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Title: Jemima Placid - or, The Advantage of Good-Nature
Author: Kilner, Mary Ann (née Maze), 1753-1931
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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  Printed by T. C. HANSARD, Peterborough-court, Fleet-street, for
  47, Paternoster-row; and
  N. HAILES, Piccadilly.



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

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






As I had nothing particular to do, I took a walk one morning as far as
St. James's Park, where meeting with a lady of my acquaintance, she
invited me to go home with her to breakfast; which invitation I
accordingly complied with. Her two daughters had waited for her a
considerable time, and expressed themselves to have been much disturbed
at her stay. They afterwards fretted at the heat of the weather; and the
youngest happening accidentally to tear her apron, she bewailed it the
succeeding part of the day with so much appearance of vexation, that I
could not help showing some degree of astonishment at her conduct; and
having occasion afterwards to mention Miss Placid; I added, that she was
the most agreeable girl I had ever known.

Miss Eliza, to whom I was speaking, said, That she had long wished to
hear something farther concerning that young lady, as her mamma very
frequently proposed her as an example, without mentioning the
particulars of her conduct; but as I was so happy as to be favoured
with her intimacy, she should be glad to hear a recital of those
excellencies which acquired such universal approbation.

In compliance with this request, I wrote the following sheets, and
dispatched them to Eliza, and by her desire it is that they are now
submitted to the world; as she obligingly assured me, that her
endeavours to imitate the calm disposition of the heroine of this
history, had contributed so much to her own happiness, and increased the
good opinion of her friends, that she wished to have so amiable an
example made public for the advantage of others. I shall therefore
present these memoirs to the world, just as they were sent to my young
friend; and sincerely wish they may meet with as favourable a reception
from the more general, as they did from a private perusal.

       *       *       *       *       *

The high opinion, my dear Eliza, which you entertain of Jemima Placid,
would, I assure you, be much increased upon a more intimate knowledge of
her worth. The sweetness of her temper has made her the object of
particular estimation among all her acquaintance; and I had the
happiness to be admitted of that number at a very early period of her
life. Mr. Placid is a clergyman of distinguished merit, and has been for
many years the vicar of Smiledale. The situation of the parsonage is
truly beautiful, but the income of the living is not very considerable;
therefore, as the old gentleman has two sons with the young Jemima to
provide for, it is necessary to be rather frugal in his expenses. Mrs.
Placid was remarkably handsome in her youth, but the beauty of her
person has been much impaired by a continued state of ill health, which
she supports with such a degree of cheerful fortitude, as does honour
to human nature. As she has had the advantage of a liberal education,
and has been always accustomed to genteel company, her conversation is
uncommonly agreeable; and her daughter has derived from her
instructions, those engaging qualities, which are the most valuable
endowments a parent can bestow. The eldest son, whose name is Charles,
is about three years, and William, the youngest, near a year and a half
older than his sister. Their dispositions are not in all respects so
gentle as hers; yet, on the whole, they form the most agreeable family
I have ever known.

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


At last the day arrived, when her uncle (whom I before forgot to
mention) and his wife came to dinner at Smiledale, with an intention of
conducting Jemima back with them. She was in her papa's study at the
time they alighted, and could not help weeping at the idea of quitting
her friends; and throwing her arms around her brother William's neck,
silently sobbed forth that grief she wanted power to restrain. The poor
boy, who loved his sister with great tenderness, was nearly as much
agitated as herself, and could only, with affectionate kisses, every now
and then exclaim, Do not cry so, Jemima! pray do not! We shall soon
meet again, my love! pray do not cry!--When she had relieved her little
heart with this indulgence of her sorrow, she wiped her eyes, and walked
slowly up stairs to have her frock put on.--So your aunt is come, miss?
said Peggy, as she set down the basin on the table to wash her
hands.--Poor Jemima was silent.--I am sorry we are going to lose you, my
dear, added she, as she wiped the towel over her forehead, Peggy's hand
held back her head, and at the same time supported her chin, so that her
face was confined, and exposed to observation. She wanted to hide her
tears, but she could not; so at last, hastily covering herself with the
maid's apron, and putting her two hands round her waist, she renewed the
sorrow which she had so lately suppressed.


Peggy was very fond of her young lady, as indeed was every servant in
the house; but there was a good woman, who went in the family by the
name of Nurse, for whom Jemima had a still greater attachment. She had
attended Mrs. Placid before her marriage, had nursed all her children
from their births, and Jemima was the darling of her heart. As she
entered the room at this time, she took the weeping girl into her lap,
and wept herself at the reflexion, that it was the first time in her
life she had slept without her!--And so pray, my dear, said she, take
care of yourself, and when you go to bed, mind that they pin your
night-cap close at the top, otherwise you will get cold; and do not
forget to have your linen well aired; for otherwise it is very
dangerous, love; and many a person, by such neglect, has caught a cold
which has terminated in a fever. Sweet child! I do not like to trust it
from me, added she, hugging her still closer, and smothering her face in
a check cotton handkerchief, which she wore on her neck. Jemima promised
an observance of her injunctions, and being now dressed, attended a
summons from her mamma, who was alone in her chamber, the company having
left her to walk in the garden, whither she was unable to accompany
them.--I see, my dear girl, said she, holding out her hand as she sat in
an easy chair by the window; I see that you are sorry to leave me; and
indeed, Jemima, I am much grieved that such a separation is necessary;
but I hope I shall be better when I return; and I am sure you would wish
me to be quite well. I hope, therefore, that you will be a good child
while you stay with your uncle and aunt, and not give more trouble than
you cannot avoid. You know, my love, that although you are going among
strangers, yet you will be properly and kindly taken care of; and though
I do not say it is so agreeable as to be at home with your nearer
friends, yet, as we cannot have every thing we wish for, we must not be
fretful, because that will not give us what we desire, and will
certainly make us more uncomfortable, and be disliked by all those with
whom we are connected. There are a great many little things, Jemima,
which you know I frequently tell you of, and which you must endeavour to
remember when I am not with you. Therefore, do not forget to hold up
your head, and behave gracefully; and when you are at dinner, if you
should be offered any thing improper, that is, what you are not
permitted to have at home, be sure civilly to refuse it, and say, Your
mamma does not choose you should eat any. My only reason, you must be
convinced, for denying you any indulgence of that kind, is, because it
would disagree with you, and make you ill; and you are so good, I dare
say, as never to do those things when your papa and I are absent, which
we should prevent if we were present.--Miss Placid assured her mamma of
her obedience, and her firm resolution to mind all her admonitions; when
she resumed her injunctions, and added--There is one thing, my dear, of
more importance than the rest, which I would have you chiefly attend to:
whatever may be your temptation to the contrary, remember to speak the
truth. Your absence from me will be no excuse for the neglect of your
duty; and if once you forfeit your honour, I can have no farther
dependence upon you; and never venture to rely on the concealment of a
fault; for you may depend upon it, such things are found out when least
expected; but if they should not be, the unhappiness you would feel at
having behaved wrongly, would be a great punishment of itself. Yet I
need not, I dare say, have mentioned this to my Jemima, as she is at all
times so good as to deserve reliance; only as you are going to be left
quite to yourself, I thought it necessary to put you particularly upon
your guard.--Mr. Piner returning at this period, interrupted any farther
discourse, only Mrs. Placid affectionately pressed her hand, and, after
giving her a kiss, Jemima sat down on a little stool by her side.


When the hour of her departure was nearly arrived, she retired into the
garden to take leave of her brothers, and went round with them to all
the different places she had been accustomed to play in. They visited
together the poultry-yard, and Jemima fed her bantams before she left
them [see the following page], bidding them all adieu, and looking
behind her for the last time as she shut the gate. They then walked
round by some walnut-trees, where a seat had been put up for them to sit
in the shade.--I wish you were not going! said Charles; for I put this
box, and drove in these nails, on purpose for you to hang up your doll's
clothes, and now they will be of no farther use to us.--I wish so too!
replied his sister; but I cannot help it.--Well, do not cry, added
William; but come this way by the brewhouse, and bid my rabbits
good-bye, and take this piece of lettuce in your hand to feed the old
doe, and here is some parsley for the young ones; we shall have some
more before you come back, and I will send you word, if I can, how many
there be.--And, Jemima, said Charles, I wish I were going with you to
London! for I should like to see it, it is such a large place; a great
deal bigger than any villages which we have seen; and, they say, the
houses stand close together for a great way; and there are no fields or
trees, and the houses have no gardens to them; but then there is a great
number of shops, and you might perhaps get a collar for Hector! Do pray
try, Jemima, and buy him one, and have his name put upon it, and that he
belongs to the Rev. Mr. Placid, of Smiledale; for then, in case we
should lose him, folk would know where to return him.--And would it not
be better to have a bell, said William, as the sheep have? I like a
bell very much, it would make such a nice noise about the house! and
then we should always know where he was when we were reading, as my
father will not let us look after him. What else do we want her to buy,
Charles? Cannot you write a list?--That will be the best way, replied
he, taking out his pencil; and, very ungracefully, to be sure, he put
the point of it to his mouth two or three times before it would write;
and then, having but a small scrap of paper, he dispatched his brother,
as the shortest way, to fetch a slate, and he would transcribe it
afterwards with a pen and ink; for he had, in endeavouring to cut a new
point to his pencil, broken it off so frequently, that the lead was all
wasted, and nothing remained except the wood. William soon returned,
with the slate under his arm. Charles took it from him, and then went to
work to prepare a bill of necessary things, which his sister was to
purchase in London. He leaned so hard, and scratched in such a manner,
as, had any grown people been of the party, would have set their teeth
on edge (a sensation, I believe, with which children are unacquainted,
for they never seem to notice it at all).--First then, said he, I am to
mention a collar for Hector, with his name and place of abode; and I
should like very much to have some Indian glue, to mend our play things;
such as papa uses, and which we cannot get here, you know.


William assented, and Jemima was as attentive as if she had been to
remember all the things he was writing, without the assistance of his
list. They sat some time in silence, to recollect the other necessary
commissions, when she reminded them, that a new pencil would be a useful
article; but Charles said, his father would supply that want, and there
was no need to spend his own money for things he could have without any
expense; but, if any how I could get a gun, with a touch-hole, I should
be quite happy.--No, you would not, returned William; for then, Charles,
you would want gunpowder, which you never could have; and if you had,
might never use it.--To be sure that is true! I have long wished for it;
but, as you say, I will be contented without it; so do not concern
yourself about that, and I need not set it down.--I shall not trouble
you with the rest of the consultation on this important subject, but
transcribe the list itself, which, with the account of the preceding
conversation, I received from a young lady, who frequently spent some
months with Mrs. Placid; and to whose kindness I am indebted for many of
the various incidents which compose this history.

_A List of the Things_ Jemima _is to bring from London._

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


Such were the orders which Miss Placid received from her brothers on her
first journey to the metropolis. They then attended her to bid adieu to
her canary-bird, which she very tenderly committed to their care, and
desired they would feed it every day, and give it water in her absence;
and mind to turn the glass the right way, otherwise the poor thing might
be starved. While she was taking her leave of little Dick, who hung in
the hall by the window, her cat came purring to her, and rubbed its
head against her frock, and pushed against her feet; then lay down on
one side, and while Jemima stroked it with her hand, she licked her
fingers, and at last jumped up into the window-seat to be still nearer
to its mistress, who taking it into her arms, particularly desired her
brothers to give Puss some of their milk every morning, and to save some
bits of meat at dinner to carry to it; for my Pussey, added she, I am
quite sorry to leave you!--Another affair remained, which was, to put
away all her play-things; but this she had deferred so long, that the
carriage was ready before she had concluded; so with that, likewise, she
was obliged to entrust her brothers; and looking round her with a heavy
heart upon every object she had been accustomed to, she quitted the room
with regret; and after receiving the affectionate kisses of the whole
family, her papa lifted her into the carriage; and the tears running
down her cheeks, she looked out of the window as long as the house was
in sight, and her brothers continued to stand at the gate, till the road
to London turning into a contrary direction, they could no longer see
each other. She then, with a melancholy countenance, watched the fields
and lanes she passed by, till at last, quite fatigued, she sat down, and
soon after fell asleep.

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

Jemima, who had not seen her cousins since she was two years old, had
entirely forgotten them; and as they expected to find her as much a baby
as at their last interview, they appeared like entire strangers to each
other. They welcomed their papa and mamma, and looked at Miss Placid
with silent amazement; both parties, indeed, said the civil things they
were desired, such as, How do you do, cousin? rather in a low and
drawling tone of voice; and Miss Sally, who was eight years old, turned
her head on one side, and hung on her papa's arm, though he tried to
shake her off, and desired her to welcome Miss Placid to London, and to
say, She was glad to see her, to inquire after her papa, mamma, and
brothers, and, in short, to behave politely, and receive her in a
becoming manner. To do this, however, Mr. Piner found was impossible, as
his daughters were not at any time distinguished by the Graces, and were
always particularly aukward, from their shyness at a first
introduction.--In this place, my dear Eliza, you must excuse me, if I
stop to hint at a like error in your own conduct, and which indeed,
young ladies in general are too apt to be inattentive to: that as first
impressions are usually the strongest, it is of great consequence to
impress your company with a favourable opinion of your appearance. As
you are acquainted with the common forms of good breeding, you should
consider, that it is quite immaterial whether you address a lady you
have before seen, or one with whom you are unacquainted, since the
compliments of civility are varied only by the circumstances of your
knowledge, or the different connexions of the person to whom you are
speaking. When, therefore, you are in company with strangers, you should
accustom yourself to say what is proper (which will be to answer any
question they may ask you) without at all considering how long you have
known them; and, be assured, that as an easy behaviour is at all times
most agreeable, you will certainly please when you speak with a modest
degree of freedom. Do not, therefore, make yourself uneasy with the idea
of appearing aukward, for by that means you will defeat your wishes; but
endeavour to retain your natural voice, and express yourself with the
same unconcern as you do in common conversation; since every species of
affectation is disagreeable, and nothing will so strongly recommend you
as simplicity.


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


Poor Jemima, who had never disagreed with her brothers, nor been witness
to such a scene in her life, was terrified to see them engage with a
degree of violence which threatened them with essential hurt. She
endeavoured to appease their fury, and ventured, after she had stood
still for some time between two chairs, to try if, by catching hold of
one of their hands, she could be able to part them; but they only gave
her some blows, and said, She had no business in their quarrel! She
then retired to the farther part of the room, and ardently wished
herself at home. When spying another fire-place under the table, she
took it up with good-natured transport, and running to Miss Piner, told
her, There was one for her; which she hoped would put an end to the
dispute. This, however, proved to be the property of Miss Sally, who
declared, in her turn, that her sister should not touch any of her
play-things; and finding she was not strong enough to retain it, she
threw it with all her force to the other end of the room, and
unfortunately hit Miss Placid a blow with one of the sharp corners, just
above her temple. This at once put an end to the battle, for the blood
immediately trickled down her cheek, and alarmed the two sisters, who,
forgetting the subject of the debate, began to be uneasy at the effects
of it; only Ellen, who considered herself as more innocent (merely
because she had not been the immediate cause of the accident), with a
recriminating air, said, There, miss, you have done it now; You have
killed your cousin, I believe! Jemima, though in a great deal of pain,
and much frightened, did not cry; as she seldom shed tears, unless from
sensibility, or at parting with her friends. She held her handkerchief
to the place, and became more alarmed, in proportion as she saw it
covered with blood; till at last, finding it was beyond their art to
stop the effusion, Ellen, with trembling steps, went up stairs to tell
the servant of their misfortune. Dinah, which was the maid's name, had
been so often accustomed to find her young ladies in mischief, that she
did not descend in very good-humour, and upon her entrance exclaimed,
That they were all the naughtiest girls in the world! without inquiring
how the accident happened, or making any exception to the innocence of
Jemima, who could only again most sincerely wish to be once more at
Smiledale with her mamma. Dinah, after washing her temple with vinegar,
which made it smart very much (though she did not complain), told them,
They had been so naughty that they should not go to play any more; nor
would she hear Miss Placid's justification, but crossly interrupted her,
by saying, Hold your tongue, child! and do not want to get into mischief
again; for my mistress will make a fine piece of work, I suppose, about
what you have done already!--Jemima was too much awed, by the ill-nature
of her looks and the anger of her expressions, to vindicate her conduct
any farther; but quietly sitting down, she comforted herself with the
reflection, that her displeasure was undeserved, and that to fret at
what she could not avoid, would not make her more happy; and therefore,
with great good humour, took up a bit of paper, which contained the
rough drawing of a little horse, which Charles had given her on the day
of her departure, and which she had since carefully preserved.


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

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


As soon as breakfast was over, they were dismissed to school, while
Jemima remained with her aunt; who, after having heard her read, gave
her a handkerchief to hem, which she sat down by her to do; and when she
had done work, very prettily entered into conversation.--I should be
much obliged to you, madam (said she), as I do not know my way about
London, if you would go with me to buy some things for my brothers,
which I promised to carry back when I return. I have got some money to
pay for them, for Charles gave me a six-pence, and three halfpence, and
a farthing; and William gave me three-pence; and I have got a
silver-penny, and a two-pence of my own, all screwed safely in a little
red box.

Mrs. Piner inquired what the articles were which she wished to purchase,
and smiled on perusing the list which Charles had written.--And pray,
my dear, said she, how do you intend to carry the coach-whip, for you
will not be able conveniently to pack it up; and as to the skates, I do
not think your papa would choose your brothers should make use of them
till they are much older, as they are very dangerous, and particularly
so to little boys. The other things I will endeavour to procure, and you
shall take a walk with me to buy the books, and choose them yourself,
and I will pay for them; so you may save your money in the little box,
for you are a very good girl, and therefore deserve to meet with
encouragement. Jemima thanked her aunt for her kind intentions, and
said, if she could get a coach-whip, she thought she could carry it to
Smiledale in her hand; and as her brothers were always kind to her, she
wished to do every thing in her power to oblige them.

The next day was to be a holiday at her cousins' school, on account of
their dancing-master's ball, to which Miss Piners were invited; and Mrs.
Piner had promised Jemima she should be of the party. They rose in the
morning with the pleasing hopes of enjoying a dance in the evening; and
Ellen went a dozen times in the day to look at her new cap, wishing it
was time to put it on (for she was a silly, vain girl), and was so
foolish as to imagine herself of more consequence, because she was
better dressed than other children.--O Miss Placid! said she, you will
look so dowdy to-night in your plain muslin frock, while all the rest of
the ladies will wear either gauze frocks or silk coats full trimmed.
Have you seen how handsome our dresses will be? Do pray look at them,
added she, opening the drawer, and extending the silk, and then, glad of
an excuse to survey it, she went to a box, and taking out her cap, held
it on her hand, turning it round and round with a degree of pride and
pleasure, which was very silly.


Jemima good-naturedly admired her cousin's finery, without wishing for
any addition to her own. I am sure, replied she, my mamma has provided
what is proper for me; and is so kind as to afford me every thing
necessary; and my frocks are always clean, and will do extremely well
for the present occasion, or else my aunt would have bought me
another.--But should not you like such a cap? said Miss Ellen, putting
it on Jemima's head: you look very pretty in it, indeed!--No, I think it
is too large for me, returned Miss Placid; and there is a piece of wire
in it, which scratches when you press it down; you should alter that, or
it will be very uncomfortable.--In short, the ball was the only subject
of conversation during the whole day; and although Miss Piner felt an
uncommon head-ach and sickness, yet she would not complain, for fear her
mamma should think proper to leave her at home. The pain, however,
increased greatly, and she frequently left the parlour to give vent to
her complaints, and avoid her mamma's notice. The heaviness of her eyes,
and alternate change of countenance from pale to red, at last took Mrs.
Piner's attention, and she tenderly inquired after her health; but Ellen
affected to treat her indisposition as a trifle; though, as she was by
no means patient in general, she would at any other time have made
incessant complaints. She attempted to laugh and play, but to no
purpose, for her illness became too violent to be suppressed; however,
upon her papa's hinting at dinner that she seemed to have no appetite,
and had better (if not well) go to-bed, she forced herself, against her
inclination, to eat some meat and pudding, and went up afterwards to
conceal her uneasiness, and put on her clothes; thinking, that if she
was in readiness it would be an additional reason for her going. But
alas! so foolish is vanity, and so insignificant are outward ornaments,
that when Miss Ellen was decked out in the gauze frock which had so long
engaged her thoughts, she felt such a degree of uneasiness from her
sickness, as to make her disregard what she had before wished for with
such ill-placed ardour.

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

Mrs. Piner, though she was grieved at her daughter's indisposition, was
likewise extremely angry at the consequence of her obstinacy.--If you
had stayed at home, as I bade you, said she, somewhat angrily, nothing
of this would have happened! and pulling the check-string, added, We
must turn about, coachman, for we cannot proceed in this
condition!--Sally, notwithstanding her sister's illness, continually
teazed her mamma, to know whether they should go when Ellen was set
down, and her own dress wiped; without attending to her sister's
complaints. When the carriage reached Mr. Piner's, he came himself
hastily to the door, to know what accident had occasioned their
unexpected return; and upon being informed, lifted poor Ellen into the
house, while her sister declared she would not walk in-doors, as she
wanted to go to the ball. Dinah was, however, called down, and with much
resistance conveyed the young lady crying and kicking up stairs.

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


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

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



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

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


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

                                      Your affectionate Brother,
                                                     CHARLES PLACID.

     P. S. Inclosed I have sent you a sketch of Hector's funeral
     procession, which your favourite, Ned Kindly, who was one of the
     party, drew on purpose for you.

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


When Miss Placid had been in town about four months, and her mamma was
returned from Bristol, Mr. Placid came up to fetch her home, and invited
her cousins to accompany her to Smiledale, promising to take great care
of them, and to teach them to read and write; and that Mrs. Placid would
instruct them in every other part of their learning. To which Mr. and
Mrs. Piner consented. The pleasure which Jemima felt at seeing her papa
after so long an absence, can be better imagined than described. She
looked at him with such transport, that the tears started to her eyes;
and wanting words to declare the feelings of her heart, could only
express her joy by stroking and kissing his hand, as she sat on a stool
by his side; and pressing it with fervor between both hers, she
exclaimed, that she was glad to see him. Her uncle and aunt gave her the
highest praise for her good-behaviour, and assured her papa, that they
had never, during the whole time of her visit, seen her once out of
humour, or at all fretful upon any occasion. Mr. Placid said he was
extremely happy to hear so good an account of his little girl; but that
he expected every thing amiable from the sweetness of her disposition;
adding, it would be very strange if she had behaved otherwise with you,
as, I assure you, she is at all times equally tractable and engaging.
The evening before her departure, her aunt was so obliging as to present
her with a new doll, which she had taken great pains to dress, and had
made for it two dimity petticoats, with a nice pair of stays, a pink
sattin coat, and a muslin frock. She had likewise purchased some cotton
stockings, and a pair of red shoes with white roses, white gloves tied
with pink strings, and a gauze cap with pink sattin ribbons. Jemima,
with a graceful courtesy, paid her acknowledgments to Mrs. Piner for
that favour, and all the kind attentions she had received since she had
been in town, and saw it packed up with great care in a box by itself;
pleasing herself with the joy it would afford her, to show it to her
mamma. She then busied herself in putting up the Indian glue, and a
great quantity of pictures which had been given her; poor Hector's
collar, and several books which she had bought and had already perused
with much delight, particularly A Course of Lectures for Sunday
Evenings; The Village School, and Perambulation of a Mouse, 2 vols.
each; together with the First Principles of Religion, and the Adventures
of a Pincushion. All these mighty volumes she took with her to
Smiledale, and Mr. Placid was so much pleased with them, as to send for
an additional supply to present to his friends. As to the skates, he had
desired her not to think about them as he should by no means approve of
her brothers' using them; nor would they have occasion for a coach-whip;
but as he knew Charles had broken his bat, she might carry him one
instead. Jemima entreated permission to convey to them a drum, as she
thought it would be a play-thing they would much enjoy; to this he
immediately consented, and went himself to procure one.


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


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

Charles wanted her to go into the hall to look at his linnet; and
William was as earnest to take her to his rabbits; while Jemima, who was
equally ready to oblige them both, stood still, without knowing which
she should first consent to follow; till Mr. Placid, taking hold of her
hand, thus moderated the impatience of his sons:--My dear boys, I am
much delighted to see your mutual affection for each other, and the
pleasure you express at your sister's return; but do not be in such a
hurry to show her those things which she will to-morrow have sufficient
time to inspect. We all wish at present to enjoy her company, and
therefore defer your intention of taking her from us to-night, as I hope
you will have no occasion to fear a speedy separation; besides, I think
you are a little wanting in politeness, not to take notice of your

Charles said he did not know them; and William declared he did not want
them; and both acknowledged they had nothing to say to them.


Mrs. Placid blamed them for the rudeness of such declarations, and took
the young ladies and Jemima up stairs to their apartment, while tea was
getting ready. During this interval, William climbed upon his father's
knee, and as Mr. Placid was holding both his hands while he leaned back
his head till it nearly touched the ground, he pulled him up, and
kissing him, said, I am surprised, my boys, that you have not more
politeness, than to neglect Miss Piners in such a manner, and endeavour
to excuse it by further rudeness. Why, I do not want them, replied
William, and must not I speak the truth? You always tell me that the
naughtiest thing I can do, is to tell lies; and, I am sure, I am very
sorry they are come, for I like to have Jemima to ourselves; so pray,
Sir, what would you choose I should do? I would have you, my dear,
returned his papa, always endeavour to behave with good-nature and
politeness. You cannot think how much it will recommend you to general
approbation; nor of how great importance an attention to the trifling
graces of your conduct will prove in future life. And although you,
William, may not be glad of your cousins' company (which, in my opinion,
is rather a churlish speech), yet you might have behaved with civility;
might have inquired after your uncle and aunt, have reached them each a
chair to sit down upon, and if you had not (as you cannot do it with
truth) said you was glad to see them; yet you might have taken such
notice, by speaking kindly to them, as to vindicate yourself from the
charge of rudeness and ill-manners, which you have now incurred.--But as
we are boys, Sir, said Charles, such a neglect is not so bad in us, as
it does not so much signify. We are not, you know, expected to sit prim
all the day, as the girls do, and play the lady. O! how I should hate to
sit with my hands before me, bridling like them for a whole afternoon
together, without moving any more than my stick when I put it up in the
corner! I would not be a girl to go into company in such a manner for
the world!--I am glad to see you satisfied with your destination,
replied Mr. Placid; but you are much mistaken, I assure you, if you
think the study of politeness is unnecessary to a man; and however you
may flatter yourselves with an exemption from those more confined rules
of behaviour which young ladies are expected to observe, yet I would
advise you to remember, that a constant attention to your carriage is at
all times necessary, if you would wish to be loved and esteemed, or to
meet with success in your undertakings.--You, Charles, have frequently
remarked the amazing difference which is visible between Colonel
Armstrong, and Sir Hugh Forester, though the one is a man of more sense,
of larger fortune, and equally worthy as the other; yet, you regard the
Colonel with admiration, and are too apt to treat the Baronet with
ridicule and contempt; so great are the advantages of that polish, which
can only be acquired in early youth by diligent and constant attention:
for if you accustom yourself to lounge about, to eat with your fingers,
or hold your knife and fork so low that they scarcely save them from the
grease; if you slovenly dirt your clothes, either omit to bow at all or
else bend your body as aukwardly as Jack Carter, the plough-boy; in
short, if by any such trifling neglect you acquire a habit of clownish
ill-manners, you will fail to gain that respect which is only paid to
true merit, when accompanied by the graces. Custom has made it necessary
for you to be particularly attentive to the wants of those with whom you
are in company: you should use yourselves to watch when a lady's cup is
empty, that you may be ready to take it from her; or any thing has
fallen down by accident, that you may with briskness pick it up; when a
chair is wanting, to fetch it; or to give any assistance in your power
in those trifles which occur every day; and which, by attending to, you
will learn a habit of doing, as it were, mechanically; that is, without
the trouble of thinking about it, in the same manner as you eat your
dinner, without reflecting all the time what you are doing.--I confess,
said Charles, that Colonel Armstrong has always struck me as the most
agreeable man I ever saw; but he does not seem to take any peculiar
trouble to behave better than other people. On the contrary, I have
heard my mamma say, that he is more easy in his manners than Sir Hugh,
who labours to be polite, without in the least looking like a
gentleman.--That ease which you mention, said his father, is the degree
of perfection which I am so solicitous to have you acquire, and which is
the most difficult thing to attain, though it appears to be exercised
without trouble or attention. You must therefore endeavour, by the
influence of custom, to gain those natural advantages, which can only be
learned in the early season of youth, and to the neglect of which it is
to be ascribed, that so few men (comparatively speaking) are either
polite or graceful.


Tea being now ready, Mrs. Placid and the young ladies made their
appearance; and Master Placids, to show they had profited by their
papa's advice, both ran to fetch a chair for Miss Sally, and reaching it
at the same time, pushed with such force against each other, that
Charles hurt William's forehead, and very nearly threw him down; at
which he expressing great sorrow, declared the accident was by no means
intended.--I wish I had not been so polite! said William, rubbing the
place; but I know, brother, you would not hurt me designedly, so pray do
not say any more about it, for I do not mind such a trifle.--I hope not,
said his papa, and I would not have you discouraged at the effects of
your aukwardness; for, my dear boy, it is to that, rather than your
politeness, that this terrible disaster is owing; for had you minded
where you were going, you would not so violently have encountered each
other; and either of you might, unhurt, have carried the chair to your
cousin, who has been waiting all this time without one. And this is a
proof of what I just now mentioned, that the grace which you admire in
Colonel Armstrong, will not be easily obtained, unless you be careful to
attend to what you are doing.--As Mr. Placid concluded this sentence, he
was interrupted by the entrance of Master Wagstaff, a young gentleman of
about thirteen, who had been for some years at Eaton, but was then
returned for the vacation. His father was a near neighbour to the vicar,
and had sent his son to invite the family to dine with him the next day;
to which Mr. and Mrs. Placid consented; and at the time appointed, they
set out for the Grove, which was the name of Mr. Wagstaff's house. On
their arrival, they found the company walking before dinner in the
garden. The party consisted of Mr., Mrs., and Miss Wagstaff, and an old
gentleman of the name of Crossly, and a young lady who was his niece.
She was just turned of fifteen, was very pretty and genteel, but
extremely affected in her manner and conversation; pretended to be
afraid of animals and insects, and tossed herself into a thousand
ridiculous attitudes at the sight of a spider, an earwig, or a wasp.
They were soon joined by Master Wagstaff and one of his school-fellows,
who was on a visit to him during the holidays; he was about the same
age, and was called Bob Sprightly.


When they had walked for some time, they returned into the drawing-room;
and Mr. Crossly took up his snuff box, which he had left on the table,
declaring, he was rejoiced to find it, for that he was always
uncomfortable in its absence. Miss Myra, the young lady above-mentioned,
expressed her dislike to such a disagreeable habit, and declared, that
to be in the room when it was open always made her sneeze. Her uncle
looked at her with some displeasure, and ascribed it to her fanciful
maggots; saying, it was the best remedy for a head-ach he had ever
experienced, and that it never had any disagreeable effect on himself;
adding, as she was so squeamish, he would hold his box out of the window
while he took a pinch, from fear of offending her delicate nostrils. So,
saying he did as he had proposed, keeping his hand at a great distance,
and taking a large pinch, he snuffed it up with uncommon haste and
avidity. No sooner had his nose received the powerful scent, than he
began to cough, choke, and sneeze in such a manner as alarmed the
company, though Miss Myra seemed inclined to rejoice at it, and Bob
Sprightly, with his friend Samuel, could with difficulty refrain from a
violent burst of laughter. At length the old gentleman, being somewhat
recovered, began to reproach his niece with her treachery, in having
filled his box with pepper, which he declared it to be. She denied the
charge, and disowned any knowledge of the adventure. The truth indeed
was this: while Mr. Crossly was walking in the garden, the young
gentlemen found his box on the table, and thinking the effect would
afford them some occasion for their mirth, had desired the footman to
procure them a quantity of ground pepper, which they mixed with a little
snuff, and carefully replaced the box where they found it. I have
already informed you of the success of their scheme, in which they had
the more readily engaged, as Mr. Crossly was a man of no very agreeable
disposition, and, by his ill-nature, had rendered himself obnoxious to
their dislike. The preceding accident, it may be supposed, did not
increase his good-humour; and, to say the truth, he was in no great
harmony during the rest of the day.


Some time after this, as Miss Myra was stooping to pick up her scissars,
Bob contrived to put a large spider upon the lappet of her cap, which
very quietly marched about without being perceived, and entertained
itself with the prospect of her ribbons, gauze, and flowers, surveyed
her curls, and examined the beauty of a bow which hung from the middle
of her head-dress. It afterwards very leisurely took its progress down
her neck, the tickling sensation of its footsteps she attributed to some
loose locks, which she stroked up with her hand. This motion quickened
its descent, and it now invaded her shoulder, and took its path quite in
sight down her arm, where she first discovered its appearance. With a
scream, which the whole house might have heard, she hastily jumped
across the room and overset a little table, at which the ladies were at
work, and which falling on poor Jemima, gave her a most violent blow on
the head and shoulders, she being at a distance playing with her cousins
at cards. The company, who were all ignorant of this sudden disturbance,
begged Miss Myra to inform them what was the matter with her? which she
at length complied with, by exclaiming, A spider! a spider! What shall I
do? Take it off, or I shall faint!--This Samuel immediately did; but as
her affectation was truly ridiculous, he was determined to divert
himself still further with the effects of her folly. In the mean time
her uncle blamed her, with some warmth, for the childish foolishness of
her behaviour. One would have thought, said he, it had been a giant
instead of a spider with which you were engaged. Such an outcry, indeed,
for nothing at all--I am quite ashamed of you! And pray see what
mischief you have done to Miss Placid! The young lady, in some
confusion, apologized for the hurt which her impetuosity had occasioned;
and Jemima, who was seldom ruffled by a trifling accident, soon resumed
her usual cheerfulness, though she felt the pain for a considerable
time. Peace and order being once more re-established, a basket of fruit
was brought to please the children, together with some biscuits, and
some small seed cakes, which Mrs. Wagstaff had provided for their

Miss Myra was politely offered some by Master Sprightly; and upon
opening an apricot, a second object of her aversion presented itself,
not less dreadful than the former, a large earwig dropped into her lap.
Notwithstanding the late mischance which had happened, in consequence of
such a weak indulgence of her fears, she again shrieked as if violently
hurt, and started from her seat, which she kicked back at the same time,
without any regard to her uncle, who was stooping down behind her chair
to pick up the stalk of a bunch of currants, which he had let fall.


The chair met his face with such violence, as to knock out one of his
front teeth, which had been loose a great while, and which he had
carefully preserved, as it much assisted his speech. You may imagine,
therefore, that this event did not restore him to a very placid state,
as he had already been sufficiently discomposed by the former
circumstances which I have mentioned.


Added to her uncle's displeasure, Miss Myra had, in some degree,
suffered herself; having torn a muslin apron which she was working, and
which she had unpinned to show to Miss Wagstaff. Such was the state of
affairs, when Mr. Speedmore, a young country gentleman, entered the
room. He was about seventeen, very tall, and clumsy in his appearance,
and entirely destitute of those graces which Mr. Placid had, the
preceding evening, recommended to his sons. As soon as he had muttered
over his first compliments to the master of the house, he sneaked
himself into a chair that stood near the door, and sitting down on one
side of it, placed an oak stick, which he held in his hand, between his
legs, and leaning his chin upon the top, sometimes nibbled the head, and
at others gnawed a piece of his glove, which happened to be unsewed.
Miss Myra surveyed his figure with the utmost contempt, and whispered to
her companion, Miss Wagstaff, that she should like to teaze such a boor;
which, she supposed, might be easily done, by obliging him to speak, as
he absolutely seemed to have lost his tongue.

In consequence of this resolution, she addressed herself particularly to
him, and inquired, whether he had been to a camp, which was at some
little distance from Smiledale? and whether he had yet learned, or
intended to learn, the manual exercise? To this question, as he was very
inattentive, he at first returned no answer; and upon its being
repeated, he misunderstood her meaning, and replied--No, Miss! I have
seen no Emanuel, nor do I know any such person.--This misapprehension
afforded great entertainment to the younger part of the company, who
laughed for some time at his mistake; till Mr. Placid inquired into the
cause, and, with great good-nature, blamed them for the indulgence of
their mirth at Mr. Speedmore's expense; and Miss Wagstaff, with a smile
at Miss Myra, added, That the laugh was turned since the earwig had
escaped. She blushed at the consciousness which she felt at the reproof,
and giving her friend a tap on the shoulder, enjoined her to be silent,
declaring, she would not again speak to the young man, though he should
gnaw his stick down to the ferrel.


Mrs. Placid, though in some measure recovered from her late
indisposition, still continued extremely weak. The coach was therefore
ordered to attend them early; and taking their leave of the company,
they all returned home; when the young folk, after wishing them
good-night, retired to-bed. The next morning at breakfast, Miss Piner
began the conversation, by showing how awkwardly Mr. Speedmore had
behaved, and what a cross gentleman she thought Miss Myra's uncle
was.--I was so glad when the snuff made him sneeze and cough! said Miss
Sally.--And, I am sure, he deserved it, said William; for last Sunday
when we were coming home from church, he stood at the little gate in the
church-yard with fat Mr. Stopway, and would not let Tom Gibbons pass;
but took him by the shoulder, and shook him for being so rude, as to
push his way between two gentlemen. And is that the cause, returned his
father, that you rejoice so heartily at the inconvenience which he
suffered? Why, my dear, you take Tom's affront sadly to heart; but so
far from thinking it ill-natured of him to tell such a poor boy of a
fault, I dare say, he intended it as a kind admonition; for Tom has not
any body to instruct him in those common attentions of civility, which
are necessary to recommend even a day-labourer to regard. And if Mr.
Speedmore had the advantage of a friend to hint to him the use of
politeness, it might have saved him from the censure of your cousin, who
seems to have been quite astonished at the rusticity of his manners.
That young man, continued he, has received no advantage from his
education; his father having neglected to improve him in any thing but
the sports of the field, in which his own time is entirely engaged, and
to which he has brought up his son; so that you ought rather to
compassionate his misfortune, than ridicule his defects; and from
observing how unpleasing such a roughness of manners will make a person
of a good disposition, learn to bestow greater assiduity in the
cultivation of your own graces. But I am too apt to forget, Sir, said
Charles, that though I always intend to mind your advice, and think it
very just and reasonable at the time you are speaking to me, yet, when I
pass by a gentleman, I frequently do not pull off my hat till he is out
of sight and then I recollect it would have been more polite so to have
done; and thus in other cases, I do not remember to attend when any body
in company is addressing themselves to me; because I am busy, either in
looking out of the window, or playing with something that is near me,
and so they are obliged to speak several times before I hear they are
talking to me. But you should take pains not to forget any thing that
you are taught, replied Mr. Placid, or otherwise there will be no use in
my taking the trouble to instruct you. I will tell you a story, Charles.

There was once a gentleman and a lady who had two children, a boy and a
girl. They were somewhat like you; that is, were troubled with short
memories: for although they were frequently told to hold up their
heads, turn out their toes, and say, Sir and Madam; when they addressed
any body, they constantly forgot to do it. Their papa was one day
lamenting this negligence of his children to a person who paid him a
visit, and who replied, that if he would trust them to his management,
he would engage in a short time so deeply to impress it upon their
minds, that they should ever after retain his instructions on their
memory. To this proposal the gentleman very willingly agreed; and Master
Ben and his sister Peggy accompanied their papa's friend to his house.
As they were acquainted with the design of their visit, he addressed
them the next morning in terms to this purpose:--As you well know what
is expected from you, and have been fully instructed in the requisite
attentions of polite behaviour, I shall hope you will observe them very
minutely; and in order to remind you when you are forgetful, I shall
keep this little spur in my hand; and whenever I see occasion shall take
the liberty of applying it, which will give you a sharp degree of pain;
and therefore, I dare say, you will take care to avoid it. Besides this,
I shall, as opportunities arise, punish your neglect by the loss of your
meals, or any thing else which I may think proper to deprive you of; and
the sooner you remember to observe every thing which you are desired,
the sooner you will return to your parents; with whom, if your memories
remain sufficiently good to do as you are bid, you will continue; but
whenever that fails you, they will turn you to my instructions. The
young folk listened very attentively to this discourse, and promised
obedience to his commands; in which promise their intention was to be
sincere, and he caressed them accordingly. But, my dear Charles, little
Ben soon forgot, that to loll his arms on the table at dinner-time was
by no means consistent with good manners; upon which his new tutor
applied his spur with such success to his elbows, that the smart he
experienced, in a moment occasioned their removal. His sister had soon
reason to sympathize with his misfortune from her own feelings; for as
she had an ugly custom of drinking with her mouth full, and breathing in
her glass, the reminding spur attacked her cheek so sharply, that the
smart would not let her forget the cause which had given an opportunity
for its use.


Another day she ate her breakfast with such immoderate haste, that the
spur was applied to suggest the necessity of chewing her food more, and
not swallowing it as if she was afraid of losing it; which in effect she
did, for it was taken from her, because she cried at the pain which her
monitor occasioned, without minding its admonition. When she sat
cross-legged, she was surprised by the spur's touching her knee; and
when she illiberally scratched her head, it attacked her fingers; when
she stooped her head, she felt it in her neck; and, in short, was so
continually tormented with its painful invasion, that she was obliged,
as well as her brother (who was equally annoyed), to remember at all
times to behave gracefully. When, therefore, they had acquired this
necessary degree of attention, they were permitted to return home. They
never forgot the useful admonition of the friendly spur; as on any
occasion in which their memory proved defective, it was sufficient to
tell them, they should return to the gentleman who kept it in his
possession, and they immediately acted in a becoming manner. And do you
not think, Charles, concluded Mr. Placid, that such a spur would be of
infinite use to you, as you are so often apt to forget what it is of
great consequence to remember?

Miss Piners smiled at each other, they being both conscious, as well as
Master Placid, that they had frequent occasions for its use. Indeed,
from this time, whenever any of them were guilty of any omission or
neglect, they were apt to laugh at each other and call out, That the
spur was wanting! By which means they frequently became more cautious
than they would otherwise have been.

Jemima, whose natural sweetness of temper led her at all times to be
obliging, very seldom afforded them an opportunity of applying the hint
to her; but Miss Piners, who, as hath been before observed, were
frequently very silly and ill-natured, often deserved a more severe
reproof than to be told they stood in need of the spur.

One day, when Miss Sally came down stairs, she found Miss Placid seated
at a table, making a pin-cloth for her wax-doll, in order to keep its
frock clean, while her sister had taken possession of the middle of the
window-seat, of which Sally begged to partake, and desired her to move a
little farther, and make room for her, which Ellen very crossly
refused.--Do pray, sister! said she, get another seat for yourself, for
you cannot come here, I assure you!--There is room enough for us both,
said Sally, and all the chairs are occupied. One has got a paper on it
full of William's shells; another has a band-box with my aunt's gauze;
and those two by the door, our dolls are asleep upon; you keep one
employed with your work, and I must not take that, for it is the chair
my aunt was sitting on, and I suppose she will want it again on her
return.--I do not care, said Ellen; I tell you, I shall not let you
come! so you may stand, if you like it, or go to the other window,
cannot you?--But I want to be near the table! so pray do, returned
Sally, endeavouring to squeeze herself into the seat; while her sister,
putting her hand against the wainscot, kept her place with all the force
she was mistress of; nor would give up an inch to the endeavours of
Sally, who now likewise growing warm by opposition, exerted all her
force to maintain the part she had gained; till at last she got pretty
near the centre, without having indeed any considerable advantage; for
both sisters were as close to each other as can well be imagined, each
with an extended arm against the window-shutter, and pushing against
each other with increasing anger and malevolence.

Jemima had kindly gotten up at the beginning of the contest, and made an
offer of her chair to either of the combatants; but they were both so
much displeased, that they paid no attention to her good-natured
proposal; and, at length, Miss Ellen, to secure her situation, set her
foot against the table, and, struggling with all her force, overset it,
with every thing that was upon it, on the ground. Scissors, work bags,
doll's clothes, gauze ribbons, and various other things, fell in
confusion on the floor; among which number were a phial of physic and a
China cup, in which Mrs. Placid was going to take a medicine which had
been ordered for her, and which being broken in the fall, the draught
was spilled among the before-mentioned articles. But the worst part of
the accident remains still to be mentioned: poor Jemima's doll, which
had lain before her to fit on the things she was making for it, was, in
the disastrous fall, broken to pieces. She endeavoured in vain to catch
it, but the overthrow of the table was too sudden for her to prevent it,
and the noise of the affray brought Mrs. Placid, who had been up stairs
to fetch some thread, into the room.


Miss Placid, with a tear starting to her eye, ran to her mamma, and
pointing to the broken pieces, without speaking, picked them up, and put
them into her hand.

Mrs. Placid inquired into the cause which had produced such unfortunate
effects; and Sally, who imagined she was the party injured, related the
whole occasion.

Her aunt, who perceived they were too angry to attend to her admonitions
at that time, told Miss Piner to go up stairs, and desire the maid to
come and pick up the broken glass, and sent Sally for a little while
into the garden. Then taking Jemima by the hand, and affectionately
kissing her, she thus addressed her beloved daughter on the loss of her
doll:--I am extremely sorry, my dear, that, by your cousins' foolish
contention, you are deprived of what has afforded you so much pleasure;
but as I see you are so good a child as to bear the accident with
composure, and do not fret about it, which, you well know, would never
be able to repair your loss, when I write to your aunt, which, I
believe, I shall do to-morrow, I will desire her to send you another
immediately; and as you have long wished for one that is made with its
eyes to open, you shall have one of that sort now. You see, my love, how
very naughty your cousins are, to be so passionate, and so frequently to
disagree with each other; as by this conduct they interrupt their own
happiness, and discompose every body who is connected with them. And
surely it is very easy for brothers and sisters to live in harmony and
affection, if they will but resolve to be good-natured and obliging; and
how much more comfortably do you pass your time, who never quarrel with
your brothers, than do those silly girls.

Jemima thanked her mamma for her indulgent promise, and taking up her
faceless child, carried it with her up stairs, where she met her
brothers; and with a sad countenance held it up to their view. They
immediately desired to be informed what she had done with the face, and
were much grieved at the relation of its misfortune.


She there undressed it, and put the clothes very carefully away; and so
great was her affection for its remains, that she laid the body in the
same drawer; nor could prevail with herself to part with it, although so
much disfigured as to renew her regret for its loss every time she
beheld it.

Just as she finished this employment, her papa entered the apartment;
and calling her to him, commended the placid manner in which she had
supported an accident, which many little girls would have fretted about
for a long time.--You see, my dear, said he, that, young as you are,
numberless occasions arise, which are proper to exercise your
fortitude, and call forth your patience into action. Older people, my
Jemima, meet with greater trials; but there is as much merit in your
submitting calmly to such accidents as tend to discompose your temper,
and provoke your indignation, as in your elders bearing with the real
troubles of life. These mortifications, to which every child must
submit, should be always received with composure; and I hope you will
never suffer them to ruffle your temper, or make you forget, that to be
_good-natured_, is one of the first duties you can exercise in social
intercourse. I dare say, you are very sorry for the loss of your doll,
and I am grieved that it has so happened; for, I know, that a trial is
greater or less, in proportion to the value which the person affixed to
the object they are deprived of; that is, though I should not mind the
breaking of a dozen wax dolls on my own account, yet to you, who liked
to play with it, it is a great loss indeed.

During this consolatory discourse, Mrs. Placid talked very seriously to
her two nieces. She began by telling Miss Piner, that she had on many
occasions observed her to behave very ill-naturedly to her sister;--and
as you are the eldest, my dear, said she, I think you ought to endeavour
to assist her, and set a good example; and how can you expect she should
be obliging to you, when she never sees any instances of kindness in
your behaviour? Why would you not make room for her this morning, when
she desired you? The window was large enough for both of you; and, I am
sure, your denial must have rendered you very uncomfortable. It is very
wicked, Ellen, to act in such a manner, and allow your passions to
become so violent that you are quite regardless of their
consequence.--But I had the window first, Madam, said Miss Piner, and
therefore she had no right to it; and I never heard that there was any
wickedness in keeping one's own place, when one had gotten
possession!--There is great wickedness, replied her aunt, in being so
tenacious of every trifle, as to disagree about it with those with whom
we live, especially between brothers and sisters, who ought always to be
united in affection and love; and if you now indulge your passions, so
that you will submit to no opposition, it will make you hated and
despised by every body, and constantly unhappy in your own mind. It is
impossible, my dear, to have every circumstance happen as we wish it to
do; but if a disappointment could at any time justify ill-nature and
petulance, it would certainly be adding greatly to the unhappiness of
life. And do you think, my dear, that to fight on every occasion with
those who oppose you, is at all consistent with the delicacy of a young
lady? I dare say, when you give yourself time to reflect on the subject,
you will perceive that you have been much to blame; and that, whenever
you have suffered yourself to be ill-natured and quarrelsome, you have
always been proportionably uneasy and wretched. Nothing can so much
contribute to your present felicity, or future peace, as a good
understanding, and cordial affection for your sister. You will most
probably be more in her company than in any other person's; and how
comfortable would it be, by every little office of kindness, to assist
each other! I am sure, if you will try the experiment, you will find it
much better than such churlish resistance, and provoking contentions. It
is by good-humour, and an attention to please in trifles, that love is
cherished and improved. If your sister want any thing, be assiduous to
fetch it. If she cannot untie a knot, do it for her. If she wish for a
place in the window, make room immediately. Share with her all that is
given to you; conceal her faults, as you dislike your own to be
observed; commend her good qualities, and never envy, but endeavour to
emulate her perfections. By this method you will ensure her regard, and
make yourself happy at the same time; that will give the highest
pleasure to your parents, and obtain the esteem of all your
acquaintance. Think of these motives, my dear girl, and resolve to exert
yourself; and when you feel inclined to be angry and cross, recollect
whether it will be worth while, because you have first gotten
possession, to engage in a contest which will forfeit all these
advantages. Think, with yourself, Shall I lose my sister's love, or
abate her regard, for an orange, a play-thing, or a seat? Do I not
prefer making her contented, and keeping my own mind serene and placid,
before the pleasure of enjoying a toy, or any other thing equally
trifling? Will it tire me to fetch down her cloke, or her doll, if she
be in want of them? And shall I not do it in less time than it will take
to dispute whose business it is to go? In short, my dear niece, you will
find so much ease and pleasure result from the resolution to oblige,
that I dare say, if you once attempt it, you will be inclined to

But indeed, Madam, returned Miss Ellen, my sister is as cross to me, as
I am to her; and therefore it is out of my power to do what you advise;
for I cannot bear to do every thing for her, when she will do nothing
for me!--You are both much to blame, said Mrs. Placid; but as you are
the elder, it is your place to set a good example; and you do not know,
Ellen, how far that incitement will prevail. When you have refused her
one request, she is naturally, by way of retaliation, induced to deny
you another; this increases your mutual dissatisfaction, and commences
new quarrels; by which means your anger is continued, so that neither is
inclined to oblige or condescend. But if she finds you continue to be
good-natured, she will catch the kind impression, as she used to imbibe
the ill-habits of malevolence and rage. In every case you should
consider, that the errors of another person are no excuse for the
indulgence of evil in yourself.


The conversation was here concluded by the entrance of Mr. Wagstaff and
his son; and as they stayed the rest of the day, there was no farther
opportunity to resume it. While the young folk were all at play in the
evening in the summer house, Ellen ran away with Sam's hat, and he
pursued her for some time without overtaking her; but at last a scuffle
ensued, as she held it fast, and sometimes put it under one arm,
sometimes under the other; then knelt upon it; and afterwards sat down
upon it. In this last attitude, as Master Wagstaff was struggling, she
endeavoured to rise, but his foot being upon her frock, she tore a sad
rent in it; and one of his buttons having caught in her ribbon, did as
much damage to that likewise.

This accident put an end to the contest, and her good-humour at the same
time. She got up immediately, tossed away the subject of contention,
with the illiberal epithet of--"Take your nasty hat! I wish I had never
touched it!"--And the more he endeavoured to sooth her, the more vexed
she appeared; calling him a careless, mischievous monkey, and asking,
how he thought the rent was to be mended?


Jemima likewise tried every method in her power to moderate her
resentment; representing, that it was no fault of Master Wagstaff's, and
advising her to be more composed, and to join in their play again; but
all in vain, she would only fret, grumble, and interrupt their
entertainment. So Sam retired to a bench in the alcove, and sitting
down with the Master Placids, left her to her ill-humour, while he
wrote the following verses:--

    Nay, Ellen dear! now do not cry,
    And wet that pretty sparkling eye;
    What though, by chance, I tore your lace,
    Don't make that horrible grimace!
    Do put that ugly frown away,
    And join again in social play!
    For, after all, what can you do?
    Will pouting thus the rent renew?
    Why, Ellen, what a brawl you keep!
    I vow the chickens cannot sleep.
    Do pray observe, that cackling hen
    Is coming from her roost again.
    The evening flies, that swarm before us,
    For you have stopp'd their buzzing chorus;
    The horses, that were grazing there,
    Have left their food at you to stare.
    Your noise disturbs all nature's peace,
    The grasshoppers their chirping cease;
    And from those plants a frog's leap'd out,
    To know the cause of all this rout.
    Then stop, I prithee, or you'll find
    A worse disaster still behind.--
    A needle, with assiduous care,
    May the torn frock again repair;
    But petulance, and passion's strife,
    Will rend the future bliss of life;
    Tear the fine edge of joy away,
    And leave the heart to grief a prey.

This remonstrance enraged Miss Piner more than before; and she flounced
out of the garden, declaring she would no longer stay to be so insulted.

       *       *       *       *       *

But, my dear Eliza, if I should continue a minute relation of the events
which occurred, during my stay in Mr. Placid's family, the perusal would
take up too much of your time, and I have already, in the incidents
which I have selected, run to a much greater length than I at first
designed.--The amiable Jemima is now sixteen; and for the sweetness of
her manners, and the even and unruffled serenity of her temper, is
justly admired by all who are so happy as to know her. If you would wish
to deserve equal esteem, the means are entirely in your own power, since
a determined resolution to please others, will make you happy in
yourself, and render the occurrences of life more supportable. The only
use of reading is, to acquire instruction; and if you seek not to
resemble the good, and avoid the bad examples with which you are
presented, your studies will tend to little purpose. If the characters
you meet with in any degree resemble your own, and if the foibles of
those characters disgust and offend you, instead of throwing the book
aside with resentment, you should endeavour to improve the failings of
which you are conscious, and then you will no longer meet your own
portrait, in that which the Author has described. Besides that, there is
another reason to incline you to this reformation, since if you so much
dislike those errors in an imaginary character, think how extremely
irksome such faults must be to your friends. If the representations of
Miss Piner's fretfulness are displeasing to contemplate, how much more
vexatious must it be, when your parents find the same disposition
prevail in their own child. In this period of your life, be persuaded to
form such habits as may be continued in a more advanced age; and,
believe me, the habit of good-humour will conduce most essentially to
your happiness. The accident which gave occasion to the account which I
now transmit to you, was in no degree remedied by the captious petulance
with which you bemoaned it; and the time which you wasted in
unprofitable lamentations, would have nearly repaired the damage.
Unavoidable disasters are beyond remedy, and are only aggravated by
complaints. By submitting with a good grace to the disappointments of
life, half its vexations may be escaped. I cannot, I think, better
conclude the subject and my epistle, than with a few lines which were
written by Miss Placid in answer to Miss Piner, who reproached her with
not showing a proper degree of concern, when they were disappointed
going with a party upon the water, by a violent shower of rain, which
they had, for a long time, been desirous of doing.

    Say, why should I fretful my fate so lament,
    Since pleasure still waits on the smile of content?
    Will the clouds soon disperse, if indignant I frown?
    And the rain cease in torrents the village to drown?
    Will the thunder's loud peal be then hush'd into peace?
    And the storm, at my bidding, its violence cease?
    Will the sun for my anger discover its ray,
    And at once all the beauties of nature display?
    Then Ellen, pray tell me, what joy should I find,
    In the discord of passion, the storm of the mind?
    Though the elements will not resign to my sway,
    My temper, I trust, reason's voice shall obey;
    Let me make to my fate my desires resign,
    And the joys of contentment will ever be mine.


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34. PARENTS' CHRISTMAS-BOX and NEW-YEAR's GIFT; containing the various
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40. ROBINSON CRUSOE. With 16 Plates. 4_s._ 6_d._

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  |                                                                 |
  | TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:                                            |
  |                                                                 |
  |                                                                 |
  | Words surrounded by _ are italicized.                           |
  |                                                                 |
  | Obvious punctuation errors repaired.                            |
  |                                                                 |
  | Due to the restriction of the ascii font, the ae ligature is    |
  | represented as the letters "ae" (Julius Caesar).                |
  |                                                                 |
  | On page 14, "attenive" corrected to be "attentive"              |
  | (as attentive as).                                              |
  |                                                                 |
  | Other variable spellings within the text retained, including:   |
  | - "awkward" and "aukward"                                       |
  | - "fire-place" and "fireplace"                                  |
  | - "half-bound," "half-bd," and "half bd"                        |
  | - "scissors" and "scissars"                                     |
  |                                                                 |

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