mamma says.'

'Very well, let her reason away,' said the provoking wit. 'All I have to
say is, that she'll never be able to make a pudding.'

'Why not, pray, brother?' inquired Sophy, looking up again, very
gravely.

'Why, you know papa himself, the other day at dinner, said that that
woman who talks Greek and Latin as well as I do, is a fool after all;
and that she had better have learned something useful; and Mrs. Tattle
said, she'd answer for it she did not know how to make a pudding.'

'Well! but I am not talking Greek and Latin, am I?'

'No, but you are drawing, and that's the same thing.'

'The same thing! Oh, Frederick!' said little Marianne, laughing.

'You may laugh; but I say it is the same sort of thing. Women who are
always drawing and reasoning never know how to make puddings. Mrs.
Theresa Tattle said so, when I showed her Sophy's beautiful drawing
yesterday.'

'Mrs. Theresa Tattle might say so,' replied Sophy, calmly; 'but I do not
perceive the reason, brother, why drawing should prevent me from
learning how to make a pudding.'

'Well, I say you'll never learn how to make a good pudding.'

'I have learned,' continued Sophy, who was mixing her colours, 'to mix
such and such colours together to make the colour that I want; and why
should I not be able to learn to mix flour and butter, and sugar and
egg, together, to produce the taste that I want?'

'Oh, but mixing will never do, unless you know the quantities, like a
cook; and you would never learn the right quantities.'

'How did the cook learn them? Cannot I learn them as she did?'

'Yes, but you'd never do it exactly, and mind the spoonfuls right, by
the recipe, like a cook.'

'Indeed! indeed! but she would,' cried Marianne, eagerly; 'and a great
deal more exactly, for mamma has taught her to weigh and measure things
very carefully; and when I was ill she always weighed the bark in
nicely, and dropped my drops so carefully: better than the cook. When
mamma took me down to see the cook make a cake once, I saw her
spoonfuls, and her ounces, and her handfuls: she dashed and splashed
without minding exactness, or the recipe, or anything. I'm sure Sophy
would make a much better pudding, if exactness only were wanting.'

'Well, granting that she could make the best pudding in the whole
world, what does that signify? I say she never would, so it comes to the
same thing.'

[Illustration: _'She dashed and splashed without minding exactness, or
the recipe, or anything.'_]

'Never would! how can you tell that, brother?'

'Why, now look at her, with her books, and her drawings, and all this
apparatus. Do you think she would ever jump up, with all her nicety,
too, and put by all these things, to go down into the greasy kitchen,
and plump up to the elbows in suet, like a cook, for a plum-pudding?'

'I need not plump up to the elbows, brother,' said Sophy, smiling, 'nor
is it necessary that I should be a cook; but, if it were necessary, I
hope I should be able to make a pudding.'

'Yes, yes,' cried Marianne, warmly; 'and she would jump up, and put by
all her things in a minute if it were necessary, and run downstairs and
up again like lightning, or do anything that was ever so disagreeable to
her, even about the suet, with all her nicety, brother, I assure you, as
she used to do anything, everything for me, when I was ill last winter.
Oh, brother, she can do anything; and she could make the best
plum-pudding in the whole world, I'm sure, in a minute, if it were
necessary.'


CHAPTER II

A knock at the door, from Mrs. Theresa Tattle's servant, recalled
Marianne to the business of the day.

'There,' said Frederick, 'we have sent no answer all this time. It's
necessary to think of that in a minute.'

The servant came with his mistress's compliments, to let the young
ladies and Mr. Frederick know that she was waiting tea for them.

'Waiting! then we must go,' said Frederick.

The servant opened the door wider, to let him pass, and Marianne thought
she must follow her brother; so they went downstairs together, while
Sophy gave her own message to the servant, and quietly stayed at her
usual occupations.

Mrs. Tattle was seated at her tea-table, with a large plate of macaroons
beside her, when Frederick and Marianne entered. She was 'delighted'
they were come, and 'grieved' not to see Miss Sophy along with them.
Marianne coloured a little; for though she had precipitately followed
her brother, and though he had quieted her conscience for a moment by
saying, 'You know, papa and mamma told us to do what we thought best,'
yet she did not feel quite pleased with herself; and it was not till
after Mrs. Theresa had exhausted all her compliments and half her
macaroons, that she could restore her spirits to their usual height.

'Come, Mr. Frederick,' said she after tea, 'you promised to make me
laugh; and nobody can make me laugh so well as yourself.'

'Oh, brother,' said Marianne, 'show Mrs. Theresa Dr. Carbuncle eating
his dinner; and I'll be Mrs. Carbuncle.'

_Marianne._ Now, my dear, what shall I help you to?

_Frederick._ 'My dear!' she never calls him my dear, you know, but
always Doctor.

_Mar._ Well then, doctor, what will you eat to-day?

_Fred._ Eat, madam! eat! nothing! nothing! I don't see anything here I
can eat, ma'am.

_Mar._ Here's eels, sir; let me help you to some eel--stewed eel;--you
used to be fond of stewed eel.

_Fred._ Used, ma'am, used! But I'm sick of stewed eels. You would tire
one of anything. Am I to see nothing but eels? And what's this at the
bottom?

_Mar._ Mutton, doctor, roast mutton; if you'll be so good as to cut it.

_Fred._ Cut it, ma'am! I can't cut it, I say; it's as hard as a deal
board. You might as well tell me to cut the table, ma'am. Mutton,
indeed! not a bit of fat. Roast mutton, indeed! not a drop of gravy.
Mutton, truly! quite a cinder. I'll have none of it. Here, take it away;
take it downstairs to the cook. It's a very hard case, Mrs. Carbuncle,
that I can never have a bit of anything that I can eat at my own table,
Mrs. Carbuncle, since I was married, ma'am, I that am the easiest man in
the whole world to please about my dinner. It's really very
extraordinary, Mrs. Carbuncle! What have you at that corner there, under
the cover?

_Mar._ Patties, sir; oyster patties.

_Fred._ Patties, ma'am! kickshaws! I hate kickshaws. Not worth putting
under a cover, ma'am. And why not have glass covers, that one may see
one's dinner before one, before it grows cold with asking questions,
Mrs. Carbuncle, and lifting up covers? But nobody has any sense; and I
see no water plates anywhere, lately.

_Mar._ Do, pray, doctor, let me help you to a bit of chicken before it
gets cold, my dear.

_Fred._ (_aside_). 'My dear,' again, Marianne!

_Mar._ Yes, brother, because she is frightened, you know, and Mrs.
Carbuncle always says 'my dear' to him when she's frightened, and looks
so pale from side to side; and sometimes she cries before dinner's done,
and then all the company are quite silent, and don't know what to do.

'Oh, such a little creature; to have so much sense, too!' exclaimed Mrs.
Theresa, with rapture. 'Mr. Frederick, you'll make me die with laughing!
Pray go on, Dr. Carbuncle.'

_Fred._ Well, ma'am, then if I must eat something, send me a bit of
fowl; a leg and wing, the liver wing, and a bit of the breast, oyster
sauce, and a slice of that ham, if you please, ma'am.

        (_Dr. Carbuncle eats voraciously, with his head down to his
        plate, and, dropping the sauce, he buttons up his coat tight
        across the breast._)

_Fred._ Here; a plate, knife and fork, bit o' bread, a glass of
Dorchester ale!

'Oh, admirable!' exclaimed Mrs. Tattle, clapping her hands.

'Now, brother, suppose that it is after dinner,' said Marianne; 'and
show us how the doctor goes to sleep.'

Frederick threw himself back in an arm-chair, leaning his head back,
with his mouth open, snoring; nodded from time to time, crossed and
uncrossed his legs, tried to awake himself by twitching his wig,
settling his collar, blowing his nose, and rapping on the lid of his
snuff-box.

All which infinitely diverted Mrs. Tattle, who, when she could stop
herself from laughing, declared 'it made her sigh, too, to think of the
life poor Mrs. Carbuncle led with that man, and all for nothing, too;
for her jointure was nothing, next to nothing, though a great thing, to
be sure, her friends thought, for her, when she was only Sally Ridgeway
before she was married. Such a wife as she makes,' continued Mrs.
Theresa, lifting up her hands and eyes to heaven, 'and so much as she
has gone through, the brute ought to be ashamed of himself if he does
not leave her something extraordinary in his will; for turn it which
way she will, she can never keep a carriage, or live like anybody else,
on her jointure, after all, she tells me, poor soul! A sad prospect,
after her husband's death, to look forward to, instead of being
comfortable, as her friends expected; and she, poor young thing! knowing
no better when they married her! People should look into these things
beforehand, or never marry at all, I say, Miss Marianne.'

Miss Marianne, who did not clearly comprehend this affair of the
jointure, or the reason why Mrs. Carbuncle would be so unhappy after her
husband's death, turned to Frederick, who was at that instant studying
Mrs. Theresa as a future character to mimic. 'Brother,' said Marianne,
'now sing an Italian song for us like Miss Croker. Pray, Miss Croker,
favour us with a song. Mrs. Theresa Tattle has never had the pleasure of
hearing you sing; she's quite impatient to hear you sing.'

'Yes, indeed, I am,' said Mrs. Theresa.

Frederick put his hands before him affectedly. 'Oh, indeed, ma'am!
indeed, ladies! I really am so hoarse, it distresses me so to be pressed
to sing; besides, upon my word, I have quite left off singing. I've
never sung once, except for very particular people, this winter.'

_Mar._ But Mrs. Theresa Tattle is a very particular person. I'm sure
you'll sing for her.

_Fred._ Certainly, ma'am, I allow that you use a powerful argument; but
I assure you now, I would do my best to oblige you, but I absolutely
have forgotten all my English songs. Nobody hears anything but Italian
now, and I have been so giddy as to leave my Italian music behind me.
Besides, I make it a rule never to hazard myself without an
accompaniment.

_Mar._ Oh, try, Miss Croker, for once.

    (_Frederick sings, after much preluding._)

      Violante in the pantry,
      Gnawing of a mutton-bone;
        How she gnawed it,
        How she claw'd it,
      When she found herself alone!

'Charming!' exclaimed Mrs. Tattle; 'so like Miss Croker, I'm sure I
shall think of you, Mr. Frederick, when I hear her asked to sing again.
Her voice, however, introduces her to very pleasant parties, and she's
a girl that's very much taken notice of, and I don't doubt will go off
vastly well. She's a particular favourite of mine, you must know; and I
mean to do her a piece of service the first opportunity, by saying
something or other, that shall go round to her relations in
Northumberland, and make them do something for her; as well they may,
for they are all rolling in gold, and won't give her a penny.

_Mar._ Now, brother, read the newspaper like Counsellor Puff.

'Oh, pray do, Mr. Frederick, for I declare I admire you of all things!
You are quite yourself to-night. Here's a newspaper, sir, pray let us
have Counsellor Puff. It's not late.'

    (_Frederick reads in a pompous voice._)

'As a delicate white hand has ever been deemed a distinguishing ornament
in either sex, Messrs. Valiant and Wise conceive it to be their duty to
take the earliest opportunity to advertise the nobility and gentry of
Great Britain in general, and their friends in particular, that they
have now ready for sale, as usual, at the Hippocrates' Head, a fresh
assortment of new-invented, much-admired primrose soap. To prevent
impositions and counterfeits, the public are requested to take notice,
that the only genuine primrose soap is stamped on the outside, "Valiant
and Wise."'

'Oh, you most incomparable mimic! 'tis absolutely the counsellor
himself. I absolutely must show you, some day, to my friend Lady
Battersby; you'd absolutely make her die with laughing; and she'd quite
adore you,' said Mrs. Theresa, who was well aware that every pause must
be filled with flattery. 'Pray go on, pray go on. I shall never be
tired, if I sit looking at you these hundred years.'

Stimulated by these plaudits, Frederick proceeded to show how Colonel
Epaulette blew his nose, flourished his cambric handkerchief, bowed to
Lady Diana Periwinkle, and admired her work, saying, 'Done by no hands,
as you may guess, but those of Fairly Fair.' Whilst Lady Diana, he
observed, simpered so prettily, and took herself so quietly for Fairly
Fair, not perceiving that the colonel was admiring his own nails all the
while.

Next to Colonel Epaulette, Frederick, at Marianne's particular desire,
came into the room like Sir Charles Slang.

'Very well, brother,' cried she, 'your hand down to the very bottom of
your pocket, and your other shoulder up to your ear; but you are not
quite wooden enough, and you should walk as if your hip were out of
joint. There now, Mrs. Tattle, are not those good eyes? They stare so
like his, without seeming to see anything all the while.'

'Excellent! admirable! Mr. Frederick. I must say that you are the best
mimic of your age I ever saw, and I'm sure Lady Battersby will think so
too. That is Sir Charles to the very life. But with all that, you must
know he's a mighty pleasant, fashionable young man when you come to know
him, and has a great deal of sense under all that, and is of a very good
family--the Slangs, you know. Sir Charles will come into a fine fortune
himself next year, if he can keep clear of gambling, which I hear is his
foible, poor young man! Pray go on. I interrupt you, Mr. Frederick.'

'Now, brother,' said Marianne.

'No, Marianne, I can do no more. I'm quite tired, and I will do no
more,' said Frederick, stretching himself at full length upon a sofa.

Even in the midst of laughter, and whilst the voice of flattery yet
sounded in his ear, Frederick felt sad, displeased with himself, and
disgusted with Mrs. Theresa.

'What a deep sigh was there!' said Mrs. Theresa; 'what can make you sigh
so bitterly? You, who make everybody else laugh. Oh, such another sigh
again!'

'Marianne,' cried Frederick, 'do you remember the man in the mask?'

'What man in the mask, brother?'

'The man--the actor--the buffoon, that my father told us of, who used to
cry behind the mask that made everybody else laugh.'

'Cry! bless me,' said Mrs. Theresa, 'mighty odd! very extraordinary! but
one can't be surprised at meeting with extraordinary characters amongst
that race of people, actors by profession, you know; for they are
brought up from the egg to make their fortune, or at least their bread,
by their oddities. But, my dear Mr. Frederick, you are quite pale, quite
exhausted; no wonder--what will you have? a glass of cowslip-wine?'

'Oh no, thank you, ma'am,' said Frederick.

'Oh yes; indeed you must not leave me without taking something; and Miss
Marianne must have another macaroon. I insist upon it,' said Mrs.
Theresa, ringing the bell. 'It is not late, and my man Christopher will
bring up the cowslip-wine in a minute.'

'But, Sophy! and papa and mamma, you know, will come home presently,'
said Marianne.

'Oh! Miss Sophy has her books and drawings. You know she's never afraid
of being alone. Besides, to-night it was her own choice. And as to your
papa and mamma, they won't be home to-night, I'm pretty sure; for a
gentleman, who had it from their own authority, told me where they were
going, which is further off than they think; but they did not consult
me; and I fancy they'll be obliged to sleep out; so you need not be in a
hurry about them. We'll have candles.'

The door opened just as Mrs. Tattle was going to ring the bell again for
candles and the cowslip-wine. 'Christopher! Christopher!' said Mrs.
Theresa, who was standing at the fire, with her back to the door, when
it opened, 'Christopher! pray bring----Do you hear?' but no Christopher
answered; and, upon turning round, Mrs. Tattle, instead of Christopher,
beheld two little black figures, which stood perfectly still and silent.
It was so dark, that their forms could scarcely be discerned.

'In the name of heaven, who and what may you be? Speak, I conjure you!
what are ye?'

'The chimney-sweepers, ma'am, an' please your ladyship.'

'Chimney-sweepers!' repeated Frederick and Marianne, bursting out
a-laughing.

'Chimney-sweepers!' repeated Mrs. Theresa, provoked at the recollection
of her late solemn address to them. 'Chimney-sweepers! and could not you
say so a little sooner? Pray, what brings you here, gentlemen, at this
time of night?'

'The bell rang, ma'am,' answered a squeaking voice.

'The bell rang! yes, for Christopher. The boy's mad, or drunk.'

'Ma'am,' said the taller of the chimney-sweepers, who had not yet
spoken, and who now began in a very blunt manner; 'ma'am, your brother
desired us to come up when the bell rang; so we did.'

'My brother? I have no brother, dunce,' said Mrs. Theresa.

'Mr. Eden, madam.'

'Ho, ho!' said Mrs. Tattle, in a more complacent tone, 'the boy takes me
for Miss Bertha Eden, I perceive'; and, flattered to be taken in the
dark by a chimney-sweeper for a young and handsome lady, Mrs. Theresa
laughed, and informed him 'that they had mistaken the room; and they
must go up another pair of stairs, and turn to the left.'

The chimney-sweeper with the squeaking voice bowed, thanked her ladyship
for this information, said, 'Good-night to ye, quality'; and they both
moved towards the door.

'Stay,' said Mrs. Tattle, whose curiosity was excited; 'what can the
Edens want with chimney-sweepers at this time o' night, I wonder?
Christopher, did you hear anything about it?' said the lady to her
footman, who was now lighting the candles.

'Upon my word, ma'am,' said the servant, 'I can't say; but I'll step
down below and inquire. I heard them talking about it in the kitchen;
but I only got a word here and there, for I was hunting for the
snuff-dish, as I knew it must be for candles when I heard the bell ring,
ma'am; so I thought to find the snuff-dish before I answered the bell,
for I knew it must be for candles you rang. But, if you please, I'll
step down now, ma'am, and see about the chimney-sweepers.'

'Yes, step down, do; and, Christopher, bring up the cowslip-wine, and
some more macaroons for my little Marianne.'

Marianne withdrew rather coldly from a kiss which Mrs. Tattle was going
to give her; for she was somewhat surprised at the familiarity with
which this lady talked to her footman. She had not been accustomed to
these familiarities in her father and mother, and she did not like them.

'Well,' said Mrs. Tattle to Christopher, who was now returned, 'what is
the news?'

'Ma'am, the little fellow with the squeaking voice has been telling me
the whole story. The other morning, ma'am, early, he and the other were
down the hill sweeping in Paradise Row. Those chimneys, they say, are
difficult; and the square fellow, ma'am, the biggest of the two boys,
got wedged in the chimney. The other little fellow was up at the top at
the time, and he heard the cry; but in his fright, and all, he did not
know what to do, ma'am; for he looked about from the top of the chimney,
and not a soul could he see stirring, but a few that he could not make
attend to his screech; the boy within almost stifling too. So he
screeched, and screeched, all he could; and by the greatest chance in
life, ma'am, old Mr. Eden was just going down the hill to fetch his
morning walk.'

'Ay,' interrupted Mrs. Theresa, 'friend Ephraim is one of your early
risers.'

'Well?' said Marianne, impatiently.

'So, ma'am, hearing the screech, he turns and sees the sweep; and at
once he understands the matter----'

'I'm sure he must have taken some time to understand it,' interposed
Mrs. Tattle, 'for he's the slowest creature breathing, and the deafest
in company. Go on, Christopher. So the sweep did make him hear.'

'So he says, ma'am; and so the old gentleman went in and pulled the boy
out of the chimney, with much ado, ma'am.'

'Bless me!' exclaimed Mrs. Theresa; 'but did old Eden go up the chimney
himself after the boy, wig and all?'

'Why, ma'am,' said Christopher, with a look of great delight, 'that was
all as one, as the very 'dentical words I put to the boy myself, when he
telled me his story. But, ma'am, that was what I couldn't get out of
him, neither, rightly, for he is a churl--the big boy that was stuck in
the chimney, I mean; for when I put the question to him about the wig,
laughing like, he wouldn't take it laughing like at all; but would only
make answer to us like a bear, 'He saved my life, that's all I know';
and this over again, ma'am, to all the kitchen round, that
cross-questioned him. But I finds him stupid and ill-mannered like, for
I offered him a shilling, ma'am, myself, to tell about the wig; but he
put it back in a way that did not become such as he, to no lady's
butler, ma'am; whereupon I turns to the slim fellow (and he's smarterer,
and more mannerly, ma'am, with a tongue in his head for his betters),
but he could not resolve me my question either; for he was up at the top
of the chimney the best part o' the time; and when he came down Mr. Eden
had his wig on, but had his arm all bare and bloody, ma'am.'

'Poor Mr. Eden!' exclaimed Marianne.

'Oh, miss,' continued the servant, 'and the chimney-sweep himself was so
bruised, and must have been killed.'

'Well, well! but he's alive now; go on with your story, Christopher,'
said Mrs. T. 'Chimney-sweepers get wedged in chimneys every day; it's
part of their trade, and it's a happy thing when they come off with a
few bruises.[15] To be sure,' added she, observing that both Frederick
and Marianne looked displeased at this speech, 'to be sure, if one may
believe this story, there was some real danger.'

  [15] This atrocious practice is now happily superseded by the use of
       sweeping machines.

'Real danger! yes, indeed,' said Marianne; 'and I'm sure I think Mr.
Eden was very good.'

'Certainly it was a most commendable action, and quite providential. So
I shall take an opportunity of saying, when I tell the story in all
companies; and the boy may thank his kind stars, I'm sure, to the end of
his days, for such an escape----But pray, Christopher,' said she,
persisting in her conversation with Christopher, who was now laying the
cloth for supper, 'pray, which house was it in Paradise Row? where the
Eagles or the Miss Ropers lodge? or which?'

'It was at my Lady Battersby's, ma'am.'

'Ha! ha!' cried Mrs. Theresa, 'I thought we should get to the bottom of
the affair at last. This is excellent! This will make an admirable story
for my Lady Battersby the next time I see her. These Quakers are so sly!
Old Eden, I know, has long wanted to obtain an introduction into that
house; and a charming charitable expedient hit upon! My Lady Battersby
will enjoy this, of all things.'


CHAPTER III

'Now,' continued Mrs. Theresa, turning to Frederick, as soon as the
servant had left the room, 'now, Mr. Frederick Montague, I have a
favour--such a favour--to ask of you; it's a favour which only you can
grant; you have such talents, and would do the thing so admirably; and
my Lady Battersby would quite adore you for it. She will do me the
honour to be here to spend an evening to-morrow. I'm convinced Mr. and
Mrs. Montague will find themselves obliged to stay out another day, and
I so long to show you off to her ladyship; and your Doctor Carbuncle,
and your Counsellor Puff, and your Miss Croker, and all your charming
characters. You must let me introduce you to her ladyship to-morrow
evening. Promise me.'

'Oh, ma'am,' said Frederick, 'I cannot promise you any such thing,
indeed. I am much obliged to you; but indeed I cannot come.'

'Why not, my dear sir? why not? You don't think I mean you should
promise, if you are certain your papa and mamma will be home.'

'If they do come home, I will ask them about it,' said Frederick,
hesitating; for though he by no means wished to accept the invitation,
he had not yet acquired the necessary power of decidedly saying No.

'Ask them!' repeated Mrs. Theresa. 'My dear sir, at your age, must you
ask your papa and mamma about such things?'

'Must! no, ma'am,' said Frederick; 'but I said I would. I know I need
not, because my father and mother always let me judge for myself almost
about everything.'

'And about this, I am sure,' cried Marianne. 'Papa and mamma, you know,
just as they were going away, said, "If Mrs. Theresa asks you to come,
do as you think best."'

'Well, then,' said Mrs. Theresa, 'you know it rests with yourselves, if
you may do as you please.'

'To be sure I may, madam,' said Frederick, colouring from that species
of emotion which is justly called false shame, and which often conquers
real shame; 'to be sure, ma'am, I may do as I please.'

'Then I may make sure of you,' said Mrs. Theresa; 'for now it would be
downright rudeness to tell a lady you won't do as she pleases. Mr.
Frederick Montague, I'm sure, is too well-bred a young gentleman to do
so unpolite, so ungallant a thing!'

The jargon of politeness and gallantry is frequently brought by the
silly acquaintance of young people to confuse their simple morality and
clear good sense. A new and unintelligible system is presented to them
in a language foreign to their understanding, and contradictory to their
feelings. They hesitate between new motives and old principles. From the
fear of being thought ignorant, they become affected; and from the dread
of being thought to be children act like fools. But all this they feel
only when they are in the company of such people as Mrs. Theresa Tattle.

'Ma'am,' Frederick began, 'I don't mean to be rude; but I hope you'll
excuse me from coming to drink tea with you to-morrow, because my father
and mother are not acquainted with Lady Battersby, and maybe they might
not like----'

'Take care, take care,' said Mrs. Theresa, laughing at his perplexity;
'you want to get off from obliging me, and you don't know how. You had
very nearly made a most shocking blunder in putting it all upon poor
Lady Battersby. Now you know it's impossible that Mr. and Mrs. Montague
could have in nature the slightest objection to introducing you to my
Lady Battersby at my own house; for, don't you know, that, besides her
ladyship's many unquestionable qualities, which one need not talk of,
she is cousin, but once removed, to the Trotters of Lancashire--your
mother's great favourites? And there is not a person at the Wells, I'll
venture to say, could be of more advantage to your sister Sophy, in the
way of partners, when she comes to go to balls, which it's to be
supposed she will, some time or other; and as you are so good a brother,
that's a thing to be looked to, you know. Besides, as to yourself,
there's nothing her ladyship delights in so much as in a good mimic; and
she'll quite adore you!'

'But I don't want her to adore me, ma'am,' said Frederick, bluntly;
then, correcting himself, added, 'I mean for being a mimic.'

'Why not, my love? Between friends, can there be any harm in showing
one's talents? You that have such talents to show. She'll keep your
secret, I'll answer for her; and,' added she, 'you needn't be afraid of
her criticism; for, between you and me, she's no great critic: so you'll
come. Well, thank you, that's settled. How you have made me beg and
pray! but you know your own value, I see; as you entertaining people
always do. One must ask a wit, like a fine singer, so often. Well, but
now for the favour I was going to ask you.'

Frederick looked surprised; for he thought that the favour of his
company was what she meant; but she explained herself farther.

'As to the old Quaker who lodges above, old Ephraim Eden--my Lady
Battersby and I have so much diversion about him. He is the best
character, the oddest creature! If you were but to see him come into the
rooms with those stiff skirts, or walking with his eternal sister
Bertha, and his everlasting broad-brimmed hat! One knows him a mile off!
But then his voice and way, and altogether, if one could get them to
the life, they'd be better than anything on the stage; better even than
anything I've seen to-night; and I think you'd make a capital Quaker for
my Lady Battersby; but then the thing is, one can never get to hear the
old quiz talk. Now you, who have so much invention and cleverness--I
have no invention myself--but could you not hit upon some way of seeing
him, so that you might get him by heart? I'm sure you, who are so quick,
would only want to see him, and hear him, for half a minute, to be able
to take him off, so as to kill one with laughing. But I have no
invention.'

'Oh, as to the invention,' said Frederick, 'I know an admirable way of
doing the thing, if that is all; but then remember, I don't say I will
do the thing, for I will not. But I know a way of getting up into his
room, and seeing him, without his knowing me to be there.'

'Oh, tell it me, you charming, clever creature!'

'But, remember, I do not say I will do it.'

'Well, well, let us hear it; and you shall do as you please afterwards.
Merciful goodness!' exclaimed Mrs. Tattle, 'do my ears deceive me? I
declare I looked round, and thought I heard the squeaking
chimney-sweeper was in the room!'

'So did I, Frederick, I declare,' cried Marianne, laughing, 'I never
heard anything so like his voice in my life.'

Frederick imitated the squeaking voice of this chimney-sweeper to great
perfection.

'Now,' continued he, 'this fellow is just my height. The old Quaker, if
my face were blackened, and if I were to change clothes with the
chimney-sweeper, I'll answer for it, would never know me.'

'Oh, it's an admirable invention! I give you infinite credit for it!'
exclaimed Mrs. Theresa. 'It shall, it must be done. I'll ring, and have
the fellow up this minute.'

'Oh, no; do not ring,' said Frederick, stopping her hand, 'I don't mean
to do it. You know you promised that I should do as I pleased. I only
told you my invention.'

'Well, well; but only let me ring, and ask whether the chimney-sweepers
are below. You shall do as you please afterwards.'

'Christopher, shut the door. Christopher,' said she to the servant who
came up when she rang, 'pray are the sweeps gone yet?' 'No, ma'am.'
'But have they been up to old Eden yet?' 'Oh no, ma'am; nor be not to go
till the bell rings; for Miss Bertha, ma'am, was asleep a-lying down,
and her brother wouldn't have her wakened on no account whatsomever. He
came down hisself to the kitchen to the sweeps, though; but wouldn't
have, as I heard him say, his sister waked for no account. But Miss
Bertha's bell will ring when she wakens for the sweeps, ma'am. 'Twas she
wanted to see the boy as her brother saved, and I suppose sent for 'em
to give him something charitable, ma'am.' 'Well, never mind your
suppositions,' said Mrs. Theresa; 'run down this very minute to the
little squeaking chimney-sweep, and send him up to me. Quick, but don't
let the other bear come up with him.'

Christopher, who had curiosity as well as his mistress, when he returned
with the chimney-sweeper, prolonged his own stay in the room by sweeping
the hearth, throwing down the tongs and shovel, and picking them up
again.

'That will do, Christopher! Christopher, that will do, I say,' Mrs.
Theresa repeated in vain. She was obliged to say, 'Christopher, you may
go,' before he would depart.

'Now,' said she to Frederick, 'step in here to the next room with this
candle, and you'll be equipped in an instant. Only just change clothes
with the boy; only just let me see what a charming chimney-sweeper you'd
make. You shall do as you please afterwards.' 'Well, I'll only change
clothes with him, just to show you for one minute.'

'But,' said Marianne to Mrs. Theresa whilst Frederick was changing his
clothes, 'I think Frederick is right about----' 'About what, love?' 'I
think he is in the right not to go up, though he can do it so easily, to
see that gentleman; I mean on purpose to mimic and laugh at him
afterwards. I don't think that would be quite right.' 'Why, pray, Miss
Marianne?' 'Why, because he is so good-natured to his sister. He would
not let her be wakened.' 'Dear, it's easy to be good in such little
things; and he won't have long to be good to her neither; for I don't
think she will trouble him long in this world, anyhow.' 'What do you
mean?' said Marianne. 'That she'll die, child.' 'Die! die with that
beautiful colour in her cheeks! How sorry her poor, poor brother will
be! But she will not die, I'm sure, for she walks about, and runs
upstairs so lightly! Oh, you must be quite mistaken, I hope.' 'If I'm
mistaken, Dr. Panado Cardamum's mistaken too, then, that's my comfort.
He says, unless the waters work a miracle, she stands a bad chance; and
she won't follow my advice, and consult the doctor for her health.' 'He
would frighten her to death, perhaps,' said Marianne. 'I hope Frederick
won't go up to disturb her.' 'Lud, child, you are turned simpleton all
of a sudden; how can your brother disturb her more than the real
chimney-sweeper?' 'But I don't think it's right,' persisted Marianne,
'and I shall tell him so.' 'Nay, Miss Marianne, I don't commend you now.
Young ladies should not be so forward to give opinions and advice to
their elder brothers unasked; and I presume that Mr. Frederick and I
must know what's right as well as Miss Marianne. Hush! here he is. Oh,
the capital figure!' cried Mrs. Theresa. 'Bravo, bravo!' cried she, as
Frederick entered in the chimney-sweeper's dress; and as he spoke,
saying, 'I'm afraid, please your ladyship, to dirt your ladyship's
carpet,' she broke out into immoderate raptures, calling him 'her
charming chimney-sweeper!' and repeating that she knew beforehand the
character would do for him.

Mrs. Theresa instantly rang the bell, in spite of all
expostulation--ordered Christopher to send up the other
chimney-sweeper--triumphed in observing that Christopher did not know
Frederick when he came into the room; and offered to lay any wager that
the other chimney-sweeper would mistake him for his companion. And so he
did; and when Frederick spoke, the voice was so very like, that it was
scarcely possible that he should have perceived the difference.

Marianne was diverted by this scene; but she started when, in the midst
of it, they heard a bell ring. 'That's the lady's bell, and we must go,'
said the blunt chimney-sweeper. 'Go, then, about your business,' said
Mrs. Theresa, 'and here's a shilling for you, to drink, my honest
fellow. I did not know you were so much bruised when I first saw you. I
won't detain you. Go,' said she, pushing Frederick towards the door.
Marianne sprang forward to speak to him; but Mrs. Theresa kept her off;
and, though Frederick resisted, the lady shut the door upon him by
superior force, and, having locked it, there was no retreat. Mrs. Tattle
and Marianne waited impatiently for Frederick's return. 'I hear them,'
cried Marianne, 'I hear them coming downstairs.' They listened again,
and all was silent. At length they suddenly heard a great noise of many
steps in the hall. 'Merciful!' exclaimed Mrs. Theresa, 'it must be your
father and mother come back.' Marianne ran to unlock the room door, and
Mrs. Theresa followed her into the hall. The hall was rather dark, but
under the lamp a crowd of people; all the servants in the house having
gathered together.

As Mrs. Theresa approached, the crowd opened in silence, and in the
midst she beheld Frederick, with blood streaming from his face. His head
was held by Christopher; and the chimney-sweeper was holding a basin for
him. 'Merciful! what will become of me?' exclaimed Mrs. Theresa.
'Bleeding! he'll bleed to death! Can nobody think of anything that will
stop blood in a minute? A key, a large key down his back--a key--has
nobody a key? Mr. and Mrs. Montague will be here before he has done
bleeding. A key! cobwebs! a puff ball! for mercy's sake! Can nobody
think of anything that will stop blood in a minute? Gracious me! he'll
bleed to death, I believe.'

'He'll bleed to death! Oh, my brother!' cried Marianne, catching hold of
the words; and terrified, she ran upstairs, crying, 'Sophy, oh, Sophy!
come down this minute, or he'll be dead! My brother's bleeding to death!
Sophy! Sophy! come down, or he'll be dead!'

'Let go the basin, you,' said Christopher, pulling the basin out of the
chimney-sweeper's hand, who had all this time stood in silence; 'you are
not fit to hold the basin for a gentleman.' 'Let him hold it,' said
Frederick; 'he did not mean to hurt me.' 'That's more than he deserves.
I'm certain sure he might have known well enough it was Mr. Frederick
all the time, and he'd no business to go to fight--such a one as
he--with a gentleman.' 'I did not know he was a gentleman,' said the
chimney-sweeper! 'how could I?' 'How could he, indeed?' said Frederick;
'he shall hold the basin.'

'Gracious me! I'm glad to hear him speak like himself again, at any
rate,' cried Mrs. Theresa. 'And here comes Miss Sophy, too.' 'Sophy!'
cried Frederick. 'Oh, Sophy, don't you come--don't look at me; you'll
despise me.' 'My brother!--where? where?' said Sophy, looking, as she
thought, at the two chimney-sweepers.

'It's Frederick,' said Marianne; 'that's my brother.'

'Miss Sophy, don't be alarmed,' Mrs. Theresa began; 'but gracious
goodness! I wish Miss Bertha----'

At this instant a female figure in white appeared upon the stairs; she
passed swiftly on, whilst every one gave way before her. 'Oh, Miss
Bertha!' cried Mrs. Theresa, catching hold of her gown to stop her, as
she came near Frederick. 'Oh, Miss Eden, your beautiful India muslin!
take care of the chimney-sweeper, for heaven's sake.' But she pressed
forward.

'It's my brother, will he die?' cried Marianne, throwing her arms round
her, and looking up as if to a being of a superior order. 'Will he bleed
to death?' 'No, my love!' answered a sweet voice; 'do not frighten
thyself.'

'I've done bleeding,' said Frederick. 'Dear me, Miss Marianne, if you
would not make such a rout,' cried Mrs. Tattle. 'Miss Bertha, it's
nothing but a frolic. You see Mr. Frederick Montague only in a
masquerade dress. Nothing in the world but a frolic, ma'am. You see he's
stopped bleeding. I was frightened out of my wits at first. I thought it
was his eye, but I see it's only his nose. All's well that ends well.
Mr. Frederick, we'll keep your counsel. Pray, ma'am, let us ask no
questions; it's only a boyish frolic. Come, Mr. Frederick, this way,
into my room, and I'll give you a towel and some clean water, and you
can get rid of this masquerade dress. Make haste, for fear your father
and mother should drop in upon us.'

'Do not be afraid of thy father and mother. They are surely thy best
friends,' said a voice. It was the voice of an elderly gentleman, who
now stood behind Frederick. 'Oh, sir, oh, Mr. Eden,' said Frederick,
turning to him. 'Don't betray me! for goodness' sake!' whispered Mrs.
Tattle, 'say nothing about me.' 'I'm not thinking about you. Let me
speak,' cried he, pushing away her hand, which stopped his mouth. 'I
shall say nothing about you, I promise you,' said Frederick, with a look
of contempt. 'No, but for your own sake, my dear sir, your papa and
mamma. Bless me! is not that Mrs. Montague's carriage?'

'My brother, ma'am,' said Sophy, 'is not afraid of my father and
mother's coming back. Let him speak; he was going to speak the truth.'

'To be sure, Miss Sophia, I wouldn't hinder him from speaking the truth;
but it's not proper, I presume, ma'am, to speak truth at all times, and
in all places, and before everybody, servants and all. I only wanted,
ma'am, to hinder your brother from exposing himself. A hall, I
apprehend, is not a proper place for explanation.'

'Here,' said Mr. Eden, opening the door of his room, which was on the
opposite side of the hall to Mrs. Tattle's. 'Here is a place,' said he
to Frederick, 'where thou mayst speak the truth at all times, and before
everybody.' 'Nay, my room's at Mr. Frederick Montague's service, and my
door's open too. This way, pray,' said she, pulling his arm. But
Frederick broke from her, and followed Mr. Eden. 'Oh, sir, will you
forgive me?' cried he. 'Forgive thee!--and what have I to forgive?'
'Forgive, brother, without asking what,' said Bertha, smiling.

'He shall know all!' cried Frederick; 'all that concerns myself, I mean.
Sir, I disguised myself in this dress; I came up to your room to-night
on purpose to see you, without your knowing it, that I might mimic you.
The chimney-sweeper, where is he?' said Frederick, looking round; and he
ran into the hall to seek for him. 'May he come in? he may--he is a
brave, an honest, good, grateful boy. He never guessed who I was. After
we left you we went down to the kitchen together, and there, fool as I
was, for the pleasure of making Mr. Christopher and the servants laugh,
began to mimic you. This boy said he would not stand by and hear you
laughed at; that you had saved his life; that I ought to be ashamed of
myself; that you had just given me half a crown; and so you had; but I
went on, and told him I'd knock him down if he said another word. He
did; I gave the first blow; we fought; I came to the ground; the
servants pulled me up again. They found out, I don't know how, that I
was not a chimney-sweeper. The rest you saw. And now can you forgive me,
sir?' said Frederick to Mr. Eden, seizing hold of his hand.

'The other hand, friend,' said the Quaker, gently withdrawing his right
hand, which everybody now observed was much swelled, and putting it into
his bosom again. 'This, and welcome,' offering his other hand to
Frederick, and shaking his with a smile. 'Oh, that other hand!' said
Frederick, 'that was hurt, I remember. How ill I have behaved--extremely
ill! But this is a lesson that I shall never forget as long as I live.
I hope for the future I shall behave like a gentleman.' 'And like a
man--and like a good man, I am sure thou wilt,' said the good Quaker,
shaking Frederick's hand affectionately; 'or I am much mistaken, friend,
in that black countenance.'

'You are not mistaken,' cried Marianne. 'Frederick will never be
persuaded again by anybody to do what he does not think right; and now,
brother you may wash your black countenance.'

Just when Frederick had got rid of half his black countenance, a double
knock was heard at the door. It was Mr. and Mrs. Montague. 'What will
you do now?' whispered Mrs. Theresa to Frederick, as his father and
mother came into the room. 'A chimney-sweeper covered with blood!'
exclaimed Mr. and Mrs. Montague. 'Father, I am Frederick,' said he,
stepping forward towards them, as they stood in astonishment.
'Frederick! my son!' 'Yes, mother, I'm not hurt half so much as I
deserve; I'll tell you----' 'Nay,' interrupted Bertha, 'let my brother
tell the story this time. Thou hast told it once, and told it well; no
one but my brother could tell it better.'

'A story never tells so well the second time, to be sure,' said Mrs.
Theresa; 'but Mr. Eden will certainly make the best of it.'

Without taking any notice of Mrs. Tattle, or her apprehensive looks, Mr.
Eden explained all he knew of the affair in a few words. 'Your son,'
concluded he, 'will quickly put off his dirty dress. The dress hath not
stained the mind; that is fair and honourable. When he found himself in
the wrong, he said so; nor was he in haste to conceal his adventure from
his father; this made me think well of both father and son. I speak
plainly, friend, for that is best. But what is become of the other
chimney-sweeper? He will want to go home,' said Mr. Eden, turning to
Mrs. Theresa. Without making any reply, she hurried out of the room as
fast as possible, and returned in a few moments, with a look of extreme
consternation.

'Here is a catastrophe indeed! Now, indeed, Mr. Frederick, your papa and
mamma have reason to be angry. A new suit of clothes!--the barefaced
villain! gone! no sign of them in my closet, or anywhere. The door was
locked; he must have gone up the chimney, out upon the leads, and so
escaped; but Christopher is after him. I protest, Mrs. Montague, you
take it too quietly. The wretch!--a new suit of clothes, blue coat and
buff waistcoat. I never heard of such a thing! I declare, Mr. Montague,
you are vastly good, not to be in a passion,' added Mrs. Theresa.

[Illustration: _'And like a man--and like a good man, I am sure thou
wilt,' said the good Quaker shaking Frederick's hand affectionately_]

'Madam,' replied Mr. Montague, with a look of much civil contempt, 'I
think the loss of a suit of clothes, and even the disgrace that my son
has been brought to this evening, fortunate circumstances in his
education. He will, I am persuaded, judge and act for himself more
wisely in future. Not will he be tempted to offend against humanity, for
the sake of being called "The best mimic in the world."'



THE BARRING OUT;

OR,

PARTY SPIRIT


'The mother of mischief,' says an old proverb, 'is no bigger than a
midge's wing.'

At Doctor Middleton's school there was a great tall dunce of the name of
Fisher, who never could be taught how to look out a word in the
dictionary. He used to torment everybody with--'Do pray help me! I can't
make out this one word.' The person who usually helped him in his
distress was a very clever, good-natured boy, of the name of De Grey,
who had been many years under Dr. Middleton's care, and who, by his
abilities and good conduct, did him great credit. The doctor certainly
was both proud and fond of him; but he was so well beloved, or so much
esteemed, by his companions, that nobody had ever called him by the
odious name of favourite, until the arrival of a new scholar of the name
of Archer.

Till Archer came, the ideas of _favourites_ and _parties_ were almost
unknown at Dr. Middleton's; but he brought all these ideas fresh from a
great public school, at which he had been educated--at which he had
acquired a sufficient quantity of Greek and Latin, and a superabundant
quantity of party spirit. His aim, the moment he came to a new school,
was to get to the head of it, or at least to form the strongest party.
His influence, for he was a boy of considerable abilities, was quickly
felt, though he had a powerful rival, as he thought proper to call him,
in De Grey; and, with _him_, a rival was always an enemy. De Grey, so
far from giving him any cause of hatred, treated him with a degree of
cordiality which would probably have had an effect upon Archer's mind,
if it had not been for the artifices of Fisher.

It may seem surprising that a _great dunce_ should be able to work upon
a boy like Archer, who was called a great genius; but when genius is
joined to a violent temper, instead of being united to good sense, it is
at the mercy even of dunces.

Fisher was mortally offended one morning by De Grey's refusing to
translate his whole lesson for him. He went over to Archer, who,
considering him as a partisan deserting from the enemy, received him
with open arms, and translated his whole lesson, without expressing
_much_ contempt for his stupidity. From this moment Fisher forgot all De
Grey's former kindness, and considered only how he could in his turn
mortify the person whom he felt to be so much his superior.

De Grey and Archer were now reading for a premium, which was to be given
in their class. Fisher betted on Archer's head, who had not sense enough
to despise the bet of a blockhead. On the contrary, he suffered him to
excite the spirit of rivalship in its utmost fury by collecting the bets
of all the school. So that this premium now became a matter of the
greatest consequence, and Archer, instead of taking the means to secure
a judgment in his favour, was listening to the opinions of all his
companions. It was a prize which was to be won by his own exertions; but
he suffered himself to consider it as an affair of chance. The
consequence was, that he trusted to chance--his partisans lost their
wagers, and he the premium--and his temper.

'Mr. Archer,' said Dr. Middleton, after the grand affair was decided,
'you have done all that genius alone could do; but you, De Grey, have
done all that genius and industry united could do.'

'Well!' cried Archer, with affected gaiety, as soon as the doctor had
left the room--'well, I'm content with _my_ sentence. Genius alone for
me--industry for those who _want_ it,' added he, with a significant look
at De Grey.

Fisher applauded this as a very spirited speech; and, by insinuations
that Dr. Middleton 'always gave the premium to De Grey,' and 'that those
who had lost their bets might thank themselves for it, for being such
simpletons as to bet against the favourite,' he raised a murmur highly
flattering to Archer amongst some of the most credulous boys; whilst
others loudly proclaimed their belief in Dr. Middleton's impartiality.
These warmly congratulated De Grey. At this Archer grew more and more
angry, and when Fisher was proceeding to speak nonsense _for_ him,
pushed forward into the circle to De Grey, crying, 'I wish, Mr. Fisher,
you would let me fight my own battles!'

'And _I_ wish,' said young Townsend, who was fonder of diversions than
of premiums, or battles, or of anything else--'_I_ wish that we were not
to have any battles; after having worked like horses, don't set about to
fight like dogs. Come,' said he, tapping De Grey's shoulder, 'let us see
your new playhouse, do--it's a holiday, and let us make the most of it.
Let us have the "School for Scandal," do; and I'll play Charles for you,
and you, De Grey, shall be _my little Premium_. Come, do open this new
playhouse of yours to-night.'

'Come then!' said De Grey, and he ran across the playground to a waste
building at the farthest end of it, in which, at the earnest request of
the whole community, and with the permission of Dr. Middleton, he had
with much pain and ingenuity erected a theatre.

'The new theatre is going to be opened! Follow the manager! Follow the
manager!' echoed a multitude of voices.

'_Follow the manager!_' echoed very disagreeably in Archer's ear; but as
he could not be _left alone_, he was also obliged to follow the manager.
The moment that the door was unlocked, the crowd rushed in; the delight
and wonder expressed at the sight were great, and the applause and
thanks which were bestowed upon the manager were long and loud.

Archer at least thought them long, for he was impatient till his voice
could be heard. When at length the acclamations had spent themselves, he
walked across the stage with a knowing air, and looking round
contemptuously--

'And is _this_ your famous playhouse?' cried he. 'I wish you had, any of
you, seen the playhouse _I_ have been used to?'

These words made a great and visible change in the feelings and opinions
of the public. 'Who would be a servant of the public? or who would toil
for popular applause?' A few words spoken in a decisive tone by a new
voice operated as a charm, and the playhouse was in an instant
metamorphosed in the eyes of the spectators. All gratitude for the past
was forgotten, and the expectation of something better justified to the
capricious multitude their disdain of what they had so lately pronounced
to be excellent.

Every one now began to criticise. One observed 'that the green curtain
was full of holes, and would not draw up.' Another attacked the scenes.
'Scenes! they were not like real scenes--Archer must know best, because
he was used to these things.' So everybody crowded to hear something of
the _other_ playhouse. They gathered round Archer to hear the
description of his playhouse, and at every sentence insulting
comparisons were made. When he had done, his auditors looked round,
sighed, and wished that Archer had been their manager. They turned from
De Grey as from a person who had done them an injury. Some of his
friends--for he had friends who were not swayed by the popular
opinion--felt indignation at this ingratitude, and were going to express
their feelings; but De Grey stopped them, and begged that he might speak
for himself.

'Gentlemen,' said he, coming forward, as soon as he felt that he had
sufficient command of himself. 'My friends, I see you are discontented
with me and my playhouse. I have done my best to please you; but if
anybody else can please you better, I shall be glad of it. I did not
work so hard for the glory of being your manager. You have my free leave
to tear down----' Here his voice faltered, but he hurried on--'You have
my free leave to tear down all my work as fast as you please. Archer,
shake hands first, however, to show that there's no malice in the case.'

Archer, who was touched by what his rival said, and stopping the hand of
his new partisan, Fisher, cried, 'No, Fisher! no!--no pulling down. We
can alter it. There is a great deal of ingenuity in it, considering.'

In vain Archer would now have recalled the public to reason,--the time
for reason was past: enthusiasm had taken hold of their minds. 'Down
with it! Down with it! Archer for ever!' cried Fisher, and tore down the
curtain. The riot once begun, nothing could stop the little mob, till
the whole theatre was demolished. The love of power prevailed in the
mind of Archer; he was secretly flattered by the zeal of his _party_,
and he mistook their love of mischief for attachment to himself. De Grey
looked on superior. 'I said I could bear to see all this, and I can,'
said he; 'now it is all over.' And now it was all over, there was
silence. The rioters stood still to take breath, and to look at what
they had done. There was a blank space before them.

In this moment of silence there was heard something like a female voice.
'Hush! What strange voice is that?' said Archer. Fisher caught fast hold
of his arm. Everybody looked round to see where the voice came from. It
was dusk. Two window-shutters at the farthest end of the building were
seen to move slowly inwards. De Grey, and in the same instant Archer,
went forward; and, as the shutters opened, there appeared through the
hole the dark face and shrivelled hands of a very old gipsy. She did not
speak; but she looked first at one and then at another. At length she
fixed her eyes on De Grey. 'Well, my good woman,' said he, 'what do you
want with me?' 'Want!--nothing--with _you_,' said the old woman; 'do you
want nothing with _me_?' 'Nothing,' said De Grey. Her eye immediately
turned upon Archer,--'_You_ want something with me,' said she, with
emphasis. 'I--what do I want?' replied Archer. 'No,' said she, changing
her tone, 'you want nothing--nothing will you ever want, or I am much
mistaken in that _face_.'

In that _watch-chain_, she should have said, for her quick eye had
espied Archer's watch-chain. He was the only person in the company who
had a watch, and she therefore judged him to be the richest.

'Had you ever your fortune told, sir, in your life?' 'Not I,' said he,
looking at De Grey, as if he was afraid of his ridicule, if he listened
to the gipsy. 'Not you! No! for you will make your own fortune, and the
fortune of all that belong to you!'

'There's good news for my friends,' cried Archer. 'And I'm one of them,
remember that,' cried Fisher. 'And I,' 'And I,' joined a number of
voices. 'Good luck to them!' cried the gipsy, 'good luck to them all!'

Then, as soon as they had acquired sufficient confidence in her good
will, they pressed up to the window. 'There,' cried Townsend, as he
chanced to stumble over the carpenter's mitre box, which stood in the
way, 'there's a good omen for me. I've stumbled on the mitre box; I
shall certainly be a bishop.'

Happy he who had sixpence, for he bid fair to be a judge upon the bench.
And happier he who had a shilling, for he was in the high road to be one
day upon the woolsack, Lord High Chancellor of England. No one had
half-a-crown, or no one would surely have kept it in his pocket upon
such an occasion, for he might have been an archbishop, a king, or what
he pleased.

Fisher, who like all weak people was extremely credulous, had kept his
post immovable in the front row all the time, his mouth open, and his
stupid eyes fixed upon the gipsy, in whom he felt implicit faith.

Those who have least confidence in their own powers, and who have least
expectation from the success of their own exertions, are always most
disposed to trust in fortune-tellers and fortune. They hope to _win_,
when they cannot _earn_; and as they can never be convinced by those who
speak sense, it is no wonder they are always persuaded by those who talk
nonsense.

'I have a question to put,' said Fisher, in a solemn tone. 'Put it,
then,' said Archer, 'what hinders you?' 'But they will hear me,' said
he, looking suspiciously at De Grey. '_I_ shall not hear you,' said De
Grey, 'I am going.' Everybody else drew back, and left him to whisper
his question in the gipsy's ear. 'What is become of my Livy?' 'Your
_sister_ Livy, do you mean?' said the gipsy. 'No, my _Latin_ Livy.'

The gipsy paused for information. 'It had a leaf torn out in the
beginning, and _I hate Dr. Middleton_----' 'Written in it,' interrupted
the gipsy. 'Right--the very book!' cried Fisher with joy. 'But how
_could_ you know it was Dr. Middleton's name? I thought I had scratched
it, so that nobody could make it out.' 'Nobody _could_ make it out but
_me_,' replied the gipsy. 'But never think to deceive me,' said she,
shaking her head at him in a manner that made him tremble. 'I don't
deceive you indeed, I tell you the whole truth. I lost it a week ago.'
'True.' 'And when shall I find it?' 'Meet me here at this hour to-morrow
evening, and I will answer you. No more! I must be gone. Not a word more
to-night.'

She pulled the shutters towards her, and left the youth in darkness. All
his companions were gone. He had been so deeply engaged in this
conference, that he had not perceived their departure. He found all the
world at supper, but no entreaties could prevail upon him to disclose
his secret. Townsend rallied in vain. As for Archer, he was not disposed
to destroy by ridicule the effect which he saw that the old woman's
predictions in his favour had had upon the imagination of many of his
little partisans. He had privately slipped two good shillings into the
gipsy's hand to secure her; for he was willing to pay any price for
_any_ means of acquiring power.

[Illustration: _'What is become of my Livy?' 'Your sister Livy, do you
mean?'_]

The watch-chain had not deceived the gipsy, for Archer was the richest
person in the community. His friends had imprudently supplied him with
more money than is usually trusted to boys of his age. Dr. Middleton had
refused to give him a larger monthly allowance than the rest of his
companions; but he brought to school with him secretly the sum of five
guineas. This appeared to his friends and to himself an inexhaustible
treasure.

Riches and talents would, he flattered himself, secure to him that
ascendency of which he was so ambitious. 'Am I your manager or not?' was
now his question. 'I scorn to take advantage of a hasty moment; but
since last night you have had time to consider. If you desire me to be
your manager, you shall see what a theatre I will make for you. In this
purse,' said he, showing through the network a glimpse of the shining
treasure--'in this purse is Aladdin's wonderful lamp. Am I your manager?
Put it to the vote.'

It was put to the vote. About ten of the most reasonable of the assembly
declared their gratitude and high approbation of their old friend, De
Grey; but the numbers were in favour of the new friend. And as no
metaphysical distinctions relative to the idea of a majority had ever
entered their thoughts, the most numerous party considered themselves as
now beyond dispute in the right. They drew off on one side in triumph,
and their leader, who knew the consequence of a name in party matters,
immediately distinguished his partisans by the gallant name of
_Archers_, stigmatising the friends of De Grey by the odious epithet of
Greybeards.

Amongst the Archers was a class not very remarkable for their mental
qualifications; but who, by their bodily activity, and by the peculiar
advantages annexed to their way of life, rendered themselves of the
highest consequence, especially to the rich and enterprising.

The judicious reader will apprehend that I allude to the persons called
day scholars. Amongst these, Fisher was distinguished by his knowledge
of all the streets and shops in the adjacent town; and, though a dull
scholar, he had such reputation as a man of business that whoever had
commissions to execute at the confectioner's was sure to apply to him.
Some of the youngest of his employers had, it is true, at times
complained that he made mistakes of halfpence and pence in their
accounts; but as these affairs could never be brought to a public trial,
Fisher's character and consequence were undiminished, till the fatal day
when his Aunt Barbara forbade his visits to the confectioner's; or
rather, till she requested the confectioner, who had his private reasons
for obeying her, not _to receive_ her nephew's visits, as he had made
himself sick at his house, and Mrs. Barbara's fears for his health were
incessant.

Though his visits to the confectioner's were thus at an end, there were
many other shops open to him; and with officious zeal he offered his
services to the new manager, to purchase whatever might be wanting for
the theatre.

Since his father's death Fisher had become a boarder at Dr. Middleton's,
but his frequent visits to his Aunt Barbara afforded him opportunities
of going into the town. The carpenter, De Grey's friend, was discarded
by Archer, for having said '_lack-a-daisy!_' when he saw that the old
theatre was pulled down. A new carpenter and paper-hanger, recommended
by Fisher, were appointed to attend, with their tools, for orders, at
two o'clock. Archer, impatient to show his ingenuity and his generosity,
gave his plan and his orders in a few minutes, in a most decided manner.
'These things,' he observed, 'should be done with some spirit.'

To which the carpenter readily assented, and added that 'gentlemen of
spirit never looked to the _expense_, but always to the _effect_.' Upon
this principle Mr. Chip set to work with all possible alacrity. In a few
hours' time he promised to produce a grand effect. High expectations
were formed. Nothing was talked of but the new playhouse; and so intent
upon it was every head, that no lessons could be got. Archer was
obliged, in the midst of his various occupations, to perform the part of
grammar and dictionary for twenty different people.

'O ye Athenians!' he exclaimed, 'how hard do I work to obtain your
praise!'

Impatient to return to the theatre, the moment the hours destined for
instruction, or, as they are termed by schoolboys, school-hours, were
over each prisoner started up with a shout of joy.

'Stop one moment, gentlemen, if you please,' said Dr. Middleton, in an
awful voice. 'Mr. Archer, return to your place. Are you all here?' The
names of all the boys were called over, and when each had answered to
his name, Dr. Middleton said--

'Gentlemen, I am sorry to interrupt your amusements; but, till you have
contrary orders from me, no one, on pain of my serious displeasure, must
go into _that_ building' (pointing to the place where the theatre was
erecting). 'Mr. Archer, your carpenter is at the door. You will be so
good as to dismiss him. I do not think proper to give my reasons for
these orders; but you who _know_ me,' said the doctor, and his eye
turned towards De Grey, 'will not suspect me of caprice. I depend,
gentlemen, upon your obedience.'

To the dead silence with which these orders were received, succeeded in
a few minutes a universal groan. 'So!' said Townsend, 'all our diversion
is over.' 'So,' whispered Fisher in the manager's ear, 'this is some
trick of the Greybeards'. Did you not observe how he looked at De Grey?'

Fired by this thought, which had never entered his mind before, Archer
started from his reverie, and striking his hand upon the table, swore
that he 'would not be outwitted by any Greybeard in Europe--no, nor by
all of them put together. The Archers were surely a match for them. He
would stand by them, if they would stand by him,' he declared, with a
loud voice, 'against the whole world, and Dr. Middleton himself, with
"_Little Premium_" at his right hand.'

Everybody admired Archer's spirit, but was a little appalled at the
sound of standing against Dr. Middleton.

'Why not?' resumed the indignant manager. 'Neither Dr. Middleton nor any
doctor upon earth shall treat me with injustice. This, you see, is a
stroke at me and my party, and I won't bear it.'

'Oh, you are mistaken!' said De Grey, who was the only one who dared to
oppose reason to the angry orator. 'It cannot be a stroke aimed at "you
and your party," for he does not know that you _have_ a party.'

'I'll make him know it, and I'll make _you_ know it, too,' said Archer.
'Before I came here you reigned alone; now your reign is over, Mr. De
Grey. Remember my majority this morning, and your theatre last night.'

'He has remembered it,' said Fisher. 'You see, the moment he was not to
be our manager, we were to have no theatre, no playhouse, no plays. We
must all sit down with our hands before us--all for "_good reasons_" of
Dr. Middleton's, which he does not vouchsafe to tell us.'

'I won't be governed by any man's reasons that he won't tell me,' cried
Archer. 'He cannot have good reasons, or why not tell them?' 'Nonsense!'
said De Grey. '_We shall not suspect him of caprice!_' 'Why not?'
'Because we who know him have never known him capricious.' 'Perhaps not.
_I_ know nothing about him,' said Archer. 'No,' said De Grey; 'for that
very reason _I_ speak who do know him. Don't be in a passion, Archer.'
'I will be in a passion. I won't submit to tyranny. I won't be made a
fool of by a few soft words. You don't know me, De Grey. I'll go through
with what I've begun. I am manager, and I will be manager; and you shall
see my theatre finished in spite of you, and _my_ party triumphant.'

'Party,' repeated De Grey. 'I cannot imagine what is in the word "party"
that seems to drive you mad. We never heard of parties till you came
amongst us.'

'No; before I came, I say, nobody dared oppose you; but _I_ dare; and I
tell you to your face, take care of me--a warm friend and a bitter enemy
is my motto.' 'I am not your enemy! I believe you are out of your
senses, Archer!' said he, laughing. 'Out of my senses! No; you are my
enemy! Are you not my rival? Did you not win the premium? Did not you
want to be manager? Answer me, are not you, in one word, a Greybeard?'
'You called me a Greybeard, but my name is De Grey,' said he, still
laughing. 'Laugh on!' cried the other, furiously. 'Come, _Archers_,
follow me. _We_ shall laugh by-and-by, I promise you.' At the door
Archer was stopped by Mr. Chip. 'Oh, Mr. Chip, I am ordered to discharge
you.' 'Yes, sir; and here's a little bill----' 'Bill, Mr. Chip! why, you
have not been at work for two hours!' 'Not much over, sir; but if
you'll please to look into it, you'll see 'tis for a few things you
ordered. The stuff is all laid out and delivered. The paper and the
festoon-bordering for the drawing-room scene is cut out, and left
y_a_nder within.' 'Y_a_nder within! I wish you had not been in such a
confounded hurry--six-and-twenty shillings!' cried he; 'but I can't stay
to talk about it now. I'll tell you, Mr. Chip,' said Archer, lowering
his voice, 'what you must do for me, my good fellow.'

Then, drawing Mr. Chip aside, he begged him to pull down some of the
woodwork which had been put up, and to cut it into a certain number of
wooden bars, of which he gave him the dimensions, with orders to place
them all, when ready, under a haystack, which he pointed out.

Mr. Chip scrupled and hesitated, and began to talk of '_the doctor_.'
Archer immediately began to talk of the bill, and throwing down a guinea
and a half, the conscientious carpenter pocketed the money directly, and
made his bow.

'Well, Master Archer,' said he, 'there's no refusing you nothing. You
have such a way of talking one out of it. You manage me just like a
child.'

'Ay, ay!' said Archer, knowing that he had been cheated, and yet proud
of managing a carpenter, 'ay, ay! I know the way to manage everybody.
Let the things be ready in an hour's time; and hark'e! leave your tools
by mistake behind you, and a thousand of twenty-penny nails. Ask no
questions, and keep your own counsel like a wise man. Off with you, and
take care of "_the doctor_."'

'Archers, Archers, to the Archers' tree! Follow your leader,' cried he,
sounding his well-known whistle as a signal. His followers gathered
round him, and he, raising himself upon the mount at the foot of the
tree, counted his numbers, and then, in a voice lower than usual,
addressed them thus:--'My friends, is there a Greybeard amongst us? If
there is, let him walk off at once, he has my free leave.' No one
stirred. 'Then we are all Archers, and we will stand by one another.
Join hands, my friends.' They all joined hands. 'Promise me not to
betray me, and I will go on. I ask no security but your honour.' They
all gave their honour to be secret and _faithful_, as he called it, and
he went on. 'Did you ever hear of such a thing as a "_Barring Out_," my
friends?' They had heard of such a thing, but they had only heard of
it.

Archer gave the history of a 'Barring Out' in which he had been
concerned at his school, in which the boys stood out against the master,
and gained their point at last, which was a week's more holidays at
Easter.[16] 'But if _we_ should not succeed,' said they, 'Dr. Middleton
is so steady; he never goes back from what he has said.' 'Did you ever
try to push him back? Let us be steady and he'll tremble. Tyrants always
tremble when----' 'Oh,' interrupted a number of voices, 'but he is not a
tyrant--is he?' 'All schoolmasters are tyrants--are not they?' replied
Archer; 'and is not he a schoolmaster?' To this logic there was no
answer; but, still reluctant, they asked, 'What they should _get_ by a
Barring Out?' 'Get!--everything!--what we want!--which is everything to
lads of spirit--victory and liberty! Bar him out till he repeals his
tyrannical law; till he lets us into our own theatre again, or till he
tells us his "_good reasons_" against it.' 'But perhaps he has reasons
for not telling us.' 'Impossible!' cried Archer; 'that's the way we are
always to be governed by a man in a wig, who says he has good reasons,
and can't tell them. Are you fools? Go! go back to De Grey! I see you
are all Greybeards. Go! Who goes first?' Nobody would go _first_. 'I
will have nothing to do with ye, if ye are resolved to be slaves!' 'We
won't be slaves!' they all exclaimed at once. 'Then,' said Archer,
'stand out in the right and be free.'

  [16] This custom of 'BARRING OUT' was very general (especially in the
       northern parts of England) during the 17th and 18th centuries,
       and it has been fully described by Brand and other antiquarian
       writers.

Dr. Johnson mentions that Addison, while under the tuition of Mr. Shaw,
master of the Lichfield Grammar School, led, and successfully conducted,
'a plan for _barring out_ his master. A disorderly privilege,' says the
doctor, 'which, in his time, prevailed in the principal seminaries of
education.'

In the _Gentleman's Magazine_ of 1828, Dr. P. A. Nuttall, under the
signature of P. A. N., has given a spirited sketch of a 'BARRING OUT' at
the Ormskirk Grammar School, which has since been republished at length
(though without acknowledgment) by Sir Henry Ellis, in Bonn's recent
edition of Brand's _Popular Antiquities_. This operation took place
early in the present century, and is interesting from its being,
perhaps, the last attempt on record, and also from the circumstance of
the writer himself having been one of the juvenile leaders in the daring
adventure, 'quorum pars magna fuit.'--ED.

'_The right._' It would have taken up too much time to examine what 'the
right' was. Archer was always sure that '_the right_' was what his
party chose to do; that is, what he chose to do himself; and such is the
influence of numbers upon each other, in conquering the feelings of
shame and in confusing the powers of reasoning, that in a few minutes
'the right' was forgotten, and each said to himself, 'To be sure, Archer
is a very clever boy, and he can't be mistaken'; or, 'To be sure,
Townsend thinks so, and he would not do anything to get us into a
scrape'; or, 'To be sure, everybody will agree to this but myself, and I
can't stand out alone, to be pointed at as a Greybeard and a slave.
Everybody thinks it is right, and everybody can't be wrong.'

By some of these arguments, which passed rapidly through the mind
without his being conscious of them, each boy decided, and deceived
himself--what none would have done alone, none scrupled to do as a
party. It was determined, then, that there should be a Barring Out. The
arrangement of the affair was left to their new manager, to whom they
all pledged implicit obedience. Obedience, it seems, is necessary, even
from rebels to their ringleaders; not reasonable, but implicit
obedience.

Scarcely had the assembly adjourned to the Ball-alley, when Fisher, with
an important length of face, came up to the manager, and desired to
speak one word to him. 'My advice to you, Archer, is, to do nothing in
this till we have consulted _you know who_, about whether it's right or
wrong.' '"_You know who_"! Whom do you mean? Make haste, and don't make
so many faces, for I'm in a hurry. Who is "_You know who_"?' 'The old
woman,' said Fisher, gravely; 'the gipsy.' 'You may consult the old
woman,' said Archer, bursting out a-laughing, 'about what's right and
wrong, if you please, but no old woman shall decide for me.' 'No; but
you don't _take_ me,' said Fisher; 'you don't _take_ me. By right and
wrong, I mean lucky and unlucky.' 'Whatever _I_ do will be lucky,'
replied Archer. 'My gipsy told you that already.' 'I know, I know,' said
Fisher, 'and what she said about your friends being lucky--that went a
great way with many,' added he, with a sagacious nod of his head, 'I can
tell you _that_--more than you think. Do you know,' said he, laying hold
of Archer's button, 'I'm in the secret? There are nine of us have
crooked our little fingers upon it, not to stir a step till we get her
advice; and she has appointed me to meet her about particular business
of my own at eight. So I'm to consult her and to bring her answer.'

Archer knew too well how to govern fools to attempt to reason with them;
and, instead of laughing any longer at Fisher's ridiculous superstition,
he was determined to take advantage of it. He affected to be persuaded
of the wisdom of the measure; looked at his watch; urged him to be exact
to a moment; conjured him to remember exactly the words of the oracle;
and, above all things, to demand the lucky hour and minute when the
Barring Out should begin. With these instructions Archer put his watch
into the solemn dupe's hand, and left him to count the seconds till the
moment of his appointment, whilst he ran off himself to prepare the
oracle.

At a little gate which looked into a lane, through which he guessed that
the gipsy must pass, he stationed himself, saw her, gave her
half-a-crown and her instructions, made his escape, and got back
unsuspected to Fisher, whom he found in the attitude in which he had
left him, watching the motion of the minute hand.

Proud of his secret commission, Fisher slouched his hat, he knew not
why, over his face, and proceeded towards the appointed spot. To keep,
as he had been charged by Archer, within the letter of the law, he stood
_behind_ the forbidden building, and waited some minutes.

Through a gap in the hedge the old woman at length made her appearance,
muffled up, and looking cautiously about her. 'There's nobody near us!'
said Fisher, and he began to be a little afraid. 'What answer,' said he,
recollecting himself, 'about my Livy?' 'Lost! lost! lost!' said the
gipsy, lifting up her hands; 'never, never, never to be found! But no
matter for that now: that is not your errand to-night; no tricks with
me; speak to me of what is next your heart.'

Fisher, astonished, put his hand upon his heart, told her all that she
knew before, and received the answers that Archer had dictated: 'That
the Archers should be lucky as long as they stuck to their manager and
to one another; that the Barring Out should end in woe, if not begun
precisely as the clock should strike nine on Wednesday night; but if
begun in that _lucky_ moment, and all obedient to their _lucky_ leader,
all should end well.'

A thought, a provident thought, now struck Fisher; for even he had some
foresight where his favourite passion was concerned. 'Pray, in our
Barring Out shall we be starved?' 'No,' said the gipsy, 'not if you
trust to me for food, and if you give me money enough. Silver won't do
for so many; gold is what must cross my hand.' 'I have no gold,' said
Fisher, 'and I don't know what you mean by "so many." I'm only talking
of number one, you know. I must take care of that first.'

So, as Fisher thought it was possible that Archer, clever as he was,
might be disappointed in his supplies, he determined to take secret
measures for himself. His Aunt Barbara's interdiction had shut him out
of the confectioner's shop; but he flattered himself that he could
outwit his aunt; he therefore begged the gipsy to procure him twelve
buns by Thursday morning, and bring them secretly to one of the windows
of the schoolroom.

As Fisher did not produce any money when he made this proposal, it was
at first absolutely rejected; but a bribe at length conquered his
difficulties: and the bribe which Fisher found himself obliged to
give--for he had no pocket money left of his own, he being as much
_restricted_ in that article as Archer was _indulged_--the bribe that he
found himself obliged to give to quiet the gipsy was half-a-crown, which
Archer had entrusted to him to buy candles for the theatre. 'Oh,'
thought he to himself, 'Archer's so careless about money, he will never
think of asking me for the half-crown again; and now he'll want no
candles for the _theatre_; or, at any rate, it will be some time first;
and maybe Aunt Barbara may be got to give me that much at Christmas;
then, if the worst comes to the worst, one can pay Archer. My mouth
waters for the buns, and have 'em I must now.'

So, for the hope of twelve buns, he sacrificed the money which had been
entrusted to him. Thus the meanest motives, in mean minds, often prompt
to the commission of those great faults to which one should think
nothing but some violent passion could have tempted.

The ambassador having thus, in his opinion, concluded his own and the
public business, returned well satisfied with the result, after
receiving the gipsy's reiterated promise to tap _three times_ at the
window on Thursday morning.

The day appointed for the Barring Out at length arrived; and Archer,
assembling the confederates, informed them that all was prepared for
carrying their design into execution; that he now depended for success
upon their punctuality and courage. He had, within the last two hours,
got all their bars ready to fasten the doors and window shutters of the
schoolroom; he had, with the assistance of two of the day scholars who
were of the party, sent into the town for provisions, at his own
expense, which would make a handsome supper for that night; he had also
negotiated with some cousins of his, who lived in the town, for a
constant supply in future. 'Bless me,' exclaimed Archer, suddenly
stopping in this narration of his services, 'there's one thing, after
all, I've forgot, we shall be undone without it. Fisher, pray did you
ever buy the candles for the playhouse?' 'No, to be sure,' replied
Fisher, extremely frightened; 'you know you don't want candles for the
playhouse now.' 'Not for the playhouse, but for the Barring Out. We
shall be in the dark, man. You must run this minute, run.' 'For
candles?' said Fisher, confused; 'how many?--what sort?' 'Stupidity!'
exclaimed Archer, 'you are a pretty fellow at a dead lift! Lend me a
pencil and a bit of paper, do; I'll write down what I want myself! Well,
what are you fumbling for?' 'For money!' said Fisher, colouring. 'Money,
man! Didn't I give you half-a-crown the other day?' 'Yes,' replied
Fisher, stammering; 'but I wasn't sure that that might be enough.'
'Enough! yes, to be sure it will. I don't know what you are _at_.'
'Nothing, nothing,' said Fisher; 'here, write upon this, then,' said
Fisher, putting a piece of paper into Archer's hand, upon which Archer
wrote his orders. 'Away, away!' cried he.

Away went Fisher. He returned; but not until a considerable time
afterwards. They were at supper when he returned. 'Fisher always comes
in at supper-time,' observed one of the Greybeards, carelessly. 'Well,
and would you have him come in _after_ supper-time?' said Townsend, who
always supplied his party with ready _wit_. 'I've got the candles,'
whispered Fisher as he passed by Archer to his place. 'And the
tinder-box?' said Archer. 'Yes; I got back from my Aunt Barbara under
pretence that I must study for repetition day an hour later to-night. So
I got leave. Was not that clever?'

A dunce always thinks it clever to cheat even by _sober lies_. How Mr.
Fisher procured the candles and the tinder-box without money and without
credit we shall discover further on.

Archer and his associates had agreed to stay the last in the schoolroom;
and as soon as the Greybeards were gone out to bed, he, as the signal,
was to shut and lock one door, Townsend the other. A third conspirator
was to strike a light, in case they should not be able to secure a
candle. A fourth was to take charge of the candle as soon as lighted;
and all the rest were to run to their bars, which were secreted in a
room; then to fix them to the common fastening bars of the window, in
the manner in which they had been previously instructed by the manager.
Thus each had his part assigned, and each was warned that the success of
the whole depended upon their order and punctuality.

Order and punctuality, it appears, are necessary even in a Barring Out;
and even rebellion must have its laws.

The long-expected moment at length arrived. De Grey and his friends,
unconscious of what was going forward, walked out of the schoolroom as
usual at bedtime. The clock began to strike nine. There was one
Greybeard left in the room, who was packing up some of his books, which
had been left about by accident. It is impossible to describe the
impatience with which he was watched, especially by Fisher and the nine
who depended upon the gipsy oracle.

When he had got all his books together under his arm, he let one of them
fall; and whilst he stooped to pick it up, Archer gave the signal. The
doors were shut, locked, and double-locked in an instant. A light was
struck and each ran to his post. The bars were all in the same moment
put up to the windows, and Archer, when he had tried them all, and seen
that they were secure, gave a loud 'Huzza!'--in which he was joined by
all the party most manfully--by all but the poor Greybeard, who, the
picture of astonishment, stood stock still in the midst of them with his
books under his arm; at which spectacle Townsend, who enjoyed the
_frolic_ of the fray more than anything else, burst into an immoderate
fit of laughter. 'So, my little Greybeard,' said he, holding a candle
full in his eyes, 'what think you of all this?--How came you amongst the
wicked ones?' 'I don't know, indeed,' said the little boy, very gravely;
'you shut me up amongst you. Won't you let me out?' 'Let you out! No,
no, my little Greybeard,' said Archer, catching hold of him and dragging
him to the window bars. 'Look ye here--touch these--put your hand to
them--pull, push, kick--put a little spirit into it, man--kick like an
Archer, if you can; away with ye. It's a pity that the king of the
Greybeards is not here to admire me. I should like to show him our
fortifications. But come, my merry men all, now to the feast. Out with
the table into the middle of the room. Good cheer, my jolly Archers! I'm
your manager!'

Townsend, delighted with the bustle, rubbed his hands and capered about
the room, whilst the preparations for the feast were hurried forward.
'Four candles!--Four candles on the table. Let's have things in style
when we are about it, Mr. Manager,' cried Townsend. 'Places!--Places!
There's nothing like a fair scramble, my boys. Let every one take care
of himself. Hallo, Greybeard! I've knocked Greybeard down here in the
scuffle. Get up again, my lad, and see a little life.'

'No, no,' cried Fisher, 'he shan't _sup_ with us.' 'No, no,' cried the
manager, 'he shan't _live_ with us; a Greybeard is not fit company for
Archers.' 'No, no,' cried Townsend, 'evil communication corrupts good
manners.'

So with one unanimous hiss they hunted the poor little gentle boy into a
corner; and having pent him up with benches, Fisher opened his books for
him, which he thought the greatest mortification, and set up a candle
beside him. 'There, now he looks like a Greybeard as he is!' cried they.
'Tell me what's the Latin for cold roast beef?' said Fisher, exultingly,
and they returned to their feast.

Long and loud they revelled. They had a few bottles of cider. 'Give me
the corkscrew, the cider shan't be kept till it's sour,' cried Townsend,
in answer to the manager, who, when he beheld the provisions vanishing
with surprising rapidity, began to fear for the morrow. 'Hang
to-morrow!' cried Townsend, 'let Greybeards think of to-morrow; Mr.
Manager, here's your good health.'

The Archers all stood up as their cups were filled, to drink the health
of their chief with a universal cheer. But at the moment that the cups
were at their lips, and as Archer bowed to thank the company, a sudden
shower from above astonished the whole assembly. They looked up, and
beheld the rose of a watering-engine, whose long neck appeared through a
trap-door in the ceiling. 'Your good health, Mr. Manager!' said a voice,
which was known to be the gardener's; and in the midst of their surprise
and dismay the candles were suddenly extinguished; the trap-door shut
down; and they were left in utter darkness.

'The _Devil_!' said Archer. 'Don't swear, Mr. Manager,' said the same
voice from the ceiling, 'I hear every word you say.' 'Mercy upon us!'
exclaimed Fisher. 'The clock,' added he, whispering, 'must have been
wrong, for it had not done striking when we began. Only, you remember,
Archer, it had just done before you had done locking your door.' 'Hold
your tongue, blockhead!' said Archer. 'Well, boys! were ye never in the
dark before? You are not afraid of a shower of rain, I hope. Is anybody
drowned?' 'No,' said they, with a faint laugh, 'but what shall we do
here in the dark all night long, and all day to-morrow? We can't unbar
the shutters.' 'It's a wonder _nobody_ ever thought of the trap-door!'
said Townsend.

The trap-door had indeed escaped the manager's observation. As the house
was new to him, and the ceiling being newly whitewashed, the opening was
scarcely perceptible. Vexed to be out-generalled, and still more vexed
to have it remarked, Archer poured forth a volley of incoherent
exclamations and reproaches against those who were thus so soon
discouraged by a trifle; and groping for the tinder-box, he asked if
anything could be easier than to strike a light again.[17] The light
appeared. But at the moment that it made the tinder-box visible, another
shower from above, aimed, and aimed exactly, at the tinder-box, drenched
it with water, and rendered it totally unfit for further service. Archer
in a fury dashed it to the ground. And now for the first time he felt
what it was to be the unsuccessful head of a party. He heard in his turn
the murmurs of a discontented, changeable populace; and recollecting all
his bars and bolts, and ingenious contrivances, he was more provoked at
their blaming him for this one only oversight than he was grieved at the
disaster itself.

  [17] Lucifer matches were then unknown.--ED.

'Oh, my hair is all wet!' cried one, dolefully. 'Wring it then,' said
Archer. 'My hand's cut with your broken glass,' cried another. 'Glass!'
cried a third; 'mercy! is there broken glass? and it's all about, I
suppose, amongst the supper; and I had but one bit of bread all the
time.' 'Bread!' cried Archer; 'eat if you want it. Here's a piece here,
and no glass near it.' 'It's all wet, and I don't like dry bread by
itself; that's no feast.'

'Heigh-day! What, nothing but moaning and grumbling! If these are the
joys of _a Barring Out_,' cried Townsend, 'I'd rather be snug in my bed.
I expected that we should have sat up till twelve o'clock, talking, and
laughing, and singing.' 'So you may still; what hinders you?' said
Archer. 'Sing, and we'll join you, and I should be glad those fellows
overhead heard us singing. Begin, Townsend--

  Come, now, all ye social Powers,
  Spread your influence o'er us--

Or else--

  Rule, Britannia! Britannia rules the waves!
  Britons never will be slaves.'

Nothing can be more melancholy than forced merriment. In vain they
roared in chorus. In vain they tried to appear gay. It would not do. The
voices died away, and dropped off one by one. They had each provided
himself with a greatcoat to sleep upon; but now, in the dark, there was
a peevish scrambling contest for the coats, and half the company, in
very bad humour, stretched themselves upon the benches for the night.

There is great pleasure in bearing anything that has the appearance of
hardship, as long as there is any glory to be acquired by it; but when
people feel themselves foiled, there is no further pleasure in
endurance; and if, in their misfortune, there is any mixture of the
ridiculous, the motives for heroism are immediately destroyed. Dr.
Middleton had probably considered this in the choice he made of his
first attack.

Archer, who had spent the night as a man who had the cares of government
upon his shoulders, rose early in the morning, whilst everybody else was
fast asleep. In the night he had resolved the affair of the trap-door,
and a new danger had alarmed him. It was possible that the enemy might
descend upon them through the trap-door. The room had been built high to
admit a free circulation of air. It was twenty feet, so that it was in
vain to think of reaching to the trap-door.

As soon as the daylight appeared, Archer rose softly, that he might
_reconnoitre_, and devise some method of guarding against this new
danger. Luckily there were round holes in the top of the
window-shutters, which admitted sufficient light for him to work by. The
remains of the soaked feast, wet candles, and broken glass spread over
the table in the middle of the room, looked rather dismal this morning.

'A pretty set of fellows I have to manage!' said Archer, contemplating
the group of sleepers before him. 'It is well they have somebody to
think for them. Now if I wanted--which, thank goodness, I don't--but if
I did want to call a cabinet council to my assistance, whom could I
pitch upon?--not this stupid snorer, who is dreaming of gipsies, if he
is dreaming of anything,' continued Archer, as he looked into Fisher's
open mouth. 'This next chap is quick enough; but, then, he is so fond of
having everything his own way. And this curl-pated monkey, who is
grinning in his sleep, is all tongue and no brains. Here are brains,
though nobody would think it, in this lump,' said he, looking at a fat,
rolled up, heavy-breathing sleeper; 'but what signify brains to such a
lazy dog? I might kick him for my football this half-hour before I
should get him awake. This lank-jawed harlequin beside him is a handy
fellow, to be sure; but then, if he has hands, he has no head--and he'd
be afraid of his own shadow too, by this light, he is such a coward! And
Townsend, why he has puns in plenty; but, when there's any work to be
done, he's the worst fellow to be near one in the world--he can do
nothing but laugh at his own puns. This poor little fellow that we
hunted into the corner has more sense than all of them put together; but
then he is a Greybeard.'

Thus speculated the chief of a party upon his sleeping friends. And how
did it happen that he should be so ambitious to please and govern this
set, when for each individual of which it was composed he felt such
supreme contempt? He had formed them into a _party_, had given them a
name, and he was at their head. If these be not good reasons, none
better can be assigned for Archer's conduct.

'I wish ye could all sleep on,' said he; 'but I must waken ye, though
you will be only in my way. The sound of my hammering must waken them;
so I may as well do the thing handsomely, and flatter some of them by
pretending to ask their advice.'

Accordingly, he pulled two or three to waken them. 'Come, Townsend,
waken, my boy! Here's some diversion for you--up! up!'

'Diversion!' cried Townsend; 'I'm your man! I'm up--_up to anything_.'

So, under the name of _diversion_, Archer set Townsend to work at four
o'clock in the morning. They had nails, a few tools, and several spars,
still left from the wreck of the playhouse. These, by Archer's
directions, they sharpened at one end, and nailed them to the ends of
several forms.

All hands were now called to clear away the supper things, and to erect
these forms perpendicularly under the trap-door; and with the assistance
of a few braces, a _chevaux-de-frise_ was formed, upon which nobody
could venture to descend. At the farthest end of the room they likewise
formed a penthouse of the tables, under which they proposed to
breakfast, secure from the pelting storm, if it should again assail them
through the trap-door. They crowded under the penthouse as soon as it
was ready, and their admiration of its ingenuity paid the workmen for
the job.

'Lord! I shall like to see the gardener's phiz through the trap-door,
when he beholds the spikes under him!' cried Townsend. 'Now for
breakfast!' 'Ay, now for breakfast,' said Archer, looking at his watch;
'past eight o'clock, and my town boys not come! I don't understand
this!'

Archer had expected a constant supply of provisions from two boys who
lived in the town, who were cousins of his, and who had promised to come
every day, and put food in at a certain hole in the wall, in which a
ventilator usually turned. This ventilator Archer had taken down, and
had contrived it so that it could be easily removed and replaced at
pleasure; but, upon examination, it was now perceived that the hole had
been newly stopped up by an iron back, which it was impossible to
penetrate or remove.

'It never came into my head that anybody would ever have thought of the
ventilator but myself!' exclaimed Archer, in great perplexity. He
listened and waited for his cousins; but no cousins came, and at a late
hour the company were obliged to breakfast upon the scattered fragments
of the last night's feast. That feast had been spread with such
imprudent profusion, that little now remained to satisfy the hungry
guests.

Archer, who well knew the effect which the apprehension of a scarcity
would have upon his associates, did everything that could be done by a
bold countenance and reiterated assertions to persuade them that his
cousins would certainly come at last, and that the supplies were only
delayed. The delay, however, was alarming.

Fisher alone heard the manager's calculations and saw the public fears
unmoved. Secretly rejoicing in his own wisdom, he walked from window to
window, slily listening for the gipsy's signal. 'There it is!' cried he,
with more joy sparkling in his eyes than had ever enlightened them
before. 'Come this way, Archer; but don't tell anybody. Hark! do ye hear
those three taps at the window? This is the old woman with twelve buns
for me. I'll give you one whole one for yourself, if you will unbar the
window for me.'

'Unbar the window!' interrupted Archer; 'no, that I won't, for you or
the gipsy either; but I have heard enough to get your buns without that.
But stay; there is something of more consequence than your twelve buns.
I must think for ye all, I see, regularly.'

So he summoned a council, and proposed that every one should subscribe,
and trust the subscription to the gipsy, to purchase a fresh supply of
provisions. Archer laid down a guinea of his own money for his
subscription; at which sight all the company clapped their hands, and
his popularity rose to a high pitch with their renewed hopes of plenty.
Now, having made a list of their wants, they folded the money in the
paper, put it into a bag, which Archer tied to a long string, and,
having broken the pane of glass behind the round hole in the
window-shutter, he let down the bag to the gipsy. She promised to be
punctual, and having filled the bag with Fishers twelve buns, they were
drawn up in triumph, and everybody anticipated the pleasure with which
they should see the same bag drawn up at dinner-time. The buns were a
little squeezed in being drawn through the hole in the window-shutter,
but Archer immediately sawed out a piece of the shutter, and broke the
corresponding panes in each of the other windows, to prevent suspicion,
and to make it appear that they had all been broken to admit air.

What a pity that so much ingenuity should have been employed to no
purpose!

It may have surprised the intelligent reader that the gipsy was so
punctual to her promise to Fisher, but we must recollect that her
apparent integrity was only cunning; she was punctual that she might be
employed again, that she might be entrusted with the contribution which,
she foresaw, must be raised amongst the famishing garrison. No sooner
had she received the money than her end was gained.

Dinner-time came; it struck three, four, five, six. They listened with
hungry ears, but no signal was heard. The morning had been very long,
and Archer had in vain tried to dissuade them from devouring the
remainder of the provisions before they were sure of a fresh supply. And
now those who had been the most confident were the most impatient of
their disappointment.

Archer, in the division of the food, had attempted, by the most
scrupulous exactness, to content the public, and he was both astonished
and provoked to perceive that his impartiality was impeached. So
differently do people judge in different situations! He was the first
person to accuse his master of injustice, and the least capable of
bearing such an imputation upon himself from others. He now experienced
some of the joys of power, and the delight of managing unreasonable
numbers.

'Have not I done everything I could to please you? Have not I spent my
money to buy you food? Have not I divided the last morsel with you? I
have not tasted one mouthful to-day! Did not I set to work for you at
sunrise? Did not I lie awake all night for you? Have not I had all the
labour and all the anxiety? Look round and see _my_ contrivances, _my_
work, _my_ generosity! And, after all, you think me a tyrant, because I
want you to have common sense. Is not this bun which I hold in my hand
my own? Did not I earn it by my own ingenuity from that selfish dunce
(pointing to Fisher), who could never have gotten one of his twelve
buns, if I had not shown him how? Eleven of them he has eaten since
morning for his own share, without offering any one a morsel; but I
scorn to eat even what is justly my own, when I see so many hungry
creatures longing for it. I was not going to touch this last morsel
myself. I only begged you to keep it till supper-time, when perhaps
you'll want it more, and Townsend, who can't bear the slightest thing
that crosses his own whims, and who thinks there's nothing in this world
to be minded but his own diversion, calls me a _tyrant_. You all of you
promised to obey me. The first thing I ask you to do for your own good,
and when, if you had common sense, you must know I can want nothing but
your good, you rebel against me. Traitors! fools! ungrateful fools!'

Archer walked up and down, unable to command his emotion, whilst, for
the moment, the discontented multitude was silenced.

'Here,' said he, striking his hand upon the little boy's shoulder,
'here's the only one amongst you who has not uttered one word of
reproach or complaint, and he has had but one bit of bread--a bit that I
gave him myself this day. Here!' said he, snatching the bun, which
nobody had dared to touch, 'take it--it's mine--I give it to you, though
you are a Greybeard; you deserve it. Eat it, and be an Archer. You shall
be my captain; will you?' said he, lifting him up in his arm above the
rest.

'I like you now,' said the little boy, courageously; 'but I love De Grey
better; he has always been my friend, and he advised me never to call
myself any of those names, Archer or Greybeard; so I won't. Though I am
shut in here, I have nothing to do with it. I love Dr. Middleton; he was
never unjust to _me_, and I daresay that he has very good reasons, as De
Grey said, for forbidding us to go into that house. Besides, it's his
own.'

Instead of admiring the good sense and steadiness of this little lad,
Archer suffered Townsend to snatch the untasted bun out of his hands. He
flung it at a hole in the window, but it fell back. The Archers
scrambled for it, and Fisher ate it.

Archer saw this, and was sensible that he had not done handsomely in
suffering it. A few moments ago he had admired his own generosity, and
though he had felt the injustice of others, he had not accused himself
of any. He turned away from the little boy, and sitting down at one end
of the table, hid his face in his hands. He continued immovable in this
posture for some time.

'Lord!' said Townsend; 'it was an excellent joke!' 'Pooh!' said Fisher;
'what a fool, to think so much about a bun!' 'Never mind, Mr. Archer, if
you are thinking about me,' said the little boy, trying gently to pull
his hands from his face.

Archer stooped down and lifted him up upon the table, at which sight the
partisans set up a general hiss. 'He has forsaken us! He deserts his
party! He wants to be a Greybeard! After he has got us all into this
scrape, he will leave us!'

'I am not going to leave you,' cried Archer. 'No one shall ever accuse
me of deserting my party. I'll stick by the Archers, right or wrong, I
tell you, to the last moment. But this little fellow--take it as you
please, mutiny if you will, and throw me out of the window. Call me
traitor! coward! Greybeard!--this little fellow is worth you all put
together, and I'll stand by him against any one who dares to lay a
finger upon him; and the next morsel of food that I see shall be his.
Touch him who dares!'

The commanding air with which Archer spoke and looked, and the belief
that the little boy deserved his protection, silenced the crowd. But the
storm was only hushed.

No sound of merriment was now to be heard--no battledore and
shuttlecock--no ball, no marbles. Some sat in a corner, whispering their
wishes that Archer would unbar the doors and give up. Others, stretching
their arms, and gaping as they sauntered up and down the room, wished
for air, or food, or water. Fisher and his nine, who had such firm
dependence upon the gipsy, now gave themselves up to utter despair. It
was eight o'clock, growing darker and darker every minute, and no
candles, no light, could they have. The prospect of another long dark
night made them still more discontented.

Townsend, at the head of the yawners, and Fisher, at the head of the
hungry malcontents, gathered round Archer and the few yet unconquered
spirits, demanding 'How long he meant to keep them in this dark dungeon?
and whether he expected that they should starve themselves for his
sake?'

The idea of _giving up_ was more intolerable to Archer than all the
rest. He saw that the majority, his own convincing argument, was against
him. He was therefore obliged to condescend to the arts of persuasion.
He flattered some with hopes of food from the town boys. Some he
reminded of their promises; others he praised for former prowess; and
others he shamed by the repetition of their high vaunts in the beginning
of the business.

It was at length resolved that at all events they _would hold out_. With
this determination they stretched themselves again to sleep, for the
second night, in weak and weary obstinacy.

Archer slept longer and more soundly than usual the next morning, and
when he awoke, he found his hands tied behind him! Three or four boys
had just got hold of his feet, which they pressed down, whilst the
trembling hands of Fisher were fastening the cord round them.

With all the force which rage could inspire, Archer struggled and roared
to '_his Archers_!'--his friends, his party--for help against the
traitors. But all kept aloof. Townsend, in particular, stood laughing
and looking on. 'I beg your pardon, Archer, but really you look so
droll. All alive and kicking! Don't be angry. I'm so weak, I cannot help
laughing to-day.'

The packthread cracked. 'His hands are free! He's loose!' cried the
least of the boys, and ran away, whilst Archer leaped up, and seizing
hold of Fisher with a powerful grasp, sternly demanded 'What he meant by
this?'

'Ask my party,' said Fisher, terrified; 'they set me on; ask my party.'

'Your party!' cried Archer, with a look of ineffable contempt; 'you
reptile!--_your_ party? Can such a thing as _you_ have a party?'

'To be sure!' said Fisher, settling his collar, which Archer in his
surprise had let go; 'to be sure! Why not? Any man who chooses it may
have a party as well as yourself, I suppose. I have nine Fishermen.'

At these words, spoken with much sullen importance, Archer, in spite of
his vexation, could not help laughing. 'Fishermen!' cried he,
'_Fishermen!_' 'And why not Fishermen as well as Archers?' cried they.
'One party is just as good as another; it is only a question which can
get the upper hand; and we had your hands tied just now.'

'That's right, Townsend,' said Archer, 'laugh on, my boy! Friend or foe,
it's all the same to you. I know how to value your friendship now. You
are a mighty good fellow when the sun shines; but let a storm come, and
how you slink away!'

At this instant, Archer felt the difference between _a good companion_
and a good friend, a difference which some people do not discover till
late in life.

[Illustration: _Archer leaped-up, and seizing hold of Fisher with a
powerful grasp, sternly demanded 'What he meant by this?'_]

'Have I no friend?--no real friend amongst you all? And could ye stand
by and see my hands tied behind me like a thief's? What signifies such a
party--all mute?'

'We want something to eat,' answered the Fishermen. 'What signifies
_such_ a party, indeed? and _such_ a manager, who can do nothing for
one?'

'And have _I_ done nothing?'

'Don't let's hear any more prosing,' said Fisher; 'we are too many for
you. I've advised my party, if they've a mind not to be starved, to give
you up for the ringleader, as you were; and Dr. Middleton will not let
us all off, I daresay.' So, depending upon the sullen silence of the
assembly, he again approached Archer with a cord. A cry of 'No, no, no!
Don't tie him,' was feebly raised.

Archer stood still, but the moment Fisher touched him, he knocked him
down to the ground, and turning to the rest, with eyes sparkling with
indignation, 'Archers!' cried he. A voice at this instant was heard at
the door. It was De Grey's voice. 'I have got a large basket of
provisions for your breakfast.' A general shout of joy was sent forth by
the voracious public. 'Breakfast! Provisions! A large basket! De Grey
for ever! Huzza!'

De Grey promised, upon his honour, that if he would unbar the door
nobody should come in with him, and no advantage should be taken of
them. This promise was enough even for Archer. 'I will let him in,' said
he, 'myself; for I'm sure he'll never break his word.' He pulled away
the bar; the door opened; and having bargained for the liberty of
Melsom, the little boy who had been shut in by mistake, De Grey entered
with his basket of provisions, when he locked and barred the door
instantly.

Joy and gratitude sparkled in every face when he unpacked his basket and
spread the table with a plentiful breakfast. A hundred questions were
asked him at once. 'Eat first,' said he, 'and we will talk afterwards.'
This business was quickly despatched by those who had not tasted food
for a long while. Their curiosity increased as their hunger diminished.
'Who sent us breakfast? Does Dr. Middleton know?' were questions
reiterated from every mouth.

'He does know,' answered De Grey; 'and the first thing I have to tell
you is, that I am your fellow-prisoner. I am to stay here till you give
up. This was the only condition on which Dr. Middleton would allow me to
bring you food, and he will allow no more.'

Every one looked at the empty basket. But Archer, in whom
half-vanquished party spirit revived with the strength he had got from
his breakfast, broke into exclamations in praise of De Grey's
magnanimity, as he now imagined that De Grey had become one of
themselves.

'And you will join us, will you? That's a noble fellow!' 'No,' answered
De Grey, calmly; 'but I hope to persuade, or rather to convince you,
that you ought to join me.' 'You would have found it no hard task to
have persuaded or convinced us, whichever you pleased,' said Townsend,
'if you had appealed to Archers fasting; but Archers feasting are quite
other animals. Even Cæsar himself, after breakfast, is quite another
thing!' added he, pointing to Archer. 'You may speak for yourself, Mr.
Townsend,' replied the insulted hero, 'but not for me, or for Archers in
general, if you please. We unbarred the door upon the faith of De Grey's
promise--_that_ was not giving up. And it would have been just as
difficult, I promise you, to persuade or convince me either that I
should give up against my honour before breakfast as after.'

This spirited speech was applauded by many, who had now forgotten the
feelings of famine. Not so Fisher, whose memory was upon this occasion
very distinct.

'What nonsense,' and the orator paused for a synonymous expression, but
none was at hand. 'What nonsense and--nonsense is here! Why, don't you
remember that dinner-time, and supper-time, and breakfast-time will come
again? So what signifies mouthing about persuading and convincing? We
will not go through again what we did yesterday! Honour me no honour. I
don't understand it. I'd rather be flogged at once, as I have been
many's the good time for a less thing. I say, we'd better all be flogged
at once, which must be the end of it sooner or later, than wait here to
be without dinner, breakfast, and supper, all only because Mr. Archer
won't give up because of his honour and nonsense!'

Many prudent faces amongst the Fishermen seemed to deliberate at the
close of this oration, in which the arguments were brought so 'home to
each man's business and bosom.'

'But,' said De Grey, 'when we yield, I hope it will not be merely to get
our dinner, gentlemen. When we yield, Archer----' 'Don't address
yourself to me,' interrupted Archer, struggling with his pride; 'you
have no further occasion to try to win me. I have no power, no party,
you see! And now I find that I have no friends, I don't care what
becomes of myself. I suppose I'm to be given up as a ringleader. Here's
this Fisher, and a party of his Fishermen, were going to tie me hand and
foot, if I had not knocked him down, just as you came to the door, De
Grey; and now perhaps you will join Fisher's party against me.'

De Grey was going to assure him that he had no intention of joining any
party, when a sudden change appeared on Archer's countenance. 'Silence!'
cried Archer, in an imperious tone, and there was silence. Some one was
heard to whistle the beginning of a tune, that was perfectly new to
everybody present except to Archer, who immediately whistled the
conclusion. 'There!' cried he, looking at De Grey with triumph; 'that's
a method of holding secret correspondence, whilst a prisoner, which I
learned from "Richard Coeur de Lion." I know how to make use of
everything. Hallo! friend! are you there at last?' cried he, going to
the ventilator. 'Yes, but we are barred out here.' 'Round to the window
then, and fill our bag. We'll let it down, my lad, in a trice; bar me
out who can!'

Archer let down the bag with all the expedition of joy, and it was
filled with all the expedition of fear. 'Pull away! make haste, for
Heaven's sake!' said the voice from without; 'the gardener will come
from dinner, else, and we shall be caught. He mounted guard all
yesterday at the ventilator; and though I watched and watched till it
was darker than pitch, I could not get near you. I don't know what has
taken him out of the way now. Make haste, pull away!' The heavy bag was
soon pulled up. 'Have you any more?' said Archer. 'Yes, plenty. Let down
quick! I've got the tailor's bag full, which is three times as large as
yours, and I've changed clothes with the tailor's boy; so nobody took
notice of me as I came down the street.'

'There's my own cousin!' exclaimed Archer, 'there's a noble fellow!
there's my own cousin, I acknowledge. Fill the bag, then.' Several times
the bag descended and ascended; and at every unlading of the crane,
fresh acclamations were heard. 'I have no more!' at length the boy with
the tailor's bag cried. 'Off with you, then; we've enough, and thank
you.'

A delightful review was now made of their treasure. Busy hands arranged
and sorted the heterogeneous mass. Archer, in the height of his glory,
looked on, the acknowledged master of the whole. Townsend, who, in his
prosperity as in adversity, saw and enjoyed the comic foibles of his
friends, pushed De Grey, who was looking on with a more good-natured and
more thoughtful air. 'Friend,' said he, 'you look like a great
philosopher, and Archer a great hero.' 'And you, Townsend,' said Archer,
'may look like a wit, if you will; but you will never be a hero.' 'No,
no,' replied Townsend; 'wits were never heroes, because they are wits.
You are out of your wits, and therefore may set up for a hero.' 'Laugh,
and welcome. I'm not a tyrant. I don't want to restrain anybody's wit;
but I cannot say I admire puns.' 'Nor I, either,' said the time-serving
Fisher, sidling up to the manager, and picking the ice off a piece of
plum-cake, 'nor I either; I hate puns. I can never understand Townsend's
_puns_. Besides, anybody can make puns; and one doesn't want wit,
either, at all times; for instance, when one is going to settle about
dinner, or business of consequence. Bless us all, Archer!' continued he,
with sudden familiarity, '_what a sight of good things are here_! I'm
sure we are much obliged to you and your cousin. I never thought he'd
have come. Why, now we can hold out as long as you please. Let us see,'
said he, dividing the provisions upon the table; 'we can hold out
to-day, and all to-morrow, and part of next day, maybe. Why, now we may
defy the doctor and the Greybeards. The doctor will surely give up to
us; for, you see, he knows nothing of all this, and he'll think we are
starving all this while; and he'd be afraid, you see, to let us starve
quite, in reality, for three whole days, because of what would be said
in the town. My Aunt Barbara, for one, would be _at him_ long before
that time was out; and besides, you know, in that case, he'd be hanged
for murder, which is quite another thing, in law, from a _Barring Out_,
you know.'

Archer had not given to this harangue all the attention which it
deserved, for his eye was fixed upon De Grey. 'What is De Grey thinking
of?' he asked, impatiently. 'I am thinking,' said De Grey, 'that Dr.
Middleton must believe that I have betrayed his confidence in me. The
gardener was ordered away from his watch-post for one half-hour when I
was admitted. This half-hour the gardener has made nearly an hour. I
never would have come near you if I had foreseen all this. Dr. Middleton
trusted me, and now he will repent of his confidence in me.' 'De Grey!'
cried Archer, with energy, 'he shall not repent of his confidence in
you--nor shall you repent of coming amongst us. You shall find that we
have some honour as well as yourself, and I will take care of your
honour as if it were my _own_!' 'Hey-day!' interrupted Townsend; 'are
heroes allowed to change sides, pray? And does the chief of the Archers
stand talking sentiment to the chief of the Greybeards? In the middle of
his own party too!' 'Party!' repeated Archer, disdainfully; 'I have done
with parties! I see what parties are made of! I have felt the want of a
friend, and I am determined to make one if I can.' 'That you may do,'
said De Grey, stretching out his hand.

'Unbar the doors! unbar the windows!' exclaimed Archer. 'Away with all
these things! I give up for De Grey's sake. He shall not lose his credit
on my account.' 'No,' said De Grey, 'you shall not give up for my sake.'
'Well, then, I'll give up to do what is _honourable_,' said Archer. 'Why
not to do what is _reasonable_?' said De Grey. '_Reasonable!_ Oh, the
first thing that a man of spirit should think of is, what is
_honourable_.' 'But how will he find out _what is_ honourable, unless he
can reason?' replied De Grey. 'Oh,' said Archer, 'his own feelings
always tell him what is honourable.' 'Have not _your feelings_,' asked
De Grey, 'changed within these few hours?' 'Yes, with circumstances,'
replied Archer; 'but, right or wrong, as long as I think it honourable
to do so and so, I'm satisfied.' 'But you cannot think anything
honourable, or the contrary,' observed De Grey, 'without reasoning; and
as to what you call feeling, it's only a quick sort of reasoning.' 'The
quicker the better,' said Archer. 'Perhaps not,' said De Grey. 'We are
apt to reason best when we are not in quite so great a hurry.' 'But,'
said Archer, 'we have not always time enough to reason _at first_.' 'You
must, however, acknowledge,' replied De Grey, smiling, 'that no man but
a fool thinks it honourable to be in the wrong _at last_. Is it not,
therefore, best to begin by reasoning to find out the right _at first_?'
'To be sure,' said Archer. 'And did you reason with yourself at first?
And did you find out that it was right to bar Dr. Middleton out of his
own schoolroom, because he desired you not to go into one of his own
houses?' 'No,' replied Archer; 'but I should never have thought of
heading a Barring Out, if he had not shown partiality; and if you had
flown into a passion with me openly at once for pulling down your
scenery, which would have been quite natural, and not have gone slily
and forbid us the house out of revenge, there would have been none of
this work.' 'Why,' said De Grey, 'should you suspect me of such a mean
action, when you have never seen or known me do anything mean, and when
in this instance you have no proofs?' 'Will you give me your word and
honour now, De Grey, before everybody here, that you did not do what I
suspected?' 'I do assure you, upon my honour, I never, indirectly, spoke
to Dr. Middleton about the playhouse.' 'Then,' said Archer, 'I'm as glad
as if I had found a thousand pounds! Now you are my friend indeed.' 'And
Dr. Middleton--why should you suspect him without reason any more than
me?' 'As to that,' said Archer, 'he is your friend, and you are right to
defend him; and I won't say another word against him. Will that satisfy
you?' 'Not quite.' 'Not quite! Then, indeed, you are unreasonable!'
'No,' replied De Grey; 'for I don't wish you to yield out of friendship
to me, any more than to honour. If you yield to reason, you will be
governed by reason another time.' 'Well, but then don't triumph over me,
because you have the best side of the argument.' 'Not I! How can I?'
said De Grey; 'for now you are on _the best side_ as well as myself, are
not you? So we may triumph together.'

'You are a good friend!' said Archer; and with great eagerness he pulled
down the fortifications, whilst every hand assisted. The room was
restored to order in a few minutes--the shutters were thrown open, the
cheerful light let in. The windows were thrown up, and the first feeling
of the fresh air was delightful. The green playground opened before
them, and the hopes of exercise and liberty brightened the countenances
of these voluntary prisoners.

But, alas! they were not yet at liberty. The idea of Dr. Middleton, and
the dread of his vengeance, smote their hearts. When the rebels had sent
an ambassador with their surrender, they stood in pale and silent
suspense, waiting for their doom.

'Ah!' said Fisher, looking up at the broken panes in the windows, 'the
doctor will think the most of _that_--he'll never forgive us for that.'

'Hush! here he comes!' His steady step was heard approaching nearer and
nearer. Archer threw open the door, and Dr. Middleton entered. Fisher
instantly fell on his knees. 'It is no delight to me to see people on
their knees. Stand up, Mr. Fisher. I hope you are all conscious that you
have done wrong?' 'Sir,' said Archer, 'they are conscious that they have
done wrong, and so am I. I am the ringleader. Punish me as you think
proper. I submit. Your punishments--your vengeance ought to fall on me
alone!'

'Sir,' said Dr. Middleton, calmly, 'I perceive that whatever else you
may have learned in the course of your education, you have not been
taught the meaning of the word punishment. Punishment and vengeance do
not with us mean the same thing. _Punishment_ is pain given, with the
reasonable hope of preventing those on whom it is inflicted from doing,
_in future_, what will hurt themselves or others. _Vengeance_ never
looks to the _future_, but is the expression of anger for an injury that
is past. I feel no anger; you have done me no injury.'

Here many of the little boys looked timidly up to the windows. 'Yes, I
see that you have broken my windows; that is a small evil.' 'Oh, sir!
How good! How merciful!' exclaimed those who had been most panic-struck.
'He forgives us!'

'Stay,' resumed Dr. Middleton; 'I cannot forgive you. I shall never
revenge, but it is my duty to punish. You have rebelled against the just
authority which is necessary to conduct and govern you whilst you have
not sufficient reason to govern and conduct yourselves. Without
obedience to the laws,' added he, turning to Archer, 'as men, you cannot
be suffered in society. You, sir, think yourself a man, I observe; and
you think it the part of a man not to submit to the will of another. I
have no pleasure in making others, whether men or children, submit to my
_will_; but my reason and experience are superior to yours. Your parents
at least think so, or they would not have entrusted me with the care of
your education. As long as they do entrust you to my care, and as long
as I have any hopes of making you wiser and better by punishment, I
shall steadily inflict it, whenever I judge it to be necessary, and I
judge it to be necessary _now_. This is a long sermon, Mr. Archer, not
preached to show my own eloquence, but to convince your understanding.
Now, as to your punishment!'

'Name it, sir,' said Archer; 'whatever it is, I will cheerfully submit
to it.' 'Name it yourself,' said Dr. Middleton, 'and show me that you
now understand the nature of punishment.'

Archer, proud to be treated like a reasonable creature, and sorry that
he had behaved like a foolish schoolboy, was silent for some time, but
at length replied, 'That he would rather not name his own punishment.'
He repeated, however, that he trusted he should bear it well, whatever
it might be.

'I shall then,' said Dr. Middleton, 'deprive you, for two months, of
pocket-money, as you have had too much, and have made a bad use of it.'

'Sir,' said Archer, 'I brought five guineas with me to school. This
guinea is all that I have left.'

Dr. Middleton received the guinea which Archer offered him with a look
of approbation, and told him that it should be applied to the repairs of
the schoolroom. The rest of the boys waited in silence for the doctor's
sentence against them, but not with those looks of abject fear with
which boys usually expect the sentence of a schoolmaster.

'You shall return from the playground, all of you,' said Dr. Middleton,
'one quarter of an hour sooner, for two months to come, than the rest of
your companions. A bell shall ring at the appointed time. I give you an
opportunity of recovering my confidence by your punctuality.'

'Oh, sir! we will come the instant, the very instant the bell rings; you
shall have confidence in us,' cried they, eagerly.

'I deserve your confidence, I hope,' said Dr. Middleton; 'for it is my
first wish to make you all happy. You do not know the pain that it has
cost me to deprive you of food for so many hours.'

Here the boys, with one accord, ran to the place where they had
deposited their last supplies. Archer delivered them up to the doctor,
proud to show that they were not reduced to obedience merely by
necessity.

'The reason,' resumed Dr. Middleton, having now returned to the usual
benignity of his manner--'the reason why I desired that none of you
should go to that building,' pointing out of the window, 'was this:--I
had been informed that a gang of gipsies had slept there the night
before I spoke to you, one of whom was dangerously ill of a putrid
fever. I did not choose to mention my reason to you or your friends. I
have had the place cleaned, and you may return to it when you please.
The gipsies were yesterday removed from the town.'

'De Grey, you were in the right,' whispered Archer, 'and it was I that
was _unjust_.'

'The old woman,' continued the doctor, 'whom you employed to buy food
has escaped the fever, but she has not escaped a gaol, whither she was
sent yesterday, for having defrauded you of your money.

'Mr. Fisher,' said Dr. Middleton, 'as to you, I shall not punish you: I
have no hope of making you either wiser or better. Do you know this
paper?'--the paper appeared to be a bill for candles and a tinder-box.
'I desired him to buy those things, sir,' said Archer, colouring. 'And
did you desire him not to pay for them?' 'No,' said Archer, 'he had
half-a-crown on purpose to pay for them.' 'I know he had, but he chose
to apply it to his private use, and gave it to the gipsy to buy twelve
buns for his own eating. To obtain credit for the tinder-box and
candles, he made use of _this_ name,' said he, turning to the other side
of the bill, and pointing to De Grey's name, which was written at the
end of a copy of one of De Grey's exercises.

[Illustration: _He sneaked out, whimpering in a doleful voice._]

'I assure you, sir----' cried Archer. 'You need not assure me, sir,'
said Dr. Middleton; 'I cannot suspect a boy of your temper of having any
part in so base an action. When the people in the shop refused to let
Mr. Fisher have the things without paying for them, he made use of De
Grey's name, who was known there. Suspecting some mischief, however,
from the purchase of the tinder-box, the shopkeeper informed me of the
circumstance. Nothing in this whole business gave me half so much pain
as I felt, for a moment, when I suspected that De Grey was concerned in
it.' A loud cry, in which Archer's voice was heard most distinctly,
declared De Grey's innocence. Dr. Middleton looked round at their
eager, honest faces with benevolent approbation. 'Archer,' said he,
taking him by the hand, 'I am heartily glad to see that you have got the
better of your party spirit. I wish you may keep such a friend as you
have now beside you; one such friend is worth two such parties. As for
you, Mr. Fisher, depart; you must never return hither again.' In vain he
solicited Archer and De Grey to intercede for him. Everybody turned away
with contempt; and he sneaked out, whimpering in a doleful voice, 'What
shall I say to my Aunt Barbara?'



THE BRACELETS


In a beautiful and retired part of England lived Mrs. Villars, a lady
whose accurate understanding, benevolent heart, and steady temper
peculiarly fitted her for the most difficult, as well as most important,
of all occupations--the education of youth. This task she had
undertaken; and twenty young persons were put under her care, with the
perfect confidence of their parents. No young people could be happier;
they were good and gay, emulous, but not envious of each other; for Mrs.
Villars was impartially just; her praise they felt to be the reward of
merit, and her blame they knew to be the necessary consequence of
ill-conduct. To the one, therefore, they patiently submitted, and in the
other consciously rejoiced. They rose with fresh cheerfulness in the
morning, eager to pursue their various occupations. They returned in the
evening with renewed ardour to their amusements, and retired to rest
satisfied with themselves and pleased with each other.

Nothing so much contributed to preserve a spirit of emulation in this
little society as a small honorary distinction, given annually, as a
prize of successful application. The prize this year was peculiarly dear
to each individual, as it was the picture of a friend whom they dearly
loved. It was the picture of Mrs. Villars in a small bracelet. It wanted
neither gold, pearls, nor precious stones to give it value.

The two foremost candidates for this prize were Cecilia and Leonora.
Cecilia was the most intimate friend of Leonora; but Leonora was only
the favourite companion of Cecilia.

Cecilia was of an active, ambitious, enterprising disposition, more
eager in the pursuit than happy in the enjoyment of her wishes. Leonora
was of a contented, unaspiring, temperate character; not easily roused
to action, but indefatigable when once excited. Leonora was proud;
Cecilia was vain. Her vanity made her more dependent upon the
approbation of others, and therefore more anxious to please, than
Leonora; but that very vanity made her, at the same time, more apt to
offend. In short, Leonora was the most anxious to avoid what was wrong;
Cecilia the most ambitious to do what was right. Few of her companions
loved, but many were led by, Cecilia, for she was often successful. Many
loved Leonora, but none were ever governed by her, for she was too
indolent to govern.

On the first day of May, about six o'clock in the evening, a great bell
rang, to summon this little society into a hall, where the prize was to
be decided. A number of small tables were placed in a circle in the
middle of the hall. Seats for the young competitors were raised one
above another, in a semicircle, some yards distant from the table, and
the judges' chairs, under canopies of lilacs and laburnums, forming
another semicircle, closed the amphitheatre.

Every one put their writings, their drawings, their works of various
kinds, upon the tables appropriated for each. How unsteady were the last
steps to these tables! How each little hand trembled as it laid down its
claims! Till this moment every one thought herself secure of success;
and the heart which exulted with hope now palpitated with fear.

The works were examined, the preference adjudged, and the prize was
declared to be the happy Cecilia's. Mrs. Villars came forward, smiling,
with the bracelet in her hand. Cecilia was behind her companions, on the
highest row. All the others gave way, and she was on the floor in an
instant. Mrs. Villars clasped the bracelet on her arm; the clasp was
heard through the whole hall, and a universal smile of congratulation
followed. Mrs. Villars kissed Cecilia's little hand. 'And now,' said
she, 'go and rejoice with your companions; the remainder of the day is
yours.'

Oh! you whose hearts are elated with success, whose bosoms beat high
with joy in the moment of triumph, command yourselves. Let that triumph
be moderate, that it may be lasting. Consider, that though you are good,
you may be better; and, though wise, you may be weak.

As soon as Mrs. Villars had given her the bracelet, all Cecilia's little
companions crowded round her, and they all left the hall in an instant.
She was full of spirits and vanity. She ran on. Running down the flight
of steps which led to the garden, in her violent haste Cecilia threw
down the little Louisa, who had a china mandarin in her hand, which her
mother had sent her that very morning, and which was all broken to
pieces by her fall.

'Oh, my mandarin!' cried Louisa, bursting into tears. The crowd behind
Cecilia suddenly stopped. Louisa sat on the lowest step, fixing her eyes
upon the broken pieces. Then, turning round, she hid her face in her
hands upon the step above her. In turning, Louisa threw down the remains
of the mandarin. The head, which she placed in the socket, fell from the
shoulders, and rolled, bounding along the gravel walk. Cecilia pointed
to the head and to the socket, and burst into laughter. The crowd behind
laughed too.

At any other time they would have been more inclined to cry with Louisa;
but Cecilia had just been successful, and sympathy with the victorious
often makes us forget justice.

Leonora, however, preserved her usual consistency. 'Poor Louisa!' said
she, looking first at her, and then reproachfully at Cecilia. Cecilia
turned sharply round, colouring, half with shame and half with vexation.
'I could not help it, Leonora,' said she. 'But you could have helped
laughing, Cecilia.' 'I didn't laugh at Louisa; and I surely may laugh,
for it does nobody any harm.' 'I am sure, however,' replied Leonora, 'I
should not have laughed if I had----' 'No, to be sure, you wouldn't,
because Louisa is your favourite. I can buy her another mandarin when
the old peddler comes to the door, if that's all. I _can_ do no more,
_can_ I?' said she, again turning round to her companions. 'No, to be
sure,' said they; 'that's all fair.'

Cecilia looked triumphantly at Leonora. Leonora let go her hand; she ran
on, and the crowd followed. When she got to the end of the garden, she
turned round to see if Leonora had followed her too; but was vexed to
see her still sitting on the steps with Louisa. 'I'm sure I can do no
more than buy her another, _can_ I?' said she, again appealing to her
companions. 'No, to be sure,' said they, eager to begin their play.

How many games did these juvenile playmates begin and leave off, before
Cecilia could be satisfied with any! Her thoughts were discomposed, and
her mind was running upon something else. No wonder, then, that she did
not play with her usual address. She grew still more impatient. She
threw down the ninepins. 'Come, let us play at something else--at
threading the needle,' said she, holding out her hand. They all yielded
to the hand which wore the bracelet. But Cecilia, dissatisfied with
herself, was discontented with everybody else. Her tone grew more and
more peremptory. One was too rude, another too stiff; one too slow,
another too quick; in short, everything went wrong, and everybody was
tired of her humours.

The triumph of _success_ is absolute, but short. Cecilia's companions at
length recollected that, though she had embroidered a tulip and painted
a peach better than they, yet that they could play as well, and keep
their tempers better; for she was discomposed.

Walking towards the house in a peevish mood, Cecilia met Leonora, but
passed on. 'Cecilia!' cried Leonora. 'Well, what do you want with me?'
'Are we friends?' 'You know best,' said Cecilia. 'We are, if you will
let me tell Louisa that you are sorry----' Cecilia, interrupting her,
'Oh, pray let me hear no more about Louisa!' 'What! not confess that you
were in the wrong? O Cecilia! I had a better opinion of you.' 'Your
opinion is of no consequence to me now, for you don't love me.' 'No; not
when you are unjust, Cecilia.' 'Unjust! I am not unjust; and if I were,
you are not my governess.' 'No, but am not I your friend?' 'I don't
desire to have such a friend, who would quarrel with me for happening to
throw down little Louisa. How could I tell that she had a mandarin in
her hand? and when it was broken, could I do more than promise her
another; was that unjust?' 'But you know, Cecilia----' 'I _know_,'
ironically. 'I know, Leonora, that you love Louisa better than you love
me; that's the injustice!' 'If I did,' replied Leonora, gravely, 'it
would be no injustice, if she deserved it better.' 'How can you compare
Louisa to me!' exclaimed Cecilia, indignantly.

Leonora made no answer; for she was really hurt at her friend's conduct.
She walked on to join the rest of her companions. They were dancing in a
round upon the grass. Leonora declined dancing; but they prevailed upon
her to sing for them. Her voice was not so sprightly, but it was sweeter
than usual. Who sang so sweetly as Leonora? or who danced so nimbly as
Louisa? Away she was flying, all spirits and gaiety, when Leonora's
eyes, full of tears, caught hers. Louisa silently let go her companion's
hand, and quitting the dance, ran up to Leonora to inquire what was the
matter with her. 'Nothing,' replied she, 'that need interrupt you. Go,
my dear; go and dance again.'

Louisa immediately ran away to her garden, and pulling off her little
straw hat, she lined it with the freshest strawberry-leaves, and was
upon her knees before the strawberry-bed when Cecilia came by. Cecilia
was not disposed to be pleased with Louisa at that instant, for two
reasons; because she was jealous of her, and because she had injured
her. The injury, however, Louisa had already forgotten. Perhaps, to tell
things just as they were, she was not quite so much inclined to kiss
Cecilia as she would have been before the fall of her mandarin; but this
was the utmost extent of her malice, if it can be called malice.

'What are you doing there, little one?' said Cecilia, in a sharp tone.
'Are you eating your early strawberries here all alone?' 'No,' said
Louisa, mysteriously, 'I am not eating them.' 'What are you doing with
them? can't you answer, then? I'm not playing with you, child!' 'Oh, as
to that, Cecilia, you know I need not answer you unless I choose it; not
but what I would if you would only ask me civilly, and if you
would not call me _child_.' 'Why should not I call you child?'
'Because--because--I don't know; but I wish you would stand out of my
light, Cecilia, for you are trampling upon all my strawberries.' 'I have
not touched one, you covetous little creature!' 'Indeed--indeed,
Cecilia, I am not covetous. I have not eaten one of them; they are all
for your friend Leonora. See how unjust you are!'

'Unjust! that's a cant word which you learnt of my friend Leonora, as
you call her; but she is not my friend now.' 'Not your friend now!'
exclaimed Louisa; 'then I am sure you must have done something _very_
naughty.' 'How?' cried Cecilia, catching hold of her. 'Let me go, let me
go!' cried Louisa, struggling. 'I won't give you one of my strawberries,
for I don't like you at all!' 'You don't, don't you?' cried Cecilia,
provoked, and, catching the hat from Louisa, she flung the strawberries
over the hedge.

'Will nobody help me?' exclaimed Louisa, snatching her hat again, and
running away with all her force.

[Illustration: _'How?' cried Cecilia, catching hold of her._]

'What have I done?' said Cecilia, recollecting herself; 'Louisa!
Louisa!' she called very loud, but Louisa would not turn back: she was
running to her companions, who were still dancing, hand in hand, upon
the grass, whilst Leonora, sitting in the middle, was singing to them.

'Stop! stop! and hear me!' cried Louisa, breaking through them; and,
rushing up to Leonora, she threw her hat at her feet, and panting for
breath--'It was full--almost full of my own strawberries,' said she,
'the first I ever got out of my own garden. They should all have been
for you, Leonora; but now I have not one left. They are all gone!' said
she; and she hid her face in Leonora's lap.

'Gone! gone where?' said every one, at once running up to her. 'Cecilia!
Cecilia!' said she, sobbing. 'Cecilia,' repeated Leonora, 'what of
Cecilia?' 'Yes, it was--it was.' 'Come along with me,' said Leonora,
unwilling to have her friend exposed. 'Come, and I will get you some
more strawberries.' 'Oh, I don't mind the strawberries, indeed; but I
wanted to have had the pleasure of giving them to you.'

Leonora took her up in her arms to carry her away, but it was too late.

'What, Cecilia! Cecilia, who won the prize! It could not surely be
Cecilia,' whispered every busy tongue.

At this instant the bell summoned them in. 'There she is! There she is!'
cried they, pointing to an arbour, where Cecilia was standing ashamed
and alone; and, as they passed her, some lifted up their hands and eyes
with astonishment, others whispered and huddled mysteriously together,
as if to avoid her. Leonora walked on, her head a little higher than
usual. 'Leonora!' said Cecilia, timorously, as she passed. 'Oh, Cecilia!
who would have thought that you had a bad heart?' Cecilia turned her
head aside and burst into tears.

'Oh no, indeed, she has not a bad heart!' cried Louisa, running up to
her and throwing her arms around her neck. 'She's very sorry; are not
you, Cecilia? But don't cry any more, for I forgive you, with all my
heart--and I love you now, though I said I did not when I was in a
passion.'

'Oh, you sweet-tempered girl! how I love you!' said Cecilia, kissing
her. 'Well, then, if you do, come along with me, and dry your eyes, for
they are so red!' 'Go, my dear, and I'll come presently.' 'Then I will
keep a place for you, next to me; but you must make haste, or you will
have to come in when we have all sat down to supper, and then you will
be so stared at! So don't stay now.'

Cecilia followed Louisa with her eyes till she was out of sight. 'And is
Louisa,' said she to herself, 'the only one who would stop to pity me?
Mrs. Villars told me that this day should be mine. She little thought
how it would end!'

Saying these words, Cecilia threw herself down upon the ground; her arm
leaned upon a heap of turf which she had raised in the morning, and
which, in the pride and gaiety of her heart, she had called her throne.

At this instant, Mrs. Villars came out to enjoy the serenity of the
evening, and, passing by the arbour where Cecilia lay, she started.
Cecilia rose hastily.

'Who is there?' said Mrs. Villars. 'It is I, madam.' 'And who is _I_?'
'Cecilia.' 'Why, what keeps you here, my dear? Where are your
companions? This is, perhaps, one of the happiest days of your life.'
'Oh no, madam,' said Cecilia, hardly able to repress her tears. 'Why, my
dear, what is the matter?' Cecilia hesitated.

'Speak, my dear. You know that when I ask you to tell me anything as
your friend, I never punish you as your governess; therefore you need
not be afraid to tell me what is the matter.' 'No, madam, I am not
afraid, but ashamed. You asked me why I was not with my companions. Why,
madam, because they have all left me, and----' 'And what, my dear?' 'And
I see that they all dislike me; and yet I don't know why they should,
for I take as much pains to please as any of them. All my masters seem
satisfied with me; and you yourself, madam, were pleased this very
morning to give me this bracelet; and I am sure you would not have given
it to any one who did not deserve it.'

'Certainly not,' said Mrs. Villars. 'You well deserve it for your
application--for your successful application. The prize was for the most
assiduous, not for the most amiable.'

'Then, if it had been for the most amiable, it would not have been for
me?'

Mrs. Villars, smiling--'Why, what do you think yourself, Cecilia? You
are better able to judge than I am. I can determine whether or no you
apply to what I give you to learn; whether you attend to what I desire
you to do, and avoid what I desire you not to do. I know that I like
you as a pupil, but I cannot know that I should like you as a companion,
unless I were your companion. Therefore I must judge of what I should
do, by seeing what others do in the same circumstances.'

'Oh, pray don't, madam! for then you would not love me either. And yet I
think you would love me; for I hope that I am as ready to oblige, and as
good-natured as----'

'Yes, Cecilia, I don't doubt but that you would be very good-natured to
me; but I'm afraid that I should not like you unless you were
good-tempered too.' 'But, madam, by good-natured I mean
good-tempered--it's all the same thing.' 'No, indeed, I understand by
them two very different things. You are good-natured, Cecilia; for you
are desirous to oblige and serve your companions--to gain them praise,
and save them from blame--to give them pleasure, and relieve them from
pain; but Leonora is good-tempered, for she can bear with their foibles,
and acknowledge her own. Without disputing about the right, she
sometimes yields to those who are in the wrong. In short, her temper is
perfectly good; for it can bear and forbear.' 'I wish that mine could!'
said Cecilia, sighing. 'It may,' replied Mrs. Villars; 'but it is not
wishes alone which can improve us in anything. Turn the same exertion
and perseverance which have won you the prize to-day to this object, and
you will meet with the same success; perhaps not on the first, the
second, or the third attempt; but depend upon it that you will at last.
Every new effort will weaken your bad habits and strengthen your good
ones. But you must not expect to succeed all at once. I repeat it to
you, for habit must be counteracted by habit. It would be as extravagant
in us to expect that all our faults could be destroyed by one
punishment, were it ever so severe, as it was in the Roman emperor we
were reading of a few days ago to wish that all the heads of his enemies
were upon one neck, that he might cut them off at one blow.'

Here Mrs. Villars took Cecilia by the hand, and they began to walk home.
Such was the nature of Cecilia's mind, that when any object was forcibly
impressed on her imagination, it caused a temporary suspension of her
reasoning faculties. Hope was too strong a stimulus for her spirits; and
when fear did take possession of her mind, it was attended with total
debility. Her vanity was now as much mortified as in the morning it had
been elated. She walked on with Mrs. Villars in silence, until they came
under the shade of the elm-tree walk, and there, fixing her eyes upon
Mrs. Villars, she stopped short.

'Do you think, madam,' said she, with hesitation--'do you think, madam,
that I have a bad heart?' 'A bad heart, my dear! why, what put that into
your head?' 'Leonora said that I had, madam, and I felt ashamed when she
said so.' 'But, my dear, how can Leonora tell whether your heart be good
or bad? However, in the first place, tell me what you mean by a bad
heart.' 'Indeed, I do not know what is meant by it, madam; but it is
something which everybody hates.' 'And why do they hate it?' 'Because
they think that it will hurt them, ma'am, I believe; and that those who
have bad hearts take delight in doing mischief; and that they never do
anybody any good but for their own ends.'

'Then the best definition,' said Mrs. Villars, 'which you can give me of
a bad heart is, that it is some constant propensity to hurt others, and
to do wrong for the sake of doing wrong.' 'Yes, madam; but that is not
all either. There is still something else meant; something which I
cannot express--which, indeed, I never distinctly understood; but of
which, therefore, I was the more afraid.'

'Well, then, to begin with what you do understand, tell me, Cecilia, do
you really think it possible to be wicked merely for the love of
wickedness? No human being becomes wicked all at once. A man begins by
doing wrong because it is, or because he thinks it, for his interest. If
he continue to do so, he must conquer his sense of shame and lose his
love of virtue. But how can you, Cecilia, who feel such a strong sense
of shame, and such an eager desire to improve, imagine that you have a
bad heart?'

'Indeed, madam, I never did, until everybody told me so, and then I
began to be frightened about it. This very evening, madam, when I was in
a passion, I threw little Louisa's strawberries away, which, I am sure,
I was very sorry for afterwards; and Leonora and everybody cried out
that I had a bad heart--but I am sure I was only in a passion.'

'Very likely. And when you are in a passion, as you call it, Cecilia,
you see that you are tempted to do harm to others. If they do not feel
angry themselves, they do not sympathise with you. They do not perceive
the motive which actuates you; and then they say that you have a bad
heart. I daresay, however, when your passion is over, and when you
recollect yourself, you are very sorry for what you have done and said;
are not you?' 'Yes, indeed, madam--very sorry.' 'Then make that sorry of
use to you, Cecilia, and fix it steadily in your thoughts, as you hope
to be good and happy, that if you suffer yourself to yield to your
passion upon every trifling occasion, anger and its consequences will
become familiar to your mind; and, in the same proportion, your sense of
shame will be weakened, till what you began with doing from sudden
impulse you will end with doing from habit and choice; and then you
would, indeed, according to our definition, have a bad heart.' 'Oh,
madam! I hope--I am sure I never shall.' 'No, indeed, Cecilia; I do,
indeed, believe that you never will; on the contrary, I think that you
have a very good disposition, and what is of infinitely more consequence
to you, an active desire of improvement. Show me that you have as much
perseverance as you have candour, and I shall not despair of your
becoming everything that I could wish.'

Here Cecilia's countenance brightened, and she ran up the steps in
almost as high spirits as she ran down them in the morning.

'Good-night to you, Cecilia,' said Mrs. Villars, as she was crossing the
hall. 'Good-night to you, madam,' said Cecilia; and she ran upstairs to
bed. She could not go to sleep; but she lay awake, reflecting upon the
events of the preceding day, and forming resolutions for the future, at
the same time considering that she had resolved, and resolved without
effect, she wished to give her mind some more powerful motive. Ambition
she knew to be its most powerful incentive. 'Have I not,' said she to
herself, 'already won the prize of application, and cannot the same
application procure me a much higher prize? Mrs. Villars said that if
the prize had been promised to the most amiable, it would not have been
given to me. Perhaps it would not yesterday, perhaps it might not
to-morrow; but that is no reason that I should despair of ever deserving
it.'

In consequence of this reasoning, Cecilia formed a design of proposing
to her companions that they should give a prize, the first of the
ensuing month (the 1st of June), to the most amiable. Mrs. Villars
applauded the scheme, and her companions adopted it with the greatest
alacrity.

'Let the prize,' said they, 'be a bracelet of our own hair'; and
instantly their shining scissors were produced, and each contributed a
lock of her hair. They formed the most beautiful gradation of colours,
from the palest auburn to the brightest black. Who was to have the
honour of plaiting them? was now the question. Caroline begged that she
might, as she could plait very neatly, she said. Cecilia, however, was
equally sure that she could do it much better; and a dispute would have
inevitably ensued, if Cecilia, recollecting herself just as her colour
rose to scarlet, had not yielded--yielded, with no very good grace
indeed, but as well as could be expected for the first time. For it is
habit which confers ease; and without ease, even in moral actions, there
can be no grace.

The bracelet was plaited in the neatest manner by Caroline, finished
round the edge with silver twist, and on it was worked, in the smallest
silver letters, this motto, 'TO THE MOST AMIABLE.' The moment it was
completed, everybody begged to try it on. It fastened with little silver
clasps, and as it was made large enough for the eldest girls, it was too
large for the youngest. Of this they bitterly complained, and
unanimously entreated that it might be cut to fit them.

'How foolish!' exclaimed Cecilia; 'don't you perceive that if any of you
win it, you have nothing to do but to put the clasps a little further
from the edge, but, if we get it, we can't make it larger?' 'Very true,'
said they; 'but you need not to have called us foolish, Cecilia.'

It was by such hasty and unguarded expressions as these that Cecilia
offended. A slight difference in the manner makes a very material one in
the effect. Cecilia lost more love by general petulance than she could
gain by the greatest particular exertions.

How far she succeeded in curing herself of this defect--how far she
became deserving of the bracelet, and to whom the bracelet was
given--shall be told in the History of the First of June.

       *       *       *       *       *

The First of June was now arrived, and all the young competitors were
in a state of the most anxious suspense. Leonora and Cecilia continued
to be the foremost candidates. Their quarrel had never been finally
adjusted, and their different pretensions now retarded all thoughts of a
reconciliation. Cecilia, though she was capable of acknowledging any of
her faults in public before all her companions, could not humble herself
in private to Leonora. Leonora was her equal; they were her inferiors,
and submission is much easier to a vain mind, where it appears to be
voluntary, than when it is the necessary tribute to justice or candour.
So strongly did Cecilia feel this truth, that she even delayed making
any apology, or coming to any explanation with Leonora, until success
should once more give her the palm.

'If I win the bracelet to-day,' said she to herself, 'I will solicit the
return of Leonora's friendship; it will be more valuable to me than even
the bracelet, and at such a time, and asked in such a manner, she surely
cannot refuse it to me.' Animated with this hope of a double triumph,
Cecilia canvassed with the most zealous activity. By constant attention
and exertion she had considerably abated the violence of her temper, and
changed the course of her habits. Her powers of pleasing were now
excited, instead of her abilities to excel; and, if her talents appeared
less brilliant, her character was acknowledged to be more amiable. So
great an influence upon our manners and conduct have the objects of our
ambition.

Cecilia was now, if possible, more than ever desirous of doing what was
right, but she had not yet acquired sufficient fear of doing wrong. This
was the fundamental error of her mind; it arose in a great measure from
her early education. Her mother died when she was very young; and though
her father had supplied her place in the best and kindest manner, he had
insensibly infused into his daughter's mind a portion of that
enterprising, independent spirit which he justly deemed essential to the
character of her brother. This brother was some years older than
Cecilia, but he had always been the favourite companion of her youth.
What her father's precepts inculcated, his example enforced; and even
Cecilia's virtues consequently became such as were more estimable in a
man than desirable in a female. All small objects and small errors she
had been taught to disregard as trifles; and her impatient disposition
was perpetually leading her into more material faults; yet her candour
in confessing these, she had been suffered to believe, was sufficient
reparation and atonement.

Leonora, on the contrary, who had been educated by her mother in a
manner more suited to her sex, had a character and virtues more peculiar
to a female. Her judgment had been early cultivated, and her good sense
employed in the regulation of her conduct. She had been habituated to
that restraint which, as a woman, she was to expect in life, and early
accustomed to yield. Compliance in her seemed natural and graceful; yet,
notwithstanding the gentleness of her temper, she was in reality more
independent than Cecilia. She had more reliance upon her own judgment,
and more satisfaction in her own approbation. The uniform kindness of
her manner, the consistency and equality of her character, had fixed the
esteem and passive love of her companions.

By passive love we mean that species of affection which makes us
unwilling to offend rather than anxious to oblige, which is more a habit
than an emotion of the mind. For Cecilia her companions felt active
love, for she was active in showing her love to them.

Active love arises spontaneously in the mind, after feeling particular
instances of kindness, without reflection on the past conduct or general
character. It exceeds the merits of its object, and is connected with a
feeling of generosity, rather than with a sense of justice.

Without determining which species of love is the most flattering to
others, we can easily decide which is the most agreeable feeling to our
minds. We give our hearts more credit for being generous than for being
just; and we feel more self-complacency when we give our love
voluntarily, than when we yield it as a tribute which we cannot
withhold. Though Cecilia's companions might not know all this in theory,
they proved it in practice; for they loved her in a much higher
proportion to her merits than they loved Leonora.

Each of the young judges was to signify her choice by putting a red or a
white shell into a vase prepared for the purpose. Cecilia's colour was
red, Leonora's white.

In the morning nothing was to be seen but these shells; nothing talked
of but the long-expected event of the evening. Cecilia, following
Leonora's example, had made it a point of honour not to inquire of any
individual her vote, previously to their final determination.

They were both sitting together in Louisa's room. Louisa was recovering
from the measles. Every one during her illness had been desirous of
attending her; but Leonora and Cecilia were the only two that were
permitted to see her, as they alone had had the distemper. They were
both assiduous in their care of Louisa, but Leonora's want of exertion
to overcome any disagreeable feelings of sensibility often deprived her
of presence of mind, and prevented her from being so constantly useful
as Cecilia. Cecilia, on the contrary, often made too much noise and
bustle with her officious assistance, and was too anxious to invent
amusements and procure comforts for Louisa, without perceiving that
illness takes away the power of enjoying them.

As she was sitting at the window in the morning, exerting herself to
entertain Louisa, she heard the voice of an old peddler who often used
to come to the house. Downstairs, they ran immediately, to ask Mrs.
Villars's permission to bring him into the hall. Mrs. Villars consented,
and away Cecilia ran to proclaim the news to her companions. Then, first
returning into the hall, she found the peddler just unbuckling his box,
and taking it off his shoulders.

'What would you be pleased to want, miss?' said the peddler; 'I've all
kinds of tweezer-cases, rings, and lockets of all sorts,' continued he,
opening all the glittering drawers successively.

'Oh!' said Cecilia, shutting the drawer of lockets which tempted her
most, 'these are not the things which I want. Have you any china
figures? any mandarins?'

'Alack-a-day, miss, I had a great stock of that same chinaware; but now
I'm quite out of them kind of things; but I believe,' said he, rummaging
one of the deepest drawers, 'I believe I have one left, and here it is.'
'Oh, that is the very thing! what's its price?' 'Only three shillings,
ma'am.' Cecilia paid the money, and was just going to carry off the
mandarin, when the peddler took out of his greatcoat pocket a neat
mahogany case. It was about a foot long, and fastened at each end by two
little clasps. It had, besides, a small lock in the middle.

'What is that?' said Cecilia, eagerly. 'It's only a china figure, miss,
which I am going to carry to an elderly lady, who lives nigh hand, and
who is mighty fond of such things.' 'Could you let me look at it?' 'And
welcome, miss,' said he, and opened the case. 'Oh, goodness! how
beautiful!' exclaimed Cecilia.

It was a figure of Flora, crowned with roses, and carrying a basket of
flowers in her hand. Cecilia contemplated it with delight. 'How I should
like to give this to Louisa!' said she to herself; and, at last,
breaking silence, 'Did you promise it to the old lady?' 'Oh no, miss, I
didn't promise it--she never saw it; and if so be that you'd like to
take it, I'd make no more words about it.' 'And how much does it cost?'
'Why, miss, as to that, I'll let you have it for half-a-guinea.'

Cecilia immediately produced the box in which she kept her treasure,
and, emptying it upon the table, she began to count the shillings. Alas!
there were but six shillings. 'How provoking!' said she; 'then I can't
have it. Where's the mandarin? Oh, I have it,' said she, taking it up,
and looking at it with the utmost disgust. 'Is this the same that I had
before?' 'Yes, miss, the very same,' replied the peddler, who, during
this time, had been examining the little box out of which Cecilia had
taken her money--it was of silver. 'Why, ma'am,' said he, 'since you've
taken such a fancy to the piece, if you've a mind to make up the
remainder of the money, I will take this here little box, if you care to
part with it.'

Now this box was a keepsake from Leonora to Cecilia. 'No,' said Cecilia
hastily, blushing a little, and stretching out her hand to receive it.

'Oh, miss!' said he, returning it carelessly, 'I hope there's no
offence. I meant but to serve you, that's all. Such a rare piece of
china-work has no cause to go a-begging,' added he. Then, putting the
Flora deliberately into the case, and turning the key with a jerk, he
let it drop into his pocket; when, lifting up his box by the leather
straps, he was preparing to depart.

'Oh, stay one minute!' said Cecilia, in whose mind there had passed a
very warm conflict during the peddler's harangue. 'Louisa would so like
this Flora,' said she, arguing with herself. 'Besides, it would be so
generous in me to give it to her instead of that ugly mandarin; that
would be doing only common justice, for I promised it to her, and she
expects it. Though, when I come to look at this mandarin, it is not
even so good as hers was. The gilding is all rubbed off, so that I
absolutely must buy this for her. Oh yes! I will, and she will be so
delighted! and then everybody will say it is the prettiest thing they
ever saw, and the broken mandarin will be forgotten for ever.'

[Illustration: _'Oh, stay one minute!' said Cecilia._]

Here Cecilia's hand moved, and she was just going to decide: 'Oh, but
stop,' said she to herself, 'consider--Leonora gave me this box, and it
is a keepsake. However, we have now quarrelled, and I daresay that she
would not mind my parting with it. I'm sure that I should not care if
she was to give away my keepsake, the smelling-bottle, or the ring which
I gave her. Then what does it signify? Besides, is it not my own? and
have I not a right to do what I please with it?'

At this moment, so critical for Cecilia, a party of her companions
opened the door. She knew that they came as purchasers, and she dreaded
her Flora's becoming the prize of some higher bidder. 'Here,' said she,
hastily putting the box into the peddler's hand, without looking at it,
'take it, and give me the Flora.' Her hand trembled, though she snatched
it impatiently. She ran by, without seeming to mind any of her
companions.

Let those who are tempted to do wrong by the hopes of future
gratification, or the prospect of certain concealment and impunity,
remember that, unless they are totally depraved, they bear in their own
hearts a monitor, who will prevent their enjoying what they ill
obtained.

In vain Cecilia ran to the rest of her companions, to display her
present, in hopes that the applause of others would restore her own
self-complacency; in vain she saw the Flora pass in due pomp from hand
to hand, each vying with the other in extolling the beauty of the gift
and the generosity of the giver. Cecilia was still displeased with
herself, with them, and even with their praise. From Louisa's gratitude,
however, she yet expected much pleasure, and immediately she ran
upstairs to her room.

In the meantime, Leonora had gone into the hall to buy a bodkin; she had
just broken hers. In giving her change, the peddler took out of his
pocket, with some halfpence, the very box which Cecilia had sold to him.
Leonora did not in the least suspect the truth, for her mind was above
suspicion; and besides, she had the utmost confidence in Cecilia.

'I should like to have that box,' said she, 'for it is like one of which
I was very fond.'

The peddler named the price, and Leonora took the box. She intended to
give it to little Louisa. On going to her room she found her asleep, and
she sat softly down by her bedside. Louisa opened her eyes.

'I hope I didn't disturb you,' said Leonora. 'Oh no; I didn't hear you
come in; but what have you got there?' 'It is only a little box; would
you like to have it? I bought it on purpose for you, as I thought
perhaps it would please you, because it's like that which I gave
Cecilia.' 'Oh yes! that out of which she used to give me Barbary drops.
I am very much obliged to you; I always thought _that_ exceedingly
pretty, and this, indeed, is as like it as possible. I can't unscrew it;
will you try?'

Leonora unscrewed it. 'Goodness!' exclaimed Louisa, 'this must be
Cecilia's box. Look, don't you see a great L at the bottom of it?'

Leonora's colour changed. 'Yes,' she replied calmly, 'I see that; but it
is no proof that it is Cecilia's. You know that I bought this box just
now of the peddler.' 'That may be,' said Louisa; 'but I remember
scratching that L with my own needle, and Cecilia scolded me for it,
too. Do go and ask her if she has lost her box--do,' repeated Louisa,
pulling her by the ruffle, as she did not seem to listen.

Leonora, indeed, did not hear, for she was lost in thought. She was
comparing circumstances which had before escaped her attention. She
recollected that Cecilia had passed her as she came into the hall,
without seeming to see her, but had blushed as she passed. She
remembered that the peddler appeared unwilling to part with the box, and
was going to put it again in his pocket with the halfpence. 'And why
should he keep it in his pocket, and not show it with his other things?'
Combining all these circumstances, Leonora had no longer any doubt of
the truth, for though she had an honourable confidence in her friends,
she had too much penetration to be implicitly credulous.

'Louisa,' she began, but at this instant she heard a step, which, by its
quickness, she knew to be Cecilia's, coming along the passage.

'If you love me, Louisa,' said Leonora, 'say nothing about the box.'
'Nay, but why not? I daresay she had lost it.' 'No, my dear, I'm afraid
she has not.' Louisa looked surprised. 'But I have reasons for desiring
you not to say anything about it.' 'Well, then, I won't, indeed.'

Cecilia opened the door, came forward smiling, as if secure of a good
reception, and taking the Flora out of the case, she placed it on the
mantelpiece, opposite to Louisa's bed.

'Dear, how beautiful!' cried Louisa, starting up. 'Yes,' said Cecilia,
'and guess who it's for.' 'For me, perhaps!' said the ingenuous Louisa.
'Yes, take it, and keep it for my sake. You know that I broke your
mandarin.' 'Oh, but this is a great deal prettier and larger than that.'
'Yes, I know it is; and I meant that it should be so. I should only have
done what I was bound to do if I had only given you a mandarin.'

'Well,' replied Louisa, 'and that would have been enough, surely; but
what a beautiful crown of roses! and then that basket of flowers! they
almost look as if I could smell them. Dear Cecilia, I'm very much
obliged to you; but I won't take it by way of payment for the mandarin
you broke; for I'm sure you could not help that, and, besides, I should
have broken it myself by this time. You shall give it to me entirely;
and, as your keepsake, I'll keep it as long as I live.'

Louisa stopped short and coloured; the word keepsake recalled the box to
her mind, and all the train of ideas which the Flora had banished.
'But,' said she, looking up wistfully in Cecilia's face, and holding the
Flora doubtfully, 'did you----'

Leonora, who was just quitting the room, turned her head back, and gave
Louisa a look, which silenced her.

Cecilia was so infatuated with her vanity, that she neither perceived
Leonora's sign nor Louisa's confusion, but continued showing off her
present, by placing it in various situations, till at length she put it
into the case, and laying it down with an affected carelessness upon the
bed, 'I must go now, Louisa. Good-bye,' said she, running up and kissing
her; 'but I'll come again presently'; then, clapping the door after her,
she went. But as soon as the fermentation of her spirits subsided, the
sense of shame, which had been scarcely felt when mixed with so many
other sensations, rose uppermost in her mind. 'What!' said she to
herself, 'is it possible that I have sold what I promised to keep for
ever? and what Leonora gave me? and I have concealed it too, and have
been making a parade of my generosity. Oh! what would Leonora, what
would Louisa--what would everybody think of me if the truth were known?'

Humiliated and grieved by these reflections, Cecilia began to search in
her own mind for some consoling idea. She began to compare her conduct
with that of others of her own age; and at length, fixing her comparison
upon her brother George, as the companion of whom, from her infancy, she
had been habitually the most emulous, she recollected that an almost
similar circumstance had once happened to him, and that he had not only
escaped disgrace, but had acquired glory, by an intrepid confession of
his fault. Her father's word to her brother, on the occasion, she also
perfectly recollected.

'Come to me, George,' he said, holding out his hand, 'you are a
generous, brave boy: they who dare to confess their faults will make
great and good men.'

These were his words; but Cecilia, in repeating them to herself, forgot
to lay that emphasis on the word _men_ which would have placed it in
contradistinction to the word women. She willingly believed that the
observation extended equally to both sexes, and flattered herself that
she should exceed her brother in merit if she owned a fault which she
thought that it would be so much more difficult to confess. 'Yes, but,'
said she, stopping herself, 'how can I confess it? This very evening, in
a few hours, the prize will be decided. Leonora or I shall win it. I
have now as good a chance as Leonora, perhaps a better; and must I give
up all my hopes--all that I have been labouring for this month past? Oh,
I never can! If it were but to-morrow, or yesterday, or any day but
this, I would not hesitate; but now I am almost certain of the prize,
and if I win it--well, why then I will--I think I will tell all--yes I
will; I am determined,' said Cecilia.

Here a bell summoned them to dinner. Leonora sat opposite to her, and
she was not a little surprised to see Cecilia look so gay and
unconstrained. 'Surely,' said she to herself, 'if Cecilia had done that
which I suspect, she would not, she could not, look as she does.' But
Leonora little knew the cause of her gaiety. Cecilia was never in higher
spirits, or better pleased with herself, than when she had resolved upon
a sacrifice or a confession.

'Must not this evening be given to the most amiable? Whose, then, will
it be?' All eyes glanced first at Cecilia, and then at Leonora. Cecilia
smiled; Leonora blushed. 'I see that it is not yet decided,' said Mrs.
Villars; and immediately they ran upstairs, amidst confused whisperings.

Cecilia's voice could be distinguished far above the rest. 'How can she
be so happy!' said Leonora to herself. 'O Cecilia, there was a time when
you could not have neglected me so! when we were always together the
best of friends and companions; our wishes, tastes, and pleasures the
same! Surely she did once love me,' said Leonora; 'but now she is quite
changed. She has even sold my keepsake; and she would rather win a
bracelet of hair from girls whom she did not always think so much
superior to Leonora than have my esteem, my confidence, and my
friendship for her whole life--yes, for her whole life, for I am sure
she will be an amiable woman. Oh that this bracelet had never been
thought of, or that I were certain of her winning it; for I am sure that
I do not wish to win it from her. I would rather--a thousand times
rather--that we were as we used to be than have all the glory in the
world. And how pleasing Cecilia can be when she wishes to please!--how
candid she is!--how much she can improve herself! Let me be just, though
she has offended me; she is wonderfully improved within this last month.
For one fault, and _that_ against myself, shall I forget all her
merits?'

As Leonora said these last words, she could but just hear the voices of
her companions. They had left her alone in the gallery. She knocked
softly at Louisa's door. 'Come in,' said Louisa; 'I'm not asleep. Oh,'
said she, starting up with the Flora in her hand, the instant that the
door was opened, 'I'm so glad you are come, Leonora, for I did so long
to hear what you all were making such a noise about. Have you forgot
that the bracelet----' 'Oh yes! is this the evening?' inquired Leonora.
'Well, here's my white shell for you,' said Louisa. 'I've kept it in my
pocket this fortnight; and though Cecilia did give me this Flora, I
still love you a great deal better.' 'I thank you, Louisa,' said
Leonora, gratefully. 'I will take your shell, and I shall value it as
long as I live; but here is a red one, and if you wish to show me that
you love me, you will give this to Cecilia. I know that she is
particularly anxious for your preference, and I am sure that she
deserves it.' 'Yes, if I could I would choose both of you,' said
Louisa, 'but you know I can only choose which I like the best.' 'If you
mean, my dear Louisa,' said Leonora, 'that you like me the best, I am
very much obliged to you, for, indeed, I wish you to love me; but it is
enough for me to know it in private. I should not feel the least more
pleasure at hearing it in public, or in having it made known to all my
companions, especially at a time when it would give poor Cecilia a great
deal of pain.' 'But why should it give her pain?' asked Louisa; 'I don't
like her for being jealous of you.' 'Nay, Louisa, surely you don't think
Cecilia jealous? She only tries to excel, and to please; she is more
anxious to succeed than I am, it is true, because she has a great deal
more activity, and perhaps more ambition. And it would really mortify
her to lose this prize--you know that she proposed it herself. It has
been her object for this month past, and I am sure she has taken great
pains to obtain it.' 'But, dear Leonora, why should you lose it?'
'Indeed, my dear, it would be no loss to me; and, if it were, I would
willingly suffer it for Cecilia; for, though we seem not to be such good
friends as we used to be, I love her very much, and she will love me
again--I'm sure she will; when she no longer fears me as a rival, she
will again love me as a friend.'

Here Leonora heard a number of her companions running along the gallery.
They all knocked hastily at the door, calling 'Leonora! Leonora! will
you never come? Cecilia has been with us this half-hour.' Leonora
smiled. 'Well, Louisa,' said she, smiling, 'will you promise me?' 'Oh, I
am sure, by the way they speak to you, that they won't give you the
prize!' said the little Louisa, and the tears started into her eyes.
'They love me, though, for all that,' said Leonora; 'and as for the
prize, you know whom I wish to have it.'

'Leonora! Leonora!' called her impatient companions; 'don't you hear us?
What are you about?' 'Oh, she never will take any trouble about
anything,' said one of the party; 'let's go away.' 'Oh, go, go! make
haste!' cried Louisa; 'don't stay; they are so angry.' 'Remember, then,
that you have promised me,' said Leonora, and she left the room.

During all this time, Cecilia had been in the garden with her
companions. The ambition which she had felt to win the first prize--the
prize of superior talents and superior application--was not to be
compared to the absolute anxiety which she now expressed to win this
simple testimony of the love and approbation of her equals and rivals.

To employ her exuberant activity, Cecilia had been dragging branches of
lilacs and laburnums, roses and sweet brier, to ornament the bower in
which her fate was to be decided. It was excessively hot, but her mind
was engaged, and she was indefatigable. She stood still at last to
admire her works. Her companions all joined in loud applause. They were
not a little prejudiced in her favour by the great eagerness which she
expressed to win their prize, and by the great importance which she
seemed to affix to the preference of each individual. At last, 'Where is
Leonora?' cried one of them; and immediately, as we have seen, they ran
to call her.

Cecilia was left alone. Overcome with heat and too violent exertion, she
had hardly strength to support herself; each moment appeared to her
intolerably long. She was in a state of the utmost suspense, and all her
courage failed her. Even hope forsook her; and hope is a cordial which
leaves the mind depressed and enfeebled.

'The time is now come,' said Cecilia; 'in a few moments all will be
decided. In a few moments--goodness! How much do I hazard? If I should
not win the prize, how shall I confess what I have done? How shall I beg
Leonora to forgive me? I, who hoped to restore my friendship to her as
an honour! They are gone to seek for her. The moment she appears I shall
be forgotten. What--what shall I do?' said Cecilia, covering her face
with her hands.

Such was Cecilia's situation when Leonora, accompanied by her
companions, opened the hall door. They most of them ran forwards to
Cecilia. As Leonora came into the bower, she held out her hand to
Cecilia. 'We are not rivals, but friends, I hope,' said she. Cecilia
clasped her hand; but she was in too great agitation to speak.

The table was now set in the arbour--the vase was now placed in the
middle. 'Well,' said Cecilia, eagerly, 'who begins?' Caroline, one of
her friends, came forward first, and then all the others successively.
Cecilia's emotion was hardly conceivable. 'Now they are all in! Count
them, Caroline!'

'One, two, three, four; the numbers are both equal.' There was a dead
silence. 'No, they are not,' exclaimed Cecilia, pressing forward, and
putting a shell into a vase. 'I have not given mine, and I give it to
Leonora.' Then, snatching the bracelet, 'It is yours, Leonora,' said
she; 'take it, and give me back your friendship.' The whole assembly
gave one universal clap and a general shout of applause.

'I cannot be surprised at this from you, Cecilia,' said Leonora; 'and do
you then still love me as you used to do?'

'O Leonora, stop! don't praise me; I don't deserve this,' said she,
turning to her loudly-applauding companions. 'You will soon despise me.
O Leonora, you will never forgive me! I have deceived you; I have
sold----'

At this instant Mrs. Villars appeared. The crowd divided. She had heard
all that passed, from her window. 'I applaud your generosity, Cecilia,'
said she, 'but I am to tell you that in this instance it is
unsuccessful. You have it not in your power to give the prize to
Leonora. It is yours. I have another vote to give to you. You have
forgotten Louisa.'

'Louisa!' exclaimed Cecilia; 'but surely, ma'am, Louisa loves Leonora
better than she does me.' 'She commissioned me, however,' said Mrs.
Villars, 'to give you a red shell; and you will find it in this box.'

Cecilia started, and turned as pale as death; it was the fatal box!

Mrs. Villars produced another box. She opened it; it contained the
Flora. 'And Louisa also desired me,' said she, 'to return you this
Flora.' She put it into Cecilia's hand. Cecilia trembled so that she
could not hold it. Leonora caught it.

'Oh, madam! Oh, Leonora!' exclaimed Cecilia; 'now I have no hope left. I
intended--I was just going to tell----' 'Dear Cecilia,' said Leonora,
'you need not tell it me; I know it already; and I forgive you with all
my heart.'

'Yes, I can prove to you,' said Mrs. Villars, 'that Leonora has forgiven
you. It is she who has given you the prize; it was she who persuaded
Louisa to give you her vote. I went to see her a little while ago; and
perceiving, by her countenance, that something was the matter, I pressed
her to tell me what it was.

'"Why, madam," said she, "Leonora has made me promise to give my shell
to Cecilia. Now I don't love Cecilia half so well as I do Leonora.
Besides, I would not have Cecilia think I vote for her because she gave
me a Flora." Whilst Louisa was speaking,' continued Mrs. Villars, 'I saw
this silver box lying on the bed. I took it up, and asked if it was not
yours, and how she came by it. "Indeed, madam," said Louisa, "I could
have been almost certain that it was Cecilia's; but Leonora gave it me,
and she said that she bought it of the peddler this morning. If anybody
else had told me so, I could not have believed them, because I remember
the box so well; but I can't help believing Leonora." "But did not you
ask Cecilia about it?" said I. "No, madam," replied Louisa; "for Leonora
forbade me." I guessed her reason. "Well," said I, "give me the box, and
I will carry your shell in it to Cecilia." "Then, madam," said she, "if
I must give it her, pray do take the Flora, and return it to her first,
that she may not think it is for that I do it."'

'Oh, generous Leonora!' exclaimed Cecilia; 'but, indeed, Louisa, I
cannot take your shell.'

'Then, dear Cecilia, accept of mine instead of it! you cannot refuse it;
I only follow your example. As for the bracelet,' added Leonora, taking
Cecilia's hand, 'I assure you I don't wish for it, and you do, and you
deserve it.' 'No,' said Cecilia, 'indeed I do not deserve it. Next to
you, surely Louisa deserves it best.'

'Louisa! oh yes, Louisa,' exclaimed everybody with one voice.

'Yes,' said Mrs. Villars, 'and let Cecilia carry the bracelet to her;
she deserves that reward. For one fault I cannot forget all your merits,
Cecilia, nor, I am sure, will your companions.' 'Then, surely, not your
best friend,' said Leonora, kissing her.

Everybody present was moved. They looked up to Leonora with respectful
and affectionate admiration.

'Oh, Leonora, how I love you! and how I wish to be like you!' exclaimed
Cecilia--'to be as good, as generous!'

'Rather wish, Cecilia,' interrupted Mrs. Villars, 'to be as just; to be
as strictly honourable, and as invariably consistent. Remember, that
many of our sex are capable of great efforts--of making what they call
great sacrifices to virtue or to friendship; but few treat their friends
with habitual gentleness, or uniformly conduct themselves with prudence
and good sense.'



THE LITTLE MERCHANTS


CHAPTER I

  _Chi di gallina nasce, convien che rozole._
  As the old cock crows, so crows the young.

Those who have visited Italy give us an agreeable picture of the
cheerful industry of the children of all ages in the celebrated city of
Naples. Their manner of living and their numerous employments are
exactly described in the following 'Extract from a Traveller's
Journal.'[18]

  [18] _Varieties of Literature_, vol. i. p. 299.

'The children are busied in various ways. A great number of them bring
fish for sale to town from Santa Lucia; others are very often seen about
the arsenals, or wherever carpenters are at work, employed in gathering
up the chips and pieces of wood; or by the seaside, picking up sticks,
and whatever else has drifted ashore, which, when their basket is full,
they carry away.

'Children of two or three years old, who can scarcely crawl along upon
the ground, in company with boys of five or six, are employed in this
petty trade. Hence they proceed with their baskets into the heart of the
city, where in several places they form a sort of little market, sitting
round with their stock of wood before them. Labourers, and the lower
order of citizens, buy it of them to burn in the tripods for warming
themselves, or to use in their scanty kitchens.

'Other children carry about for sale the water of the sulphurous wells,
which, particularly in the spring season, is drunk in great abundance.
Others again endeavour to turn a few pence by buying a small matter of
fruit, of pressed honey, cakes, and comfits, and then, like little
peddlers, offer and sell them to other children, always for no more
profit than that they may have their share of them free of expense.

'It is really curious to see how an urchin, whose whole stock and
property consist in a board and a knife, will carry about a water-melon,
or a half-roasted gourd, collect a troup of children round him, set down
his board, and proceed to divide the fruit into small pieces among them.

'The buyers keep a sharp look-out to see that they have enough for their
little piece of copper; and the Lilliputian tradesmen act with no less
caution as the exigencies of the case may require, to prevent his being
cheated out of a morsel.'

The advantages of truth and honesty, and the value of a character for
integrity, are very early felt amongst these little merchants in their
daily intercourse with each other. The fair dealer is always sooner or
later seen to prosper. The most cunning cheat is at last detected and
disgraced.

Numerous instances of the truth of this common observation were remarked
by many Neapolitan children, especially by those who were acquainted
with the characters and history of Piedro and Francisco, two boys
originally equal in birth, fortune, and capacity, but different in their
education, and consequently in their habits and conduct. Francisco was
the son of an honest gardener, who, from the time he could speak, taught
him to love to speak the truth, showed him that liars are never
believed--that cheats and thieves cannot be trusted, and that the
shortest way to obtain a good character is to deserve it.

Youth and white paper, as the proverb says, take all impressions. The
boy profited much by his father's precepts, and more by his example; he
always heard his father speak the truth, and saw that he dealt fairly
with everybody. In all his childish traffic, Francisco, imitating his
parents, was scrupulously honest, and therefore all his companions
trusted him--'As honest as Francisco,' became a sort of proverb amongst
them.

'As honest as Francisco,' repeated Piedro's father, when he one day
heard this saying. 'Let them say so; I say, "As sharp as Piedro"; and
let us see which will go through the world best.' With the idea of
making his son _sharp_ he made him cunning. He taught him, that to make
a _good bargain_ was to deceive as to the value and price of whatever
he wanted to dispose of; to get as much money as possible from customers
by taking advantage of their ignorance or of their confidence. He often
repeated his favourite proverb--'The buyer has need of a hundred eyes;
the seller has need but of one.'[19] And he took frequent opportunities
of explaining the meaning of this maxim to his son. He was a fisherman;
and as his gains depended more upon fortune than upon prudence, he
trusted habitually to his good luck. After being idle for a whole day,
he would cast his line or his nets, and if he was lucky enough to catch
a fine fish, he would go and show it in triumph to his neighbour the
gardener.

  [19] Chi compra ha bisogna di cent' occhi; chi vende n' ha assai di
       uno.

'You are obliged to work all day long for your daily bread,' he would
say. 'Look here; I work but five minutes, and I have not only daily
bread, but daily fish.'

Upon these occasions, our fisherman always forgot, or neglected to
count, the hours and days which were wasted in waiting for a fair wind
to put to sea, or angling in vain on the shore.

Little Piedro, who used to bask in the sun upon the sea-shore beside his
father, and to lounge or sleep away his time in a fishing-boat, acquired
habits of idleness, which seemed to his father of little consequence
whilst he was _but a child_.

'What will you do with Piedro as he grows up, neighbour?' said the
gardener. 'He is smart and quick enough, but he is always in mischief.
Scarcely a day has passed for this fortnight but I have caught him
amongst my grapes. I track his footsteps all over my vineyard.' '_He is
but a child_ yet, and knows no better,' replied the fisherman. 'But if
you don't teach him better now he is a child, how will he know when he
is a man?' said the gardener. 'A mighty noise about a bunch of grapes,
truly!' cried the fisherman; 'a few grapes more or less in your
vineyard, what does it signify?' 'I speak for your son's sake, and not
for the sake of my grapes,' said the gardener; 'and I tell you again,
the boy will not do well in the world, neighbour, if you don't look
after him in time.' 'He'll do well enough in the world, you will find,'
answered the fisherman, carelessly. 'Whenever he casts my nets, they
never come up empty. "It is better to be lucky than wise."'[20]

  [20] E meglio esser fortunato che savio.

This was a proverb which Piedro had frequently heard from his father,
and to which he most willingly trusted, because it gave him less trouble
to fancy himself fortunate than to make himself wise.

'Come here, child,' said his father to him, when he returned home after
the preceding conversation with the gardener; 'how old are you, my
boy?--twelve years old, is not it?' 'As old as Francisco, and older by
six months,' said Piedro. 'And smarter and more knowing by six years,'
said his father. 'Here, take these fish to Naples, and let us see how
you'll sell them for me. Venture a small fish, as the proverb says, to
catch a great one.[21] I was too late with them at the market yesterday,
but nobody will know but what they are just fresh out of the water,
unless you go and tell them.'

  [21] Butta una sardella per pigliar un luccio.

'Not I; trust me for that; I'm not such a fool,' replied Piedro,
laughing; 'I leave that to Francisco. Do you know, I saw him the other
day miss selling a melon for his father by turning the bruised side to
the customer, who was just laying down the money for it, and who was a
raw servant-boy, moreover--one who would never have guessed there were
two sides to a melon, if he had not, as you say, father, been told of
it?'

'Off with you to market. You are a droll chap,' said his father, 'and
will sell my fish cleverly, I'll be bound. As to the rest, let every man
take care of his own grapes. You understand me, Piedro?'

'Perfectly,' said the boy, who perceived that his father was indifferent
as to his honesty, provided he sold fish at the highest price possible.
He proceeded to the market, and he offered his fish with assiduity to
every person whom he thought likely to buy it, especially to those upon
whom he thought he could impose. He positively asserted to all who
looked at his fish that they were just fresh out of the water. Good
judges of men and fish knew that he said what was false, and passed him
by with neglect; but it was at last what he called _good luck_ to meet
with the very same young raw servant-boy who would have bought the
bruised melon from Francisco. He made up to him directly, crying, 'Fish!
Fine fresh fish! fresh fish!'

'Was it caught to-day?' said the boy.

[Illustration: _'I saw him the other day miss selling a melon for his
father by turning the bruised side to the customer.'_]

'Yes, this morning; not an hour ago,' said Piedro, with the greatest
effrontery.

The servant-boy was imposed upon; and being a foreigner, speaking the
Italian language but imperfectly, and not being expert at reckoning the
Italian money, he was no match for the cunning Piedro, who cheated him
not only as to the freshness but as to the price of the commodity.
Piedro received nearly half as much again for his fish as he ought to
have done.

On his road homewards from Naples to the little village of Resina, where
his father lived, he overtook Francisco, who was leading his father's
ass. The ass was laden with large panniers, which were filled with the
stalks and leaves of cauliflowers, cabbages, broccoli, lettuces,
etc.--all the refuse of the Neapolitan kitchens, which are usually
collected by the gardeners' boys, and carried to the gardens round
Naples, to be mixed with other manure.

'Well-filled panniers, truly,' said Piedro, as he overtook Francisco and
the ass. The panniers were indeed not only filled to the top, but piled
up with much skill and care, so that the load met over the animal's
back.

'It is not a very heavy load for the ass, though it looks so large,'
said Francisco. 'The poor fellow, however, shall have a little of this
water,' added he, leading the ass to a pool by the roadside.

'I was not thinking of the ass, boy; I was not thinking of any ass, but
of you, when I said, "Well-filled panniers, truly!" This is your
morning's work, I presume, and you'll make another journey to Naples
to-day, on the same errand, I warrant, before your father thinks you
have done enough?'

'Not before _my father_ thinks I have done enough, but before I think so
myself,' replied Francisco.

'I do enough to satisfy myself and my father too,' said Piedro, 'without
slaving myself after your fashion. Look here,' producing the money he
had received for the fish; 'all this was had for asking. It is no bad
thing, you'll allow, to know how to ask for money properly.'

'I should be ashamed to beg, or borrow either,' said Francisco.

'Neither did I get what you see by begging, or borrowing either,' said
Piedro, 'but by using my wits; not as you did yesterday, when, like a
novice, you showed the bruised side of your melon, and so spoiled your
market by your wisdom.'

'Wisdom I think it still,' said Francisco.

'And your father?' asked Piedro.

'And my father,' said Francisco.

'Mine is of a different way of thinking,' said Piedro. 'He always tells
me that the buyer has need of a hundred eyes, and if one can blind the
whole hundred, so much the better. You must know, I got off the fish
to-day that my father could not sell yesterday in the market--got it off
for fresh just out of the river--got twice as much as the market price
for it; and from whom, think you? Why, from the very booby that would
have bought the bruised melon for a sound one if you would have let him.
You'll allow I'm no fool, Francisco, and that I'm in a fair way to grow
rich, if I go on as I have begun.'

'Stay,' said Francisco; 'you forgot that the booby you took in to-day
will not be so easily taken in to-morrow. He will buy no more fish from
you, because he will be afraid of your cheating him; but he will be
ready enough to buy fruit from me, because he will know I shall not
cheat him--so you'll have lost a customer, and I gained one.'

'With all my heart,' said Piedro. 'One customer does not make a market;
if he buys no more from me, what care I? there are people enough to buy
fish in Naples.'

'And do you mean to serve them all in the same manner?' asked Francisco.

'If they will be only so good as to give me leave,' said Piedro,
laughing, and repeating his father's proverb, '"Venture a small fish to
catch a large one."'[22] He had learned to think that to cheat in making
bargains was witty and clever.

  [22] See _antea_.

'And you have never considered, then,' said Francisco, 'that all these
people will, one after another, find you out in time?'

'Ay, in time; but it will be some time first. There are a great many of
them, enough to last me all the summer, if I lose a customer a day,'
said Piedro.

'And next summer,' observed Francisco, 'what will you do?'

'Next summer is not come yet; there is time enough to think what I
shall do before next summer comes. Why, now, suppose the blockheads,
after they had been taken in and found it out, all joined against me,
and would buy none of our fish--what then? Are there no trades but that
of a fisherman? In Naples, are there not a hundred ways of making money
for a smart lad like me? as my father says. What do you think of turning
merchant, and selling sugar-plums and cakes to the children in their
market? Would they be hard to deal with, think you?'

'I think not,' said Francisco; 'but I think the children would find out
in time if they were cheated, and would like it as little as the men.'

'I don't doubt them. Then _in time_ I could, you know, change my
trade--sell chips and sticks in the wood-market--hand about the lemonade
to the fine folks, or twenty other things. There are trades enough,
boy.'

'Yes, for the honest dealer,' said Francisco, 'but for no other; for in
all of them you'll find, as _my_ father says, that a good character is
the best fortune to set up with. Change your trade ever so often, you'll
be found out for what you are at last.'

'And what am I, pray?' said Piedro, angrily. 'The whole truth of the
matter is, Francisco, that you envy my good luck, and can't bear to hear
this money jingle in my hand. Ay, stroke the long ears of your ass, and
look as wise as you please. It's better to be lucky than wise, as _my_
father says. Good morning to you. When I am found out for what I am, or
when the worst comes to the worst, I can drive a stupid ass, with his
panniers filled with rubbish, as well as you do now, _honest Francisco_?

'Not quite so well. Unless you were _honest Francisco_, you would not
fill his panniers quite so readily.'

This was certain, that Francisco was so well known for his honesty
amongst all the people at Naples with whom his father was acquainted,
that every one was glad to deal with him; and as he never wronged any
one, all were willing to serve him--at least, as much as they could
without loss to themselves; so that after the market was over, his
panniers were regularly filled by the gardeners and others with whatever
he wanted. His industry was constant, his gains small but certain, and
he every day had more and more reason to trust to his father's
maxim--That honesty is the best policy.

The foreign servant lad, to whom Francisco had so honestly, or, as
Piedro said, so sillily, shown the bruised side of the melon, was an
Englishman. He left his native country, of which he was extremely fond,
to attend upon his master, to whom he was still more attached. His
master was in a declining state of health, and this young lad waited on
him a little more to his mind than his other servants. We must, in
consideration of his zeal, fidelity, and inexperience, pardon him for
not being a good judge of fish. Though he had simplicity enough to be
easily cheated once, he had too much sense to be twice made a dupe. The
next time he met Piedro in the market, he happened to be in company with
several English gentlemen's servants, and he pointed Piedro out to them
all as an arrant knave. They heard his cry of 'Fresh fish! fresh fish!
fine fresh fish!' with incredulous smiles, and let him pass, but not
without some expressions of contempt, though uttered in English, he
tolerably well understood; for the tone of contempt is sufficiently
expressive in all languages. He lost more by not selling his fish to
these people than he had gained the day before by cheating the _English
booby_. The market was well supplied, and he could not get rid of his
cargo.

'Is not this truly provoking?' said Piedro, as he passed by Francisco,
who was selling fruit for his father. 'Look, my basket is as heavy as
when I left home; and look at 'em yourself, they really are fine fresh
fish to-day; and yet, because that revengeful booby told how I took him
in yesterday, not one of yonder crowd would buy them; and all the time
they really are fresh to-day!'

'So they are,' said Francisco; 'but you said so yesterday, when they
were not; and he that was duped then is not ready to believe you to-day.
How does he know that you deserve it better?'

'He might have looked at the fish,' repeated Piedro; 'they are fresh
to-day. I am sure he need not have been afraid.'

'Ay,' said Francisco; 'but as my father said to you once--the scalded
dog fears cold water.'[23]

  [23] Il cane scottato dell' acqua calda ha paura poi della fredda.

Here their conversation was interrupted by the same English lad, who
smiled as he came up to Francisco, and taking up a fine pine-apple, he
said, in a mixture of bad Italian and English--'I need not look at the
other side of this; you will tell me if it is not as good as it looks.
Name your price; I know you have but one, and that an honest one; and as
to the rest, I am able and willing to pay for what I buy; that is to
say, my master is, which comes to the same thing. I wish your fruit
could make him well, and it would be worth its weight in gold--to me, at
least. We must have some of your grapes for him.'

'Is he not well?' inquired Francisco. 'We must, then, pick out the best
for him,' at the same time singling out a tempting bunch. 'I hope he
will like these; but if you could some day come as far as Resina (it is
a village but a few miles out of town, where we have our vineyard), you
could there choose for yourself, and pluck them fresh from the vines for
your poor master.'

'Bless you, my good boy; I should take you for an Englishman, by your
way of dealing. I'll come to your village. Only write me down the name;
for your Italian names slip through my head. I'll come to the vineyard
if it was ten miles off; and all the time we stay in Naples (may it not
be so long as I fear it will!), with my master's leave, which he never
refuses me to anything that's proper, I'll deal with you for all our
fruit, as sure as my name's Arthur, and with none else, with my good
will. I wish all your countrymen would take after you in honesty, indeed
I do,' concluded the Englishman, looking full at Piedro, who took up his
unsold basket of fish, looking somewhat silly, and gloomily walked off.

Arthur, the English servant, was as good as his word. He dealt
constantly with Francisco, and proved an excellent customer, buying from
him during the whole season as much fruit as his master wanted. His
master, who was an Englishman of distinction, was invited to take up his
residence, during his stay in Italy, at the Count de F.'s villa, which
was in the environs of Naples--an easy walk from Resina. Francisco had
the pleasure of seeing his father's vineyard often full of generous
visitors, and Arthur, who had circulated the anecdote of the bruised
melon, was, he said, 'proud to think that some of this was his doing,
and that an Englishman never forgot a good turn, be it from a countryman
or foreigner.'

'My dear boy,' said Francisco's father to him, whilst Arthur was in the
vineyard helping to tend the vines, 'I am to thank you and your honesty,
it seems, for our having our hands so full of business this season. It
is fair you should have a share of our profits.'

'So I have, father, enough and enough, when I see you and mother going
on so well. What can I want more?'

'Oh, my brave boy, we know you are a grateful, good son; but I have been
your age myself; you have companions, you have little expenses of your
own. Here; this vine, this fig-tree, and a melon a week next summer
shall be yours. With these make a fine figure amongst the little
Neapolitan merchants; and all I wish is that you may prosper as well,
and by the same honest means, in managing for yourself, as you have done
managing for me.'

'Thank you, father; and if I prosper at all, it shall be by those means,
and no other, or I should not be worthy to be called your son.'

Piedro the cunning did not make quite so successful a summer's work as
did Francisco the honest. No extraordinary events happened, no singular
instance of bad or good luck occurred; but he felt, as persons usually
do, the natural consequences of his own actions. He pursued his scheme
of imposing, as far as he could, upon every person he dealt with; and
the consequence was, that at last nobody would deal with him.

'It is easy to outwit one person, but impossible to outwit all the
world,' said a man[24] who knew the world at least as well as either
Piedro or his father.

  [24] The Duc de Rochefoucault.--'On peut être plus fin qu'un autre,
       mais pas plus fin que tous les autres.'

Piedro's father, amongst others, had reason to complain. He saw his own
customers fall off from him, and was told, whenever he went into the
market, that his son was such a cheat there was no dealing with him. One
day, when he was returning from the market in a very bad humour, in
consequence of these reproaches, and of his not having found customers
for his goods, he espied his _smart_ son Piedro at a little merchant's
fruit-board, devouring a fine gourd with prodigious greediness. 'Where,
glutton, do you find money to pay for these dainties?' exclaimed his
father, coming close up to him, with angry gestures. Piedro's mouth was
much too full to make an immediate reply, nor did his father wait for
any, but darting his hand into the youth's pocket, pulled forth a
handful of silver.

'The money, father,' said Piedro, 'that I got for the fish yesterday,
and that I meant to give you to-day, before you went out.'

'Then I'll make you remember it against another time, sirrah!' said his
father. 'I'll teach you to fill your stomach with my money. Am I to lose
my customers by your tricks, and then find you here eating my all? You
are a rogue, and everybody has found you out to be a rogue; and the
worst of rogues I find you, who scruples not to cheat his own father.'

Saying these words, with great vehemence he seized hold of Piedro, and
in the very midst of the little fruit-market gave him a severe beating.
This beating did the boy no good; it was vengeance not punishment.
Piedro saw that his father was in a passion, and knew that he was beaten
because he was found out to be a rogue, rather than for being one. He
recollected perfectly that his father once said to him: 'Let every one
take care of his own grapes.'

Indeed, it was scarcely reasonable to expect that a boy who had been
educated to think that he might cheat every customer he could in the way
of trade, should be afterwards scrupulously honest in his conduct
towards the father whose proverbs encouraged his childhood in cunning.

Piedro writhed with bodily pain as he left the market after his
drubbing, but his mind was not in the least amended. On the contrary, he
was hardened to the sense of shame by the loss of reputation. All the
little merchants were spectators of this scene, and heard his father's
words: 'You _are_ a rogue, and the worst of rogues, who scruples not to
cheat his own father.'

These words were long remembered, and long did Piedro feel their
effects. He once flattered himself that, when his trade of selling fish
failed him, he could readily engage in some other; but he now found, to
his mortification, that what Francisco's father said proved true: 'In
all trades the best fortune to set up with is a good character.'

Not one of the little Neapolitan merchants would either enter into
partnership with him, give him credit, or even trade with him for ready
money.--'If you would cheat your own father, to be sure you will cheat
us,' was continually said to him by these prudent little people.

Piedro was taunted and treated with contempt at home and abroad. His
father, when he found that his son's _smartness_ was no longer useful
in making bargains, shoved him out of his way whenever he met him. All
the food or clothes that he had at home seemed to be given to him
grudgingly, and with such expressions as these: 'Take that; but it is
too good for you. You must eat this, now, instead of gourds and
figs--and be thankful you have even this.'

Piedro spent a whole winter very unhappily. He expected that all his old
tricks, and especially what his father had said of him in the
market-place, would be soon forgotten; but month passed after month, and
still these things were fresh in the memory of all who had known them.

It is not easy to get rid of a bad character. A very great rogue[25] was
once heard to say, that he would, with all his heart, give ten thousand
pounds for a good character, because he knew that he could make twenty
thousand by it.

  [25] Chartres.

Something like this was the sentiment of our cunning hero when he
experienced the evils of a bad reputation, and when he saw the numerous
advantages which Francisco's good character procured. Such had been
Piedro's wretched education, that even the hard lessons of experience
could not alter its pernicious effects. He was sorry his knavery had
been detected, but he still thought it clever to cheat, and was secretly
persuaded that, if he had cheated successfully, he should have been
happy. 'But I know I am not happy now,' said he to himself one morning,
as he sat alone disconsolate by the sea-shore, dressed in tattered
garments, weak and hungry, with an empty basket beside him. His
fishing-rod, which he held between his knees, bent over the dry sands
instead of into the water, for he was not thinking of what he was about;
his arms were folded, his head hung down, and his ragged hat was
slouched over his face. He was a melancholy spectacle.

Francisco, as he was coming from his father's vineyard with a large dish
of purple and white grapes upon his head, and a basket of melons and
figs hanging upon his arm, chanced to see Piedro seated in this
melancholy posture. Touched with compassion, Francisco approached him
softly; his footsteps were not heard upon the sands, and Piedro did not
perceive that any one was near him till he felt something cold touch his
hand; he then started, and, looking up, saw a bunch of ripe grapes,
which Francisco was holding over his head.

'Eat them; you'll find them very good, I hope,' said Francisco, with a
benevolent smile.

'They are excellent--most excellent, and I am much obliged to you,
Francisco,' said Piedro. 'I was very hungry, and that's what I am now,
without anybody's caring anything about it. I am not the favourite I was
with my father, but I know it is all my own fault.'

'Well, but cheer up,' said Francisco; 'my father always says, "One who
knows he has been in fault, and acknowledges it, will scarcely be in
fault again." Yes, take as many figs as you will,' continued he; and
held his basket closer to Piedro, who, as he saw, cast a hungry eye upon
one of the ripe figs.

'But,' said Piedro, after he had taken several, 'shall not I get you
into a scrape by taking so many? Won't your father be apt to miss them?'

'Do you think I would give them to you if they were not my own?' said
Francisco, with a sudden glance of indignation.

'Well, don't be angry that I asked the question; it was only from fear
of getting you into disgrace that I asked it.'

'It would not be easy for anybody to do that, I hope,' said Francisco,
rather proudly.

'And to me less than anybody,' replied Piedro, in an insinuating tone,
'_I_, that am so much obliged to you!'

'A bunch of grapes and a few figs are no mighty obligation,' said
Francisco, smiling; 'I wish I could do more for you. You seem, indeed,
to have been very unhappy of late. We never see you in the markets as we
used to do.'

'No; ever since my father beat me, and called me rogue before all the
children there, I have never been able to show my face without being
gibed at by one or t'other. If you would but take me along with you
amongst them, and only just _seem_ my friend for a day or two, or so, it
would quite set me up again; for they all like you.'

'I would rather _be_ than seem your friend, if I could,' said Francisco.

'Ay, to be sure; that would be still better,' said Piedro, observing
that Francisco, as he uttered his last sentence, was separating the
grapes and other fruits into two equal divisions. 'To be sure I would
rather you would _be_ than _seem_ a friend to me; but I thought that was
too much to ask at first, though I have a notion, notwithstanding I
have been so _unlucky_ lately--I have a notion you would have no reason
to repent of it. You would find me no bad hand, if you were to try, and
take me into partnership.'

'Partnership!' interrupted Francisco, drawing back alarmed; 'I had no
thoughts of that.'

'But won't you? can't you?' said Piedro, in a supplicating tone;
'_can't_ you have thoughts of it? You'd find me a very active partner.'

Francisco still drew back, and kept his eyes fixed upon the ground. He
was embarrassed; for he pitied Piedro, and he scarcely knew how to point
out to him that something more is necessary in a partner in trade
besides activity, and that is honesty.

'Can't you?' repeated Piedro, thinking that he hesitated from merely
mercenary motives. 'You shall have what share of the profits you
please.'

'I was not thinking of the profits,' said Francisco; 'but without
meaning to be ill-natured to you, Piedro, I must say that I cannot enter
into any partnership with you at present; but I will do what, perhaps,
you will like as well,' said he, taking half the fruit out of his
basket; 'you are heartily welcome to this; try and sell it in the
children's fruit-market.' 'I'll go on before you, and speak to those
I am acquainted with, and tell them you are going to set up a new
character, and that you hope to make it a good one.'

'Hey, shall I! Thank you for ever, dear Francisco,' cried Piedro,
seizing his plentiful gift of fruit. 'Say what you please for me.'

'But don't make me say anything that is not true,' said Francisco,
pausing.

'No, to be sure not,' said Piedro; 'I _do_ mean to give no room for
scandal. If I could get them to trust me as they do you, I should be
happy indeed.'

'That is what you may do, if you please,' said Francisco. 'Adieu, I wish
you well with all my heart; but I must leave you now, or I shall be too
late for the market.'


CHAPTER II

  _Chi va piano va sano, e anché lontano._
  Fair and softly goes far in a day.

Piedro had now an opportunity of establishing a good character. When he
went into the market with his grapes and figs, he found that he was not
shunned or taunted as usual. All seemed disposed to believe in his
intended reformation, and to give him a fair trial.

These favourable dispositions towards him were the consequence of
Francisco's benevolent representations. He told them that he thought
Piedro had suffered enough to cure him of his tricks, and that it would
be cruelty in them, because he might once have been in fault, to banish
him by their reproaches from amongst them, and thus to prevent him from
the means of gaining his livelihood honestly.

Piedro made a good beginning, and gave what several of the younger
customers thought excellent bargains. His grapes and figs were quickly
sold, and with the money that he got for them he the next day purchased
from a fruit-dealer a fresh supply; and thus he went on for some time,
conducting himself with scrupulous honesty, so that he acquired some
credit among his companions. They no longer watched him with suspicious
eyes. They trusted to his measures and weights, and they counted less
carefully the change which they received from him.

The satisfaction he felt from this alteration in their manners was at
first delightful, to Piedro; but in proportion to his credit, his
opportunities of defrauding increased; and these became temptations
which he had not the firmness to resist. His old manner of thinking
recurred.

'I make but a few shillings a day, and this is but slow work,' said he
to himself. 'What signifies my good character, if I make so little by
it?'

Light gains, and frequent, make a heavy purse,[26] was one of
Francisco's proverbs. But Piedro was in too great haste to get rich to
take time into his account. He set his invention to work, and he did not
want for ingenuity, to devise means of cheating without running the risk
of detection. He observed that the younger part of the community were
extremely fond of certain coloured sugar-plums, and of burnt almonds.

  [26] Poco e spesso empie il l' orsetto.

With the money he had earned by two months' trading in fruit he laid in
a large stock of what appeared to these little merchants a stock of
almonds and sugar-plums, and he painted in capital gold coloured letters
upon his board, 'Sweetest, largest, most admirable sugar-plums of all
colours ever sold in Naples, to be had here; and in gratitude to his
numerous customers, Piedro adds to these "Burnt almonds gratis."'

This advertisement attracted the attention of all who could read; and
many who could not read heard it repeated with delight. Crowds of
children surrounded Piedro's board of promise, and they all went away
the first day amply satisfied. Each had a full measure of coloured
sugar-plums at the usual price, and along with these a burnt almond
gratis. The burnt almond had such an effect upon the public judgment,
that it was universally allowed that the sugar-plums were, as the
advertisement set forth, the largest, sweetest, most admirable ever sold
in Naples; though all the time they were, in no respect, better than any
other sugar-plums.

It was generally reported that Piedro gave full measure--fuller than any
other board in the city. He measured the sugar-plums in a little cubical
tin box; and this, it was affirmed, he heaped up to the top and pressed
down before he poured out the contents into the open hands of his
approving customers. This belief, and Piedro's popularity, continued
longer even than he had expected; and, as he thought his sugar-plums had
secured their reputation with the _generous public_, he gradually
neglected to add burnt almonds gratis.

One day a boy of about ten years old passed carelessly by, whistling as
he went along, and swinging a carpenter's rule in his hand. 'Ha! what
have we here?' cried he, stopping to read what was written on Piedro's
board. 'This promises rarely. Old as I am, and tall of my age, which
makes the matter worse, I am still as fond of sugar-plums as my little
sister, who is five years younger than I. Come, Signor, fill me quick,
for I'm in haste to taste them, two measures of the sweetest, largest,
most admirable sugar-plums in Naples--one measure for myself, and one
for my little Rosetta.'

'You'll pay for yourself and your sister, then,' said Piedro, 'for no
credit is given here.'

'No credit do I ask,' replied the lively boy; 'when I told you I loved
sugar-plums, did I tell you I loved them, or even my sister, so well as
to run in debt for them? Here's for myself, and here's for my sister's
share,' said he, laying down his money; 'and now for the burnt almonds
gratis, my good fellow.'

'They are all out; I have been out of burnt almonds this great while,'
said Piedro.

'Then why are they in your advertisement here?' said Carlo.

'I have not had time to scratch them out of the board.'

'What! not when you have, by your own account, been out of them a great
while? I did not know it required so much time to blot out a few
words--let us try'; and as he spoke, Carlo, for that was the name of
Piedro's new customer, pulled a bit of white chalk out of his pocket,
and drew a broad score across the line on the board which promised burnt
almonds gratis.

'You are most impatient,' said Piedro; 'I shall have a fresh stock of
almonds to-morrow.' 'Why must the board tell a lie to-day?' 'It would
ruin me to alter it,' said Piedro. 'A lie may ruin you, but I could
scarcely think the truth could.' 'You have no right to meddle with me or
my board,' said Piedro, put off his guard, and out of his usual soft
voice of civility, by this last observation. 'My character, and that of
my board, are too firmly established now for any chance customer like
you to injure.' 'I never dreamed of injuring you or any one else,' said
Carlo--'I wish, moreover, you may not injure yourself. Do as you please
with your board, but give me my sugar-plums, for I have some right to
meddle with those, having paid for them.' 'Hold out your hand, then.'
'No, put them in here, if you please; put my sister's, at least, in
here; she likes to have them in this box: I bought some for her in it
yesterday, and she'll think they'll taste the better out of the same
box. But how is this? your measure does not fill my box nearly; you give
us very few sugar-plums for our money.' 'I give you full measure, as I
give to everybody.' 'The measure should be an inch cube, I know,' said
Carlo; 'that's what all the little merchants have agreed to, you know.'
'True,' said Piedro, 'so it is.' 'And so it is, I must allow,' said
Carlo, measuring the outside of it with the carpenter's rule which he
held in his hand. 'An inch every way; and yet by my eye--and I have no
bad one, being used to measuring carpenter's work for my father--by my
eye, I should think this would have held more sugar-plums.' 'The eye
often deceives us,' said Piedro. 'There's nothing like measuring, you
find.' 'There's nothing like measuring, I find, indeed,' replied Carlo,
as he looked closely at the end of his rule, which, since he spoke last,
he had put into the tin cube to take its depth in the inside. 'This is
not as deep by a quarter of an inch, Signor Piedro, measured within as
it is measured without.'

Piedro changed colour terribly, and seizing hold of the tin box,
endeavoured to wrest it from the youth who measured so accurately. Carlo
held his prize fast, and lifting it above his head, he ran into the
midst of the square where the little market was held, exclaiming, 'A
discovery! a discovery! that concerns all who love sugar-plums. A
discovery! a discovery! that concerns all who have ever bought the
sweetest, largest, and most admirable sugar-plums ever sold in Naples.'

The crowd gathered from all parts of the square as he spoke.

'We have bought,' and 'We have bought of those sugar-plums,' cried
several little voices at once, 'if you mean Piedro's.'

'The same,' continued Carlo--'he who, out of gratitude to his numerous
customers, gives, or promises to give, burnt almonds gratis.'

'Excellent they were!' cried several voices. 'We all know Piedro well;
but what's your discovery?'

'My discovery is,' said Carlo, 'that you, none of you, know Piedro. Look
you here; look at this box--this is his measure; it has a false
bottom--it holds only three-quarters as much as it ought to do; and his
numerous customers have all been cheated of one-quarter of every measure
of the admirable sugar-plums they have bought from him. "Think twice of
a good bargain," says the proverb.'

'So we have been finely duped, indeed,' cried some of the bystanders,
looking at one another with a mortified air. Full of courtesy, full of
craft![27] 'So this is the meaning of his burnt almonds gratis,' cried
others; all joined in an uproar of indignation, except one, who, as he
stood behind the rest, expressed in his countenance silent surprise and
sorrow.

  [27] Chi te fa piu carezza che non vuole, O ingannato t' ha, o
       ingannar te vuole.

'Is this Piedro a relation of yours?' said Carlo, going up to this
silent person. 'I am sorry, if he be, that I have published his
disgrace, for I would not hurt _you_. You don't sell sugar-plums as he
does, I'm sure; for my little sister Rosetta has often bought from you.
Can this Piedro be a friend of yours?'

'I wished to have been his friend, but I see I can't,' said Francisco.
'He is a neighbour of ours, and I pitied him; but since he is at his old
tricks again, there's an end of the matter. I have reason to be obliged
to you, for I was nearly taken in. He has behaved so well for some time
past, that I intended this very evening to have gone to him, and to have
told him that I was willing to do for him what he has long begged of me
to do--to enter into partnership with him.'

'Francisco! Francisco! your measure, lend us your measure!' exclaimed a
number of little merchants crowding round him. 'You have a measure for
sugar-plums; and we have all agreed to refer to that, and to see how
much we have been cheated before we go to break Piedro's bench and
declare him bankrupt,[28]--the punishment for all knaves.'

  [28] This word comes from two Italian words, _banco rotto_--broken
       bench. Bankers and merchants used formerly to count their money
       and write their bills of exchange upon benches in the streets;
       and when a merchant or banker lost his credit, and was unable
       to pay his debts, his bench was broken.

They pressed on to Francisco's board, obtained his measure, found that
it held something more than a quarter above the quantity that could be
contained in Piedro's. The cries of the enraged populace were now most
clamorous. They hung the just and the unjust measures upon high poles;
and, forming themselves into a formidable phalanx, they proceeded
towards Piedro's well-known yellow-lettered beard, exclaiming, as they
went along, 'Common cause! common cause! The little Neapolitan merchants
will have no knaves amongst them! Break his bench! break his bench! He
is a bankrupt in honesty.'

Piedro saw the mob, heard the indignant clamour, and terrified at the
approach of numbers, he fled with the utmost precipitation, having
scarcely time to pack up half his sugar-plums. There was a prodigious
number, more than would have filled many honest measures, scattered upon
the ground and trampled under foot by the crowd. Piedro's bench was
broken, and the public vengeance wreaked itself also upon his
treacherous painted board. It was, after being much disfigured by
various inscriptions expressive of the universal contempt for Piedro,
hung up in a conspicuous part of the market-place; and the false measure
was fastened like a cap upon one of its corners. Piedro could never more
show his face in this market, and all hopes of friendship--all hopes of
partnership with Francisco--were for ever at an end.

If rogues would calculate, they would cease to be rogues; for they would
certainly discover that it is most for their interest to be
honest--setting aside the pleasure of being esteemed and beloved, of
having a safe conscience, with perfect freedom from all the various
embarrassments and terror to which knaves are subject. Is it not clear
that our crafty hero would have gained rather more by a partnership with
Francisco, and by a fair character, than he could possibly obtain by
fraudulent dealing in comfits?

When the mob had dispersed, after satisfying themselves with executing
summary justice upon Piedro's bench and board, Francisco found a
carpenter's rule lying upon the ground near Piedro's broken bench, which
he recollected to have seen in the hands of Carlo. He examined it
carefully, and he found Carlo's name written upon it, and the name of
the street where he lived; and though it was considerably out of his
way, he set out immediately to restore the rule, which was a very
handsome one, to its rightful owner. After a hot walk through several
streets, he overtook Carlo, who had just reached the door of his own
house. Carlo was particularly obliged to him, he said, for restoring
this rule to him, as it was a present from the master of a vessel, who
employed his father to do carpenter's work for him. 'One should not
praise one's self, they say,' continued Carlo; 'but I long so much to
gain your good opinion, that I must tell you the whole history of the
rule you have restored. It was given to me for having measured the work
and made up the bill of a whole pleasure-boat myself. You may guess I
should have been sorry enough to have lost it. Thank you for its being
once more in my careless hands, and tell me, I beg, whenever I can do
you any service. By-the-bye, I can make up for you a fruit stall. I'll
do it to-morrow, and it shall be the admiration of the market. Is there
anything else you could think of for me?'

'Why, yes,' said Francisco; 'since you are so good-natured, perhaps
you'd be kind enough to tell me the meaning of some of those lines and
figures that I see upon your rule. I have a great curiosity to know
their use.'

'That I'll explain to you with pleasure, as far as I know them myself;
but when I'm at fault, my father, who is cleverer than I am, and
understands trigonometry, can help us out.'

'Trigonometry!' repeated Francisco, not a little alarmed at the
high-sounding word; 'that's what I certainly shall never understand.'

'Oh, never fear,' replied Carlo, laughing. 'I looked just as you do
now--I felt just as you do now--all in a fright and a puzzle, when I
first heard of angles and sines, and co-sines, and arcs and centres, and
complements and tangents.'

'Oh, mercy! mercy!' interrupted Francisco, whilst Carlo laughed, with a
benevolent sense of superiority.

'Why,' said Carlo, 'you'll find all these things are nothing when you
are used to them. But I cannot explain my rule to you here broiling in
the sun. Besides, it will not be the work of a day, I promise you; but
come and see us at your leisure hours, and we'll study it together. I
have a great notion we shall become friends; and, to begin, step in with
me now,' said Carlo, 'and eat a little macaroni with us. I know it is
ready by this time. Besides, you'll see my father, and he'll show you
plenty of rules and compasses, as you like such things; and then I'll go
home with you in the cool of the evening, and you shall show me your
melons and vines, and teach me, in time, something of gardening. Oh, I
see we must be good friends, just made for each other; so come in--no
ceremony.'

Carlo was not mistaken in his predictions; he and Francisco became very
good friends, spent all their leisure hours together, either in Carlo's
workshop or in Francisco's vineyard, and they mutually improved each
other. Francisco, before he saw his friend's rule, knew but just enough
of arithmetic to calculate in his head the price of the fruit which he
sold in the market; but with Carlo's assistance, and the ambition to
understand the tables and figures upon the wonderful rule, he set to
work in earnest, and in due time satisfied both himself and his master.

'Who knows but these things that I am learning now may be of some use to
me before I die?' said Francisco, as he was sitting one morning with his
tutor, the carpenter.

'To be sure it will,' said the carpenter, putting down his compasses,
with which he was drawing a circle. 'Arithmetic is a most useful, and I
was going to say necessary thing to be known by men in all stations; and
a little trigonometry does no harm. In short, my maxim is, that no
knowledge comes amiss; for a man's head is of as much use to him as his
hands; and even more so.

  'A word to the wise will always suffice.

'Besides, to say nothing of making a fortune, is not there a great
pleasure in being something of a scholar, and being able to pass one's
time with one's book, and one's compasses and pencil? Safe companions
these for young and old. No one gets into mischief that has pleasant
things to think of and to do when alone; and I know, for my part, that
trigonometry is----'

Here the carpenter, just as he was going to pronounce a fresh panegyric
upon his favourite trigonometry, was interrupted by the sudden entrance
of his little daughter Rosetta, all in tears: a very unusual spectacle,
for, taking the year round, she shed fewer tears than any child of her
age in Naples.

'Why, my dear good-humoured little Rosetta, what has happened? Why these
large tears?' said her brother Carlo, and he went up to her, and wiped
them from her cheeks. 'And these that are going over the bridge of the
nose so fast? I must stop these tears too,' said Carlo.

Rosetta, at this speech, burst out laughing, and said that she did not
know till then that she had any bridge on her nose.

'And were these shells the cause of the tears?' said her brother,
looking at a heap of shells which she held before her in her frock.

'Yes, partly,' said Rosetta. 'It was partly my own fault, but not all.
You know I went out to the carpenters' yard, near the arsenal, where all
the children are picking up chips and sticks so busily; and I was as
busy as any of them, because I wanted to fill my basket soon; and then I
thought I should sell my basketful directly in the little wood-market.
As soon as I had filled my basket, and made up my faggot (which was not
done, brother, till I was almost baked by the sun, for I was forced to
wait by the carpenters for the bits of wood to make up my faggot)--I
say, when it was all ready, and my basket full, I left it all together
in the yard.' 'That was not wise to leave it,' said Carlo. 'But I only
left it for a few minutes, brother, and I could not think anybody would
be so dishonest as to take it whilst I was away. I only just ran to tell
a boy, who had picked up all these beautiful shells upon the sea-shore,
and who wanted to sell them, that I should be glad to buy them from him,
if he would only be so good as to keep them for me, for an hour or so,
till I had carried my wood to market, and till I had sold it, and so had
money to pay him for the shells.'

'Your heart was set mightily on these shells, Rosetta.'

'Yes; for I thought you and Francisco, brother, would like to have them
for your nice grotto that you are making at Resina. That was the reason
I was in such a hurry to get them. The boy who had them to sell was very
good-natured; he poured them into my lap, and said I had such an honest
face he would trust me, and that as he was in a great hurry, he could
not wait an hour whilst I sold my wood; but that he was sure I would pay
him in the evening, and he told me that he would call here this evening
for the money. But now what shall I do, Carlo? I shall have no money to
give him: I must give him back his shells, and that's a great pity.'

'But how happened it that you did not sell your wood?'

'Oh, I forgot; did not I tell you that? When I went back for my basket,
do you know it was empty, quite empty, not a chip left? Some dishonest
person had carried it all off. Had not I reason to cry now, Carlo?'

'I'll go this minute into the wood-market, and see if I can find your
faggot. Won't that be better than crying?' said her brother. 'Should you
know any one of your pieces of wood again if you were to see them?'

'Yes, one of them, I am sure, I should know again,' said Rosetta. 'It
had a notch at one end of it, where one of the carpenters cut it off
from another piece of wood for me.'

'And is this piece of wood from which the carpenter cut it still to be
seen?' said Francisco. 'Yes, it is in the yard; but I cannot bring it to
you, for it is very heavy.'

'We can go to it,' said Francisco, 'and I hope we shall recover your
basketful.'

Carlo and his friend went with Rosetta immediately to the yard, near the
arsenal, saw the notched piece of wood, and then proceeded to the little
wood-market, and searched every heap that lay before the little factors;
but no notched bit was to be found, and Rosetta declared that she did
not see one stick that looked at all like any of hers.

On their part, her companions eagerly untied their faggots to show them
to her, and exclaimed, 'that they were incapable of taking what did not
belong to them; that of all persons they should never have thought of
taking anything from the good-natured little Rosetta, who was always
ready to give to others, and to help them in making up their loads.'

Despairing of discovering the thief, Francisco and Carlo left the
market. As they were returning home, they were met by the English
servant Arthur, who asked Francisco where he had been, and where he was
going.

As soon as he heard of Rosetta's lost faggot, and of the bit of wood,
notched at one end, of which Rosetta drew the shape with a piece of
chalk which her brother had lent her, Arthur exclaimed, 'I have seen
such a bit of wood as this within this quarter of an hour; but I cannot
recollect where. Stay! this was at the baker's, I think, where I went
for some rolls for my master. It was lying beside his oven.'

To the baker's they all went as fast as possible, and they got there but
just in time. The baker had in his hand the bit of wood with which he
was that instant going to feed his oven.

'Stop, good Mr. Baker!' cried Rosetta, who ran into the baker's shop
first; and as he heard 'Stop! stop!' re-echoed by many voices, the baker
stopped; and turning to Francisco, Carlo, and Arthur, begged, with a
countenance of some surprise, to know why they had desired him to stop.

The case was easily explained, and the baker told them that he did not
buy any wood in the little market that morning; that this faggot he had
purchased between the hours of twelve and one from a lad about
Francisco's height, whom he met near the yard of the arsenal.

'This is my bit of wood, I am sure; I know it by this notch,' said
Rosetta.

'Well,' said the baker, 'if you will stay here a few minutes, you will
probably see the lad who sold it to me. He desired to be paid in bread,
and my bread was not quite baked when he was here. I bid him call again
in an hour, and I fancy he will be pretty punctual, for he looked
desperately hungry.'

The baker had scarcely finished speaking when Francisco, who was
standing watching at the door, exclaimed, 'Here comes Piedro! I hope he
is not the boy who sold you the wood, Mr. Baker?' 'He is the boy,
though,' replied the baker, and Piedro, who now entered the shop,
started at the sight of Carlo and Francisco, whom he had never seen
since the day of disgrace in the fruit-market.

'Your servant, Signor Piedro,' said Carlo; 'I have the honour to tell
you that this piece of wood, and all that you took out of the basket,
which you found in the yard of the arsenal, belongs to my sister.' 'Yes,
indeed,' cried Rosetta.

Piedro being very certain that nobody saw him when he emptied Rosetta's
basket, and imagining that he was suspected only upon the bare assertion
of a child like Rosetta, who might be baffled and frightened out of her
story, boldly denied the charge, and defied any one to prove him guilty.

'He has a right to be heard in his own defence,' said Arthur, with the
cool justice of an Englishman; and he stopped the angry Carlo's arm, who
was going up to the culprit with all the Italian vehemence of oratory
and gesture. Arthur went on to say something in bad Italian about the
excellence of an English trial by jury, which Carlo was too much enraged
to hear, but to which Francisco paid attention, and turning to Piedro,
he asked him if he was willing to be judged by twelve of his equals.
'With all my heart,' said Piedro, still maintaining an unmoved
countenance, and they returned immediately to the little wood-market. On
their way, they had passed through the fruit-market, and crowds of those
who were well acquainted with Piedro's former transactions followed, to
hear the event of the present trial.

Arthur could not, especially as he spoke wretched Italian, make the
eager little merchants understand the nature and advantages of an
English trial by jury. They preferred their own summary mode of
proceeding. Francisco, in whose integrity all had perfect confidence,
was chosen with unanimous shouts for the judge; but he declined the
office, and another was appointed. He was raised upon a bench, and the
guilty but insolent-looking Piedro, and the ingenuous, modest Rosetta
stood before him. She made her complaint in a very artless manner; and
Piedro, with ingenuity, which in a better cause would have deserved
admiration, spoke volubly and craftily in his own defence. But all that
he could say could not alter facts. The judge compared the notched bit
of wood found at the baker's with a piece from which it was cut, which
he went to see in the yard of the arsenal. It was found to fit exactly.
The judge then found it impossible to restrain the loud indignation of
all the spectators. The prisoner was sentenced never more to sell wood
in the market; and the moment sentence was pronounced, Piedro was hissed
and hooted out of the market-place. Thus a third time he deprived
himself of the means of earning his bread.

We shall not dwell upon all his petty methods of cheating in the trades
he next attempted. He handed lemonade about in a part of Naples where he
was not known, but he lost his customers by putting too much water and
too little lemon into this beverage. He then took to the waters from the
sulphurous springs, and served them about to foreigners; but one day, as
he was trying to jostle a competitor from the coach door, he slipped his
foot and broke his glasses. They had been borrowed from an old woman who
hired out glasses to the boys who sold lemonade. Piedro knew that it was
the custom to pay, of course, for all that was broken; but this he was
not inclined to do. He had a few shillings in his pocket, and thought
that it would be very clever to defraud this poor woman of her right,
and to spend his shillings upon what he valued much more than he did his
good name--macaroni. The shillings were soon gone.

We shall now for the present leave Piedro to his follies and his fate;
or, to speak more properly, to his follies and their inevitable
consequences.

Francisco was all this time acquiring knowledge from his new friends,
without neglecting his own or his father's business. He contrived,
during the course of autumn and winter, to make himself a tolerable
arithmetician. Carlo's father could draw plans in architecture neatly;
and, pleased with the eagerness Francisco showed to receive instruction,
he willingly put a pencil and compasses into his hand, and taught him
all he knew himself. Francisco had great perseverance, and, by repeated
trials, he at length succeeded in copying exactly all the plans which
his master lent him. His copies, in time, surpassed the originals, and
Carlo exclaimed, with astonishment: 'Why, Francisco, what an astonishing
_genius_ you have for drawing!--Absolutely you draw plans better than my
father!'

[Illustration: _Piedro was hissed and hooted out of the market-place._]

'As to genius,' said Francisco, honestly, 'I have none. All that I have
done has been done by hard labour. I don't know how other people do
things; but I am sure that I never have been able to get anything done
well but by patience. Don't you remember, Carlo, how you and even
Rosetta laughed at me the first time your father put a pencil into my
awkward, clumsy hands?'

'Because,' said Carlo, laughing again at the recollection, 'you held
your pencil so drolly; and when you were to cut it, you cut it just as
if you were using a pruning-knife to your vines; but now it is your turn
to laugh, for you surpass us all. And the times are changed since I set
about to explain this rule of mine to you.'

'Ay, that rule,' said Francisco--'how much I owe to it! Some great
people, when they lose any of their fine things, cause the crier to
promise a reward of so much money to anyone who shall find and restore
their trinket. How richly have you and your father rewarded me for
returning this rule!'

Francisco's modesty and gratitude, as they were perfectly sincere,
attached his friends to him most powerfully; but there was one person
who regretted our hero's frequent absences from his vineyard at Resina.
Not Francisco's father, for he was well satisfied his son never
neglected his business; and as to the hours spent in Naples, he had so
much confidence in Francisco, that he felt no apprehensions of his
getting into bad company. When his son had once said to him, 'I spend my
time at such a place, and in such and such a manner,' he was as well
convinced of its being so as if he had watched and seen him every
moment of the day. But it was Arthur who complained of Francisco's
absence.

'I see, because I am an Englishman,' said he, 'you don't value my
friendship, and yet that is the very reason you ought to value it; no
friends so good as the English, be it spoken without offence to your
Italian friend, for whom you now continually leave me to dodge up and
down here in Resina, without a soul that I like to speak to, for you are
the only Italian I ever liked.'

'You _shall_ like another, I promise you,' said Francisco. 'You must
come with me to Carlo's, and see how I spend my evenings; then complain
of me, if you can.'

It was the utmost stretch of Arthur's complaisance to pay this visit;
but, in spite of his national prejudices and habitual reserve of temper,
he was pleased with the reception he met with from the generous Carlo
and the playful Rosetta. They showed him Francisco's drawings with
enthusiastic eagerness; and Arthur, though no great judge of drawing,
was in astonishment, and frequently repeated, 'I know a gentleman who
visits my master who would like these things. I wish I might have them
to show him.'

'Take them, then,' said Carlo; 'I wish all Naples could see them,
provided they might be liked half as well as I like them.'

Arthur carried off the drawings, and one day, when his master was better
than usual, and when he was at leisure, eating a dessert of Francisco's
grapes, he entered respectfully, with his little portfolio under his
arm, and begged permission to show his master a few drawings done by the
gardener's son, whose grapes he was eating.

Though not quite so partial a judge as the enthusiastic Carlo, this
gentleman was both pleased and surprised at the sight of these drawings,
considering how short a time Francisco had applied himself to this art,
and what slight instructions he had received. Arthur was desired to
summon the young artist. Francisco's honest, open manner, joined to the
proofs he had given of his abilities, and the character Arthur gave him
for strict honesty, and constant kindness to his parents, interested Mr.
Lee, the name of this English gentleman, much in his favour. Mr. Lee was
at this time in treaty with an Italian painter, whom he wished to engage
to copy for him exactly some of the cornices, mouldings, tablets, and
antique ornaments which are to be seen amongst the ruins of the ancient
city of Herculaneum.

    We must give those of our young English readers who may not be
    acquainted with the ancient city of Herculaneum some idea of it.
    None can be ignorant that near Naples is the celebrated volcanic
    mountain of Vesuvius;--that, from time to time, there happen violent
    eruptions from this mountain; that is to say, flames and immense
    clouds of smoke issue from different openings, mouths, or _craters_,
    as they are called, but more especially from the summit of the
    mountain, which is distinguished by the name of _the_ crater. A
    rumbling, and afterwards a roaring noise is heard within, and
    prodigious quantities of stones and minerals burnt into masses
    (scoriæ) are thrown out of the crater, sometimes to a great
    distance. The hot ashes from Mount Vesuvius have often been seen
    upon the roofs of the houses of Naples, from which it is six miles
    distant. Streams of lava run down the sides of the mountain during
    the time of an eruption, destroying everything in their way, and
    overwhelm the houses and vineyards which are in the neighbourhood.

    About 1700 years ago, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Titus,
    there happened a terrible eruption of Mount Vesuvius; and a large
    city called Herculaneum, which was situated at about four miles'
    distance from the volcano, was overwhelmed by the streams of lava
    which poured into it, filled up the streets, and quickly covered
    over the tops of the houses, so that the whole was no more visible.
    It remained for many years buried. The lava which covered it became
    in time fit for vegetation, plants grew there, a new soil was
    formed, and a new town called Portici was built over the place where
    Herculaneum formerly stood. The little village of Resina is also
    situated near the spot. About fifty years ago, in a poor man's
    garden at Resina, a hole in a well about thirty feet below the
    surface of the earth was observed. Some persons had the curiosity to
    enter into this hole, and, after creeping underground for some time,
    they came to the foundations of houses. The peasants, inhabitants of
    the village, who had probably never heard of Herculaneum, were
    somewhat surprised at their discovery.[29] About the same time, in
    a pit in the town of Portici, a similar passage under ground was
    discovered, and, by orders of the King of Naples, workmen were
    employed to dig away the earth, and clear the passages. They found,
    at length, the entrance into the town, which, during the reign of
    Titus, was buried under lava. It was about eighty-eight Neapolitan
    palms (a palm contains near nine inches) below the top of the pit.
    The workmen, as they cleared the passages, marked their way with
    chalk when they came to any turning, lest they should lose
    themselves. The streets branched out in many directions, and, lying
    across them, the workmen often found large pieces of timber, beams,
    and rafters; some broken in the fall, others entire. These beams and
    rafters are burned quite black, and look like charcoal, except those
    that were found in moist places, which have more the colour of
    rotten wood, and which are like a soft paste, into which you might
    run your hand. The walls of the houses slant, some one way, some
    another, and some are upright. Several magnificent buildings of
    brick, faced with marble of different colours, are partly seen,
    where the workmen have cleared away the earth and lava with which
    they were encrusted. Columns of red and white marble, and flights of
    marble steps, are seen in different places; and out of the ruins of
    the palaces some very fine statues and pictures have been dug.
    Foreigners who visit Naples are very curious to see this
    subterraneous city, and are desirous to carry with them into their
    own country some proofs of their having examined this wonderful
    place.

  [29] _Philosophical Transactions_, vol. ix. p. 440.


CHAPTER III

  _Tutte le gran faciende si fanno di foca cosa._
  What great events from trivial causes spring.

Signor Camillo, the artist employed by Mr. Lee to copy some of the
antique ornaments in Herculaneum, was a liberal-minded man, perfectly
free from that mean jealousy which would repress the efforts of rising
genius.

'Here is a lad scarcely fifteen, a poor gardener's son, who, with merely
the instructions he could obtain from a common carpenter, has learned to
draw these plans and elevations, which you see are tolerably neat. What
an advantage your instruction would be to him,' said Mr. Lee, as he
introduced Francisco to Signor Camillo. 'I am interested in this lad
from what I have learned of his good conduct. I hear he is strictly
honest, and one of the best of sons. Let us do something for him. If you
will give him some knowledge of your art, I will, as far as money can
recompense you for your loss of time, pay whatever you may think
reasonable for his instruction.'

Signor Camillo made no difficulties; he was pleased with his pupil's
appearance, and every day he liked him better and better. In the room
where they worked together there were some large books of drawings and
plates, which Francisco saw now and then opened by his master, and which
he had a great desire to look over; but when he was left in the room by
himself he never touched them, because he had not permission. Signor
Camillo, the first day he came into his room with his pupil, said to
him, 'Here are many valuable books and drawings, young man. I trust,
from the character I have heard of you, that they will be perfectly safe
here.'

Some weeks after Francisco had been with the painter, they had occasion
to look for the front of a temple in one of these large books. 'What!
don't you know in which book to look for it, Francisco?' cried his
master, with some impatience. 'Is it possible that you have been here so
long with these books, and that you cannot find the print I mean? Had
you half the taste I gave you credit for, you would have singled it out
from all the rest, and have it fixed in your memory.'

'But, signor, I never saw it,' said Francisco, respectfully, 'or perhaps
I should have preferred it.'

'That you never saw it, young man, is the very thing of which I
complain. Is a taste for the arts to be learned, think you, by looking
at the cover of a book like this? Is it possible that you never thought
of opening it?'

'Often and often,' cried Francisco, 'have I longed to open it; but I
thought it was forbidden me, and however great my curiosity in your
absence, I have never touched them. I hoped, indeed, that the time would
come when you would have the goodness to show them to me.'

'And so the time is come, excellent young man,' cried Camillo; 'much as
I love taste, I love integrity more. I am now sure of your having the
one, and let me see whether you have, as I believe you have, the other.
Sit you down here beside me; and we will look over these books
together.'

The attention with which his young pupil examined everything, and the
pleasure he unaffectedly expressed in seeing these excellent prints,
sufficiently convinced his judicious master that it was not from the
want of curiosity or taste that he had never opened these tempting
volumes. His confidence in Francisco was much increased by this
circumstance, slight as it may appear.

One day Signor Camillo came behind Francisco, as he was drawing with
much intentness, and tapping him upon the shoulder, he said to him: 'Put
up your pencils and follow me. I can depend upon your integrity; I have
pledged myself for it. Bring your note-book with you, and follow me; I
will this day show you something that will entertain you at least as
much as my large book of prints. Follow me.'

Francisco followed, till they came to the pit near the entrance of
Herculaneum. 'I have obtained leave for you to accompany me,' said his
master, 'and you know, I suppose, that this is not a permission granted
to every one?' Paintings of great value, besides ornaments of gold and
silver, antique bracelets, rings, etc., are from time to time found
amongst these ruins, and therefore it is necessary that no person should
be admitted whose honesty cannot be depended upon. Thus, even
Francisco's talents could not have advanced him in the world, unless
they had been united to integrity. He was much delighted and astonished
by the new scene that was now opened to his view; and as, day after day,
he accompanied his master to this subterraneous city, he had leisure for
observation. He was employed, as soon as he had gratified his curiosity,
in drawing. There are niches in the walls in several places, from which
pictures have been dug, and these niches are often adorned with elegant
masks, figures and animals, which have been left by the ignorant or
careless workmen, and which are going fast to destruction. Signor
Camillo, who was copying these for his English employer, had a mind to
try his pupil's skill, and, pointing to a niche bordered with grotesque
figures, he desired him to try if he could make any hand of it.
Francisco made several trials, and at last finished such an excellent
copy, that his enthusiastic and generous master, with warm encomiums,
carried it immediately to his patron, and he had the pleasure to receive
from Mr. Lee a purse containing five guineas, as a reward and
encouragement for his pupil.

Francisco had no sooner received this money than he hurried home to his
father and mother's cottage. His mother, some months before this time,
had taken a small dairy farm; and her son had once heard her express a
wish that she was but rich enough to purchase a remarkably fine brindled
cow, which belonged to a farmer in the neighbourhood.

'Here, my dear mother,' cried Francisco, pouring the guineas into her
lap; 'and here,' continued he, emptying a bag, which contained about as
much more, in small Italian coins, the profits of trade-money he had
fairly earned during the two years he sold fruit amongst the little
Neapolitan merchants; 'this is all yours, dearest mother, and I hope it
will be enough to pay for the brindled cow. Nay, you must not refuse
me--I have set my heart upon the cow being milked by you this very
evening; and I'll produce my best bunches of grapes, and my father,
perhaps, will give us a melon, for I've had no time for melons this
season; and I'll step to Naples and invite--may I, mother?--my good
friends, dear Carlo and your favourite little Rosetta, and my old
drawing master, and my friend Arthur, and we'll sup with you at your
dairy.'

The happy mother thanked her son, and the father assured him that
neither melon nor pine-apple should be spared, to make a supper worthy
of his friends.

The brindled cow was bought, and Arthur and Carlo and Rosetta most
joyfully accepted the invitation.

The carpenter had unluckily appointed to settle a long account that day
with one of his employers, and he could not accompany his children. It
was a delicious evening; they left Naples just as the sea-breeze, after
the heats of the day, was most refreshingly felt. The walk to Resina,
the vineyard, the dairy, and most of all, the brindled cow, were praised
by Carlo and Rosetta with all the Italian superlatives which signify,
'Most beautiful! most delightful! most charming!' Whilst the English
Arthur, with as warm a heart, was more temperate in his praise,
declaring that this was 'the most like an English summer's evening of
any he had ever felt since he came to Italy; and that, moreover, the
cream was almost as good as what he had been used to drink in Cheshire.'
The company, who were all pleased with each other, and with the
gardener's good fruit, which he produced in great abundance, did not
think of separating till late.

It was a bright moonlight night, and Carlo asked his friend if he would
walk with them part of the way to Naples. 'Yes, all the way most
willingly,' cried Francisco, 'that I may have the pleasure of giving to
your father, with my own hands, this fine bunch of grapes, that I have
reserved for him out of my own share.' 'Add this fine pine-apple for my
share, then,' said his father, 'and a pleasant walk to you, my young
friends.'

They proceeded gaily along, and when they reached Naples, as they passed
through the square where the little merchants held their market,
Francisco pointed to the spot where he found Carlo's rule. He never
missed an opportunity of showing his friends that he did not forget
their former kindness to him. 'That rule,' said he, 'has been the cause
of all my present happiness, and I thank you for----'

'Oh, never mind thanking him now,' interrupted Rosetta, 'but look
yonder, and tell me what all those people are about.' She pointed to a
group of men, women, and children, who were assembled under a piazza,
listening in various attitudes of attention to a man, who was standing
upon a flight of steps, speaking in a loud voice, and with much action,
to the people who surrounded him. Francisco, Carlo, and Rosetta joined
his audience. The moon shone full upon his countenance, which was very
expressive, and which varied frequently according to the characters of
the persons whose history he was telling, and according to all the
changes of their fortune. This man was one of those who are called
Improvisatori--persons who, in Italian towns, go about reciting verses
or telling stories, which they are supposed to invent as they go on
speaking. Some of these people speak with great fluency, and collect
crowds round them in the public streets. When an Improvisatore sees the
attention of his audience fixed, and when he comes to some very
interesting part of his narrative, he dexterously drops his hat upon the
ground, and pauses till his auditors have paid tribute to his eloquence.
When he thinks the hat sufficiently full, he takes it up again, and
proceeds with his story. The hat was dropped just as Francisco and his
two friends came under the piazza. The orator had finished one story,
and was going to commence another. He fixed his eyes upon Francisco,
then glanced at Carlo and Rosetta, and after a moment's consideration he
began a story which bore some resemblance to one that our young English
readers may, perhaps, know by the name of 'Cornaro, or the Grateful
Turk.'

Francisco was deeply interested in this narrative, and when the hat was
dropped, he eagerly threw in his contribution. At the end of the story,
when the speaker's voice stopped, there was a momentary silence, which
was broken by the orator himself, who exclaimed, as he took up the hat
which lay at his feet, 'My friends, here is some mistake! this is not my
hat; it has been changed whilst I was taken up with my story. Pray,
gentlemen, find my hat amongst you; it was a remarkably good one, a
present from a nobleman for an epigram I made. I would not lose my hat
for twice its value. It has my name written withinside of it, Dominicho,
Improvisatore. Pray, gentlemen, examine your hats.'

Everybody present examined their hats, and showed them to Dominicho, but
his was not amongst them. No one had left the company; the piazza was
cleared, and searched in vain. 'The hat has vanished by magic.' said
Dominicho. 'Yes, and by the same magic a statue moves,' cried Carlo,
pointing to a figure standing in a niche, which had hitherto escaped
observation. The face was so much in the shade, that Carlo did not at
first perceive that the statue was Piedro. Piedro, when he saw himself
discovered, burst into a loud laugh, and throwing down Dominicho's hat,
which he held in his hand behind him, cried, 'A pretty set of novices!
Most excellent players at hide-and-seek you would make.'

Whether Piedro really meant to have carried off the poor man's hat, or
whether he was, as he said, merely in jest, we leave it to those who
know his general character to decide.

Carlo shook his head. 'Still at your old tricks, Piedro,' said he.
'Remember the old proverb: No fox so cunning but he comes to the
furrier's at last.'[30]

  [30] Tutte le volpi si trovano in pellicera.

'I defy the furrier and you too,' replied Piedro, taking up his own
ragged hat. 'I have no need to steal hats; I can afford to buy better
than you'll have upon your head. Francisco, a word with you, if you have
done crying at the pitiful story you have been listening to so
attentively.'

'And what would you say to me?' said Francisco, following him a few
steps. 'Do not detain me long, because my friends will wait for me.'

'If they are friends, they can wait,' said Piedro. 'You need not be
ashamed of being seen in my company now, I can tell you; for I am, as I
always told you I should be, the richest man of the two.'

'Rich! you rich?' cried Francisco. 'Well, then, it was impossible you
could mean to trick that poor man out of his good hat.'

'Impossible!' said Piedro. Francisco did not consider that those who
have habits of pilfering continue to practise them often, when the
poverty which first tempted them to dishonesty ceases. 'Impossible! You
stare when I tell you I am rich; but the thing is so. Moreover, I am
well with my father at home. I have friends in Naples, and I call myself
Piedro the Lucky. Look you here,' said he, producing an old gold coin.
'This does not smell of fish, does it? My father is no longer a
fisherman, nor I either. Neither do I sell sugar-plums to children; nor
do I slave myself in a vineyard, like some folks; but fortune, when I
least expected it, has stood my friend. I have many pieces of gold like
this. Digging in my father's garden, it was my luck to come to an old
Roman vessel full of gold. I have this day agreed for a house in Naples
for my father. We shall live, whilst we can afford it, like great folks,
you will see; and I shall enjoy the envy that will be felt by some of my
old friends, the little Neapolitan merchants, who will change their note
when they see my change of fortune. What say you to all this, Francisco
the Honest?'

'That I wish you joy of your prosperity, and hope you may enjoy it long
and well.'

'Well, no doubt of that. Every one who has it enjoys it _well_. He
always dances well to whom fortune pipes.'[31]

  [31] Assai ben balla a chi fortuna suona.

'Yes, no longer pipe, no longer dance,' replied Francisco; and here they
parted; for Piedro walked away abruptly, much mortified to perceive that
his prosperity did not excite much envy, or command any additional
respect from Francisco.

'I would rather,' said Francisco, when he returned to Carlo and Rosetta,
who waited for him under the portico, when he left them--'I would rather
have such good friends as you, Carlo and Arthur, and some more I could
name, and, besides that, have a clear conscience, and work honestly for
my bread, than be as lucky as Piedro. Do you know he has found a
treasure, he says, in his father's garden--a vase full of gold? He
showed me one of the gold pieces.'

'Much good may they do him. I hope he came honestly by them,' said
Carlo; 'but ever since the affair of the double measure, I suspect
double-dealing always from him. It is not our affair, however. Let him
make himself happy his way, and we ours.

  'He that would live in peace and rest,
  Must hear, and see, and say the best.'[32]

All Piedro's neighbours did not follow this peaceable maxim; for when he
and his father began to circulate the story of the treasure found in the
garden, the village of Resina did not give them implicit faith. People
nodded and whispered, and shrugged their shoulders; then crossed
themselves and declared that they would not, for all the riches of
Naples, change places with either Piedro or his father. Regardless, or
pretending to be regardless, of these suspicions, Piedro and his father
persisted in their assertions. The fishing-nets were sold, and
everything in their cottage was disposed of; they left Resina, went to
live at Naples, and, after a few weeks, the matter began to be almost
forgotten in the village.

  [32] Odi, vedi, taci, se vuoi viver in pace.

The old gardener, Francisco's father, was one of those who endeavoured
to _think the best_; and all that he said upon the subject was, that he
would not exchange Francisco the Honest for Piedro the Lucky; that one
can't judge of the day till one sees the evening as well as the
morning.[33]

  [33] La vita il fine,--e di loda la sera. Compute the morn and evening
       of their day.--POPE.

Not to leave our readers longer in suspense, we must inform them that
the peasants of Resina were right in their suspicions. Piedro had never
found any treasure in his father's garden, but he came by his gold in
the following manner:--

After he was banished from the little wood-market for stealing Rosetta's
basketful of wood, after he had cheated the poor woman, who let glasses
out to hire, out of the value of the glasses which he broke, and, in
short, after he had entirely lost his credit with all who knew him, he
roamed about the streets of Naples, reckless of what became of him.

He found the truth of the proverb, 'that credit lost is like a Venice
glass broken--it can't be mended again.' The few shillings which he had
in his pocket supplied him with food for a few days. At last he was glad
to be employed by one of the peasants who came to Naples to load their
asses with manure out of the streets. They often follow very early in
the morning, or during the night-time, the trace of carriages that are
gone, or that are returning from the opera; and Piedro was one night at
this work, when the horses of a nobleman's carriage took fright at the
sudden blaze of some fireworks. The carriage was overturned near him; a
lady was taken out of it, and was hurried by her attendants into a shop,
where she stayed till her carriage was set to rights. She was too much
alarmed for the first ten minutes after her accident to think of
anything; but after some time, she perceived that she had lost a
valuable diamond cross, which she had worn that night at the opera. She
was uncertain where she had dropped it; the shop, the carriage, the
street were searched for it in vain.

Piedro saw it fall as the lady was lifted out of the carriage, seized
upon it, and carried it off. Ignorant as he was of the full value of
what he had stolen, he knew not how to satisfy himself as to this point,
without trusting some one with the secret.

After some hesitation, he determined to apply to a Jew, who, as it was
whispered, was ready to buy everything that was offered to him for sale,
without making any _troublesome_ inquiries. It was late; he waited till
the streets were cleared, and then knocked softly at the back door of
the Jew's house. The person who opened the door for Piedro was his own
father. Piedro started back; but his father had fast hold of him.

'What brings you here?' said the father, in a low voice, a voice which
expressed fear and rage mixed.

'Only to ask my way--my shortest way,' stammered Piedro.

'No equivocations! Tell me what brings you here at this time of the
night? I _will_ know.'

Piedro, who felt himself in his father's grasp, and who knew that his
father would certainly search him, to find out what he had brought to
sell, thought it most prudent to produce the diamond cross. His father
could but just see its lustre by the light of a dim lamp which hung over
their heads in the gloomy passage in which they stood.

'You would have been duped, if you had gone to sell this to the Jew. It
is well it has fallen into my hands. How came you by it?' Piedro
answered that he had found it in the street. 'Go your ways home, then,'
said the father; 'it is safe with me. Concern yourself no more about
it.'

Piedro was not inclined thus to relinquish his booty, and he now thought
proper to vary in his account of the manner in which he found the cross.
He now confessed that it had dropped from the dress of a lady, whose
carriage was overturned as she was coming home from the opera, and he
concluded by saying that, if his father took his prize from him without
giving him his share of the profits, he would go directly to the shop
where the lady stopped whilst her servants were raising the carriage,
and that he would give notice of his having found the cross.

Piedro's father saw that his _smart_ son, though scarcely sixteen years
of age, was a match for him in villainy. He promised him that he should
have half of whatever the Jew would give for the diamonds, and Piedro
insisted upon being present at the transaction.

[Illustration: _The Jew, who was a man old in all the arts of villainy,
contrived to cheat both his associates._]

We do not wish to lay open to our young readers scenes of iniquity. It
is sufficient to say that the Jew, who was a man old in all the arts of
villainy, contrived to cheat both his associates, and obtained the
diamond cross for less than half its value. The matter was managed so
that the transaction remained undiscovered. The lady who lost the cross,
after making fruitless inquiries, gave up the search, and Piedro and his
father rejoiced in the success of their manoeuvres.

It is said that 'Ill-gotten wealth is quickly spent';[34] and so it
proved in this instance. Both father and son lived a riotous life as
long as their money lasted, and it did not last many months. What his
bad education began, bad company finished, and Piedro's mind was
completely ruined by the associates with whom he became connected during
what he called his _prosperity_. When his money was at an end, these
unprincipled friends began to look cold upon him, and at last plainly
told him--'If you mean to _live with us_, you must _live as we do_.'
They lived by robbery.

  [34] Vien presto consumato l' ingiustamente acquistato.

Piedro, though familiarised to the idea of fraud, was shocked at the
thought of becoming a robber by profession. How difficult it is to stop
in the career of vice! Whether Piedro had power to stop, or whether he
was hurried on by his associates, we shall, for the present, leave in
doubt.


CHAPTER IV

We turn with pleasure from Piedro the Cunning to Francisco the Honest.
Francisco continued the happy and useful course of his life. By his
unremitting perseverance he improved himself rapidly under the
instructions of his master and friend, Signor Camillo; his friend, we
say, for the fair and open character of Francisco won, or rather earned,
the friendship of this benevolent artist. The English gentleman seemed
to take a pride in our hero's success and good conduct. He was not one
of those patrons who think that they have done enough when they have
given five guineas. His servant Arthur always considered every generous
action of his master's as his own, and was particularly pleased whenever
this generosity was directed towards Francisco.

As for Carlo and the little Rosetta, they were the companions of all the
pleasant walks which Francisco used to take in the cool of the evening,
after he had been shut up all day at his work. And the old carpenter,
delighted with the gratitude of his pupil, frequently repeated--'That he
was proud to have given the first instructions to such a _genius_; and
that he had always prophesied Francisco would be a _great_ man.' 'And a
good man, papa,' said Rosetta; 'for though he has grown so great, and
though he goes into palaces now, to say nothing of that place
underground, where he has leave to go, yet, notwithstanding all this, he
never forgets my brother Carlo and you.'

'That's the way to have good friends,' said the carpenter. 'And I like
his way; he does more than he says. Facts are masculine, and words are
feminine.'[35]

  [35] I fatti sono maschii, le parole femmine.

These good friends seemed to make Francisco happier than Piedro could be
made by his stolen diamonds.

One morning, Francisco was sent to finish a sketch of the front of an
ancient temple, amongst the ruins of Herculaneum. He had just reached
the pit, and the men were about to let him down with cords, in the usual
manner, when his attention was caught by the shrill sound of a scolding
woman's voice. He looked, and saw at some paces distant this female
fury, who stood guarding the windlass of a well, to which, with
threatening gestures and most voluble menaces, she forbade all access.
The peasants--men, women, and children, who had come with their pitchers
to draw water at this well--were held at bay by the enraged female. Not
one dared to be the first to advance; whilst she grasped with one hand
the handle of the windlass, and, with the other tanned muscular arm
extended, governed the populace, bidding them remember that she was
padrona, or mistress of the well. They retired, in hopes of finding a
more gentle padrona at some other well in the neighbourhood; and the
fury, when they were out of sight, divided the long black hair which
hung over her face, and, turning to one of the spectators, appealed to
them in a sober voice, and asked if she was not right in what she had
done. 'I, that am padrona of the well,' said she, addressing herself to
Francisco, who, with great attention, was contemplating her with the eye
of a painter--'I, that am padrona of the well, must in times of
scarcity do strict justice, and preserve for ourselves alone the water
of our well. There is scarcely enough even for ourselves. I have been
obliged to make my husband lengthen the ropes every day for this week
past. If things go on at this rate, there will soon be not one drop of
water left in my well.'

'Nor in any of the wells of the neighbourhood,' added one of the
workmen, who was standing by; and he mentioned several in which the
water had lately suddenly decreased; and a miller affirmed that his mill
had stopped for want of water.

Francisco was struck by these remarks. They brought to his recollection
similar facts, which he had often heard his father mention in his
childhood, as having been observed previous to the last eruption of
Mount Vesuvius.[36] He had also heard from his father, in his childhood,
that it is better to trust to prudence than to fortune; and therefore,
though the peasants and workmen, to whom he mentioned his fears,
laughed, and said, 'That as the burning mountain had been favourable to
them for so many years, they would trust to it and St. Januarius one day
longer,' yet Francisco immediately gave up all thoughts of spending this
day amidst the ruins of Herculaneum. After having inquired sufficiently,
after having seen several wells, in which the water had evidently
decreased, and after having seen the mill-wheels that were standing
still for want of their usual supply, he hastened home to his father and
mother, reported what he had heard and seen, and begged of them to
remove, and to take what things of value they could to some distance
from the dangerous spot where they now resided.

  [36] _Phil. Trans._ vol. ix.

Some of the inhabitants of Resina, whom he questioned, declared that
they had heard strange rumbling noises underground; and a peasant and
his son, who had been at work the preceding day in a vineyard, a little
above the village, related that they had seen a sudden puff of smoke
come out of the earth, close to them; and that they had, at the same
time, heard a noise like the going off of a pistol.[37]

  [37] These facts are mentioned in Sir William Hamilton's account of an
       eruption of Mount Vesuvius.--See _Phil. Trans._ 1795, first part.

The villagers listened with large eyes and open ears to these
relations; yet such was their habitual attachment to the spot they lived
upon, or such the security in their own good fortune, that few of them
would believe that there could be any necessity for removing. 'We'll see
what will happen to-morrow; we shall be safe here one day longer,' said
they.

Francisco's father and mother, more prudent than the generality of their
neighbours, went to the house of a relation, at some miles' distance
from Vesuvius, and carried with them all their effects.

In the meantime, Francisco went to the villa where his English friends
resided. The villa was in a most dangerous situation, near Torre del
Greco--a town that stands at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. He related all
the facts that he had heard to Arthur, who, not having been, like the
inhabitants of Resina, familiarised to the idea of living in the
vicinity of a burning mountain and habituated to trust in St. Januarius,
was sufficiently alarmed by Francisco's representations. He ran to his
master's apartment, and communicated all that he had just heard. The
Count de Flora and his lady, who were at this time in the house,
ridiculed the fears of Arthur, and could not be prevailed upon to remove
even as far as Naples. The lady was intent upon preparations for her
birthday, which was to be celebrated in a few days with great
magnificence at their villa; and she observed that it would be a pity to
return to town before that day, and they had everything arranged for the
festival. The prudent Englishman had not the gallantry to appear to be
convinced by these arguments, and he left the place of danger. He left
it not too soon, for the next morning exhibited a scene--a scene which
we shall not attempt to describe.

We refer our young readers to the account of this dreadful eruption of
Mount Vesuvius, published by Sir W. Hamilton in the _Philosophical
Transactions_. It is sufficient here to say that, in the space of about
five hours, the wretched inhabitants of Torre del Greco saw their town
utterly destroyed by the streams of burning lava which poured from the
mountain. The villa of Count de Flora, with some others, which were at a
little distance from the town, escaped; but they were absolutely
surrounded by the lava. The count and countess were obliged to fly from
their house with the utmost precipitation in the night-time; and they
had not time to remove any of their furniture, their plate, clothes, or
jewels.

A few days after the eruption, the surface of the lava became so cool
that people could walk upon it, though several feet beneath the surface
it was still exceedingly hot. Numbers of those who had been forced from
their houses now returned to the ruins to try to save whatever they
could. But these unfortunate persons frequently found their houses had
been pillaged by robbers, who, in these moments of general confusion,
enrich themselves with the spoils of their fellow-creatures.

'Has the count abandoned his villa? and is there no one to take care of
his plate and furniture? The house will certainly be ransacked before
morning,' said the old carpenter to Francisco, who was at his house
giving him an account of their flight. Francisco immediately went to the
count's house in Naples, to warn him of his danger. The first person he
saw was Arthur, who, with a face of terror, said to him, 'Do you know
what has happened? It is all over with Resina!' 'All over with Resina!
What, has there been a fresh eruption? Has the lava reached Resina?'
'No; but it will inevitably be blown up. There,' said Arthur, pointing
to a thin figure of an Italian, who stood pale and trembling, and
looking up to heaven as he crossed himself repeatedly--'There,' said
Arthur, 'is a man who has left a parcel of his cursed rockets and
fireworks, with I don't know how much gunpowder, in the count's house,
from which we have just fled. The wind blows that way. One spark of
fire, and the whole is blown up.'

Francisco waited not to hear more; but instantly, without explaining his
intentions to any one, set out for the count's villa, and, with a bucket
of water in his hand, crossed the beds of lava with which the house was
encompassed; when, reaching the hall where the rockets and gunpowder
were left, he plunged them into the water, and returned with them in
safety over the lava, yet warm under his feet.

What was the surprise and joy of the poor firework-maker when he saw
Francisco return from this dangerous expedition! He could scarcely
believe his eyes, when he saw the rockets and the gunpowder all safe.

The count, who had given up the hopes of saving his palace, was in
admiration when he heard of this instance of intrepidity, which probably
saved not only his villa, but the whole village of Resina, from
destruction. These fireworks had been prepared for the celebration of
the countess's birthday, and were forgotten in the hurry of the night on
which the inhabitants fled from Torre del Greco.

[Illustration: _Returned in safety over the lava, yet warm under his
feet._]

'Brave young man!' said the count to Francisco, 'I thank you, and shall
not limit my gratitude to thanks. You tell me that there is danger of my
villa being pillaged by robbers. It is from this moment your interest as
well as mine to prevent their depredations; for (trust to my liberality)
a portion of all that is saved of mine shall be yours.'

'Bravo! bravissimo!' exclaimed one who started from a recessed window in
the hall where all this passed. 'Bravo! bravissimo!' Francisco thought
he knew the voice and the countenance of this man, who exclaimed with so
much enthusiasm. He remembered to have seen him before, but when, or
where, he could not recollect. As soon as the count left the hall, the
stranger came up to Francisco. 'Is it possible,' said he, 'that you
don't know me? It is scarcely a twelvemonth since I drew tears from your
eyes.' 'Tears from my eyes?' repeated Francisco, smiling; 'I have shed
but few tears. I have had but few misfortunes in my life.' The stranger
answered him by two extempore Italian lines, which conveyed nearly the
same idea that has been so well expressed by an English poet:--

  To each their sufferings--all are men
    Condemn'd alike to groan;
  The feeling for another's woes,
    Th' unfeeling for his own.

'I know you now perfectly well,' cried Francisco; 'you are the
Improvisatore who, one fine moonlight night last summer, told us the
story of Cornaro the Turk.'

'The same,' said the Improvisatore; 'the same, though in a better dress,
which I should not have thought would have made so much difference in
your eyes, though it makes all the difference between man and man in the
eyes of the stupid vulgar. My genius has broken through the clouds of
misfortune of late. A few happy impromptu verses I made on the Count de
Flora's fall from his horse attracted attention. The count patronises
me. I am here now to learn the fate of an ode I have just composed for
his lady's birthday. My ode was to have been set to music, and to have
been performed at his villa near Torre del Greco, if these troubles had
not intervened. Now that the mountain is quiet again, people will return
to their senses. I expect to be munificently rewarded. But perhaps I
detain you. Go; I shall not forget to celebrate the heroic action you
have performed this day. I still amuse myself amongst the populace in my
tattered garb late in the evenings, and I shall sound your praises
through Naples in a poem I mean to recite on the late eruption of Mount
Vesuvius. Adieu.'

The Improvisatore was as good as his word. That evening, with more than
his usual enthusiasm, he recited his verses to a great crowd of people
in one of the public squares. Amongst the crowd were several to whom the
name of Francisco was well known, and by whom he was well beloved. These
were his young companions, who remembered him as a fruit-seller amongst
the little merchants. They rejoiced to hear his praises, and repeated
the lines with shouts of applause.

'Let us pass. What is all this disturbance in the streets?' said a man,
pushing his way through the crowd. A lad who held by his arm stopped
suddenly on hearing the name of Francisco, which the people were
repeating with so much enthusiasm.

'Ha! I have found at last a story that interests you more than that of
Cornaro the Turk,' cried the Improvisatore, looking in the face of the
youth who had stopped so suddenly. 'You are the young man who, last
summer, had liked to have tricked me out of my new hat. Promise me you
won't touch it now,' said he, throwing down the hat at his feet, 'or you
hear not one word I have to say. Not one word of the heroic action
performed at the villa of the Count de Flora, near Torre del Greco, this
morning, by Signor Francisco.'

'_Signor_ Francisco!' repeated the lad with disdain. 'Well, let us hear
what you have to tell of him,' added he. 'Your hat is very safe, I
promise you; I shall not touch it. What of _Signor_ Francisco?'

'_Signor_ Francisco I may, without impropriety, call him,' said the
Improvisatore, 'for he is likely to become rich enough to command the
title from those who might not otherwise respect his merit.'

'Likely to become rich! how?' said the lad, whom our readers have
probably before this time discovered to be Piedro. 'How, pray, is he
likely to become rich enough to be a signor?'

'The Count de Flora has promised him a liberal portion of all the fine
furniture, plate, and jewels that can be saved from his villa at Torre
del Greco. Francisco is gone down hither now with some of the count's
domestics to protect the valuable goods against those villainous
plunderers, who robbed their fellow-creatures of what even the flames of
Vesuvius would spare.'

'Come, we have had enough of this stuff,' cried the man whose arm Piedro
held. 'Come away,' and he hurried forwards.

This man was one of the villains against whom the honest orator
expressed such indignation. He was one of those with whom Piedro got
acquainted during the time that he was living extravagantly upon the
money he gained by the sale of the stolen diamond cross. That robbery
was not discovered; and his _success_, as he called it, hardened him in
guilt. He was both unwilling and unable to withdraw himself from the bad
company with whom his ill-gotten wealth connected him. He did not
consider that bad company leads to the gallows.[38]

  [38] La mala compagnia è quella che mena uomini a la forca.

The universal confusion which followed the eruption of Mount Vesuvius
was to these villains a time of rejoicing. No sooner did Piedro's
companion hear of the rich furniture, plate, etc., which the imprudent
orator had described as belonging to the Count de Flora's villa, than he
longed to make himself master of the whole.

'It is a pity,' said Piedro, 'that the count has sent Francisco with his
servants down to guard it.' 'And who is this Francisco of whom you seem
to stand in so much awe?' 'A boy, a young lad only, of about my own age;
but I know him to be sturdily honest. The servants we might corrupt; but
even the old proverb of "Angle with a silver hook,"[39] won't hold good
with him.'

  [39] Pescar col hamo d' argento.

'And if he cannot be won by fair means, he must be conquered by foul,'
said the desperate villain; 'but if we offer him rather more than the
count has already promised for his share of the booty, of course he
will consult at once his safety and his interest.'

'No,' said Piedro; 'that is not his nature. I know him from a child, and
we'd better think of some other house for to-night's business.'

'None other; none but this,' cried his companion, with an oath. 'My mind
is determined upon this, and you must obey your leader: recollect the
fate of him who failed me yesterday.'

The person to whom he alluded was one of the gang of robbers who had
been assassinated by his companions for hesitating to commit some crime
suggested by their leader. No tyranny is so dreadful as that which is
exercised by villains over their young accomplices, who become their
slaves. Piedro, who was of a cowardly nature, trembled at the
threatening countenance of his captain, and promised submission.

In the course of the morning, inquiries were made secretly amongst the
count's servants; and the two men who were engaged to sit up at the
villa that night along with Francisco were bribed to second the views of
this gang of thieves. It was agreed that about midnight the robbers
should be let into the house; that Francisco should be tied hand and
foot, whilst they carried off their booty. 'He is a stubborn chap,
though so young, I understand,' said the captain of the robbers to his
men; 'but we carry poniards, and know how to use them. Piedro, you look
pale. You don't require to be reminded of what I said to you when we
were alone just now?'

Piedro's voice failed, and some of his comrades observed that he was
young and new to the business. The captain, who, from being his
pretended friend during his wealthy days, had of late become his tyrant,
cast a stern look at Piedro, and bid him be sure to be at the old Jew's,
which was the place of meeting, in the dusk of the evening. After saying
this he departed.

Piedro, when he was alone, tried to collect his thoughts--all his
thoughts were full of horror. 'Where am I?' said he to himself; 'what am
I about? Did I understand rightly what he said about poniards?
Francisco; oh, Francisco! Excellent, kind, generous Francisco! Yes, I
recollect your look when you held the bunch of grapes to my lips, as I
sat by the sea-shore deserted by all the world; and now, what friends
have I? Robbers and----' The word _murderers_ he could not utter. He
again recollected what had been said about poniards, and the longer his
mind fixed upon the words, and the look that accompanied them, the more
he was shocked. He could not doubt that it was the serious intention of
his accomplices to murder Francisco, if he should make any resistance.

Piedro had at this moment no friend in the world to whom he could apply
for advice or assistance. His wretched father died some weeks before
this time, in a fit of intoxication. Piedro walked up and down the
street, scarcely capable of thinking, much less of coming to any
rational resolution.

The hours passed away, the shadows of the houses lengthened under his
footsteps, the evening came on, and when it grew dusk, after hesitating
in great agony of mind for some time, his fear of the robbers' vengeance
prevailed over every other feeling, and he went at the appointed hour to
the place of meeting.

The place of meeting was at the house of that Jew to whom he, several
months before, sold the diamond cross. That cross which he thought
himself so lucky to have stolen, and to have disposed of undetected,
was, in fact, the cause of his being in his present dreadful situation.
It was at the Jew's that he connected himself with this gang of robbers,
to whom he was now become an absolute slave.

'Oh that I dared to disobey!' said he to himself, with a deep sigh, as
he knocked softly at the back door of the Jew's house. The back door
opened into a narrow, unfrequented street, and some small rooms at this
side of the house were set apart for the reception of guests who desired
to have their business kept secret. These rooms were separated by a dark
passage from the rest of the house, and numbers of people came to the
shop in the front of the house, which looked into a creditable street,
without knowing anything more, from the ostensible appearance of the
shop, than that it was a kind of pawnbroker's, where old clothes, old
iron, and all sorts of refuse goods might be disposed of conveniently.

At the moment Piedro knocked at the back door, the front shop was full
of customers; and the Jew's boy, whose office it was to attend to these
signals, let Piedro in, told him that none of his comrades were yet
come, and left him in a room by himself.

He was pale and trembling, and felt a cold dew spread over him. He had a
leaden image of Saint Januarius tied round his neck, which, in the midst
of his wickedness, he superstitiously preserved as a sort of charm, and
on this he kept his eyes stupidly fixed, as he sat alone in this gloomy
place.

He listened from time to time, but he heard no noise at the side of the
house where he was. His accomplices did not arrive, and, in a sort of
impatient terror, the attendant upon an evil conscience, he flung open
the door of his cell, and groped his way through the passage which he
knew led to the public shop. He longed to hear some noise, and to mix
with the living. The Jew, when Piedro entered the shop, was bargaining
with a poor, thin-looking man about some gunpowder.

'I don't deny that it has been wet,' said the man, 'but since it was in
the bucket of water, it has been carefully dried. I tell you the simple
truth, that so soon after the grand eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the
people of Naples will not relish fireworks. My poor little rockets, and
even my Catherine-wheels, will have no effect. I am glad to part with
all I have in this line of business. A few days ago I had fine things in
readiness for the Countess de Flora's birthday, which was to have been
celebrated at the count's villa.'

'Why do you fix your eyes on me, friend? What is your discourse to me?'
said Piedro, who imagined that the man fixed his eyes upon him as he
mentioned the name of the count's villa.

'I did not know that I fixed my eyes upon you; I was thinking of my
fireworks,' said the poor man, simply. 'But now that I do look at you
and hear your voice, I recollect having had the pleasure of seeing you
before.'

'When? where?' said Piedro.

'A great while ago; no wonder you have forgotten me,' said the man; 'but
I can recall the night to your recollection. You were in the street with
me the night I let off that unlucky rocket which frightened the horses,
and was the cause of overturning a lady's coach. Don't you remember the
circumstance?'

'I have a confused recollection of some such thing,' said Piedro, in
great embarrassment; and he looked suspiciously at this man, in doubt
whether he was cunning, and wanted to sound him, or whether he was so
simple as he appeared.

'You did not, perhaps, hear, then,' continued the man 'that there was a
great search made, after the overturn, for a fine diamond cross
belonging to the lady in the carriage? That lady, though I did not know
it till lately, was the Countess de Flora.'

'I know nothing of the matter,' interrupted Piedro, in great agitation.
His confusion was so marked that the firework-maker could not avoid
taking notice of it; and a silence of some moments ensued. The Jew, more
practised in dissimulation than Piedro, endeavoured to turn the man's
attention back to his rockets and his gunpowder--agreed to take the
gunpowder--paid for it in haste, and was, though apparently unconcerned,
eager to get rid of him. But this was not so easily done. The man's
curiosity was excited, and his suspicions of Piedro were increased every
moment by all the dark changes of his countenance. Piedro, overpowered
with the sense of guilt, surprised at the unexpected mention of the
diamond cross, and of the Count de Flora's villa, stood like one
convicted, and seemed fixed to the spot, without power of motion.

'I want to look at the old cambric that you said you had--that would do
for making--that you could let me have cheap for artificial flowers,'
said the firework-maker to the Jew; and as he spoke, his eye from time
to time looked towards Piedro.

Piedro felt for the leaden image of the saint, which he wore round his
neck. The string which held it cracked, and broke with the pull he gave
it. This slight circumstance affected his terrified and superstitious
mind more than all the rest. He imagined that at this moment his fate
was decided; that Saint Januarius deserted him, and that he was undone.
He precipitately followed the firework-man the instant he left the shop,
and seizing hold of his arm, whispered, 'I must speak to you.' 'Speak,
then,' said the man, astonished. 'Not here; this way,' said he, drawing
him towards the dark passage; 'what I have to say must not be overheard.
You are going to the Count de Flora's, are not you?' 'I am,' said the
man. He was going there to speak to the countess about some artificial
flowers; but Piedro thought he was going to speak to her about the
diamond cross. 'You are going to give information against me? Nay, hear
me, I confess that I purloined that diamond cross; but I can do the
count a great service, upon condition that he pardons me. His villa is
to be attacked this night by four well-armed men. They will set out five
hours hence. I am compelled, under the threat of assassination, to
accompany them; but I shall do no more. I throw myself upon the count's
mercy. Hasten to him--we have no time to lose.'

The poor man, who heard this confession, escaped from Piedro the moment
he loosed his arm. With all possible expedition he ran to the count's
palace in Naples, and related to him all that had been said by Piedro.
Some of the count's servants, on whom he could most depend, were at a
distant part of the city attending their mistress, but the English
gentleman offered the services of his man Arthur. Arthur no sooner heard
the business, and understood that Francisco was in danger, than he armed
himself without saying one word, saddled his English horse, and was
ready to depart before any one else had finished his exclamations and
conjectures.

'But we are not to set out yet,' said the servant; 'it is but four miles
to Torre del Greco; the sbirri (officers of justice) are summoned--they
are to go with us--we must wait for them.'

They waited, much against Arthur's inclination, a considerable time for
these sbirri. At length they set out, and just as they reached the
villa, the flash of a pistol was seen from one of the apartments in the
house. The robbers were there. This pistol was snapped by their captain
at poor Francisco, who had bravely asserted that he would, as long as he
had life, defend the property committed to his care. The pistol missed
fire, for it was charged with some of the damaged powder which the Jew
had bought that evening from the firework-maker, and which he had sold
as excellent immediately afterwards to his favourite customers--the
robbers who met at his house.

Arthur, as soon as he perceived the flash of the piece, pressed forward
through all the apartments, followed by the count's servants and the
officers of justice. At the sudden appearance of so many armed men, the
robbers stood dismayed. Arthur eagerly shook Francisco's hand,
congratulating him upon his safety, and did not perceive, till he had
given him several rough friendly shakes, that his arm was wounded, and
that he was pale with the loss of blood.

'It is not much--only a slight wound,' said Francisco; 'one that I
should have escaped if I had been upon my guard; but the sight of a face
that I little expected to see in such company took from me all presence
of mind; and one of the ruffians stabbed me here in the arm, whilst I
stood in stupid astonishment.'

'Oh! take me to prison! take me to prison--I am weary of life--I am a
wretch not fit to live!' cried Piedro, holding his hands to be tied by
the sbirri.

The next morning Piedro was conveyed to prison; and as he passed through
the streets of Naples he was met by several of those who had known him
when he was a child. 'Ay,' said they, as he went by, 'his father
encouraged him in cheating when he was _but a child_; and see what he is
come to, now he is a man!' He was ordered to remain twelve months in
solitary confinement. His captain and his accomplices were sent to the
galleys, and the Jew was banished from Naples.

And now, having got these villains out of the way, let us return to
honest Francisco. His wound was soon healed. Arthur was no bad surgeon,
for he let his patient get well as fast as he pleased; and Carlo and
Rosetta nursed him with so much kindness, that he was almost sorry to
find himself perfectly recovered.

'Now that you are able to go out,' said Francisco's father to him, 'you
must come and look at my new house, my dear son.' 'Your new house,
father?' 'Yes, son, and a charming one it is, and a handsome piece of
land near it--all at a safe distance, too, from Mount Vesuvius; and can
you guess how I came by it?--it was given to me for having a good son.'

'Yes,' cried Carlo; 'the inhabitants of Resina, and several who had
property near Torre del Greco, and whose houses and lives were saved by
your intrepidity in carrying the materials for the fireworks and the
gunpowder out of this dangerous place, went in a body to the duke, and
requested that he would mention your name and these facts to the king,
who, amongst the grants he has made to the sufferers by the late
eruption of Mount Vesuvius, has been pleased to say that he gives this
house and garden to your father, because you have saved the property and
lives of many of his subjects.'

The value of a handsome portion of furniture, plate, etc., in the Count
de Flora's villa, was, according to the count's promise, given to him;
and this money he divided between his own family and that of the good
carpenter who first put a pencil into his hands. Arthur would not accept
of any present from him. To Mr. Lee, the English gentleman, he offered
one of his own drawings--a fruit-piece. 'I like this very well,' said
Arthur, as he examined the drawing, 'but I should like this melon better
if it was a little bruised. It is now three years ago since I was going
to buy that bruised melon from you; you showed me your honest nature
then, though you were but a boy; and I have found you the same ever
since. A good beginning makes a good ending--an honest boy will make an
honest man; and honesty is the best policy, as you have proved to all
who wanted the proof, I hope.'

'Yes,' added Francisco's father, 'I think it is pretty plain that Piedro
the Cunning has not managed quite so well as Francisco the Honest.'



TARLTON

  Delightful task! to rear the tender thought,--
  To teach the young idea how to shoot,--
  To pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind,--
  To breathe th' enlivening spirit,--and to fix
  The generous purpose in the glowing breast.
                                                THOMSON.


Young Hardy was educated by Mr. Trueman, a very excellent master, at one
of our rural Sunday schools. He was honest, obedient, active, and
good-natured, hence he was esteemed by his master; and being beloved by
all his companions who were good, he did not desire to be loved by the
bad; nor was he at all vexed or ashamed when idle, mischievous, or
dishonest boys attempted to plague or ridicule him. His friend Loveit,
on the contrary, wished to be universally liked, and his highest
ambition was to be thought the best-natured boy in the school--and so he
was. He usually went by the name of _Poor Loveit_, and everybody pitied
him when he got into disgrace, which he frequently did, for, though he
had a good disposition, he was often led to do things which he knew to
be wrong merely because he could never have the courage to say '_No_,'
because he was afraid to offend the ill-natured, and could not bear to
be laughed at by fools.

One fine autumn evening, all the boys were permitted to go out to play
in a pleasant green meadow near the school. Loveit and another boy,
called Tarlton, began to play a game at battledore and shuttlecock, and
a large party stood by to look on, for they were the best players at
battledore and shuttlecock in the school, and this was a trial of skill
between them. When they had got it up to three hundred and twenty, the
game became very interesting. The arms of the combatants grew so tired
that they could scarcely wield the battledores. The shuttlecock began to
waver in the air; now it almost touched the ground, and now, to the
astonishment of the spectators, mounted again high over their heads; yet
the strokes became feebler and feebler; and 'Now, Loveit!' 'Now,
Tarlton!' resounded on all sides. For another minute the victory was
doubtful; but at length the setting sun, shining full in Loveit's face,
so dazzled his eyes that he could no longer see the shuttlecock, and it
fell at his feet.

After the first shout for Tarlton's triumph was over, everybody
exclaimed, 'Poor Loveit! he's the best-natured fellow in the world! What
a pity that he did not stand with his back to the sun!'

'Now, I dare you all to play another game with me,' cried Tarlton,
vauntingly; and as he spoke, he tossed the shuttlecock up with all his
force--with so much force that it went over the hedge and dropped into a
lane which went close beside the field. 'Heyday!' said Tarlton, 'what
shall we do now?'

The boys were strictly forbidden to go into the lane; and it was upon
their promise not to break this command, that they were allowed to play
in the adjoining field.

No other shuttlecock was to be had, and their play was stopped. They
stood on the top of the bank, peeping over the hedge. 'I see it yonder,'
said Tarlton; 'I wish somebody would get it. One could get over the gate
at the bottom of the field, and be back again in half a minute,' added
he, looking at Loveit. 'But you know we must not go into the lane,' said
Loveit, hesitatingly. 'Pugh!' said Tarlton, 'why, now, what harm could
it do?' 'I don't know,' said Loveit, drumming upon his battledore;
'but----' 'You don't know, man! why, then, what are you afraid of, I ask
you?' Loveit coloured, went on drumming, and again, in a lower voice,
said '_he didn't know_.' But upon Tarlton's repeating, in a more
insolent tone, 'I ask you, man, what you're afraid of?' he suddenly left
off drumming, and looking round, said, 'he was not afraid of anything
that he knew of.' 'Yes, but you are,' said Hardy, coming forward. 'Am
I?' said Loveit; 'of what, pray, am I afraid?' 'Of doing wrong!' 'Afraid
_of doing wrong_!' repeated Tarlton, mimicking him, so that he made
everybody laugh. 'Now, hadn't you better say afraid of being flogged?'
'No,' said Hardy, coolly, after the laugh had somewhat subsided, 'I am
as little afraid of being flogged as you are, Tarlton; but I meant----'
'No matter what you meant; why should you interfere with your wisdom and
your meanings; nobody thought of asking _you_ to stir a step for us; but
we asked Loveit, because he's the best fellow in the world.' 'And for
that very reason you should not ask him, because you know he can't
refuse you anything.' 'Indeed, though,' cried Loveit, piqued, '_there_
you're mistaken, for I could refuse if I chose it.'

Hardy smiled; and Loveit, half afraid of his contempt, and half afraid
of Tarlton's ridicule, stood doubtful, and again had recourse to his
battledore, which he balanced most curiously upon his forefinger. 'Look
at him!--now do look at him!' cried Tarlton; 'did you ever in your life
see anybody look so silly!--Hardy has him quite under his thumb; he's so
mortally afraid of Parson Prig, that he dare not, for the soul of him,
turn either of his eyes from the tip of his nose; look how he squints!'
'I don't squint,' said Loveit, looking up, 'and nobody has me under his
thumb! and what Hardy said was only for fear I should get in disgrace;
he's the best friend I have.'

Loveit spoke this with more than usual spirit, for both his heart and
his pride were touched. 'Come along, then,' said Hardy, taking him by
the arm in an affectionate manner; and he was just going, when Tarlton
called after him, 'Ay, go along with its best friend, and take care it
does not get into a scrape;--good-bye, Little Panado!' 'Whom do they
call Little Panado?' said Loveit, turning his head hastily back. 'Never
mind,' said Hardy, 'what does it signify?' 'No,' said Loveit, 'to be
sure it does not signify; but one does not like to be called Little
Panado; besides,' added he, after going a few steps farther, 'they'll
all think it so ill-natured. I had better go back, and just tell them
that I'm very sorry I can't get their shuttlecock;--do come back with
me.' 'No,' said Hardy, 'I can't go back; and you'd better not.' 'But, I
assure you, I won't stay a minute; wait for me,' added Loveit; and he
slunk back again to prove that he was not Little Panado.

Once returned, the rest followed, of course; for to support his
character of good nature he was obliged to yield to the entreaties of
his companions, and, to show his spirit, leapt over the gate, amidst the
acclamations of the little mob:--he was quickly out of sight.

'Here,' cried he, returning in about five minutes, quite out of breath,
'I've got the shuttlecock; and I'll tell you what I've seen,' cried he,
panting for breath. 'What?' cried everybody, eagerly. 'Why, just at the
turn of the corner, at the end of the lane'--panting. 'Well,' said
Tarlton, impatiently, 'do go on.' 'Let me just take breath first.'
'Pugh--never mind your breath.' 'Well, then, just at the turn of the
corner, at the end of the lane, as I was looking about for the
shuttlecock, I heard a great rustling somewhere near me, and so I looked
where it could come from; and I saw, in a nice little garden, on the
opposite side of the way, a boy, about as big as Tarlton, sitting in a
great tree, shaking the branches; so I called to the boy, to beg one;
but he said he could not give me one, for that they were his
grandfather's; and just at that minute, from behind a gooseberry bush,
up popped the uncle; the grandfather poked his head out of the window;
so I ran off as fast as my legs would carry me, though I heard him
bawling after me all the way.'

'And let him bawl,' cried Tarlton; 'he shan't bawl for nothing; I'm
determined we'll have some of his fine large rosy apples before I sleep
to-night.'

At this speech a general silence ensued; everybody kept his eyes fixed
upon Tarlton, except Loveit, who looked down, apprehensive that he
should be drawn on much farther than he intended. 'Oh, indeed!' said he
to himself, 'as Hardy told me, I had better not have come back!'

Regardless of this confusion, Tarlton continued, 'But before I say any
more, I hope we have no spies amongst us. If there is any one of you
afraid to be flogged, let him march off this instant!'

Loveit coloured, bit his lips, wished to go, but had not the courage to
move first. He waited to see what everybody else would do: nobody
stirred; so Loveit stood still.

'Well, then,' cried Tarlton, giving his hand to the boy next him, then
to the next, 'your word and honour that you won't betray me; but stand
by me, and I'll stand by you.' Each boy gave his hand and his promise,
repeating, 'Stand by me, and I'll stand by you.'

Loveit hung back till the last; and had almost twisted off the button of
the boy's coat who screened him, when Tarlton came up, holding out his
hand, 'Come, Loveit, lad, you're in for it: stand by me, and I'll stand
by you.' 'Indeed, Tarlton,' expostulated he, without looking him in the
face, 'I do wish you'd give up this scheme; I daresay all the apples are
gone by this time; I wish you would. Do, pray, give up this scheme.'
'What scheme, man? you haven't heard it yet; you may as well know your
text before you begin preaching.'

The corners of Loveit's mouth could not refuse to smile, though in his
heart he felt not the slightest inclination to laugh.

'Why, I don't know you, I declare I don't know you to-day,' said
Tarlton; 'you used to be the best-natured, most agreeable lad in the
world, and would do anything one asked you; but you're quite altered of
late, as we were saying just now, when you skulked away with Hardy;
come,--do, man, pluck up a little spirit, and be one of us, or you'll
make us all _hate you_.' '_Hate_ me!' repeated Loveit, with terror; 'no,
surely, you won't all _hate_ me!' and he mechanically stretched out his
hand, which Tarlton shook violently, saying, '_Ay, now, that's right._'
'_Ay, now, that's wrong!_' whispered Loveit's conscience; but his
conscience was of no use to him, for it was always overpowered by the
voice of numbers; and though he had the wish, he never had the power, to
do right. 'Poor Loveit! I knew he would not refuse us,' cried his
companions; and even Tarlton, the moment he shook hands with him,
despised him. It is certain that weakness of mind is despised both by
the good and the bad.

The league being thus formed, Tarlton assumed all the airs of commander,
explained his schemes, and laid the plan of attack upon the poor old
man's apple-tree. It was the only one he had in the world. We shall not
dwell upon their consultation; for the amusement of contriving such
expeditions is often the chief thing which induces idle boys to engage
in them.

There was a small window at the end of the back staircase, through
which, between nine and ten o'clock at night, Tarlton, accompanied by
Loveit and another boy, crept out. It was a moonlight night, and after
crossing the field, and climbing the gate, directed by Loveit, who now
resolved to go through the affair with spirit, they proceeded down the
lane with rash yet fearful steps.

At a distance Loveit saw the whitewashed cottage, and the apple-tree
beside it. They quickened their pace, and with some difficulty scrambled
through the hedge which fenced the garden, though not without being
scratched and torn by the briers. Everything was silent. Yet now and
then, at every rustling of the leaves, they started, and their hearts
beat violently. Once, as Loveit was climbing the apple-tree, he thought
he heard a door in the cottage open, and earnestly begged his companions
to desist and return home. This, however, he could by no means persuade
them to do, until they had filled their pockets with apples; then, to
his great joy, they returned, crept in at the staircase window, and each
retired, as softly as possible, to his own apartment.

Loveit slept in the room with Hardy, whom he had left fast asleep, and
whom he now was extremely afraid of awakening. All the apples were
emptied out of Loveit's pockets, and lodged with Tarlton till the
morning, for fear the smell should betray the secret to Hardy. The room
door was apt to creak, but it was opened with such precaution that no
noise could be heard, and Loveit found his friend as fast asleep as when
he left him.

'Ah,' said he to himself, 'how quietly he sleeps! I wish I had been
sleeping too.' The reproaches of Loveit's conscience, however, served no
other purpose but to torment him; he had not sufficient strength of mind
to be good. The very next night, in spite of all his fears, and all his
penitence, and all his resolutions, by a little fresh ridicule and
persuasion he was induced to accompany the same party on a similar
expedition. We must observe that the necessity for continuing their
depredations became stronger the third day; for, though at first only a
small party had been in the secret, by degrees it was divulged to the
whole school; and it was necessary to secure secrecy by sharing the
booty.

Every one was astonished that Hardy, with all his quickness and
penetration, had not yet discovered their proceedings; but Loveit could
not help suspecting that he was not quite so ignorant as he appeared to
be. Loveit had strictly kept his promise of secrecy; but he was by no
means an artful boy; and in talking to his friend, conscious that he had
something to conceal, he was perpetually on the point of betraying
himself; then, recollecting his engagement, he blushed, stammered,
bungled; and upon Hardy's asking what he meant, would answer with a
silly, guilty countenance that he did not know; or abruptly break off,
saying, 'Oh, nothing! nothing at all!'

It was in vain that he urged Tarlton to permit him to consult his
friend. A gloom overspread Tarlton's brow when he began to speak on the
subject, and he always returned a peremptory refusal, accompanied with
some such taunting expression as this--'I wish we had nothing to do with
such a sneaking fellow; he'll betray us all, I see, before we have done
with him.' 'Well,' said Loveit to himself, 'so I am abused after all,
and called a sneaking fellow for my pains; that's rather hard, to be
sure, when I've got so little by the job.'

In truth he had not got much; for in the division of the booty only one
apple, and half of another which was only half ripe, happened to fall to
his share; though, to be sure, when they had all eaten their apples, he
had the satisfaction to hear everybody declare they were very sorry they
had forgotten to offer some of theirs to '_poor Loveit_.'

In the meantime, the visits to the apple-tree had been now too
frequently repeated to remain concealed from the old man who lived in
the cottage. He used to examine his only tree very frequently, and
missing numbers of rosy apples, which he had watched ripening, he,
though not prone to suspicion, began to think that there was something
going wrong; especially as a gap was made in his hedge, and there were
several small footsteps in his flower-beds.

The good old man was not at all inclined to give pain to any living
creature, much less to children, of whom he was particularly fond. Nor
was he in the least avaricious, for though he was not rich, he had
enough to live upon, because he had been very industrious in his youth;
and he was always very ready to part with the little he had. Nor was he
a cross old man. If anything would have made him angry, it would have
been the seeing his favourite tree robbed, as he had promised himself
the pleasure of giving his red apples to his grandchildren on his
birthday. However, he looked up at the tree in sorrow rather than in
anger, and leaning upon his staff, he began to consider what he had best
do.

'If I complain to their master,' said he to himself, 'they will
certainly be flogged, and that I should be sorry for; yet they must not
be let to go on stealing; that would be worse still, for it would
surely bring them to the gallows in the end. Let me see--oh, ay, that
will do; I will borrow farmer Kent's dog Barker, he'll keep them off,
I'll answer for it.'

Farmer Kent lent his dog Barker, cautioning his neighbour, at the same
time, to be sure to chain him well, for he was the fiercest mastiff in
England. The old man, with farmer Kent's assistance, chained him fast to
the trunk of the apple-tree.

Night came; and Tarlton, Loveit, and his companions returned at the
usual hour. Grown bolder now by frequent success, they came on talking
and laughing. But the moment they had set their foot in the garden, the
dog started up; and, shaking his chain as he sprang forward, barked with
unremitting fury. They stood still as if fixed to the spot. There was
just moonlight enough to see the dog. 'Let us try the other side of the
tree,' said Tarlton. But to whichever side they turned, the dog flew
round in an instant, barking with increased fury.

'He'll break his chain and tear us to pieces,' cried Tarlton; and,
struck with terror, he immediately threw down the basket he had brought
with him, and betook himself to flight, with the greatest precipitation.
'Help me! oh, pray, help me! I can't get through the hedge,' cried
Loveit, in a lamentable tone, whilst the dog growled hideously, and
sprang forward to the extremity of his chain. 'I can't get out! Oh, for
God's sake, stay for me one minute, dear Tarlton!' He called in vain; he
was left to struggle through his difficulties by himself; and of all his
dear friends not one turned back to help him. At last, torn and
terrified, he got through the hedge and ran home, despising his
companions for their selfishness. Nor could he help observing that
Tarlton, with all his vaunted prowess, was the first to run away from
the appearance of danger.

The next morning Loveit could not help reproaching the party with their
conduct. 'Why could not you, any of you, stay one minute to help me?'
said he. 'We did not hear you call,' answered one. 'I was so
frightened,' said another, 'I would not have turned back for the whole
world.' 'And you, Tarlton?' 'I,' said Tarlton; 'had not I enough to do
to take care of myself, you blockhead? Every one for himself in this
world!' 'So I see,' said Loveit, gravely. 'Well, man! is there anything
strange in that?' 'Strange! why, yes; I thought you all loved me!'
'Lord love you, lad! so we do; but we love ourselves better.' 'Hardy
would not have served me so, however,' said Loveit, turning away in
disgust. Tarlton was alarmed. 'Pugh!' said he; 'what nonsense have you
taken into your brain? Think no more about it. We are all very sorry,
and beg your pardon; come, shake hands,--forgive and forget.'

Loveit gave his hand, but gave it rather coldly. 'I forgive it with all
my heart,' said he; 'but I cannot forget it so soon!' 'Why, then, you
are not such a good-humoured fellow as we thought you were. Surely you
cannot bear malice, Loveit.' Loveit smiled, and allowed that he
certainly could not bear malice. 'Well, then, come; you know at the
bottom we all love you, and would do anything in the world for you.'
Poor Loveit, flattered in his foible, began to believe that they did
love him at the bottom, as they said, and even with his eyes open
consented again to be duped.

'How strange it is,' thought he, 'that I should set such value upon the
love of those I despise! When I'm once out of this scrape, I'll have no
more to do with them, I'm determined.'

Compared with his friend Hardy, his new associates did indeed appear
contemptible; for all this time Hardy had treated him with uniform
kindness, avoided to pry into his secrets, yet seemed ready to receive
his confidence, if it had been offered.

After school in the evening, as he was standing silently beside Hardy,
who was ruling a sheet of paper for him, Tarlton, in his brutal manner,
came up, and seizing him by the arm, cried, 'Come along with me, Loveit,
I've something to say to you.' 'I can't come now,' said Loveit, drawing
away his arm. 'Ah, do come now,' said Tarlton, in a voice of persuasion.
'Well, I'll come presently.' 'Nay, but do, pray; there's a good fellow,
come now, because I've something to say to you.' 'What is it you've got
to say to me? I wish you'd let me alone,' said Loveit; yet at the same
time he suffered himself to be led away.

Tarlton took particular pains to humour him and bring him into temper
again; and even, though he was not very apt to part with his playthings,
went so far as to say, 'Loveit, the other day you wanted a top; I'll
give you mine if you desire it.' Loveit thanked him, and was overjoyed
at the thoughts of possessing this top. 'But what did you want to say to
me just now?' 'Ay, we'll talk of that presently; not yet--when we get
out of hearing.' 'Nobody is near us,' said Loveit. 'Come a little
farther, however,' said Tarlton, looking round suspiciously. 'Well now,
well?' 'You know the dog that frightened us so last night?' 'Yes.' 'It
will never frighten us again.' 'Won't it? how so?' 'Look here,' said
Tarlton, drawing something from his pocket wrapped in a blue
handkerchief. 'What's that?' Tarlton opened it. 'Raw meat!' exclaimed
Loveit. 'How came you by it?' 'Tom, the servant boy, Tom got it for me,
and I'm to give him sixpence.' 'And is it for the dog?' 'Yes, I vowed
I'd be revenged on him, and after this he'll never bark again.' 'Never
bark again! What do you mean? Is it poison?' exclaimed Loveit, starting
back with horror. 'Only poison for _a dog_;' said Tarlton, confused;
'you could not look more shocked if it was poison for a Christian.'

Loveit stood for nearly a minute in profound silence. 'Tarlton,' said he
at last, in a changed tone and altered manner, 'I did not know you; I
will have no more to do with you.' 'Nay, but stay,' said Tarlton,
catching hold of his arm, 'stay; I was only joking.' 'Let go my arm--you
were in earnest.' 'But then that was before I knew there was any harm.
If you think there's any harm?' '_If_,' said Loveit. 'Why, you know, I
might not know; for Tom told me it's a thing that's often done. Ask
Tom.' 'I'll ask nobody! Surely we know better what's right and wrong
than Tom does.' 'But only just ask him, to hear what he'll say.' 'I
don't want to hear what he'll say,' cried Loveit, vehemently; 'the dog
will die in agonies--in agonies! There was a dog poisoned at my
father's--I saw him in the yard. Poor creature! He lay and howled and
writhed himself!' 'Poor creature! Well, there's no harm done now,' cried
Tarlton, in a hypocritical tone. But though he thought fit to dissemble
with Loveit, he was thoroughly determined in his purpose.

Poor Loveit, in haste to get away, returned to his friend Hardy; but his
mind was in such agitation, that he neither talked nor moved like
himself; and two or three times his heart was so full that he was ready
to burst into tears.

'How good-natured you are to me,' said he to Hardy, as he was trying
vainly to entertain him; 'but if you knew----' Here he stopped short,
for the bell for evening prayer rang, and they all took their places and
knelt down. After prayers, as they were going to bed, Loveit stopped
Tarlton,--'_Well?_' asked he, in an inquiring manner, fixing his eyes
upon him. '_Well?_' replied Tarlton, in an audacious tone, as if he
meant to set his inquiring eye at defiance. 'What do you mean to do
to-night?' 'To go to sleep, as you do, I suppose,' replied Tarlton,
turning away abruptly, and whistling as he walked off.

[Illustration: _'Is it poison?' exclaimed Loveit, starting back with
horror._]

'Oh, he has certainly changed his mind!' said Loveit to himself, 'else
he could not whistle.'

About ten minutes after this, as he and Hardy were undressing, Hardy
suddenly recollected that he had left his new kite out upon the grass.
'Oh,' said he, 'it will be quite spoiled before morning!' 'Call Tom,'
said Loveit, 'and bid him bring it in for you in a minute.' They both
went to the top of the stairs to call Tom; no one answered. They called
again louder, 'Is Tom below?' 'I'm here,' answered he at last, coming
out of Tarlton's room with a look of mixed embarrassment and effrontery.
And as he was receiving Hardy's commission, Loveit saw the corner of the
blue handkerchief hanging out of his pocket. This excited fresh
suspicions in Loveit's mind; but, without saying one word, he
immediately stationed himself at the window in his room, which looked
out towards the lane; and, as the moon was risen, he could see if any
one passed that way. 'What are you doing there?' said Hardy, after he
had been watching some time; 'why don't you come to bed?' Loveit
returned no answer, but continued standing at the window. Nor did he
watch long in vain. Presently he saw Tom gliding slowly along a bypath,
and get over the gate into the lane.

'He's gone to do it!' exclaimed Loveit aloud, with an emotion which he
could not command. 'Who's gone? to do what?' cried Hardy, starting up.
'How cruel! how wicked!' continued Loveit. 'What's cruel--what's wicked?
speak out at once!' returned Hardy, in that commanding tone which, in
moments of danger, strong minds feel themselves entitled to assume
towards weak ones. Loveit instantly, though in an incoherent manner,
explained the affair to him. Scarcely had the words passed his lips,
when Hardy sprang up and began dressing himself without saying one
syllable. 'For God's sake, what are you going to do?' said Loveit in
great anxiety. 'They'll never forgive me! don't betray me! they'll never
forgive! pray, speak to me! only say you won't betray us.' 'I will not
betray you, trust to me,' said Hardy; and he left the room, and Loveit
stood in amazement; whilst, in the meantime, Hardy, in hopes of
overtaking Tom before the fate of the poor dog was decided, ran with all
possible speed across the meadow, and then down the lane. He came up
with Tom just as he was climbing the bank into the old man's garden.
Hardy, too much out of breath to speak, seized hold of him, dragged him
down, detaining him with a firm grasp, whilst he panted for utterance.
'What, Master Hardy, is it you? what's the matter? what do you want?' 'I
want the poisoned meat that you have in your pocket.' 'Who told you that
I had any such thing?' said Tom, clapping his hand upon his guilty
pocket. 'Give it me quietly, and I'll let you off.' 'Sir, upon my word,
I haven't! I didn't! I don't know what you mean,' said Tom, trembling,
though he was by far the stronger of the two. 'Indeed, I don't know what
you mean.' 'You do,' said Hardy, with great indignation, and a violent
struggle immediately commenced.

The dog, now alarmed by the voices, began to bark outrageously. Tom was
terrified lest the old man should come out to see what was the matter;
his strength forsook him, and flinging the handkerchief and meat over
the hedge, he ran away with all his speed. The handkerchief fell within
reach of the dog, who instantly snapped at it; luckily it did not come
untied. Hardy saw a pitchfork on a dunghill close beside him, and,
seizing upon it, stuck it into the handkerchief. The dog pulled, tore,
growled, grappled, yelled; it was impossible to get the handkerchief
from between his teeth; but the knot was loosed, the meat, unperceived
by the dog, dropped out, and while he dragged off the handkerchief in
triumph, Hardy, with inexpressible joy, plunged the pitchfork into the
poisoned meat and bore it away.

Never did hero retire with more satisfaction from a field of battle.
Full of the pleasure of successful benevolence, Hardy tripped joyfully
home, and vaulted over the window-sill, when the first object he beheld
was Mr. Power, the usher, standing at the head of the stairs, with his
candle in his hand.

'Come up, whoever you are,' said Mr. William Power, in a stern voice;
'I thought I should find you out at last. Come up, whoever you are!'
Hardy obeyed without reply.--'Hardy!' exclaimed Mr. Power, starting back
with astonishment; 'is it you, Mr. Hardy?' repeated he, holding the
light to his face. 'Why, sir,' said he, in a sneering tone, 'I'm sure if
Mr. Trueman was here he wouldn't believe his own eyes; but for my part I
saw through you long since; I never liked saints, for my share. Will you
please do me the favour, sir, if it is not too much trouble, to empty
your pockets?' Hardy obeyed in silence. 'Heyday! meat! raw meat! what
next?' 'That's all,' said Hardy, emptying his pockets inside out. 'This
is _all_,' said Mr. Power, taking up the meat. 'Pray, sir,' said Hardy,
eagerly, 'let that meat be burned; it is poisoned.' 'Poisoned!' cried
Mr. William Power, letting it drop out of his fingers; 'you wretch!'
looking at him with a menacing air, 'what is all this? Speak.' Hardy was
silent. 'Why don't you speak?' cried he, shaking him by the shoulder
impatiently. Still Hardy was silent. 'Down upon your knees this minute
and confess all; tell me where you've been, what you've been doing, and
who are your accomplices, for I know there is a gang of you; so,' added
he, pressing heavily upon Hardy's shoulder, 'down upon your knees this
minute, and confess the whole, that's your only way now to get off
yourself. If you hope for _my_ pardon, I can tell you it's not to be had
without asking for.'

'Sir,' said Hardy, in a firm but respectful voice, 'I have no pardon to
ask, I have nothing to confess; I am innocent; but if I were not, I
would never try to get off myself by betraying my companions.' 'Very
well, sir! very well! very fine! stick to it, stick to it, I advise you,
and we shall see. And how will you look to-morrow, Mr. Innocent, when my
uncle, the doctor, comes home?' 'As I do now, sir,' said Hardy, unmoved.

His composure threw Mr. Power into a rage too great for utterance.
'Sir,' continued Hardy, 'ever since I have been at school, I never told
a lie, and therefore, sir, I hope you will believe me now. Upon my word
and honour, sir, I have done nothing wrong.' 'Nothing wrong? Better and
better! what, when I caught you going out at night?' '_That_, to be
sure, was wrong,' said Hardy, recollecting himself; 'but except
that----' 'Except that, sir! I will except nothing. Come along with me,
young gentleman, your time for pardon is past.'

Saying these words, he pulled Hardy along a narrow passage to a small
closet, set apart for desperate offenders, and usually known by the name
of the _Black Hole_. 'There, sir, take up your lodging there for
to-night,' said he, pushing him in; 'to-morrow I'll know more, or I'll
know why,' added he, double-locking the door, with a tremendous noise,
upon his prisoner, and locking also the door at the end of the passage,
so that no one could have access to him. 'So now I think I have you
safe!' said Mr. William Power to himself, stalking off with steps which
made the whole gallery resound, and which made many a guilty heart
tremble.

The conversation which had passed between Hardy and Mr. Power at the
head of the stairs had been anxiously listened to; but only a word or
two here and there had been distinctly overheard.

The locking of the Black Hole door was a terrible sound--some knew not
what it portended, and others knew _too well_. All assembled in the
morning with faces of anxiety. Tarlton's and Loveit's were the most
agitated: Tarlton for himself, Loveit for his friend, for himself, for
everybody. Every one of the party, and Tarlton at their head, surrounded
him with reproaches; and considered him as the author of the evils which
hung over them. 'How could you do so? and why did you say anything to
Hardy about it? when you had promised, too! Oh! what shall we all do?
what a scrape you have brought us into! Loveit, it's all your fault!'
'_All my fault!_' repeated poor Loveit, with a sigh; 'well, that is
hard.'

'Goodness! there's the bell,' exclaimed a number of voices at once. 'Now
for it!' They all stood in a half-circle for morning prayers. They
listened--'Here he is coming! No--Yes--Here he is!' And Mr. William
Power, with a gloomy brow, appeared and walked up to his place at the
head of the room. They knelt down to prayers, and the moment they rose,
Mr. William Power, laying his hand upon the table, cried, 'Stand still,
gentlemen, if you please.' Everybody stood stock still; he walked out of
the circle; they guessed that he was gone for Hardy, and the whole room
was in commotion. Each with eagerness asked each what none could answer,
'_Has he told?_' '_What_ has he told?' 'Who has he told of?' 'I hope he
has not told of me,' cried they. 'I'll answer for it he has told of all
of us,' said Tarlton. 'And I'll answer for it he has told of none of
us,' answered Loveit, with a sigh. 'You don't think he's such a fool,
when he can get himself off,' said Tarlton.

At this instant the prisoner was led in, and as he passed through the
circle, every eye was fixed upon him. His eye fell upon no one, not even
upon Loveit, who pulled him by the coat as he passed--every one felt
almost afraid to breathe. 'Well, sir,' said Mr. Power, sitting down in
Mr. Trueman's elbow-chair, and placing the prisoner opposite to him;
'well, sir, what have you to say to me this morning?' 'Nothing, sir,'
answered Hardy, in a decided, yet modest manner; 'nothing but what I
said last night.' 'Nothing more?' 'Nothing more, sir.' 'But I have
something more to say to you, sir, then; and a great deal more, I
promise you, before I have done with you;' and then, seizing him in a
fury, he was just going to give him a severe flogging, when the
schoolroom door opened, and Mr. Trueman appeared, followed by an old man
whom Loveit immediately knew. He leaned upon his stick as he walked, and
in his other hand carried a basket of apples. When they came within the
circle, Mr. Trueman stopped short 'Hardy!' exclaimed he, with a voice of
unfeigned surprise, whilst Mr. William Power stood with his hand
suspended. 'Ay, Hardy, sir,' repeated he. 'I told him you'd not believe
your own eyes.'

Mr. Trueman advanced with a slow step. 'Now, sir, give me leave,' said
the usher, eagerly drawing him aside and whispering.

'So, sir,' said Mr. T. when the whisper was done, addressing himself to
Hardy, with a voice and manner which, had he been guilty, must have
pierced him to the heart, 'I find I have been deceived in you; it is but
three hours ago that I told your uncle I never had a boy in my school in
whom I placed so much confidence; but, after all this show of honour and
integrity, the moment my back is turned, you are the first to set an
example of disobedience of my orders. Why do I talk of disobeying my
commands,--you are a thief!' 'I, sir?' exclaimed Hardy, no longer able
to repress his feelings. 'You, sir,--you and some others,' said Mr.
Trueman, looking round the room with a penetrating glance--'you and some
others,' 'Ay, sir,' interrupted Mr. William Power, 'get that out of him
if you can--ask him.' 'I will ask him nothing; I shall neither put his
truth nor his honour to the trial; truth and honour are not to be
expected amongst thieves.' 'I am not a thief! I have never had anything
to do with thieves,' cried Hardy, indignantly. 'Have you not robbed this
old man? Don't you know the taste of these apples?' said Mr. Trueman,
taking one out of the basket. 'No, sir; I do not. I never touched one of
that old man's apples.' 'Never touched one of them! I suppose this is
some vile equivocation; you have done worse, you have had the barbarity,
the baseness, to attempt to poison his dog; the poisoned meat was found
in your pocket last night.' 'The poisoned meat was found in my pocket,
sir; but I never intended to poison the dog--I saved his life.' 'Lord
bless him!' said the old man. 'Nonsense--cunning!' said Mr. Power. 'I
hope you won't let him impose upon you, sir.' 'No, he cannot impose upon
me; I have a proof he is little prepared for,' said Mr. Trueman,
producing the blue handkerchief in which the meat had been wrapped.

Tarlton turned pale; Hardy's countenance never changed. 'Don't you know
this handkerchief, sir?' 'I do, sir.' 'Is it not yours?' 'No, sir.'
'Don't you know whose it is?' cried Mr. Power. Hardy was silent.

'Now, gentlemen,' said Mr. Trueman, 'I am not fond of punishing you; but
when I do it, you know, it is always in earnest. I will begin with the
eldest of you; I will begin with Hardy, and flog you with my own hands
till this handkerchief is owned.' 'I'm sure it's not mine,' and 'I'm
sure it's none of mine,' burst from every mouth, whilst they looked at
each other in dismay; for none but Hardy, Loveit, and Tarlton knew the
secret. 'My cane,' said Mr. Trueman, and Mr. Power handed him the cane.
Loveit groaned from the bottom of his heart. Tarlton leaned back against
the wall with a black countenance. Hardy looked with a steady eye at the
cane.

'But first,' said Mr. Trueman, laying down the cane, 'let us see.
Perhaps we may find out the owner of this handkerchief another way,'
examining the corners. It was torn almost to pieces; but luckily the
corner that was marked remained.

'J. T.!' cried Mr. Trueman. Every eye turned upon the guilty Tarlton,
who, now as pale as ashes and trembling in every limb, sank down upon
his knees, and in a whining voice begged for mercy. 'Upon my word and
honour, sir, I'll tell you all; I should never have thought of stealing
the apples if Loveit had not first told me of them; and it was Tom who
first put the poisoning the dog into my head. It was he that carried the
meat; _wasn't it_?' said he, appealing to Hardy, whose word he knew must
be believed. 'Oh, dear sir!' continued he as Mr. Trueman began to move
towards him, 'do let me off; do pray let me off this time! I'm not the
only one, indeed, sir! I hope you won't make me an example for the rest.
It's very hard I'm to be flogged more than they!' 'I'm not going to flog
you.' 'Thank you, sir,' said Tarlton, getting up and wiping his eyes.
'You need not thank me,' said Mr. Trueman. 'Take your handkerchief--go
out of this room--out of this house; let me never see you more.'

[Illustration: _'May God bless you!'_]

'If I had any hopes of him,' said Mr. Trueman, as he shut the door after
him--'if I had any hopes of him, I would have punished him; but I have
none. Punishment is meant only to make people better; and those who have
any hopes of themselves will know how to submit to it.'

At these words Loveit first, and immediately all the rest of the guilty
party, stepped out of the ranks, confessed their fault and declared
themselves ready to bear any punishment their master thought proper.

'Oh, they have been punished enough,' said the old man; 'forgive them,
sir.'

Hardy looked as if he wished to speak. 'Not because you ask it,' said
Mr. Trueman to the guilty penitents, 'though I should be glad to oblige
you--it wouldn't be just; but there,' pointing to Hardy, 'there is one
who has merited a reward; the highest I can give him is that of
pardoning his companions.'

Hardy bowed and his face glowed with pleasure, whilst everybody present
sympathised in his feelings.

'I am sure,' thought Loveit, 'this is a lesson I shall never forget.'

'Gentlemen,' said the old man, with a faltering voice, 'it wasn't for
the sake of my apples that I spoke; and you, sir,' said he to Hardy, 'I
thank you for saving my dog. If you please, I'll plant on that mount,
opposite the window, a young apple-tree, from my old one. I will water
it, and take care of it with my own hands for your sake, as long as I am
able. And may God bless you!' laying his trembling hand on Hardy's head;
'may God bless you--I'm sure God _will_ bless all such boys as you
are.'



THE BASKET-WOMAN.

  Toute leur étude était de se complaire et de s'entr'aider.[40]
                                                   PAUL ET VIRGINIE.


At the foot of a steep, slippery, white hill, near Dunstable, in
Bedfordshire, called Chalk Hill, there is a hut, or rather a hovel,
which travellers could scarcely suppose could be inhabited, if they did
not see the smoke rising from its peaked roof. An old woman lives in
this hovel,[41] and with her a little boy and girl, the children of a
beggar who died and left these orphans perishing with hunger. They
thought themselves very happy when the good old woman first took them
into her hut and bid them warm themselves at her small fire, and gave
them a crust of mouldy bread to eat. She had not much to give, but what
she had she gave with good-will. She was very kind to these poor
children, and worked hard at her spinning-wheel and at her knitting, to
support herself and them. She earned money also in another way. She used
to follow all the carriages as they went up Chalk Hill, and when the
horses stopped to take breath or to rest themselves, she put stones
behind the carriage wheels to prevent them from rolling backwards down
the steep, slippery hill.

  [40] Their whole study was how to please and to help one another.

  [41] This was about the close of the last century.

The little boy and girl loved to stand beside the good-natured old
woman's spinning-wheel when she was spinning, and to talk to her. At
these times she taught them something which, she said, she hoped they
would remember all their lives. She explained to them what is meant by
telling the truth, and what it is to be honest. She taught them to
dislike idleness, and to wish that they could be useful.

One evening, as they were standing beside her, the little boy said to
her, 'Grandmother,' for that was the name by which she liked that these
children should call her--'grandmother, how often you are forced to get
up from your spinning-wheel, and to follow the chaises and coaches up
that steep hill, to put stones underneath the wheels, to hinder them
from rolling back! The people who are in the carriages give you a
halfpenny or a penny for doing this, don't they?' 'Yes, child.' 'But it
is very hard work for you to go up and down that hill. You often say
that you are tired, and then you know that you cannot spin all that
time. Now if we might go up the hill, and put the stones behind the
wheels, you could sit still at your work, and would not the people give
us the halfpence? and could not we bring them all to you? Do, pray, dear
grandmother, try us for one day--to-morrow, will you?'

'Yes,' said the old woman; 'I will try what you can do; but I must go up
the hill along with you for the first two or three times, for fear you
should get yourselves hurt.'

So, the next day, the little boy and girl went with their grandmother,
as they used to call her, up the steep hill; and she showed the boy how
to prevent the wheels from rolling back, by putting stones behind them;
and she said, 'This is called scotching the wheels'; and she took off
the boy's hat and gave it to the little girl, to hold up to the
carriage-windows, ready for the halfpence.

When she thought that the children knew how to manage by themselves, she
left them, and returned to her spinning-wheel. A great many carriages
happened to go by this day, and the little girl received a great many
halfpence. She carried them all in her brother's hat to her grandmother
in the evening; and the old woman smiled, and thanked the children. She
said that they had been useful to her, and that her spinning had gone on
finely, because she had been able to sit still at her wheel all day.
'But, Paul, my boy,' said she, 'what is the matter with your hand?'

'Only a pinch--only one pinch that I got, as I was putting a stone
behind a wheel of a chaise. It does not hurt me much, grandmother; and
I've thought of a good thing for to-morrow. I shall never be hurt again,
if you will only be so good as to give me the old handle of the broken
crutch, grandmother, and the block of wood that lies in the
chimney-corner, and that is of no use. I'll make it of some use, if I
may have it.'

'Take it then, dear,' said the old woman; 'and you'll find the handle of
the broken crutch under my bed.'

Paul went to work immediately, and fastened one end of the pole into the
block of wood, so as to make something like a dry-rubbing brush. 'Look,
grandmamma, look at my _scotcher_. I call this thing my _scotcher_,'
said Paul, 'because I shall always scotch the wheels with it. I shall
never pinch my fingers again; my hands, you see, will be safe at the end
of this long stick; and, sister Anne, you need not be at the trouble of
carrying any more stones after me up the hill; we shall never want
stones any more. My scotcher will do without anything else, I hope. I
wish it was morning, and that a carriage would come, that I might run up
the hill and try my scotcher.'

'And I wish that as many chaises may go by to-morrow as there did
to-day, and that we may bring you as many halfpence, too, grandmother,'
said the little girl.

'So do I, my dear Anne,' said the old woman; 'for I mean that you and
your brother shall have all the money that you get to-morrow. You may
buy some gingerbread for yourselves, or some of those ripe plums that
you saw at the fruit-stall, the other day, which is just going into
Dunstable. I told you then that I could not afford to buy such things
for you; but now that you can earn halfpence for yourselves, children,
it is fair you should taste a ripe plum and bit of gingerbread for once
and a way in your lives.'

'We'll bring some of the gingerbread home to her, shan't we, brother?'
whispered little Anne. The morning came; but no carriages were heard,
though Paul and his sister had risen at five o'clock, that they might be
sure to be ready for early travellers. Paul kept his scotcher poised
upon his shoulder, and watched eagerly at his station at the bottom of
the hill. He did not wait long before a carriage came. He followed it up
the hill; and the instant the postillion called to him, and bid him stop
the wheels, he put his scotcher behind them, and found that it answered
the purpose perfectly well.

Many carriages went by this day, and Paul and Anne received a great many
halfpence from the travellers.

When it grew dusk in the evening, Anne said to her brother--'I don't
think any more carriages will come by to-day. Let us count the
halfpence, and carry them home now to grandmother.'

'No, not yet,' answered Paul, 'let them alone--let them lie still in the
hole where I have put them. I daresay more carriages will come by before
it is quite dark, and then we shall have more halfpence.'

Paul had taken the halfpence out of his hat, and he had put them into a
hole in the high bank by the roadside; and Anne said she would not
meddle with them, and that she would wait till her brother liked to
count them; and Paul said--'If you will stay and watch here, I will go
and gather some blackberries for you in the hedge in yonder field. Stand
you hereabouts, half-way up the hill, and the moment you see any
carriage coming along the road, run as fast as you can and call me.'

Anne waited a long time, or what she thought a long time; and she saw no
carriage, and she trailed her brother's scotcher up and down till she
was tired. Then she stood still, and looked again, and she saw no
carriage; so she went sorrowfully into the field, and to the hedge where
her brother was gathering blackberries, and she said, 'Paul, I'm sadly
tired, _sadly tired_!' said she, 'and my eyes are quite strained with
looking for chaises; no more chaises will come to-night; and your
scotcher is lying there, of no use, upon the ground. Have not I waited
long enough for to-day, Paul?' 'Oh no,' said Paul; 'here are some
blackberries for you; you had better wait a little bit longer. Perhaps a
carriage might go by whilst you are standing here talking to me.'

Anne, who was of a very obliging temper, and who liked to do what she
was asked to do, went back to the place where the scotcher lay; and
scarcely had she reached the spot, when she heard the noise of a
carriage. She ran to call her brother, and, to their great joy, they now
saw four chaises coming towards them. Paul, as soon as they went up the
hill, followed with his scotcher; first he scotched the wheels of one
carriage, then of another; and Anne was so much delighted with observing
how well the scotcher stopped the wheels, and how much better it was
than stones, that she forgot to go and hold her brother's hat to the
travellers for halfpence, till she was roused by the voice of a little
rosy girl, who was looking out of the window of one of the chaises.
'Come close to the chaise-door,' said the little girl; 'here are some
halfpence for you.'

Anne held the hat; and she afterwards went on to the other carriages.
Money was thrown to her from each of them; and when they had all gotten
safely to the top of the hill, she and her brother sat down upon a large
stone by the roadside, to count their treasure. First they began by
counting what was in the hat--'One, two, three, four halfpence.'

'But, oh, brother, look at this!' exclaimed Anne; 'this is not the same
as the other halfpence.'

'No, indeed, it is not,' cried Paul, 'it is no halfpenny; it is a
guinea, a bright golden guinea!' 'Is it?' said Anne, who had never seen
a guinea in her life before, and who did not know its value; 'and will
it do as well as a halfpenny to buy gingerbread? I'll run to the
fruit-stall and ask the woman; shall I?'

'No, no,' said Paul, 'you need not ask any woman, or anybody but me; I
can tell you all about it, as well as anybody in the whole world.'

'The whole world! Oh, Paul, you forgot. Not so well as my grandmother.'

'Why, not so well as my grandmother, perhaps; but, Anne, I can tell you
that you must not talk yourself, Anne, but you must listen to me
quietly, or else you won't understand what I am going to tell you, for I
can assure you that I don't think I quite understood it myself, Anne,
the first time my grandmother told it to me, though I stood stock still
listening my best.'

Prepared by this speech to hear something very difficult to be
understood, Anne looked very grave, and her brother explained to her
that, with a guinea, she might buy two hundred and fifty-two times as
many plums as she could get for a penny.

'Why, Paul, you know the fruit-woman said she would give us a dozen
plums for a penny. Now, for this little guinea, would she give us two
hundred and fifty-two dozen?'

'If she has so many, and if we like to have so many, to be sure she
will,' said Paul, 'but I think we should not like to have two hundred
and fifty-two dozen of plums; we could not eat such a number.'

'But we could give some of them to my grandmother,' said Anne. 'But
still there would be too many for her, and for us too,' said Paul, 'and
when we had eaten the plums, there would be an end to all the pleasure.
But now I'll tell you what I am thinking of, Anne, that we might buy
something for my grandmother that would be very useful to her indeed,
with the guinea--something that would last a great while.'

[Illustration: _'But, oh, brother, look at this! this is not the same as
the other halfpence.'_]

'What, brother? What sort of thing?' 'Something that she said she
wanted very much last winter, when she was so ill with the
rheumatism--something that she said yesterday, when you were making her
bed, she wished she might be able to buy before next winter.'

'I know, I know what you mean!' said Anne--'a blanket. Oh, yes, Paul,
that will be much better than plums; do let us buy a blanket for her;
how glad she will be to see it! I will make her bed with the new
blanket, and then bring her to look at it. But, Paul, how shall we buy a
blanket? Where are blankets to be got?'

'Leave that to me, I'll manage that. I know where blankets can be got; I
saw one hanging out of a shop the day I went last to Dunstable.'

'You have seen a great many things at Dunstable, brother.'

'Yes, a great many; but I never saw anything there or anywhere else that
I wished for half so much as I did for the blanket for my grandmother.
Do you remember how she used to shiver with the cold last winter? I'll
buy the blanket to-morrow. I'm going to Dunstable with her spinning.'

'And you'll bring the blanket to me, and I shall make the bed very
neatly, that will be all right--all happy!' said Anne, clapping her
hands.

'But stay! Hush! don't clap your hands so, Anne; it will not be all
happy, I'm afraid,' said Paul, and his countenance changed, and he
looked very grave. 'It will not be all right, I'm afraid, for there is
one thing we have neither of us thought of, but that we ought to think
about. We cannot buy the blanket, I'm afraid.' 'Why, Paul, why?'
'Because I don't think this guinea is honestly ours.'

'Nay, brother, but I'm sure it is honestly ours. It was given to us, and
grandmother said all that was given to us to-day was to be our own.'
'But who gave it to you, Anne?' 'Some of the people in those chaises,
Paul. I don't know which of them, but I daresay it was the little rosy
girl.'

'No,' said Paul, 'for when she called you to the chaise door, she said,
"Here's some halfpence for you." Now, if she gave you the guinea, she
must have given it to you by mistake.'

'Well, but perhaps some of the people in the other chaises gave it to
me, and did not give it to me by mistake, Paul. There was a gentleman
reading in one of the chaises and a lady, who looked very good-naturedly
at me, and then the gentleman put down his book and put his head out of
the window, and looked at your scotcher, brother, and he asked me if
that was your own making; and when I said yes, and that I was your
sister, he smiled at me, and put his hand into his waistcoat pocket, and
threw a handful of halfpence into the hat, and I daresay he gave us the
guinea along with them because he liked your scotcher so much.' 'Why,'
said Paul, 'that might be, to be sure, but I wish I was quite certain of
it.' 'Then, as we are not quite certain, had not we best go and ask my
grandmother what she thinks about it?'

Paul thought this was excellent advice; and he was not a silly boy, who
did not like to follow good advice. He went with his sister directly to
his grandmother, showed her the guinea, and told her how they came by
it.

'My dear, honest children,' said she, 'I am very glad you told me all
this. I am very glad that you did not buy either the plums or the
blanket with this guinea. I'm sure it is not honestly ours. Those who
threw it you gave it you by mistake, I warrant; and what I would have
you do is, to go to Dunstable, and try if you can at either of the inns
find out the person who gave it to you. It is now so late in the evening
that perhaps the travellers will sleep at Dunstable, instead of going on
the next stage; and it is likely that whosoever gave you a guinea
instead of a halfpenny has found out their mistake by this time. All you
can do is to go and inquire for the gentleman who was reading in the
chaise.'

'Oh!' interrupted Paul, 'I know a good way of finding him out. I
remember it was a dark green chaise with red wheels: and I remember I
read the innkeeper's name upon the chaise, "_John Nelson_." (I am much
obliged to you for teaching me to read, grandmother.) You told me
yesterday, grandmother, that the names written upon chaises are the
innkeepers to whom they belong. I read the name of the innkeeper upon
that chaise. It was John Nelson. So Anne and I will go to both the inns
in Dunstable, and try to find out this chaise--John Nelson's. Come,
Anne, let us set out before it gets quite dark.'

Anne and her brother passed with great courage the tempting stall that
was covered with gingerbread and ripe plums, and pursued their way
steadily through the streets of Dunstable; but Paul, when he came to the
shop where he had seen the blanket, stopped for a moment and said, 'It
is a great pity, Anne, that the guinea is not ours. However, we are
doing what is honest, and that is a comfort. Here, we must go through
this gateway, into the inn-yard; we are come to the "Dun Cow."' 'Cow!'
said Anne, 'I see no cow.' 'Look up, and you'll see the cow over your
head,' said Paul--'the sign--the picture. Come, never mind looking at it
now; I want to find out the green chaise that has John Nelson's name
upon it.'

Paul pushed forward, through a crowded passage, till he got into the
inn-yard. There was a great noise and bustle. The hostlers were carrying
in luggage. The postillions were rubbing down the horses, or rolling the
chaises into the coachhouse.

'What now? What business have you here, pray?' said a waiter, who almost
ran over Paul, as he was crossing the yard in a great hurry to get some
empty bottles from the bottle-rack. 'You've no business here, crowding
up the yard. Walk off, young gentleman, if you please.'

'Pray give me leave, sir,' said Paul, 'to stay a few minutes, to look
amongst these chaises for one dark green chaise with red wheels, that
has Mr. John Nelson's name written upon it.'

'What's that he says about a dark green chaise?' said one of the
postillions.

'What should such a one as he is know about chaises?' interrupted the
hasty waiter, and he was going to turn Paul out of the yard; but the
hostler caught hold of his arm and said, 'Maybe the child _has_ some
business here; let's know what he has to say for himself.'

The waiter was at this instant luckily obliged to leave them to attend
the bell; and Paul told his business to the hostler, who, as soon as he
saw the guinea and heard the story, shook Paul by the hand, and said,
'Stand steady, my honest lad; I'll find the chaise for you, if it is to
be found here; but John Nelson's chaises almost always drive to the
"Black Bull."'

After some difficulty, the green chaise, with John Nelson's name upon
it, and the postillion who drove that chaise, were found; and the
postillion told Paul that he was just going into the parlour to the
gentleman he had driven, to be paid, and that he would carry the guinea
with him.

'No,' said Paul, 'we should like to give it back ourselves.'

'Yes,' said the hostler; 'that they have a right to do.'

The postillion made no reply, but looked vexed, and went on towards the
house, desiring the children would wait in the passage till his return.
In the passage there was standing a decent, clean, good-natured-looking
woman, with two huge straw baskets on each side of her. One of the
baskets stood a little in the way of the entrance. A man who was pushing
his way in, and carried in his hand a string of dead larks hung to a
pole, impatient at being stopped, kicked down the straw basket, and all
its contents were thrown out. Bright straw hats, and boxes, and slippers
were all thrown in disorder upon the dirty ground.

'Oh, they will be trampled upon! They will be all spoiled!' exclaimed
the woman to whom they belonged.

'We'll help you to pick them up, if you will let us,' cried Paul and
Anne, and they immediately ran to her assistance.

When the things were all safe in the basket again, the children
expressed a desire to know how such beautiful things could be made of
straw; but the woman had not time to answer before the postillion came
out of the parlour, and with him a gentleman's servant, who came to
Paul, and clapping him upon the back, said, 'So, my little chap, I gave
you a guinea for a halfpenny, I hear; and I understand you've brought it
back again; that's right, give me hold of it.' 'No, brother,' said Anne,
'this is not the gentleman that was reading.' 'Pooh, child, I came in
Mr. Nelson's green chaise. Here's the postillion can tell you so. I and
my master came in that chaise. I and my master that was reading, as you
say, and it was he that threw the money out to you. He is going to bed;
he is tired and can't see you himself. He desires that you'll give me
the guinea.'

Paul was too honest himself to suspect that this man was telling him a
falsehood; and he now readily produced his bright guinea, and delivered
it into the servant's hands. 'Here's sixpence apiece for you, children,'
said he, 'and goodnight to you.' He pushed them towards the door; but
the basket-woman whispered to them as they went out, 'Wait in the street
till I come to you.'

'Pray, Mrs. Landlady,' cried this gentleman's servant, addressing
himself to the landlady, who just then came out of a room where some
company were at supper--'Pray, Mrs. Landlady, please to let me have
roasted larks for my supper. You are famous for larks at Dunstable; and
I make it a rule to taste the best of everything wherever I go; and,
waiter, let me have a bottle of claret. Do you hear?'

'Larks and claret for his supper,' said the basket-woman to herself, as
she looked at him from head to foot. The postillion was still waiting,
as if to speak to him; and she observed them afterwards whispering and
laughing together. '_No bad hit,_' was a sentence which the servant
pronounced several times.

Now it occurred to the basket-woman that this man had cheated the
children out of the guinea to pay for the larks and claret; and she
thought that perhaps she could discover the truth. She waited quietly in
the passage.

'Waiter! Joe! Joe!' cried the landlady, 'why don't you carry in the
sweetmeat-puffs and the tarts here to the company in the best parlour?'

'Coming, ma'am,' answered the waiter; and with a large dish of tarts and
puffs, the waiter came from the bar; the landlady threw open the door of
the best parlour, to let him in; and the basket-woman had now a full
view of a large cheerful company, and amongst them several children,
sitting round a supper-table.

'Ay,' whispered the landlady, as the door closed after the waiter and
the tarts, 'there are customers enough, I warrant, for you in that room,
if you had but the luck to be called in. Pray, what would you have the
conscience, I wonder now, to charge me for these here half-dozen little
mats to put under my dishes?'

'A trifle, ma'am,' said the basket-woman. She let the landlady have the
mats cheap, and the landlady then declared she would step in and see if
the company in the best parlour had done supper. 'When they come to
their wine,' added she, 'I'll speak a good word for you, and get you
called in afore the children are sent to bed.'

The landlady, after the usual speech of, '_I hope the supper and
everything is to your liking, ladies and gentlemen,_' began with, 'If
any of the young gentlemen or ladies would have a _cur'osity_ to see any
of our famous Dunstable straw-work, there's a decent body without
would, I daresay, be proud to show them her pincushion-boxes, and her
baskets and slippers, and her other _cur'osities_.'

The eyes of the children all turned towards their mother; their mother
smiled, and immediately their father called in the basket-woman, and
desired her to produce her _curiosities_. The children gathered round
her large pannier as it opened, but they did not touch any of her
things.

'Ah, papa!' cried a little rosy girl, 'here are a pair of straw slippers
that would just fit you, I think; but would not straw shoes wear out
very soon? and would not they let in the wet?'

'Yes, my dear,' said her father, 'but these slippers are meant----' 'For
powdering-slippers, miss,' interrupted the basket-woman. 'To wear when
people are powdering their hair,' continued the gentleman, 'that they
may not spoil their other shoes.' 'And will you buy them, papa?' 'No, I
cannot indulge myself,' said her father, 'in buying them now. I must
make amends,' said he, laughing, 'for my carelessness; and as I threw
away a guinea to-day, I must endeavour to save sixpence at least?'

'Ah, the guinea that you threw by mistake into the little girl's hat as
we were coming up Chalk Hill. Mamma, I wonder that the little girl did
not take notice of its being a guinea, and that she did not run after
the chaise to give it back again. I should think, if she had been an
honest girl, she would have returned it.'

'Miss!--ma'am!--sir!' said the basket-woman, 'if it would not be
impertinent, may I speak a word? A little boy and girl have just been
here inquiring for a gentleman who gave them a guinea instead of a
halfpenny by mistake; and not five minutes ago I saw the boy give the
guinea to a gentleman's servant, who is there without, and who said his
master desired it should be returned to him.'

'There must be some mistake, or some trick in this,' said the gentleman.
'Are the children gone? I must see them--send after them.' 'I'll go for
them myself,' said the good-natured basket-woman; 'I bid them wait in
the street yonder, for my mind misgave me that the man who spoke so
short to them was a cheat, with his larks and his claret.'

Paul and Anne were speedily summoned, and brought back by their friend
the basket-woman; and Anne, the moment she saw the gentleman, knew that
he was the very person who smiled upon her, who admired her brother's
scotcher, and who threw a handful of halfpence into the hat; but she
could not be certain, she said, that she received the guinea from him;
she only thought it most likely that she did.

'But I can be certain whether the guinea you returned be mine or no,'
said the gentleman. 'I marked the guinea; it was a light one; the only
guinea I had, which I put into my waistcoat pocket this morning.' He
rang the bell, and desired the waiter to let the gentleman who was in
the room opposite to him know that he wished to see him. 'The gentleman
in the white parlour, sir, do you mean?' 'I mean the master of the
servant who received a guinea from this child.' 'He is a Mr. Pembroke,
sir,' said the waiter.

Mr. Pembroke came; and as soon as he heard what had happened, he desired
the waiter to show him to the room where his servant was at supper. The
dishonest servant, who was supping upon larks and claret, knew nothing
of what was going on; but his knife and fork dropped from his hand, and
he overturned a bumper of claret as he started up from the table, in
great surprise and terror, when his master came in with a face of
indignation, and demanded '_The guinea_--the _guinea, sir_! that you got
from this child; that guinea which you said I ordered you to ask for
from this child.'

The servant, confounded and half-intoxicated, could only stammer out
that he had more guineas than one about him, and that he really did not
know which it was. He pulled his money out, and spread it upon the table
with trembling hands. The marked guinea appeared. His master instantly
turned him out of his service with strong expressions of contempt.

'And now, my little honest girl,' said the gentleman who had admired her
brother's scotcher, turning to Anne, 'and now tell me who you are, and
what you and your brother want or wish for most in the world.'

In the same moment Anne and Paul exclaimed, 'The thing we wish for the
most in the world is a blanket for our grandmother.'

'She is not our grandmother in reality, I believe, sir,' said Paul; 'but
she is just as good to us, and taught me to read, and taught Anne to
knit, and taught us both that we should be honest--so she has; and I
wish she had a new blanket before next winter, to keep her from the cold
and the rheumatism. She had the rheumatism sadly last winter, sir; and
there is a blanket in this street that would be just the thing for her.'

[Illustration: _His master came in with a face of indignation, and
demanded_ 'The guinea--_the_ guinea, sir!']

'She shall have it, then; and,' continued the gentleman, 'I will do
something more for you. Do you like to be employed or to be idle best?'

'We like to have something to do always, if we could, sir,' said Paul;
'but we are forced to be idle sometimes, because grandmother has not
always things for us to do that we _can_ do well.'

'Should you like to learn how to make such baskets as these?' said the
gentleman, pointing to one of the Dunstable straw-baskets. 'Oh, very
much!' said Paul. 'Very much!' said Anne. 'Then I should like to teach
you how to make them,' said the basket-woman; 'for I'm sure of one
thing, that you'd behave honestly to me.'

The gentleman put a guinea into the good-natured basket-woman's hand,
and told her that he knew she could not afford to teach them her trade
for nothing. 'I shall come through Dunstable again in a few months,'
added he; 'and I hope to see that you and your scholars are going on
well. If I find that they are, I will do something more for you.' 'But,'
said Anne, 'we must tell all this to grandmother, and ask her about it;
and I'm afraid--though I'm very happy--that it is getting very late, and
that we should not stay here any longer.' 'It is a fine moonlight
night,' said the basket-woman; 'and is not far. I'll walk with you, and
see you safe home myself.'

The gentleman detained them a few minutes longer, till a messenger whom
he had dispatched to purchase the much-wished-for blanket returned.

'Your grandmother will sleep well upon this good blanket, I hope,' said
the gentleman, as he gave it into Paul's opened arms. 'It has been
obtained for her by the honesty of her adopted children.'

THE END


_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.


       *       *       *       *       *



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WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY

HUGH THOMSON, LINLEY SAMBOURNE, CHARLES E. BROCK, CHRIS HAMMOND, AND
OTHERS.

_Fcap. 8vo. Cloth, 2s. net each. Leather Limp, 3s. net each._

  =CRANFORD.= By Mrs. GASKELL. With Preface by ANNE THACKERAY RITCHIE,
  and 100 Illustrations by HUGH THOMSON.

  =OUR VILLAGE.= By MARY RUSSELL MITFORD. With Preface by ANNE THACKERAY
  RITCHIE, and 100 Illustrations by HUGH THOMSON.

  =THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD.= With Preface by AUSTIN DOBSON, and 182
  Illustrations by HUGH THOMSON.

  =TOM BROWN'S SCHOOL-DAYS.= By THOMAS HUGHES. With Illustrations by
  E. J. SULLIVAN.

  =THE WATER BABIES: A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby.= By CHARLES KINGSLEY.
  With 100 Illustrations by LINLEY SAMBOURNE.

  =COACHING DAYS AND COACHING WAYS.= By W. OUTRAM TRISTRAM. With
  Illustrations by HUGH THOMSON and HERBERT RAILTON.

  =THE HUMOROUS POEMS OF THOMAS HOOD.= With Preface by Canon AINGER, and
  130 Illustrations by CHARLES E. BROCK.

  =OLD CHRISTMAS.= By WASHINGTON IRVING. With Illustrations by RANDOLPH
  CALDECOTT.

  =BRACEBRIDGE HALL.= By WASHINGTON IRVING. With Illustrations by
  RANDOLPH CALDECOTT.


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THE WORKS OF JANE AUSTEN

WITH INTRODUCTIONS BY AUSTIN DOBSON.

  =PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.= With Illustrations by CHARLES E. BROCK.
  =SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.= With Illustrations by HUGH THOMSON.
  =EMMA.= With Illustrations by HUGH THOMSON.
  =MANSFIELD PARK.= With Illustrations by HUGH THOMSON.
  =NORTHANGER ABBEY.= With Illustrations by HUGH THOMSON.


THE WORKS OF MARIA EDGEWORTH

WITH INTRODUCTIONS BY ANNE THACKERAY RITCHIE.

  =CASTLE RACKRENT AND THE ABSENTEE.= With Illustrations by CHRIS
          HAMMOND.
  =ORMOND.= With Illustrations by C. SCHLOESSER.
  =POPULAR TALES.= With Illustrations by CHRIS HAMMOND.
  =HELEN.= With Illustrations by CHRIS HAMMOND.
  =BELINDA.= With Illustrations by CHRIS HAMMOND.
  =THE PARENT'S ASSISTANT.= With Illustrations by CHRIS HAMMOND.


MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD., LONDON.


       *       *       *       *       *



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:


Minor punctuation errors corrected without note.

Italic words and phrases are marked _like this_.

Bold words and phrases are marked =LIKE THIS=.

Small caps are converted to ALL CAPS.

Words spelled multiple ways are left as in the original.

Within the drama sections, the following convention is used:

  All lines and line groups centered in the original are indented
  four spaces. All other lines and line groups right-aligned in the
  original (stage directions) are indented eight spaces.





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