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´╗┐Title: A cup of sweets, that can never cloy: - or, delightful tales for good children
Author: Semple, Elizabeth, Sandham, Elizabeth
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A cup of sweets, that can never cloy: - or, delightful tales for good children" ***

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                          A
                    CUP OF SWEETS,
                       THAT CAN
                    _NEVER CLOY_:
                   DELIGHTFUL TALES
                         FOR
                   _GOOD CHILDREN_.

    BY THE AUTHOR OF GODMOTHER'S TALES, &c. &c.


    FOURTH EDITION.


    _LONDON._

    PRINTED FOR J. HARRIS, SUCCESSOR TO E. NEWBERY, AT
    THE ORIGINAL JUVENILE LIBRARY, THE CORNER OF
    ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD.

    1810.

    _E. Hemsted, Printer, Great New-street, Gough-square._



[Illustration: The Curious Girl.

Away she threw the peg--up went the cover of the
Basket--and whizz--out flew a beautiful White Pigeon.

_Published Nov. 1st. 1803, by J. Harris corner of St. Pauls Church
Yard._]



CONTENTS.


                                                   Page

    _Curiosity_                                       1

    _The Unsettled Boy_                              11

    _Cecilia and Fanny_                              21

    _Henry_                                          33

    _Maria; or, the Little Slattern_                 40

    _Frederick's Holidays_                           51

    _The Little Quarrellers_                         60

    _The Vain Girl_                                  68

    _The Young Gardeners_                            78

    _The Whimsical Child_                            85

    _Edward and Charles_                             94

    _The Truant_                                    104

    _Jealousy_                                      115

    _Edmond_                                        121

    _The Ghost and the Dominos_                     129

    _Fido_                                          143

    _The Reward of Benevolence_                     150

    _Jemima_                                        162

    _The Trifler_                                   171

    _The Cousins_                                   177

    _The Travellers_                                189

    _The Strawberries_                              200



A CUP OF SWEETS.



CURIOSITY.


Arabella fancied there could be no pleasure in the world equal to that
of listening to conversations in which she had no concern, peeping into
her mamma's drawers and boxes, and asking impertinent questions. If a
parcel was brought to the house, she had no rest till she had found out
what was in it; and if her papa rung the bell, she would never quit the
room till the servant came up, that she might hear what he wanted.

She had been often desired to be less curious, and more attentive to her
lessons; to play with her doll and her baby-house, and not trouble
herself with other people's affairs: but she never minded what was said
to her, and when she was sitting by her mamma, with a book in her hand,
instead of reading it, and endeavouring to improve herself, she was
always looking round her, to observe what her brothers and sisters were
doing, and to watch every one who went out or came into the room.

She desired extremely to have a writing-master, because she hoped, that,
after she had learnt a short time, she should be able to read writing,
and then she should have the pleasure of finding out who all the letters
were for, which the servant carried to the post-office; and might
sometimes peep over her papa's shoulder, and read those which he
received. One day perceiving her mamma whisper to her brother William,
and that they soon after left the room together, she immediately
concluded there must be something going forward, some _secret_ which was
to be hid from her, and which, perhaps, if she lost the present moment,
she never should be able to discover. Poor Arabella could sit still no
longer; she watched them from the window, and seeing that they went
towards a gate in the garden, which opened into the wood, she determined
to be there before them, and to hide herself in the bushes near the
path, that she might overhear their conversation as they passed by.
This she soon accomplished, by taking a shorter way; but it was not
very long before she had reason to wish she had not been so prying; for
the gardener passing through the wood with an ill-natured cur which
always followed him, seeing her move among the bushes, it began to bark
violently, and in an instant jumped into her lap.

She was very much frightened, and, in trying to get away, without
intending it, gave him a great blow on the head; in return for which he
bit her finger, and it was so very much hurt, and was so long before it
was quite well again, that her friends hoped it would have cured her of
being so curious; but they were much mistaken. Arabella's finger was no
sooner well, than the pain she had suffered, her fright, and the
gardener's cur, were all forgotten; and whenever any thing happened, let
the circumstance be ever so trifling, if she did not perfectly
understand the whole matter, she could not rest or attend to any thing
she had to do, till she had discovered the mystery; for she imagined
_mysteries_ and _secrets_ in every thing she saw and heard, unless she
had been informed of what was going to be done.

Some time after her adventure in the wood, she one morning missed her
brother William, and not finding him at work in his little garden, began
directly to imagine her mamma had sent him on some secret expedition;
she resolved, however, on visiting the whole house, in the hope of
finding him, before she made any inquiry, and accordingly hunted every
room and every closet, but to no purpose. From the house she went to the
poultry-yard, and from thence to the lawn, but William was no where to
be found. What should she do!--"I will hunt round the garden once more,"
said she; "I must and will find him, and know where he has been all this
time; why he went without telling me, and why I might not have been
intrusted with the secret. I will not eat my dinner till I find him,
even if he does not return till night."

Arabella returned once more to the garden, where at length, in a retired
corner which she had not thought of visiting, she found her brother
sleeping under a large tree. He had a little covered basket by his side,
and slept so soundly, that he did not move when she came near the
place, though she was talking to herself as she walked along, and not in
a very low voice.

"Now," thought the curious girl, "I have caught him: he must have been a
long way, for he appears to be very warm and tired; and he has certainly
got something in that basket which I am not to see, and I suppose mamma
is to come here and take it from him, that I may know nothing of it.
Mamma and William have always secrets, but I will discover this,
however--I am determined I will."

She then crept softly up to the basket, and stopped down to lift up the
cover, afraid almost to breathe, lest she should be caught; and looking
around to see if her mamma was coming, and then once more at her
brother, that she might be certain he was still asleep, gently she put
her hand upon the basket, and, without the least noise, drew out a
little wooden peg, which fastened down the cover. "Now," thought she,
"Master William, I shall see what you have got here." Away she threw the
peg, up went the cover of the basket, and whizz--out flew a beautiful
white pigeon.

A violent scream from Arabella awoke William, who, seeing the basket
open, the pigeon mounted into the air, and his sister's consternation,
immediately guessed what had happened, and addressed her in the
following manner:

"You see, my dear Arabella, the consequence of your curious and
suspicious temper: I wished to make you a present to-day, because it is
your birthday, but you will not allow your friends to procure you an
agreeable surprise; for nobody in the house can take a single step, or
do the least thing, without your watching and following them. I know you
have long wished to have a white pigeon, and I have walked two long
miles in all this heat, to get one for you. I sat down here, that I
might have time to contrive how I should get it into the house without
your seeing it, because I did not wish to give you my present till after
dinner, when papa and mamma will give you theirs; and whilst I was
endeavouring to think on some way to escape your prying eyes, I was so
over-powered with fatigue and heat, that I fell fast asleep; and I see
you have taken that time to peep into my basket, and save me any
farther trouble. You have let my present fly away: I am sorry for it, my
dear sister, but you have no one to blame but yourself; and I must
confess that I am not half so sorry for your loss, as I am for the fate
which attends two poor little young ones which are left in the basket,
and who, far from being able to take wing, and follow their mother, are
not old enough even to feed themselves, and must soon perish for want of
food."

William's words were but too true; the poor things died the next
morning, and Arabella passed the whole day in unavailing tears, regret,
and sorrow.



THE UNSETTLED BOY.


"I do not think, at last, that I shall like to be a surgeon," said
Gustavus to his papa, as he trotted by his side on his little poney.
"Edward Somerville is to be a clergyman: and he has been telling me that
he is to go to Oxford, and then he is to have a living, and will have a
nice snug parsonage-house, and can keep a horse, and some dogs, and have
a pretty garden; whilst I shall be moped up in a town, curing wounds,
and mending broken bones--I shall not like it at all."

"It was your own choice," answered his papa; "but if you think you
should like better to take orders, I am sure I have no objection."

Three months after this conversation, Gustavus being invited to
accompany some friends to see a review, he returned home with his little
head so filled with military ideas, that he was certain, he said,
nothing could be so delightful and so happy as the life of an officer;
and that travelling about and seeing different places was better than
all the snug parsonage-houses in England. But, not many months from that
time, going with his papa to Portsmouth, to visit his elder brother, who
belonged to the navy, he was so struck with the novelty of the scene
(having never seen a man of war before), thought there was so much
bustle and gaiety in it, that it must be the pleasantest life in the
world, and earnestly requested that he might be allowed to go to sea.

His papa now thought it time to represent to him the folly and
imprudence of being so unsettled. "My dear boy," said he, taking him
affectionately by the hand, "if you continue thus changing your mind
every three months, you will never be any thing but an idle fellow, and
your youth will be lost in preparations for different professions; or,
should you remain long enough fixed to have entered into any line of
life, you will not be long before you will desire to quit it for
another, of which you will probably be entirely ignorant, and by that
means ruin your fortune, and expose yourself to ridicule.

"You make me recollect two boys I once knew, and whose story has often
been the subject of conversation, in a winter's evening, at the house of
an old clergyman, from whom I received the first principles of the
virtuous education my father had the goodness to bestow upon me.

"Robin was the son of a farmer who lived in the village; his uncle kept
a grocer's shop in the next market town, and had a son named Richard.
They were very clever boys, both understood the business they had been
bred to extremely well, and, at the age of sixteen, were become very
useful to their parents; but about that time they took it into their
heads to grow tired of the employment they were engaged in, and to wish
to change places with each other; Robin fancying that he should like
extremely to be a grocer, and Richard, that nothing could possibly be so
pleasant and agreeable as working in the fields.

"The two fathers, who wished for nothing so much as the happiness of
their children, were much grieved at this whim; for they very well knew,
that all they had been learning could be of no use to them, if they were
now to change their situations, and would be exactly so much time and
labour lost, and every thing was to begin again; but Robin and Richard
thought differently, and said they could not see that there was any
thing to learn.

"Their fathers desired they might change places for one month, and
agreed that if in that time they saw no reason why they should not
remain, the one to learn the business of a farmer, and the other to
serve in a grocer's shop, they would willingly consent to indulge them
in their inclination; and accordingly, on the day on which Richard was
sent out to work in a large turnip field, Robin, decorated with a pair
of white sleeves, and an apron before him, was placed behind his uncle's
counter.

"The first day he did nothing but grin and stare about him, dip his
fingers in the jars of honey, and fill his pockets with currants,
raisins, and figs, and he thought it pleasant enough; but the moment he
was set at work, he found himself so aukward, that, if he had not been
ashamed, he would have begged to return immediately to his plough and
his spade. Notwithstanding his earnest endeavours, he could not by any
means contrive to tie up a pound of rice, for when he had folded the
paper at one end, and, as he thought, secured it, he let it run out at
the other; and something of the same kind happening to every thing he
undertook, the shop was strewed from one end to the other with rice,
tea, and sugar; and his uncle told him he was only wasting his goods,
and doing mischief, without being of the smallest use. If he was sent
out with any parcels, he was sure to lose his way, and ramble about
whole hours together, till somebody was sent in search of him. No one
pitied him; he was the jest of the whole family; and, before half the
month was expired, he begged in the most earnest manner, that he might
return to the farm.

"Richard, who had never been much exposed either to heat or cold,
desired his uncle would excuse his working till the cool of the evening;
but the farmer laughed at him, and asked him if he thought that would be
the way to get his work done. He was therefore obliged to go out and
attempt something, but his whole day's work might have been done in a
couple of hours by a country boy of twelve years of age, and would also
have been much better done, for poor Richard did not know what he was
about.

"At five o'clock he said he must go and get his tea; but his uncle told
him they never drank any such slops, and promised him a good mess of
porridge for his supper, if he made haste to finish his work.

"Richard _could not_ work; he had done nothing right, and the next day
he found it worse and worse; he did not know even how to handle a spade,
much less how to make use of it. He sauntered about, with his arms
across, the whole long summer's day, doing nothing, yet tired and
uncomfortable: he had nobody to speak to--he could not find one idle
person; even his aunt, when he went to seek her, was busy in her dairy,
and told him to go and mind his business, and not lounge about and
disturb those who were inclined to work.

"Every creature he saw had some employment which they understood, and
appeared to take pleasure in, whilst he, unable to do the same, and
weary of wandering alone, from the garden to the field, and from the
field to the garden, wished a thousand times he had never quitted his
father's shop, where, being able to act his part as well as other
people, he felt himself of some consequence: now he was nobody, he was
in every one's way, and all were tired of him.

"Robin and Richard were glad to return to their own homes, and re-assume
their former employments, in which they prospered so well, that they
never after felt the least inclination to quit them, and are at this
time living in ease and plenty, respected and esteemed by their friends
and neighbours."



CECILIA AND FANNY.


Cecilia went to spend a month with her aunt in the country. She was very
much pleased at being in a place where she could run in the garden and
in the fields as much as she liked, but she would have been much happier
if her sister had been with her; and Fanny, who fancied she should have
no pleasure in any thing without the company of her dear Cecilia, was
tired of her absence, and longed for her return, before she had been two
days gone.

They could both write tolerably well, and Cecilia, the week after her
arrival at her aunt's, addressed the following letter to her sister:

     "MY DEAR FANNY,

     "I wish mamma could have parted with us both at the same time, that
     we might have rambled about together in my aunt's beautiful
     gardens, and in the fields and meadows which surround the house:
     but I believe I am wrong in forming such a wish, for she would then
     be left quite alone, and that I do not desire on any account; if I
     did, I should appear very selfish, and as if I thought of nobody's
     pleasure except my own, and that I should be extremely sorry for.

     "I am sure you will like to know that I am very happy at my
     aunt's, and how good and kind she is to me. All the long border
     behind the summer-house is to be called our garden, and it is now
     putting in order for us; and when neither of us are here, my aunt
     says the gardener shall take care of it: it is full of beautiful
     rose-trees and flowering shrubs; and Thomas is planting many more,
     and sowing mignonette, and other seeds, so that when you come here,
     you will find it quite flourishing.

     "My aunt sends me very often with Biddy to walk by the sea-side,
     and I have found a number of very pretty shells and sea-weeds,
     which I shall bring you, and a great many curiosities which I have
     picked up on the beach. I never saw such things before, and I am
     sure you never did. We never see any thing where we live but
     houses and pavement--here I have seen the mowers and the haymakers,
     and I know how to make hay, and how butter is made, and many other
     things.

     "Good night, my dear Fanny! Pray give my duty to dear mamma, and
     believe me,

     "Your most affectionate sister,

     "CECILIA."

Fanny was delighted at receiving this letter, and wrote the following
answer to her sister:

     "MY DEAR CECILIA,

     "How glad I am to hear that you are so happy in the country! I
     should certainly like very much to be with you, but not to leave
     mamma alone; and she is so good, that I am not half so lonely as I
     thought I should be in your absence. Only think, my dear sister!
     she has bought me the sweetest little goldfinch you ever saw, and
     it is so tame, that the moment I come near the cage, it jumps down
     from its perch to see what I have got for it.

     "But this is not all: she has taken me to a shop, and bought me a
     great many pretty prints, which I am sure you will have great
     pleasure in looking at when you come home. We have been twice at
     M---- to spend the day; and indeed, my dear Cecilia, I have had a
     great deal of pleasure, though perhaps not quite so much as you
     have had in your fields and meadows, and among your haymakers; but
     mamma says we may be happy in any place if we choose it, and will
     determine to make ourselves contented, instead of spending our time
     in wishing ourselves in other places than where we are: and I am
     sure she is very right, for if I were to fret and vex myself
     because I am not in the country, and you do the same because you
     are not in town, my goldfinch and my prints, my pleasant walks in
     the gardens at M----, and all mamma's kindness, would be lost upon
     me, and you would have no pleasure in your little garden, or in
     looking at the haymakers, your shells, your sea-weeds, or any of
     the curiosities you meet with.

     "Pray, dear Cecilia, let me have one more letter from you before
     you come home, and do not burn mine, for I shall like to see how
     much better I write next year; and so will you, I dare say, so I
     shall lock up your letters in my little work-trunk.

     "Mamma desires her best love to you. Give my duty to my aunt, and
     believe me

     "Your affectionate sister,

     "FANNY."

It was almost a fortnight before Fanny heard again from her sister, when
one morning a basket, covered very closely, and a small parcel, with a
letter tied upon it, were brought up stairs, and placed upon the table
before her. The letter was from her sister, and contained the following
words:

     "MY DEAR FANNY,

     "You would have heard from me much sooner, but I waited to write by
     George, whom my aunt told me she should be obliged to send to town
     on business. He brings you a basket of strawberries from her, with
     her love to you: fourteen of them are from _our_ garden, and I
     assure you I had a pleasure in picking them, which I cannot
     describe: they are in a leaf by themselves, and I beg you will let
     me know if they are ripe and sweet, for I did not taste them; I was
     determined to send you all the first. I send you also a little
     parcel of shells and sea-weeds, and when I am with you, I will
     teach you how to make very pretty pictures of them, as my aunt has
     had the goodness to teach me.

     "I have been very happy here, though I could not persuade myself to
     believe it possible when I first came, because I could not have
     mamma and you with me; but I shall remember her advice, and always
     endeavour to be pleased, and find amusement where I am, and with
     what I have, instead of fretting, like our cousin Emily, because
     she had not a blue work-bag instead of a pink one, or because see
     had an ivory toothpick-case given to her when she was wishing for a
     tortoise-shell one.

     "My aunt says, that children who do so are so very tiresome, that
     they make themselves disliked by every body, and that they are
     never invited a second time to a house, because people are
     generally tired of their company on the first visit.

     "I hope I shall see you and my dearest mamma next week; but you may
     write to me by George, for I shall be very much disappointed if he
     returns without a letter from you.--Adieu! dear Fanny.


     "I am affectionately yours,

     "CECILIA."

Fanny had only time to write a short note to her sister, which George
called for soon after dinner; and Cecilia's return the following week,
put an end to the correspondence for that time. The two sisters were
extremely happy to meet, though they had not made themselves
disagreeable, and teased people with their ill humour when they were
separated; and they were very well convinced, that if they had done so,
they should have suffered by it, and have been very uncomfortable.

The following summer Fanny paid a visit to her aunt, and had the
pleasure of finding their little garden in such good order, and so many
strawberries in it, that she could send her sister a basket-full. She
could work very neatly; and her aunt having given her a large parcel of
silks, riband, twist, and gold cord, she made the prettiest pincushions
that ever were seen, to send to her mamma, her sister, and her cousins.

Cecilia was extremely fond of drawing, and was so attentive to her
lessons during her sister's absence, that she had a portfolio full of
pretty things to shew her on her return.

No little girls in the world could be happier than Cecilia and Fanny,
and the reason of it is very plain: they were always obedient to their
mamma's commands, kind to the servants, and obliging to every body;
always contented with what they had, and in whatever place they happened
to be; and never fretful and out of humour for want of something to do,
for they had endeavoured to learn every thing when they had an
opportunity of doing so, that they might never be at a loss for
employment and amusement.



HENRY.


Henry was the son of a merchant of Bristol: he was a very good-natured,
obliging boy, and loved his papa and mamma, and his brothers and
sisters, most affectionately; but he had one very disagreeable fault,
which was, that he did not like to be directed or advised, but always
appeared displeased when any body only hinted to him what he might, or
what he ought not to do; he fancied he knew right from wrong perfectly
well, and that he did not require any one to direct him.

He was the most amiable boy in the world, if you would let him have his
own way: he never heard any body say they wished for a thing, that he
did not run to get it for them, if it was in his power; and no one could
be more ready to lend his toys to his brothers and sisters, whenever
they appeared to desire them: but the moment he was told not to stand so
near the fire, or not to jump down two or three stairs at a time, not to
climb upon the tables, or to take care he did not fall out of the
window, he grew directly angry, and asked if they thought he did not
know what he was about--said he was no longer a baby, and that he was
certainly big enough to take care of himself.

His friends were extremely sorry to perceive this fault in his
disposition, for every body loved him, and wished to convince him,
that, though he was not a baby, he was but a child; and that if he would
avoid getting into mischief, he must, for some years, submit to be
directed by his papa and mamma, and, in their absence by some other
person who knew better than he did: but he never minded their advice,
till he had one day nearly lost his life by not attending to it.

A lady, who visited his mamma, and who was extremely fond of him, met
him in the hall on new year's day, and gave him a seven shilling piece
to purchase something to amuse himself.--Henry was delighted at having
so much money; but instead of informing his parents of the present he
had received, and asking them to advise him how to spend it, he
determined to do as he liked with it, without consulting any body; and
having long had a great desire to amuse himself with some gunpowder, he
began to think (now he was so rich) whether it might not be possible to
contrive to get some. He had been often told of the dreadful accidents
which have happened by playing with this dangerous thing, but he fancied
_he_ could take care, _he_ was old enough to amuse himself with it,
without any risk of hurting himself; and meeting with a boy who was
employed about the house by the servants, he offered to give him a
shilling for his trouble, if he would get him what he desired; and as
the boy cared very little for the danger to which he exposed Henry, of
blowing himself up, so as he got but the shilling, he was soon in
possession of what he wished for.

A dreadful noise was, some time afterwards, heard in the nursery. The
cries of children, and the screams of their maid, brought the whole
family up stairs: but oh! what a shocking sight was presented to their
view on opening the door! There lay Henry by the fireside, his face
black, and smeared with blood; his hair burnt, and his eyes closed: one
of his little sisters lay by him, nearly in the same deplorable
condition; the others, some hurt, but all frightened almost to death,
were got together in a corner, and the maid was fallen on the floor in a
fit.

It was very long before either Henry or his sister could speak, and many
months before they were quite restored to health, and even then with
the loss of one of poor Henry's eyes. He had been many weeks confined to
his bed in a dark room, and it was during that time that he had
reflected upon his past conduct: he now saw that he had been a very
conceited, wrong-headed boy, and that children would avoid a great many
accidents which happen to themselves, and the mischiefs they frequently
lead others into, if they would listen to the advice of their elders,
and not fancy they are capable of conducting themselves without being
directed; and he was so sorry for what he had done, and particularly for
what he had made his dear little Emma suffer, that he never afterwards
did the least thing without consulting his friends; and whenever he was
told not to do a thing, though he had wished it ever so much, instead
of being angry, as he used to be, he immediately gave up all desire of
doing it, and never after that time got into any mischief.



MARIA;

OR,

THE LITTLE SLATTERN.


Little Maria B---- was so slatternly, and so careless of her clothes,
that she never was fit to appear before any body, without being first
sent to her maid to be new dressed. If she came to breakfast quite nice
and clean, before twelve o'clock you could scarcely perceive that her
frock had ever been white: her face and hands were always dirty, her
hair in disorder, and her shoes trodden down at the heels, because she
was continually kicking them off.

At dinner no one liked to sit near her, for she was sure to throw her
meat into their laps, pull about their bread with her greasy fingers,
and never failed to overset her drink upon the table-cloth.

One day her brother ran into the nursery in great haste, desiring she
would go down with him immediately into the parlour, and telling her,
that a gentleman had brought a large portfolio, full of beautiful prints
of all kinds of birds and animals, which he was going to shew to them,
if they were ready to come to him directly, for he could not stay with
them, he said, more than half an hour.

Poor Maria was in no condition to shew herself; she had been washing
her doll's clothes (though her maid had desired her not to do it, and
had promised to wash them for her, if she would have patience till the
afternoon), and had thrown a large basin of water all over her; after
which, wet as she was, she had been rummaging in a dirty closet, where
she had no kind of business, and was, when her brother came into the
nursery, covered with dust and cobwebs.

Susan was called in haste to new-dress her; but she was so extremely
careless of her clothes, and tore them so much every day, that one
person was scarcely sufficient to keep them in order for her. Not a
frock was to be found, which had not the tucks ripped, and the strings
broken, nor a pair of shoes fit to put on; her face and hands could not
be got clean without warm water, and that must be fetched from the
kitchen; then she had to look for a comb, Maria had poked hers into a
mouse-hole, and had been rubbing the grate with her brush: in short, by
the time all was ready, and she was dressed, a full hour had slipped
away without her perceiving it.

Down stairs, however, she went, opened the parlour-door, and was just
going to make a fine courtesy to the gentleman and his portfolio, when
to her very great surprise and mortification, she perceived her mamma
sitting alone, at work by the fire. The gentleman had shewn his prints
to her brothers and sisters, made each of them a present of a very
pretty one, and had been gone some time.

When her aunt came from Bath, she brought her a nice green silk bonnet,
and a cambric tippet, tied with green riband. Maria was very much
delighted with it, and fancied she looked so well in it, that she could
not be prevailed upon to pull it off; but she soon forgot that it was
new and very pretty, and ought to be taken care of; she thought of
nothing, when she could escape from her maid, but of getting into holes
and corners; and having rambled into an old back kitchen, and finding
herself too warm, she took off her pretty green bonnet, and threw it
down on the ground, but recollecting something she had now an
opportunity of doing, ran away in great haste, and left it there.

When she was asked what she had done with her bonnet, she said she did
not know, and the servants lost their time in seeking for it; for who
would have thought of looking for a young lady's bonnet in a dirty back
kitchen?

There, however, it was found, with a black cat and four kittens lying
asleep in it, and so entirely spoiled, that it could never be worn any
more; and she was obliged to wear her old bonnet a great many months
longer, for her mamma was extremely angry with her, and would not buy
her a new one; nor did she deserve to have one, till she could learn to
take more care of it, and not leave it about in such dirty places.

It is not very usual to see young ladies wandering about by themselves
in stables and outhouses, but Maria had very great pleasure in it, and
never lost the opportunity when she could get away without being seen;
and she was so dirty, and had so often her clothes torn, that she was
frequently taken by strangers for some poor child sent on an errand to
the servants.

One day, when she was passing through the gate to see who was coming
down the lane, a little boy upon an ass, who came up from the sea-side
every week with fish, seeing her there doing nothing, called out, "Here,
hark! you little girl, open the gate, I say--come, make haste, do not
stand there like a post. What! are you asleep?"

Maria was so much ashamed, that she could not move, but hung down her
head, and the boy (who had a mind to make her save him the trouble of
getting off from his ass) continued to talk to her in the polite manner
in which he had begun: "Why, you little dirty thing! open the gate I
say--if you do not, I will tell the cook of you, and she will tell
Madam, and I shall get you turned out of the house."

Thus was Maria B---- continually mortified by one person or another, and
losing every pleasure and amusement which her brothers and sisters were
indulged in, because she was never ready to join in them. They often
went to walk in the charming woods and meadows which surrounded the
house, and were sometimes sent with their maid to carry comfortable
things to their poor sick neighbours, from whom they received in return
a thousand thanks and prayers to God for their happiness; but Maria
could have no share in either, for she was never with them, and they
knew nothing of her.

Once, when their grandpapa sent his coach to fetch them to dine with
him, Maria was not to be found; and, after seeking her all over the
house to no purpose, they at length caught her in the garden with a
watering pot, which she could hardly lift from the ground, her shoes wet
and covered with mould, her frock in the same condition, and her hands
and arms dirty quite up to the elbows. Her mamma positively declared
that the horses should not be kept a moment longer, the coachman was
desired to drive on, and Maria was left to spend the day in the nursery
from whence she was ordered not to stir.

There she spent a melancholy day indeed, for she had no means of
amusing herself to make time pass lightly on: she had no pleasure in
reading, so that all the pretty books which had been bought for her were
of no use; she could not play with her doll, for it had no clothes, they
were all lost or burnt; and she had suffered a little puppy to play with
her work-bag, till both that and the work which was in it, thread-case,
cotton, and every thing else were all torn to pieces. The only thing she
found to do, was to sit down by the window, look at the road and cry,
till her brothers and sisters returned, and then she had the
mortification of hearing them recount the pleasure they had enjoyed,
talk of the curiosities their grandpapa had shewn them in the great
closet at the end of the gallery, and of seeing all the pretty things
they had brought home with them, and of which she might have had her
share if she had been of their party.



FREDERICK'S HOLIDAYS.


"I wish," said Frederick to Mr. Peterson, "I could be with my aunt in
town to spend the holidays; I shall be so tired here in the country, I
shall not know what to do with myself. Two of my schoolfellows live in
the next street to my aunt, and they will be going with their papa to
the play, and to Astley's, and to walk in the Park, and will have so
much more pleasure than I shall have--why, I might as well be at
school, as here sauntering about the fields."

"You are not very civil," answered Mr. Peterson. "When you came from
Barbadoes last year, and had no other acquaintance, you liked very well
to be with me in the holidays: however, if you desire it, my dear
Frederick, you shall go to your aunt's, that you may be near your little
friends, and I will write to their papa, to request that he will give
you leave to be with them as much as possible, that you may partake of
all their pleasures, for I do not think you will have a great deal in
your aunt's house; you know she is always ill, and cannot have it in her
power to procure you much amusement."

Frederick was accordingly sent to town, and his first wish was to pay a
visit to his two friends in the next street. His aunt's servant was
ordered to conduct him to the house, and he was shewn immediately up
stairs; but, instead of meeting with those he expected, he found their
papa alone in the drawing-room, sitting at a table covered with papers,
and apparently very busy.

On inquiring for his schoolfellows, he was very much surprised at being
informed that they were gone into the country: "for," said their papa,
"they would not have liked to be confined at home all their holidays,
and I should have had no time to run about with them; they might as well
have remained at school as have been here; but where they are gone they
will enjoy themselves; they will spend a week at their grandfather's,
and from thence go to my good friend, Mr. Peterson's, where they will
have all the pleasure and amusement they can possibly wish for."

Frederick was so vexed and disappointed that he could not open his lips,
but made a low bow, and returned to his aunt, whom he found just risen
to breakfast. She was quite crippled with rheumatism, and had so great a
weakness in her eyes, that she could not bear the light, and would only
allow one of the windows to have a little bit of the shutter open.

In this dismal room, without any thing to amuse himself with, was poor
Frederick condemned to spend his holidays: his aunt made him read to her
whenever she was awake, and it was only when she dropped asleep for half
an hour in her easy chair, that he could creep softly to the other end
of the room, and peep with one eye into the street, through the little
opening between the shutters.

Poor Frederick now sincerely repented having been so rude and ungrateful
to Mr. Peterson, and wished a thousand times a day he had been contented
to stay at his house; he would have been very happy to have had it in
his power to return, but dared not propose it to his aunt, and would
also have been ashamed to appear before Mr. Peterson.

After many melancholy days, and tedious evenings, spent in lonely
solitude, he at length saw the happy morning which was to end his
captivity. "What a foolish boy I have been!" thought he, as he was
putting his things together. "The day of my return to school is my
first holiday, and the preparations I am making for it the only pleasure
I have felt since I left it. In the country, where I might have enjoyed
the liberty of running in the fields in the open air, I was discontented
and restless; and I left it, to shut myself up in a sick room. I am now
going back to school, to have the pleasure of hearing how agreeably all
my schoolfellows have been spending their time, whilst I shall have
nothing to recount to them, but how many phials were ranged on my aunt's
chimney-piece, and how many hackney-coaches I could see with one eye
pass through the street."

Frederick was very right; he found his two little friends just arrived,
and who, for a whole week, could speak of nothing but the pleasure they
had enjoyed at Mr. Peterson's. They told him of their having being
several times on the river on fishing-parties, of two nice little ponies
which had been procured for them, that they might ride about in the
shady lanes, and round the park, and of the beautiful houses and gardens
they had been taken to see in the neighbourhood.

They had a great many very pretty presents, which they shewed to
Frederick, and which they had received from their friends, who had been
pleased with their behaviour, and had desired they might be allowed to
pay them a visit at the next vacation.

Frederick could never forget how much he had lost by his folly; he knew
he had been wrong, and, as he was not a bad boy, he was not ashamed to
acknowledge it, but wrote a very pretty letter to Mr. Peterson, begging
him to forgive the rudeness he had been guilty of, and telling him how
much he had suffered by it; assuring him that he would never again
desire to quit his house to go to any other, and saying, that he never
should have done it, if he had not been a foolish restless boy; that he
had been severely punished for his fault, and hoped he would think it
enough, and grant him his pardon as soon as possible.

Mr. Peterson readily complied with his request, and invited him, the
next time he left school, to accompany his two little friends to his
house, where they spent a month in the midst of pleasure and amusement;
sometimes riding the ponies to the top of a hill, from whence they
could see the hounds followed by the huntsman, and several gentlemen on
horseback; at other times assisting their good friend to entertain his
tenants with their wives and children round a Christmas fire in the
great hall: in short, Frederick was so happy, that he never once thought
of Astley, the Park, or the play, or had any desire to quit Mr. Peterson
in search of other amusements.



THE LITTLE QUARRELLERS.


Margaret and Frances lived with their papa and mamma in a pretty white
house on the side of a hill; they had a very large garden which led into
a meadow, at the bottom of which ran a beautiful river.

Every body thought them the happiest children in the world, and
certainly they might have been so, if their dispositions had been more
amiable; for their papa and mamma were very fond of them, and indulged
them in every thing proper for their age, and their friends were
continually bringing them presents of toys and dolls, or some pretty
thing or other.

They had each a little garden of their own, full of sweet flowers and
shrubs, currants, gooseberries, and strawberries. Margaret had a
squirrel, in which she took great delight, for it would jump joyfully
about its cage whenever she came near it, and would eat nuts and biscuit
out of her hand; and Frances had a beautiful canary-bird in a nice gilt
cage, which awoke her every morning with a song, and told her it was
time to rise. Margaret's nurse had brought her a white hen with eight
little chickens, and Frances had the prettiest bantams that ever were
seen.

Their mamma sent them to walk with their maid every evening, either over
the hill where the sheep and cows were feeding, or along the side of the
clear river, to pick up pebbles, to hear the merry songs of the
fishermen, and see the boats pass with the market-people, going to the
town with their fruit and their vegetables. Sometimes their papa took
them in his pleasure-boat across the river, to eat strawberries and
cream at a farm-house; and sometimes they were permitted to accompany
their mamma when she went to dine with her friends in the neighbourhood.

It is scarcely to be believed, that two children who might have lived
so happily, should have found their greatest pleasure in tormenting
each other; and though, before their parents and strangers, they
appeared to be all sweetness and good-humour, that they should have been
continually contriving how to vex and teaze each other. The moment they
were alone, they did nothing but fight and quarrel, and dispute about
trifles.

Not contented with this, whenever they were displeased, they did not
care what mischief they did, but tried, by every means in their power,
to vex each other, by spoiling and destroying every thing which came in
their way. Margaret was quite delighted when she had been running over
all Frances's garden, and treading down every thing which was growing in
it; and Frances, to be revenged on her sister, never failed to go
directly and pull up all her flowers by the roots, throw stones at her
little chickens, and tear her doll's clothes to pieces.

One day when they had had a great quarrel about some foolish thing not
worth mentioning, Margaret was so extremely angry, that she got her
mamma's ink-stand, and threw the ink all over her sister's work, and
then walked out of the room, leaving it on the table, Frances, who was
gone to ask her mamma for some thread, no sooner returned to the
parlour, and found her work in so sad a condition, but guessing
immediately how it came so, instead of seeking for her sister, and
telling her in a gentle manner how wrong she had acted, and begging that
all their quarrels might be ended, and that they might live together as
sisters should do, and endeavour to make each other happy, instead of
spending their time in vexing and teazing each other--instead of doing
this, the malicious girl thought of nothing but how she might be
revenged; and watching for a favourable opportunity, she seized on a
fine damask napkin which had been given to Margaret to hem and mark,
threw it down on the hearth, contriving to let one end of it lie over
the fender, and then began to poke the fire as violently as she could,
hoping some of the cinders would fall upon it, and burn a few holes in
it. Her wish was soon accomplished, and even beyond what she desired,
for the napkin was in an instant in a blaze, and the house in danger of
being burnt to the ground. Terrified almost to death, she began to
scream for help, and the whole family were immediately assembled in the
parlour; Margaret among the rest, with the bottom of her frock covered
with ink, though she had not perceived it, and which too plainly shewed
who had done the first mischievous exploit.

They were now both strictly examined, and their tricks soon discovered:
their papa and mamma watched them very narrowly, and found that they
were quite different when alone, to what they appeared when in their
presence; and they no longer treated them with the kindness and
indulgence they had hitherto done. Their gardens were taken from them,
the squirrel and the canary-bird given away, and the white hen, with
her little brood of chickens, sent back to the nurse: they were deprived
of all their amusements, and they had lost the good opinion of their
parents and friends, for the servants had told their story to every body
they met with, and they were never mentioned without being called the
Sly Girls, or the Little Quarrellers.



THE VAIN GIRL.


Caroline was trifling away her time in the garden with a little
favourite spaniel, her constant companion, when she was sent for to her
music-master; and the servant had called her no less than three
different times before she thought proper to go into the house.

When the lesson was finished, and the master gone, she turned to her
mamma, and asked her, in a fretful and impatient tone of voice, how
much longer she was to be plagued with masters--said she had had them a
very long time, and that she really thought she now knew quite enough of
every thing.

"That you have had them a very long while," answered her mamma, "I
perfectly agree with you; but that you have profited so much by their
instruction, as you seem to imagine, I am not so certain. I must,
however, acquaint you, my dear Caroline, that you will not be _plagued_
with them much longer, for your papa says he has expended such large
sums upon your education, that he is quite vexed and angry with himself
for having done so, because he finds it impossible to be at an equal
expense for your two little sisters; I would therefore advise you,
whilst he is so good as to allow you to continue your lessons, to make
the most of your time, that it may not be said you have been learning so
long to no purpose."

Caroline appeared quite astonished at her mamma's manner of speaking,
assured her she knew every thing perfectly, and said, that if her papa
wished to save the expense of masters for her sisters, _she_ would
undertake to make them quite as accomplished as she herself was.

Some time after this conversation, she accompanied her mamma on a visit
to a particular friend who resided in the country; and as there were
several gentlemen and ladies at the same time in the house, Caroline was
extremely happy in the opportunity she thought it would give her of
surprising so large a party by her drawing, music, &c; and she was not
very long before she gave them so many samples of her vanity and
self-conceit, as rendered her quite ridiculous and disgusting.

She was never in the least ashamed to contradict those who were older
and better instructed than herself, and would sit down to the piano with
the utmost unconcern, and attempt to play a sonata which she had never
seen before, though at the same time she could not get through a little
simple song, which she had been three months learning, without
blundering half a dozen times.

There lived, at about the distance of a mile from Mrs. Melvin's house, a
widow lady, with her daughter, a charming little girl of thirteen years
of age, on whose education (so very limited was her fortune) she had
never had it in her power to be at the smallest expense: indeed, her
income was so narrow, that, without the strictest economy in every
respect, she could not have made it suffice to procure them the
necessaries of life; and was obliged to content herself with the little
instruction she could give to her child, and with encouraging her as
much as possible to exert herself, and endeavour to supply, by attention
and perseverance, the want of a more able instructor, and to surmount
the obstacles she would have to meet with.

When Caroline heard this talked of, she concluded immediately that Laura
must be a poor little ignorant thing, whom she should astonish by a
display of her accomplishments, and enjoyed in idea the wonder she
would shew, when she beheld her beautiful drawings, heard her touch the
keys of the piano, and speak French and Italian as well as her own
language; which she wished to persuade herself was the case, though she
knew no more of either than she did of all the other things of which she
was so vain and conceited.

She told Mrs. Melvin that she really pitied extremely the situation of
the poor unfortunate Laura, and wished, whilst she was so near, she
could have an opportunity of seeing her frequently, as she might give
her some instruction which would be of service to her. Mrs. Melvin was
extremely disgusted with the vanity of her friend's daughter, and
wishing to give her a severe mortification, which she thought would be
of more use to her than any lesson she had ever received, told her she
should pay a visit the next morning.

The weather was extremely fine, and the whole company set forward
immediately after breakfast, and were soon in sight of a very neat but
small house, which they were informed belonged to the mother of Laura. A
little white gate opened into a garden in the front of it, which was so
neat, and laid out with so much taste, that they all stopped to admire
it, for the flowers and shrubs were tied up with the utmost nicety, and
not a weed was to be seen in any part of it.

"This is Laura's care," said Mrs. Melvin; "her mamma cannot afford to
pay a gardener, but hires a labourer now and then to turn up the
ground, and, with the help of their maid, she keeps this little flower
garden in the order in which you see it; for by having inquired of those
who understand it (instead of fancying herself perfect in all things),
she has gained so much information, that she has become a complete
florist."

They were shewn into a very neat parlour, which was ornamented with a
number of drawings. "Here," says Mrs. Melvin, "you may again see the
fruits of Laura's industry and perseverance; she has had no instruction,
except the little her mamma could give her, but she was determined to
succeed, and has done so, as you may perceive; for these drawings are
executed with as much taste and judgment as could possibly be expected
of so young a person, even if she had had the advantage of having a
master to instruct her. The fringe on the window curtains is entirely of
her making, and the pretty border and landscape on that fire-screen is
of her cutting."

Caroline began to fear she should not shine quite so much as she had
expected to do, and was extremely mortified when Laura came into the
room, and was desired to sit down to the piano, at hearing her play and
sing two or three pretty little songs, so well and so sweetly, that
every one present was delighted with her.

She scarcely ever dared, after this visit, to boast of her knowledge;
and if she did, Mrs. Melvin, who was her real friend, and wished to cure
her of her vanity, never failed to remind her of the little she knew,
notwithstanding all the money which had been expended upon her
education, in comparison to Laura, who had never cost her mamma a single
shilling.



THE YOUNG GARDENERS.


Charles, William, and Henry, had a large piece of ground given to them
to make a garden of. Their papa gave them leave to apply to the gardener
for instruction as often as they pleased, but not to expect any
assistance from him or any other person: they were to put it in order,
and keep it so by their own labour.

"I know," said Charles to William, "that we shall never agree with
Henry; he is such an odd boy, that I really believe when once the garden
is put in order, he will be contented to walk about and look at it,
without ever touching any thing, for he is always quarrelling with us
because we have no patience, as he calls it."--"Yes," replied William,
"it is very true. Do you remember how angry he was when his bantam hen
was hatching her chickens, and we helped to pull them out of the eggs!
Who would have thought we should have killed any of them! I am sure I
did not; but they were so long, I could not bear to sit there all day
waiting for them. I think, Charles, we had better give him his share of
the ground, and let him do as he will with it, and you and I will make a
pretty garden of the rest, and manage it as we think proper."

This being settled, and the ground fairly divided, they all three went
to work with the utmost alacrity. They rose with the lark in the
morning, turning up the earth, and clearing it of stones and rubbish;
but Henry by himself had got his garden laid out in beds and borders,
ready for planting, before Charles and William together had half done
theirs: they could not determine how to do it; the borders were too
narrow, and must be made broader; this bed must be longer, and that
shorter; so that what they did in the morning, they undid in the
evening, and their piece of ground lay in confusion and disorder, long
after Henry had planted his borders with strawberries, and his beds
were sown with annuals, and filled with pretty flowers and bulbous
roots.

Charles and William had at length got their garden laid out in tolerable
order, and, in other hands, it might soon have been in a very
flourishing state; for their papa had given them leave to remove several
pretty shrubs from his into their garden, and consequently it already
wore a pleasant appearance. Two days had, however, scarcely elapsed,
before these whimsical boys were tired of the manner in which their
tree, &c. were planted, and longed to remove them.

"This little cherry-tree," said William, "will surely look better at the
corner of the wall."

"That it will," answered Charles, "and will grow better there, I dare
say; and the rose-trees, do observe how ill they appear at the end of
that border--who would ever have thought of planting rose-trees in such
a place?"

"Nobody," said Charles, "and we had better change them directly, or it
will be supposed we know nothing of gardening, and we shall be laughed
at for pretending to it."

No sooner said than done; the plants and flowers were removed, and, in
about a week from that day, were all put back into their former places.

When their seeds were just beginning to appear above the ground, they
fancied that bed would do better for something else, and in less than
five minutes the spade was brought, the bed turned up, and all the
little flowers, which were springing up so strong and promising, were
destroyed without pity.

What a different appearance did the two gardens make in the month of
June! Charles and William saw, with sorrow and regret, that theirs was
nothing more than a piece of waste ground; they had removed their trees
and shrubs so often, that they had all perished; and not having patience
to let their seeds come up and grow into blossom, their beds had nothing
in them.

Henry's garden was beautiful; there was not the smallest bit of it but
had some pretty flower or fruit-tree growing in it: every part was
blooming and sweet; and his two brothers discovered, when too late, that
without perseverance and steadiness, nothing can be accomplished, and
that unless they came to a determination to follow the good example
their brother Henry set before them on this occasion, as on all others,
their minds would, like their garden, be uncultivated and waste.



THE WHIMSICAL CHILD.


Mr. and Mrs. Clermont invited their little niece, Elizabeth Sinclair, to
spend a month with them in the country. Mr. Clermont was extremely fond
of children, but his partiality to their company never extended to any
who had been improperly and foolishly indulged, and were whimsical and
discontented; and had he known that his sister had suffered her little
girl to have those disagreeable qualities, he never would have asked her
to his house; but he had been two years abroad, and knew nothing of
her.

The day on which she was expected, her uncle and aunt went to meet her,
and were very much pleased with her appearance, as well as the
affectionate manner in which she returned the caresses they bestowed
upon her. She was extremely pretty, had fine teeth, fine hair, and a
beautiful complexion; and Mr. Clermont said to his wife, "I shall be
delighted to have this sweet little creature with me, and to shew all my
friends what a charming niece I have." But he was not long in changing
his opinion, and very soon discovered that her beauty, much as he had
thought of it, did not prevent her being the most disagreeable girl he
had ever met with.

She was no sooner in the house than she complained of being too warm,
then too cold, and a minute after, too warm again--too tired to sit up,
yet not choosing to go to bed--wishing for some tea, and then not liking
any thing but milk and water--now drinking it without sugar, then
desiring to have some, and, after saying she never supped, bursting into
tears because she was going to be sent to bed without supper.

"I perceive I was mistaken," said Mr. Clermont; "this _sweet little
creature_ will be a pretty torment to us, if we permit her to have her
own way; but I shall put a stop to it immediately."

Accordingly, the next day at dinner, he asked her if she would be helped
to some mutton, but she refused it, saying she never could eat any thing
roasted. "Then, my dear," replied Mr. Clermont, "here is a boiled
potatoe for you; eat that, for you will have nothing else."

Elizabeth was extremely disconcerted, and thought, if she had been at
home, her mamma would have ordered half a dozen different things for
her, rather than suffer her to eat any thing she disliked, or to dine
upon potatoes. She made a very bad dinner, and was cross and out of
humour the whole evening.

The next day at table Mr. Clermont offered to help her to some boiled
lamb; but Elizabeth, according to her usual custom of never liking what
was offered to her, said she could not eat lamb when it was boiled. "So
I expected," said Mr. Clermont, "and (taking off the cover from a small
dish which was placed next to him) here are some _roasted_ potatoes,
which I have provided on purpose, fearing you might not happen to like
the rest of the dinner."

Elizabeth began to cry bitterly, but her uncle paid no kind of attention
to her tears, only saying that if she preferred a basin of water-gruel,
she should have some made in an instant. She was extremely hungry
(having quarrelled with her breakfast, and had nothing since), and
perceiving that her tears were not likely to produce any good effect,
was glad to dine very heartily on lamb and spinage, and to eat some
currant tart, which she had said she could not bear even the smell of.
She insisted, however, on returning to her mamma immediately, saying she
would not stay any longer in a house where she was in danger of being
starved, and was sure her mamma would be very angry if she knew how she
was treated.

"I am sorry to inform you, my dear niece," said Mr. Clermont, "that you
must endeavour to put up with it at least a month or six weeks, for your
mamma is gone into Wales on business of consequence, and will not be at
home to receive you till that time is expired."

This was sad news for Elizabeth; she was extremely unhappy, and wished a
thousand times she had never quitted her own home, where she was
indulged in all her whims, and where every one's time was employed in
trying to please and amuse her; "And now," thought she, "on the
contrary, I never have any thing I like, and my uncle appears to take
pleasure in teazing and vexing me from morning to night." Finding,
however, that she must either eat what was provided for her, or suffer
hunger, and conscious that she had no _real_ dislike to any thing in
particular, though she had a great pleasure in plaguing every body about
her, she thought it advisable to submit, and consequently dined
extremely well every day, whether the meat was roasted or boiled, stewed
or fried.

One day, when she was going with her uncle and aunt to take a walk to
the next village, a poor miserable woman, with a child in her arms, and
followed by two others, met them at the gate, and begged, for God's
sake, they would take pity upon her and her helpless infants, who she
said had not tasted food since the foregoing day.

Cold meat and bread being immediately brought out to them, both the
woman and her children seized upon it with so much eagerness, that they
might really be believed to be almost famished.

Mr. Clermont desired Elizabeth would observe them attentively, and,
after making her take particular notice of the joy with which the poor
people were feasting on the scraps that came from their table, asked her
if she thought she ever again could, without being guilty of a dreadful
sin, despise, as she frequently had done, and refuse to eat of the
wholesome and plentiful food which, through the great goodness of God,
her friends were enabled to provide for her.

Elizabeth was struck with her uncle's words, and with the sight before
her; she felt that she had, by her ingratitude and unthankfulness to
God, rendered herself very undeserving of the comforts he had bestowed
upon her, and of which the poor children she was then looking at stood
so much in need; and she never, from that day, was heard to find fault
with any thing, but prayed that she might in future deserve a
continuance of such blessings.



EDWARD AND CHARLES.


Mr. Spencer sent for his two sons, Edward and Charles, into his closet;
he took each of them by the hand, and drawing them affectionately
towards him, told them he was going to undertake a long journey, that he
hoped they would be very good boys during his absence, obedient and
dutiful to their mamma, and never vex or teaze her, but do every thing
she wished them to do; he also desired them to be kind to poor Ben, and
to recollect, that, though his face was black, he was a very good boy,
and that God would love him, whilst he continued to behave well, just as
much as if his skin were as white as theirs, and much more than he would
either of them, unless they were equally deserving of his love, as black
Ben had rendered himself by his good-natured and amiable disposition.

Edward and Charles both promised their papa that they would do every
thing he desired, but they were not _both_ equally sincere: Edward could
with difficulty hide his joy, when his papa told him he was going from
home, for he was a very naughty boy, and had no inclination to obey any
body, but to be his own master, and do as he liked, to get into all
kinds of mischief, and kick and cuff poor Ben whenever he pleased.

Thinking, however, it would be proper to appear sorry for what he was,
in reality, extremely glad of, and seeing poor Charles take out his
handkerchief to wipe away his tears, when he was taking leave of his
papa, he pulled out his also; but it was not to wipe his eyes, but to
hide his smiles, for he was so happy at the thought of all the tricks he
could play, without having any one to control him, that he was afraid
his joy would be perceived, and his hypocrisy detected.

Mrs. Spencer's health was so indifferent, that she seldom quitted her
apartment, so that she knew very little of the behaviour of her sons.
Edward, as soon as he had breakfasted, usually took his hat, and went
out without telling any one where he was going, or when he should
return.

One day, when he was gone away in this manner, and Charles was left
quite alone, he went up stairs to his mamma, and asked her leave to take
a walk in the fields; and away he went with his favourite dog, for he
had no other company, and he said, "Come along, Trimbush, let us take a
ramble together; my brother always quarrels and fights with me, but I
know you will not, my poor Trimbush: here, my poor old fellow, here is a
piece of bread which I saved from my breakfast on purpose for you."

Charles had not walked very far, before he thought he heard Ben crying;
and thinking it very probable that his brother was beating him, he went
as fast as he possibly could towards the place whence the sound came.
There he found poor black Ben with a load of faggots upon his back,
almost enough to break it, and Edward whipping him because he cried, and
said they were too heavy.

Charles began immediately to unload the poor boy; but Edward said, if he
attempted to do so, he would break every bone in his skin: he was,
however, not to be frightened from his good-natured and humane
intention, and therefore continued to take off the faggots, telling his
brother, that if he came near to prevent him, he would try which had
most strength; and as Edward was a great coward, and never attempted to
strike any body but the poor black boy, who dared not return the blow,
he thought it proper to walk away, and leave his brother to do as he
liked. When they met afterwards, and Charles offered to shake hands with
him, saying he was sorry for what he had said to him, and begged they
might be good friends, he appeared very willing to forget what had
passed, and assured him he forgave him with all his heart; but his whole
thoughts were employed in finding out some way to be revenged on his
brother, and he had soon an opportunity of doing what might have cost
him his life, though it is to be hoped he was not quite wicked enough
to desire it.

Walking one morning by the side of the river, he begged Charles to get
into a little boat which lay close to the shore, to look for a sixpence
which he pretended to have left in it, and began to sob and cry, because
he was afraid he had lost his money. Charles, who was always glad to
oblige his brother, jumped into the boat with the utmost readiness, but
in an instant the wicked Edward, having cut the rope by which it was
fastened, away it went into the middle of the river, and no one can tell
whither it might have been driven, or what terrible accident might have
happened, if the wind had been high, and had not the good affectionate
Ben stripped off his clothes, and plunged into the river to go to
Charles's assistance.

Ben could swim like a fish, and was soon within reach of the boat,
which, by getting hold of the end of the rope, he brought near enough
to the shore for Charles to jump out on a bank.

Edward fancied, that, as his mamma knew nothing of his tricks, and as he
was certain Charles was too good-natured to tell tales, his papa would
never hear of them: but he was very much mistaken. Old Nicholls, the
butler, had observed his behaviour, and as soon as his master returned,
took the first opportunity of telling him of every thing which had
passed in his absence.

Mr. Spencer now recollected that he had been much to blame in keeping
his sons at home, and determined to send them both to school
immediately: he observed, however, that they were not equally deserving
of kindness and indulgence, and that it would be proper and just to make
Edward feel how much he was displeased by the accounts he had received
of his conduct: he was therefore sent to a school at a considerable
distance from home, so far off, that he neither came home at Christmas
nor Whitsuntide, nor saw any of his friends from one year to the other;
he was not allowed to have any pocket money, for his papa said he would
only make an ill use of it; nor had he ever any presents sent him of any
kind.

Charles was only twenty miles from his father's house, and was always at
home in the holidays: he had a great many things given to him on new
year's day, and his papa brought him a little poney that he might ride
about the park; and he always let poor Ben have a ride with him, for he
loved him very much; and Ben, who was a grateful, kind-hearted boy, did
not forget how many times Charles had saved him from his wicked brother,
and would have done any thing in the world to give him pleasure.



THE TRUANT.


"What will become of us to-morrow?" exclaimed a boy at M---- school, to
little George Clifton, as they were undressing to go to bed. "I am so
frightened, that I shall not be able to close my eyes."

George, who was very sleepy, and had no inclination to be disturbed,
scarcely attended to what he was saying; but, on being asked how _he_
thought to get off, and how _he_ should relish a good sound flogging, if
he could not excuse himself, he thought it time to inquire into his
meaning, and was informed that some of the boys had that evening been
robbing the master's garden, that they had taken away all the fruit,
both ripe and unripe, and had trodden down and destroyed every thing.

George said he was very sorry for it, but he had no fears on his own
account, for he could prove that he had drank tea and spent the whole
evening at his aunt's, and was but just returned before their hour of
going to bed; but Robert assured him, that all he could say would avail
him nothing, and that he was very certain he would not be believed; and
moreover, that the master had declared, as he could not discover the
offenders he would punish the whole school: "And for my part," said
Robert, "I am determined not to stay here, to suffer for what I do not
deserve. I can easily slip out of this window into the yard, and at the
dawn of day I intend to set off; and shall be many miles from M----,
when you are begging in vain for forgiveness of your hard-hearted
master."

George, who, though a good boy in other respects, had a very great
dislike to the trouble of learning any thing, and had been sent to
school much against his inclination, thought this an excellent
opportunity of leaving it, and had no doubt, but having such a
melancholy story to recount of the injustice of his master, added to the
many hardships he fancied he had already endured on different
occasions, he should be able to prevail upon his papa to keep him at
home; and imagined, that, when he grew up to be a man, he should, by
some means or other, have as much learning and knowledge as other
people, without plaguing himself with so many books and lessons. Robert
had therefore very little difficulty in persuading him to accompany him,
which he had no reason to wish for, but that he knew he had always a
good deal of pocket-money, which he hoped to get possession of, and
cared very little, if once he could carry that point, what became of
poor George. He knew him to be quite innocent, and also that the master
was well acquainted with the names of the boys who had done the
mischief, and consequently had no thought of punishing the whole
school; but he was a wicked boy, had been the chief promoter of the
robbery, long tired of confinement, and determined to run away. At four
o'clock in the morning they got out of the window into the yard, jumped
over a low wall, and were soon several miles from the school.

Poor little George began, before it was long, to grow very tired; he was
hungry also, and had nothing to eat. Robert asked him if he had any
money, and said he would soon procure him something to eat, if he would
give him the means of paying for it; but the moment he had got his
little purse in his hand, he told him that he must now wish him a good
morning; that he was not such a fool as to go home to get a
horsewhipping for having run away from school, but should go immediately
to Portsmouth, where he should find ships enough ready to sail for
different parts of the world, and would go to sea, which was, he said,
the pleasantest life in the world; and making him a very low bow, he set
off immediately across the fields towards the high road, and was out of
sight in an instant.

George began to cry bitterly; he now repented having listened to this
wicked boy's advice, and would have returned to school if he could; but
he did not know the way back again, and, if he had known it, would have
been afraid to see his master. He wandered on the whole long day,
without seeing any body who thought it worth their while to stop to
listen to his tale; and at length, towards the close of evening, quite
ill for want of eating, and so tired that he could no longer stand, he
seated himself by the side of a brook, and leaning his head upon his
hand, sobbed aloud.

An old peasant returning from his labour, and passing that way, stopped
to look at him, and perceiving that he was in much distress, went up to
the place where he was sitting, and inquired kindly what ailed him.

"I am a naughty boy," said George, "and do not deserve that you should
take notice of me."--"When naughty boys confess their faults, they are
more than half cured of them," replied the old peasant. "Whatever you
have done, I am sure you repent of it, and I will take care of you."

He then took him by the hand, and led him to his cottage, which was very
near, and where he found an old woman spinning near the window, and a
young one sitting with two pretty little girls and a boy, whom she was
teaching to read: they had each a book in their hand, and were so
attentive to their lessons, that they scarcely looked up when the door
was opened.

"There," said the old peasant, "sits my good wife, this is my daughter,
and these are her children: we are poor people, and cannot afford to
spend much money on their education, but they are very good, and
endeavour to learn what they can from their mother, and get their
lessons ready against the hour they go to school in the morning, that
they may make the most of their time, and not rob their parents by
being idle."

"Rob their parents!" exclaimed George. "Yes, rob them," replied the old
man. "Would it not be robbing their father and mother, if they allowed
them to squander their money upon them in paying for their schooling to
no purpose?"

George wiped the tears from his eyes, and said he was afraid he was a
very bad boy; but he was sorry for it, and would endeavour to mend, if
his papa could be prevailed on to pardon what was past. He then told the
old man all that had happened, and how the wicked Robert had enticed him
to run away from school; but he was so hungry, and so fatigued, that he
could hardly speak or hold up his head. The young woman gave him a
large bowl of milk and bread, and put him into a neat, clean bed, where
he slept soundly till eight o'clock the next morning, when, after a
comfortable breakfast, the good peasant accompanied him to his father's
house, and said so much in his favour, and of the sorrow he had shewn
for his ill behaviour, that he was immediately forgiven.

He was, at his own desire, taken back to school, where he entreated his
master to pardon the little attention he had paid to his books, and the
instruction he had been so good as to give him; as also his elopement, a
fault he had, he said, repented of almost as soon as he had committed
it.

The master readily forgave him upon his acknowledging his error, and
assured him, that, though he always punished those who deserved it, he
knew very well how to distinguish the innocent from the guilty, and
that, whilst he behaved like a good boy, he would have no reason to fear
his anger.



JEALOUSY.


Rose was eight years of age when her sister Harriet was born: she was
extremely fond of the baby, watched its cradle whilst it slept, and was
never tired of looking at it, and admiring its little features; but she
could not, without pain, observe, that she was no longer, as she had
been accustomed to be, the _sole_ object of her mamma's care and
attention.

Harriet must not be left a moment! Harriet must not be disturbed! And
even if her mamma had the head-ach, and Rose was not suffered to go into
her room, the little stranger was admitted. She concluded that she was
no longer loved by any body, for even the servants were, she fancied,
more occupied with her little sister than with her, or any thing which
concerned her; and before she was ten years of age, she was become so
very jealous and fretful, that she took no pleasure in any thing, nor
was it in the power of any one to please or amuse her.

One day walking in the garden with her mamma, who carried the little
Harriet in her arms, and coming to a part of it where several tall and
far-spreading trees afforded them a pleasant shade from the heat of the
sun, they stopped to enjoy its coolness. The gardener was ordered to
bring them some cherries, and they sat down on the grass to await his
coming: the little one, however, had no inclination to be so long
still, and her mamma, to please and keep her quiet, lifted her up, and
seated her on the bough of a tree which spread above their heads.

Rose immediately changed colour; her countenance, which a moment before
was tolerably cheerful, now became gloomy and sullen; she leaned her
cheek upon her hand, and her eyes followed them, expressing nothing but
discontent and jealousy.

Her mamma was not long before she perceived the angry glances thrown
upon her, and asked her, in a tone of displeasure, what they signified?
"I cannot help fearing," said Rose, "that you no longer love me, now
that you have another little girl. I remember, when you played with me
all day; I was then continually on your knee, and every thing you had
was brought out to amuse me; the servants also thought of nothing but
how to give me pleasure; but now I go neglected about the house, and
nobody minds me: it is true, I have every thing I want, and my papa and
you are always buying me toys and pretty things of one kind or another;
and I have often some of my little friends, whom you allow me to invite
to drink tea, and spend the afternoon with me; but----"

"But," interrupted her mamma, "I no longer take you upon my knee like a
baby, or carry you in my arms; nor have I strength sufficient to lift
you up, and place you upon the bough of a tree, to please and make you
quiet, as I have done by your little sister. You forget, I imagine, that
you are ten years old, and that if I were to treat you in the same
manner as I do a child of two, we should both be laughed at by every
creature who might happen to see us. Reflect, my dear Rose, and do not
suppose, that, because the helpless age of this little darling demands
more care and attention than is necessary to you--because, being her
nurse, I am obliged to have her often with me, when the company of
another would be troublesome and inconvenient to me--do not fancy, my
love, from these circumstances, that you are less beloved by either your
papa or myself; but that as you increase in years, we shall shew our
affection to you in a very different way to that in which we now do; as
at present we treat you much otherwise than we did when you were of the
age of your sister Harriet.

"I have long observed, with much uneasiness and concern, the fretfulness
and discontent you have exhibited in your countenance at every mark of
tenderness and care shewn to your sister. If you suffer this humour to
grow upon you, it will be observed by every body, and you will then, in
reality, be disliked and shunned by all your acquaintance, though at
present it is only in your own fancy that you are so. Recollect yourself
in time, re-assume your cheerfulness, assist me in taking care of this
sweet child, instead of being angry at the attention I shew her; and be
assured that we feel an equal affection towards you both, though we do
not think it proper to treat you, my dear Rose, as we do a baby of two
years old."



EDMOND.


"What an unlucky boy I am!" said Edmond, running towards his papa, whom
he had been seeking over all the house and gardens. "My grandmamma has
changed her mind about going to my uncle's, and, instead of taking me
with her to spend a fortnight at his house, when I had set my heart upon
it, I must content myself at home, she says, and wait for another
opportunity. Every thing goes wrong with me--it was but last week that
the pigs got into my little garden, and destroyed every thing in it."

"Stop! stop!" interrupted his papa, "and, before you complain of your
evil destiny, recollect, that if you had not heard the pigs in your
garden, and ran in haste to drive them out of it, you would not have
seen your little brother, whom you seized by the arm on the very edge of
the pond, and who, in another moment, would probably have fallen into
it, and would have been drowned before any of the family had missed him.
It is not impossible but that you may have cause to rejoice some time
hence at what now appears to you such a mighty disappointment."

His papa's words were soon verified: for not more than ten days had
elapsed after this conversation, when they received a letter which
filled them with the severest affliction. A servant belonging to his
uncle had caught a dreadful putrid sore throat and fever, of which he
died almost immediately, and which had infected the whole family. Edmond
heard with the utmost grief, that one of his cousins was no more, and
that the other lay in so dangerous a state, that his life was despaired
of: and he did not fail to offer his unfeigned thanks to God for having
preserved him from the danger to which he would have been exposed, if
his grandmamma had not suddenly changed her intention of going to his
uncle's: he determined also, that he would never, in future, complain of
any trifling disappointments he might chance to meet with, or find
fault, as he had too often done, with the arrangements of Providence;
but conclude, that, however extraordinary many things might appear to
him, being ordered by Him who knows best what is fit for us, they must,
some way or other, sooner or later, turn to our advantage and happiness.

Edmond, in the long walks he took with his papa, often met with things
which appeared to him very strange, and which (notwithstanding the
resolution he had made, and the rule he had laid down never to find
fault) made him thoughtful, and wish to know why they were permitted.

An old man, who was universally esteemed in the village, had been
involved in perplexity and trouble, as it appeared to him, very
unjustly. He was tenant to a rich man, and had been long and
comfortably settled in a prosperous way in a little farm, which lay in a
fertile and beautiful valley belonging to his large estate.

The rich man was hard-hearted and revengeful, and, taking a dislike to
poor old Davis on some very trifling occasion, had turned him out of the
farm at so short a notice, that he had had the utmost difficulty to find
a place to take shelter in. He had a great deal of trouble in removing
his cattle and his poultry, his corn and his hay-mows, and every thing
belonging to his farm; and said he was sure it would be a couple of
years before he should be able to recover the expense and loss of time;
and Edmond, who never went into the village without paying him a visit,
and loved to chat with him and his old dame, never heard them talk of
it without thinking is was, at least, _a pity_ that he had met with so
great a misfortune.

The winter was very severe, the snow fell fast, it was deep, and lay
very long on the ground. Davis was obliged to take his cattle in from
the fields, and feed them entirely on hay; his poultry required the
utmost care and attention, and every thing in his garden was in danger
of perishing. "This is a sad winter for poor old Davis," said Edmond to
his papa; "I am afraid it will put him another year behind hand; I wish
he had not been driven from that flourishing farm in the valley."

"I wish so too," replied his papa, "if it would have been more for his
good to have remained there--but God knows best!"

The spring returned, the snow melted, torrents of water fell from the
hills--the brooks swelled, and overflowed the meadows--every thing was
inundated: the farm in the valley was entirely destroyed, and all the
cattle with which the rich man had stocked it were drowned. Davis, on
his hill, had felt the sharpness and biting frost of winter; he had
heard the wind roar, and the rain beat against his casement: but when
the snow melted, he felt no ill effects from it, but turned out his
cattle, which he had sheltered whilst it lay on the ground, to feast on
the fresh herbage which had been preserved under it.

"I perceive now," said Edmond, "that I have been once more mistaken, and
that, instead of thinking Davis an object of pity, I should look upon
him as a fortunate man. If he had remained in the valley, his whole
property would have been destroyed, and he would have been a beggar: now
he has but to be doubly attentive to his labour, and he will soon
recover the expense of his removal: he will then be just as well as he
was, and he might this day have been without a morsel of bread, or a
shilling to purchase one."



THE GHOST AND THE DOMINOS.


Sophy Benson, when she was only eleven years old, could write, read,
draw, and play on the piano-forte, better than any little girl of her
age in the whole neighbourhood; she was obedient to her papa and mamma,
affectionate to her brothers and sisters, and would do any thing to
oblige her friends, except going up stairs after night, staying in the
garden alone a moment after the dusk of the evening, or going to bed
before her sister. On these points, though she really wished to shew a
readiness to do as she was desired, and had often attempted to do so,
she never had been able to find resolution sufficient to carry her
through with it; for she had heard of ghosts, giants, fairies, and
monsters of divers kinds, and was never an instant alone in the dark,
without expecting to see one or the other; concluding, it must be
imagined, that it was customary with those gentlemen and ladies to pay
their visits, each with a wax taper in their hands, to exhibit their
persons by.

Sophy had a brother, a good-natured boy, one year younger than herself,
whom she always contrived to get to accompany her when she had any thing
to fetch from her chamber after night; but unfortunately, she had
repeated so many terrible stories to him (to shew that she was not
afraid without reason), that poor Harry soon became almost as great a
coward as his sister; and they found, that whenever they had occasion to
go out of the parlour after candlelight, it was necessary to procure a
third person to be of their party, for they no longer thought themselves
in safety together.

It may be thought a fortunate circumstance, that the infection did not
spread, or the whole family would soon have been obliged to move in a
body; but there was little danger of any thing so ridiculous: it was, on
the contrary, much to be wondered at that a sensible girl, like Sophy
Benson, should have been capable of such a weakness, and that she never
gave herself time to reflect, that there could not be the smallest
foundation for the silly fears with which she had filled her head.

Her mamma had taken a great deal of pains to endeavour to convince her
of the folly of indulging herself in such ridiculous fancies, but it was
to no purpose; her imagination was continually making her see strange
sights, and hear extraordinary noises; and though she exposed herself to
the ridicule and laughter of her elder brothers and sisters, when her
giant proved to be a tree, and her dismal groans to be occasioned by the
noise of a door or a window-shutter on a stormy night: still she went on
in the same way, and had made poor little Harry as foolish as herself.

Whenever she was alone, either in the house or garden, a moment later
than she liked to be, her heart immediately began to beat, and she flew
like lightning to seek protection; her hands clasped, her elbows
squeezed close to her sides, and her head hung down--and in this way,
every object she glanced her eyes upon appeared to her fancy something
extraordinary: had she but summoned resolution to take a second look,
she must have laughed at her own folly.

One evening she came screaming into the parlour, and assured her mamma
that she had had the greatest difficulty to escape from a hideous
creature, who, with outspread arms, was on the point of seizing her, and
begged the door might be locked immediately. Her mamma, and her
brothers and sisters, laughed immoderately at her strange story, which
mortified her extremely; but they could not prevail on her to _shew_
them where she had seen the terrible creature: she could, however, tell
them the exact spot, though she endeavoured to dissuade them from
venturing to go to it; but she could not prevail on any of them to be
frightened, and they soon discovered the monster, with its outspread
arms, to be nothing more than the horse on which the servant had been
beating her papa's coat.

One evening, when the moon shone bright and fine, and Sophy and Harry
had a very great desire to fetch a box of dominos which was in the
nursery, and which they well knew they should not have, unless they went
themselves to fetch it, after sitting half an hour, whispering and
endeavouring to assume sufficient courage for so great an undertaking,
they at length determined to go, for they were tired of having nothing
to amuse themselves with, and had still a long winter evening before
them.

Quaking through fear, and holding as fast as they possibly could by each
other's hand, they ascended the stairs, got into the passage which led
to the nursery, and were just going to open the door, when Sophy
recollected, that if Harry was seen by her maid, she should be finely
laughed at, and asked if she dared not venture to take a step without
having him to protect her; she therefore begged he would wait at the
door whilst she went into the nursery to fetch the dominos; but Harry
would not hear of such a thing, and said he would not stay in the
passage alone on any account whatever.

Sophy was so desirous of appearing courageous to her maid, that she
tried every means she could think of to engage Harry to wait for her;
told him she would not be a moment, that the moon shone as bright as
day--but all was to no purpose, till by promising to give him her little
box of colours, and her ivory cup and ball, she at length prevailed upon
him to consent.

She walked into the nursery with an air of unconcern and boldness not at
all usual to her; but it was quite lost, for Mary was not there and she
knew not how to venture so far as a closet at the other end of it, to
take out the box of dominos, but was on the point of calling Harry to
come to her, when thinking the maid might be in the next room, she
wished, if possible, to save her credit. With trembling steps she
advanced towards the closet, reached it without any _terrible accident_,
and having opened the door, began to grope about for the box: it was
neither on the first shelf nor the second, and passing her hand along
the third, it fell upon something colder than stone.

Afraid of being laughed at, she determined not to scream, but with the
utmost expedition quitted the nursery, without thinking of the dominos,
and went to join her brother; but she had no sooner reached the passage,
than she saw (too plainly she saw it to believe it to be the effect of
fear) a figure dressed in long white robes, having one arm extended
towards her, entirely covered with black, and in a low tremulous voice,
it called "Sophy, Sophy, Sophy."

This was the most alarming and terrible adventure she had ever met with;
and if she had command enough over herself not to scream when she
touched the unaccountable cold thing in the closet, she now could shew
no such fortitude; but sinking on the floor, for her knees could no
longer support her weight, she screamed so loud, that the poor ghost,
who had been as much terrified as herself, throwing aside his white
robes, ran towards her for protection, crying, "Sophy, Sophy! my dear
Sophy! is it you?--Oh dear! I thought it was all over with me; I have
been almost smothered since you left me, and really thought I was going
to be buried alive."

Mary, who heard the bustle, now made her appearance with a light, and,
perceiving what had happened, became extremely angry, asking them if
they imagined she had nothing to do but to wash their linen, to have it
pulled about the dirty passage. "And here is my black silk
handkerchief!" exclaimed she in a violent rage.--"Did I wash it so well
in small beer, to make it look nice and fresh, for you to twist it about
your arm, master Harry? Pray look what a condition you have made it in."

Harry looked extremely foolish, when he discovered that the only danger
with which he had been menaced, was that of taking cold by having been
covered with wet linen. The truth was, that, when his sister left him,
he was so much afraid of being alone, that though he longed for the
colours, and the cup and ball, he thought he was paying much too high a
price for them, and almost repented of his promise. Willing, however, to
gain the two things he most wished for, he determined to bear the lonely
situation he was left in, but fancied if he could get away from the
door, and place his back against the wall, he should be much safer, and
more out of the way of danger.

Endeavouring by these means to secure himself, and shutting his eyes,
that he might not see any thing disagreeable by the light of the moon,
whose beams reflected different objects along the wall, he unfortunately
stepped upon the end of a line, on which Mary had hung to dry the whole
labour of the day, and having entangled his feet in it, by some means or
other gave it such a jerk, that the nail sprung out, and in an instant
poor Harry was half smothered under the weight of a quantity of wet
linen, which he concluded (agreeably to the wonderful and surprising
histories his sister had recounted to him) could be nothing less than
some giant, who was going to bury him alive.

When Mary visited the closet, her anger rose to a prodigious pitch; for
Sophy, in groping about for her box of dominos, had not only dirtied her
fingers and hands, but had left the marks of them on Mary's new-washed
caps and handkerchiefs, which she had put aside on a plate, till she
could find time to iron them.

The whole story was repeated in the parlour, and the evening spent in
mirth at the expense of the cowards.



FIDO.


Paulina going to spend the afternoon with her little cousins, arrived at
their door at the very instant that they were dragging out a poor little
dog, once so great a favourite that it was fed with every kind of
nicety, and reposed, when it was inclined to sleep, on a beautiful silk
cushion.

"What are you going to do with poor Fido?" inquired Paulina.

"Oh, the nasty thing!" replied her cousin Emily. "Pray look how ugly it
is grown--I would not keep it in the house on any account--I am going to
give it to those boys you see at the gate: I do not care what they do
with it: my brother Charles has given me a most beautiful little
creature--come in, and I will shew it to you."

"Stop, stop, for pity's sake!" exclaimed Paulina, "Pray do not give poor
Fido to those boys, to be worried and tormented to death; let me have
him; I will carry him home to my hospital, and will take care of him as
long as he lives."

Fido had unfortunately strolled into the kitchen (where certainly
neither young ladies nor their dogs can have any business), when the
cook was very busy in getting ready for dinner, and (I hope without
intending such a piece of cruelty) she had thrown a quantity of boiling
water over the poor little creature's head and back, and scalded him in
so terrible a manner, that no one thought he could have lived through
the day.

Emily was so angry with the cook, and shed so many tears when she beheld
the agony of her favourite, that one would have thought she had the best
heart in the world, and that she had a very great regard for it; but as
soon as it was recovered, and she saw it had lost one eye, and that all
the side of its head, and its whole back, was without hair, she could
not bear the sight of it: it was turned out of the parlour, and kicked
about by every body, glad to pick up any bone it could meet with, and
to sleep in a corner on straw, instead of the silk cushion it had been
accustomed to; and, at length, had not Paulina arrived in time to save
it, would have been given to half a dozen unfeeling boys, who would soon
have destroyed it.

Paulina was very little pleased with her cousin Emily on this occasion,
for her own disposition was very different: she was so humane, so kind
to every body and every creature in distress, that she was beloved by
all who knew her; she had quite a little hospital of sick and lame
animals and birds: a dog, which had had its leg broken by being caught
in a gin; a cat with one ear, the other having been bitten off by a
large mastiff; and a blind squirrel; she had a little goldfinch in a
cage, which had had its wings torn off by a cat, and as it could no
longer fly down from its perch to drink, and return when it liked, she
had contrived a little ladder, on which it could hop up and down without
any difficulty; a blackbird, almost frozen to death, which she had
picked up in the snow, but which never recovered the use of one of its
legs, sung very merrily, however, in its cage, for it was well fed and
taken care of; and one or two blind cocks, which she had bought from
boys who had been fighting them, and were going to throw at them, by way
of _finishing the fun_ (as they called it); and several lame hens,
become so by some accident or other, lived comfortably in her little
poultry-yard, for she took care to feed all her pensioners herself, and
never trusted the care of them to any other person.

Paulina had great pleasure in procuring every comfort she could for her
poor animals; and her papa and mamma, to encourage her kind and humane
disposition, increased her pocket-money, that she might be able to
purchase barley for her poultry, and seed for her birds: her brothers
also, who were at school, often sent her presents for that purpose. As
she grew up, her humanity was shewn to her fellow-creatures in distress,
as much as it had been in her childhood to the dumb creation; and as God
had given her the means of doing good, she freely indulged herself in
acts of kindness, for which she received a thousand thanks and blessings
wherever she appeared: she was beloved by all her neighbours, both
poor and rich, every thing prospered with her, and she was happy and
contented, as she deserved to be.



THE REWARD OF BENEVOLENCE.


Mrs. Clifford being particularly satisfied with the attention her three
children, Alfred, Robert, and Helen, had for some time past paid to
their lessons, and to the instruction of their masters, told them she
would treat them with a charming walk in the woods on the opposite side
of the river: and that, if they would carry some bread or biscuits with
them, she thought they should have no difficulty in finding a house
where they might procure some milk, and instead of returning home to
drink tea, she would spend the whole afternoon and evening in rambling
about with them.

This was charming news for the young folks, who took care not to give
her the trouble of waiting for them, for they were all three ready at
least half an hour before the time she had appointed for their
departure, which they looked forward to with the utmost impatience; and
the moment Mrs. Clifford joined them in the hall, away they all went,
with joyful hearts and cheerful faces, through the field, and down the
long lane, which led to the ferry.

"This is very pleasant, mamma," said Alfred; "I think I should never be
tired of walking in the fields and woods; yet I must own I do long for
winter, that we may purchase the magic lantern we are to have. I think,
with the guinea grandpapa has given each of us, and what we had before
in our little purses, we shall be able to have a very large one."

"O dear!" exclaimed Helen, "how delightful it will be to be able to see
it as often as we please, and to show it to our friends; and, mamma, do
you know that Robert is to be the person who shews it, for he says he
can talk just like the man who came to our house last year."

"So I can," answered Robert; "and I wish it was bought, that you might
hear what a long story I shall tell you about the sun and the moon, and
the King of Prussia and his hussars, and the cat and the cook! I would
rather have a magic lantern, than any thing in the whole world!"

Chatting in this manner, and amusing themselves by looking at different
objects as they passed along, they found themselves at the ferry before
they expected it; and the boat being just ready to put off, they stepped
into it, and seated themselves with several others, who were going over
to the other side of the river.

Their attention was very soon drawn to a poor woman, who with an infant
on her knee, and a little girl and boy by her side, whom she frequently
kissed and pressed to her bosom, wept as if her heart was breaking. As
soon as they were landed, Mrs. Clifford stopped the woman, kindly
inquired into the cause of her distress, and was immediately informed
by her, that she had lately lost her husband, who, having been long in
an ill state of health, and unable to work, had left her incumbered with
several debts, which she had not the means of paying; and that though
she laboured very hard, and had discharged some of the small ones, a
hard-hearted man, to whom she owed six guineas, declaring he would not
wait a day longer, had that morning seized upon her furniture, and all
her little property, determined, as he said, to have his money before
six o'clock, or to turn her and her children out to sleep in the high
road, or where they thought fit.

She had been, she told Mrs. Clifford, to an uncle of her husband's, who
lived at the market-town, begging him to take pity upon her and her
innocent children: "but, Madam," added she, "he was deaf to my
entreaties, and turned me from his door, and I am now going home to see
all my things taken from me; and what will become of us this night, God
alone can tell!"

Mrs. Clifford was extremely affected by this melancholy tale, and walked
with the poor unhappy woman to her cottage, where they really found two
ill-looking men taking down the bed, and packing up the furniture. The
poor creature began to wring her hands and cry bitterly, and the
children, though they did not understand what the men were going to do,
clung to their mother, and would not move from her side.

Alfred, Robert and Helen were, however, old enough to understand
perfectly well the distress of the poor woman, and the misery and
wretchedness to which she and her helpless children were exposed; and,
fortunately for her, their tender and compassionate hearts immediately
prompted them to endeavour to relieve her. The pleasure they had
promised themselves in purchasing a magic lantern, and in being in
possession of such an amusement for the long evenings of the approaching
winter, appeared to them very trifling in comparison to the delight of
snatching this poor family out of the hands of the unfeeling wretches
they had to deal with; and leading their mamma into the little garden,
earnestly entreated her to take the three guineas their grandpapa had
given them, as well as the contents of their little purses, and employ
the whole to relieve the poor woman, and begged her in the most pressing
manner to make up the deficiency.

Mrs. Clifford pressed them tenderly to her heart, expressing the
greatest satisfaction at the resolution they had taken, and assuring
them she would make up the sum with the greatest pleasure, and that the
proof they now gave of their feeling and humanity made them dearer to
her than ever; adding, that she was certain four-and-twenty hours would
not pass before they would be rewarded for their goodness.

The men were immediately stopped, the debt discharged, and the furniture
replaced in proper order: the poor woman knew not how to express her
joy, and her gratitude; she scarcely knew what she was doing, but at
length recollecting herself, entreated Mrs. Clifford and her children to
be seated, and accept of such refreshment as she had to offer them. Her
little table was soon covered with a cloth as white as snow; and fresh
milk, eggs, butter, and a nice brown loaf were set before them, of which
they partook with great satisfaction.

They did not quit this little family till a late hour, and could talk of
nothing on their way home but the pleasure they felt in the reflection
of having left them so happy; of how they had been delighted when they
saw the two hard-hearted men walk out of the cottage, and how
differently the poor woman and her children would pass the night, to
what they might have expected. Alfred said, the good action they had
done that afternoon would be the pleasantest they could have to talk of
in the winter evenings; and Robert was of opinion that a visit now and
then to the cottage (which their mamma had promised them) would afford
prettier stories for him to repeat, than any thing he could tell of the
King of Prussia or his hussars. As for Helen, she declared that her
heart was so light, and she felt herself so happy and joyful, that she
could almost jump over the moon.

They retired to rest in this pleasant disposition, and told their mamma
the next morning, that they had never been so happy in their lives; that
they went to bed, thinking on the good they had done, and, after
thanking God, who had given them the means of doing it, they had
immediately fallen into a sweet sleep; that the moment they awoke, they
had found themselves in the same happy humour, pleased with themselves,
and with every body they saw; and were very well convinced that the
magic lantern could never have procured them one quarter of the pleasure
which they now felt, and which would be renewed every time they visited
the poor woman at the cottage, and whenever they recollected her story.

"I told you, my children," said Mrs. Clifford, "that four-and-twenty
hours would not pass before you would be rewarded; and you must now, I
am certain, be well convinced, that the heart-felt pleasure arising from
the reflection of such an act of kindness and benevolence to a
fellow-creature in distress, is the greatest and most solid reward that
could possibly have been bestowed upon you, far superior to, and more
lasting than any satisfaction you could have procured by laying out your
money in any other way."



JEMIMA.


Mrs. Franklin, a widow lady of very considerable fortune, inhabited an
elegant house on Richmond Hill, kept a number of servants, and had the
most splendid equipage in the whole neighbourhood. She had an only
daughter, to whom she was fondly indulgent, and on whom she determined
to bestow the best education that could possibly be procured for her,
let the expense be what it would.

Jemima was a very amiable child; and if she had been so fortunate as to
have been placed under the care of any one a little more disposed than
her mother was to combat her fancies and want of resolution, she would
not have had to regret the immense sums squandered upon her to no kind
of purpose, nor to wish she could recal (as she often vainly did) the
time she had trifled away in doing nothing.

It must appear very extraordinary that this should have been the unhappy
fate of a little girl, who wished so much to profit by the instruction
procured for her, and had the greatest desire to be an accomplished
woman; but Jemima wished to be accomplished, without having the
_trouble_ of making herself so, and possessed neither the _resolution_
nor _perseverance_ so absolutely necessary to the attainment of the
perfection she aimed at.

She began every thing with eagerness and alacrity; but the most trifling
difficulty which came in her way put a total stop to her progress, and
she immediately persuaded herself that it was not possible she ever
should be able to surmount them.

She had from her infancy been extremely fond of drawing, and desiring to
be instructed in that agreeable art, one of the first masters was
procured for her: she had in a very short time succeeded in copying,
with tolerable correctness, the first things he gave her to do; and the
greatest hopes were entertained of her making a great proficiency in
what she appeared to prefer to every other amusement. The master now
gave her some other drawings to copy, which required a little more
attention and study, and she began to find difficulties in her way,
which she had not foreseen: she tried them twice--they were pretty well,
but not perfect; a few faults still remained, which her master pointed
out to her. Jemima concluded she _never_ should do them better; and as
he insisted that she could not proceed till she had made herself
mistress of the trifles he objected to, she determined to give up all
thoughts of drawing figure, and apply herself entirely to landscape.

She was delighted with this new employment; her master had the sweetest
drawings of trees, cottages, and rivers, that had ever been seen! She
should never be tired of copying such pretty things, and she was sure
she should not meet with half the difficulties which were to be found in
drawing figure.

She made outlines of several trees, and had she but been possessed of
perseverance enough to have perfected herself in that part, before she
attempted to go farther, all would have been easy and pleasant; but
Jemima knew nothing of perseverance or patience, and insisted on having
a finished landscape to do directly; and the master, to shew her how
incapable she was of executing such a thing, indulged her in her fancy:
but when he endeavoured to explain to her the nature of perspective,
light and shadow, and several other rules necessary for her to
understand, Jemima dropped the pencil from her fingers. She had not
perfectly comprehended his meaning, and wanted resolution to question
him, and endeavour to make it clearer, and once more concluded she never
should be able to make any thing of it, and that it would be much more
prudent to turn to some other pursuit.

Accordingly the drawing-master was dismissed; and all the money her
mamma had paid him for his attendance, for quantities of paper, pencils,
chalk, and (which was of much more consequence, and which no sum could
recal) the loss of her own precious time, were thrown away to no
purpose. But Jemima did not mean to stop here; she should do very well
without drawing, she said, and she would give all the time she had
intended to employ that way entirely to music, and had no doubt, but
that by the time she was sixteen she should be quite a proficient; was
very sorry she had so long neglected her piano forte, and requested of
her master that he would bring her some better music than the simple
easy lessons she had been playing, assuring him that she intended to
apply very seriously. But, alas! she had no better success in this than
in her drawing; difficulties obtruded themselves whatever she turned to,
and when she quitted the piano for the harp, and from the harp returned
to the piano, she found herself just in the same predicament.

The music was given up for the French and Italian languages, geography,
and botany, all of which ended in the same way: nothing was to be learnt
without a sufficient stock of perseverance and resolution to surmount
the obstacles which lay in the way; and as the _smallest_ was quite
enough to stop Jemima's progress, it is not to be wondered at (as she
was allowed to have her own way in every thing) that at the age of
sixteen, though what would have been a comfortable independence to many,
had been spent upon her education, that she knew no one thing in the
world.

At twenty she had but too much cause to repent of her folly: her mother,
by lawsuits, and other unforeseen events, lost the greater part of her
fortune, and was obliged to retire into a remote part of the country;
and in that lonely place what a comfort and amusement would she have
found in music or drawing, had she but endeavoured, when she had so good
an opportunity, to perfect herself in either! But she had nothing to
do, no means of employing herself agreeably, but spent her time in
loitering about from one window to another, tired of herself, and tiring
every body who saw her.



THE TRIFLER.


William was come home to spend the holidays; but he had scarcely time to
speak to his papa and mamma, before he ran out to visit his poultry, his
rabbits, and his little garden; and from thence to the village, to see
his nurse, and then to the cottage of old John, who had taught him how
to catch birds, make little fishing-nets, and how to take care of his
tame rabbits.

He found the poor old man in the utmost grief and consternation; a
recruiting party had come into the village, and had enticed his son
away from him. He had enlisted: he was gone from his aged father, who
had no other comfort in the world: he depended upon him for his support,
for he was a strong, healthy, hard-working young man; and John was grown
old and infirm, and could no longer work to maintain himself.

"My dear young master," said he, "I am almost broken-hearted; a trifle
of money would engage the sergeant to give him up, if I could get it
before they take him to the magistrate at the next town; and he, poor
boy! desires no better, for they had made him drink more than he is
accustomed to do, or he never would have thought of leaving me: the
moment he was sober he repented of it; but it is too late--I have no
money, and they will soon be gone. Wretched old man that I am! what will
become of me?"

"Pray do not grieve so, old John," said William; "I will return to my
papa directly, and I am very sure he will not leave you in distress. I
will be back again in half an hour, so pray be comforted--your son shall
not be taken from you." And away he went, fully intending to do as he
had said he would; but unfortunately William was not to be depended
upon, for he continually deferred to another time what ought to be done
at the moment, and trifled away hours in which he had engaged to render
little services to people who depended upon his promises.

It is scarcely to be credited, that, anxious as he appeared to relieve
the poor old man's distress, he should, before he got half way to his
papa's house, if not _forget_ the errand on which he was going with so
much seeming expedition, at least suffer a new object to draw off his
attention from the principal part of it; and that he should accept of an
invitation to dine, without once recollecting, that, unless the business
could be settled immediately, the recruiting party would have left the
village, and poor John would be abandoned to misery and distress.

Meeting with two young gentlemen who lived in the neighbourhood, and
being invited by them to go and dine at their house, their servant was
dispatched, whilst they amused themselves in the wood; to ask his papa's
leave; and as it was readily granted, and he did not return till
evening, the recruiting party had left the village many hours before old
John had the means sent him of procuring his son's discharge.

William was extremely grieved when he perceived the sad effects his
neglect had occasioned, the agony of the poor old man, and the anger of
his papa, who, after threatening to send him immediately back to school,
took this opportunity of making him recollect how many times he had
brought trouble and distress upon different persons by the unpardonable
fault he was continually committing, through his trifling, unsteady
disposition, and assured him, that if he suffered so bad a custom to
grow up with him, he would be pointed out as a man on whose word no one
could place the smallest confidence, and whose promises were of no
value--a frivolous, despicable character, with whom no worthy people
would associate. He then ordered his chaise to be got ready, and went
over to the market town; the magistrate was his particular friend, and
he had the pleasure (though not without some difficulty) of freeing the
young man, and of sending him home to comfort and support his aged and
afflicted father.



THE COUSINS.


Priscilla lost her mother when she was very young: her father was in the
East Indies, and she was taken home by his sister, Mrs. Hamilton, who
loved her for his sake, and shewed her the greatest kindness and
attention; but her daughters, Emily and Lucy, were not both equally kind
to their cousin. Lucy was very fond of her, but Emily was jealous and
envious, and could not bear the marks of tenderness bestowed upon her by
her mother.

Priscilla had a most affectionate heart, and would cry for hours
together, when she thought she had done any thing to make her cousin
angry; which she imagined must certainly be the case (though she could
not recollect what it could possibly be), for it never entered into her
head that any one could be displeased with her, when she had done
nothing to offend them, and little suspected, that when she was praised
by her aunt for her even temper and constant good humour, for her
attention to her lessons, and the progress she made in every thing she
undertook to learn, her kind and gentle manner towards the servants, and
her charity and humanity to her fellow-creatures in distress: she had no
idea that those praises increased the dislike which the ill-natured
Emily had conceived to her the moment she came into the house, who,
instead of endeavouring to imitate her good qualities, took every method
in her power to cast a shade over them, and to fill every one's head
with tales to her disadvantage.

As they grew older, Emily's dislike to her cousin increased every hour,
as did the amiable Priscilla's endeavours to soften it by every mean she
could employ, and by seeking every opportunity of obliging her. If Emily
had any work to do, of which she appeared tired, Priscilla was sure to
be ready to finish it for her: if she wished for a nosegay, Priscilla
would search over the whole village till she had procured the prettiest
and sweetest flowers to make one for her; but all was to no
purpose--she hated her the more for the trouble she took to please her.

One day Mrs. Hamilton returned from the town, where she had been to
purchase different things to send to her sister in Scotland; and,
amongst the rest, a very beautiful netting-box, which she intended as a
present to her, was shewn to the young ladies, and greatly admired by
all three. It was extremely delicate, and, after they had sufficiently
examined its beauty, it was placed on a small table, with positive
orders from Mrs. Hamilton that it should not be touched; but returning
in the evening from the house of a friend in the neighbourhood, with
whom she had dined, and recollecting that curiosity might lead some of
the servants to open it, she took it up in the paper, as it lay on the
table, and locked it in a bookcase.

The following day, being busily employed in packing up the things she
had purchased for her sister, and thinking to put some cotton into the
little netting-box, to preserve the winders and other things from
rubbing, how was she surprised at perceiving that the lining was green
instead of pale pink, and that several parts of it were totally
different from that which she had purchased the day before!

Lucy said she was very sure it was not the same box her mamma had shewn
to them; Emily was of the same opinion: but Priscilla only blushed
without saying a word.

"Somebody has broken my box, and replaced it with another not half so
pretty," said Mrs. Hamilton in an angry tone; "I had positively forbid
either of you to touch it, and I insist on knowing which of you has done
this mischief."

"I am afraid," said Emily, pretending to feel extremely for her cousin's
confusion, "that poor Priscilla has had the misfortune to break it; and
indeed, mamma, if you will but observe how she blushes, and that she has
not a word to say in her own defence, you need not have any doubt of the
matter."

Priscilla assured her aunt that she had never touched her box after she
had shewn it to her; Emily gave the same assurance with regard to
herself, and Lucy declared that she had not been in the room where it
was, from the time that her mamma went out, till she returned in the
evening.

Mrs. Hamilton, determined to know the truth, asked the young ladies what
use they had made of the guinea they had each received on new year's
day, saying her box had cost that sum, and could not have been replaced
without an equal one.

"Here is mine," eagerly exclaimed Emily, "in my little work-trunk."

"Half of mine, my dear mamma," said Lucy, "you will recollect, I paid
for a box of colours, and some drawing paper; and here is the other half
in my purse."

"And where is _your_ guinea, Priscilla?" demanded Mrs. Hamilton.--"And
what is the reason, that, instead of shewing the same readiness with
your cousins to clear yourself, you only blush and hang down your head,
without speaking a single word?"

"I cannot produce my guinea," answered Priscilla; "but believe me, my
dear aunt, when I assure you that I never touched your box."

Emily, who had her reasons for wishing the subject might be dropped,
though not from any motive of tenderness for her cousin, now earnestly
intreated her mamma not to inquire any farther into the matter, as it
only distressed the _poor thing_, and would make her utter a thousand
falsities. But old Martha, their maid, who had stood all the time
pinching the strings of her apron, clasping her hands together, and then
lifting them up to heaven, with many other gestures which marked her
impatience, now no longer able to contain her indignation, burst out
like thunder, and asked Emily how she could possibly stand there,
looking her mamma in the face, and presume to talk of _falsities_, when
she must be conscious she was at that moment guilty, not only of a most
terrible and wicked falsity, in accusing an innocent person of the fault
she had herself committed, but was also making the most ungrateful
return that any one could be capable of, for an action which certainly
deserved the greatest praise, and which she must be conscious she owed
to her cousin's generosity and kindness. She then proceeded to acquaint
her mistress, that walking with Priscilla round the garden, about half
an hour after she had left the house, and coming near the parlour
window, which happened to be open, they had perceived the netting-box
lying on the marble hearth, broken into a dozen pieces, and Emily with
her back towards them, picking them up; that Priscilla had, in a low
whisper, entreated her in the most earnest manner not to speak; and that
having stood a little aside, they had seen her go and throw all the
pieces into the pond in the front garden, and then run up stairs as fast
as possible.

"The dear Miss Priscilla," continued old nurse, "then begged me, as the
greatest of all favours, to go immediately into the town, to the shop
where you had bought the netting-box, and with _her_ guinea to get one
exactly like it: and this I did to oblige her, and because it never was
in my power to refuse her any thing she asks, though I must say I
thought Miss Emily little deserved her kindness; for this is but one out
of a hundred stories she has told of her, and ill-natured tricks she has
played her, in return for her constantly doing every thing she could to
oblige her, and for the trouble she has taken so many times to hide her
faults. I thought the box I purchased so exactly like yours, Madam, that
I concluded you never would discover what had happened; and Miss
Priscilla was quite happy in thinking you would be spared the vexation
of knowing it had been broken, and her cousin the anger which she would
have incurred, by disobeying your orders. We were, however,
disappointed; but Miss Emily must have guessed, when her cousin could
not produce her guinea, what use she had made of it; and that was the
reason why she wished you to drop the subject, for she might well
suppose her falsity and ill nature must at length be made known to you."

It is almost needless to add, that Emily entirely lost her mamma's good
opinion; Priscilla lived very happily from that time, affectionately
beloved by Mrs. Hamilton and her cousin Lucy, and doated on by old
Martha, who never forgot to entertain her friends and acquaintance with
the story of the broken netting-box, so disgraceful to Miss Emily, and
so much to the honour of her darling Priscilla.



THE TRAVELLERS.


At six o'clock on a fine morning in the beginning of September, Mrs.
Cecil, with her daughter Matilda, stepped into a post-chaise in order to
begin a journey towards London.

The house she had for some time inhabited stood in a distant and
romantic part of Wales, many miles from the public road, so that they
could advance but slowly, and often walked up steep hills, and over
craggy mountains, either from regard to their own safety, or because
they were tired of the carriage.

Matilda, after riding a whole day, wished she could perform the
remaining part of the journey on foot, and often urged her mamma (even
when the roughness of the road did not render it necessary) to get out
of the chaise, that she might run up a rising ground, look round her,
and pick up and examine a number of different things which caught her
eye and struck her fancy; and Mrs. Cecil, who walked but slowly, was
often left far behind, whilst her daughter made little excursions, and
amused herself by talking to the country people.

The second day after their departure from home, she told her mamma she
had, in one of her rambles into a narrow lane, seen a poor boy in great
danger of being beaten by a woman who appeared to be mistress of a small
cottage adjoining to that at the door of which he stood, and who
threatened to lay a stick (which she held in her hand) over his
shoulders, if ever he dared to touch her pears again. "But," said
Matilda, "the boy insisted that they were not her pears, but his
father's, and that he was in his father's garden when he picked them
from a bough which hung down almost into his mouth."

Mrs. Cecil observed, that it would indeed have been a hard case if the
boy had been punished by a neighbour for eating his father's pears; but
when Matilda farther informed her, that the woman said the tree grew in
_her_ garden, and that the bough with which he had made so free,
because it hung over the wall, was a part of it, she said that entirely
altered the case; and asked Matilda, whether, when her sister had lost
one of her gloves, and that it was found to have slid into _her_ drawer,
she thought that accident made it her property, or whether it still
belonged to her sister? or whether, if the little rose-tree, of which
she was so fond, should in another year extend its branches so much, as
to spread over a corner of her sister's garden, she imagined it would
give her a right to pluck all the roses which hung in her way, or
whether she should not look upon them as _her_ roses, as much as those
which were growing on the other parts of it? Matilda perceived she had
been wrong, and thanked her mamma for shewing her her error.

The travellers arrived towards evening at the foot of a steep craggy
hill, and in compassion to the poor horses, they determined to walk to
the top of it. On gaining the summit, they saw an extensive common lying
before them; and Matilda, who was accustomed to make observations, and
to reflect on every thing she saw, and who never lost an opportunity of
gaining information, asked her mamma if she did not think it a great
pity, that any part of the world should remain so barren and
uncultivated, and, as it appeared to her, so intirely useless; wishing,
at the same time, she had the power to change the whole common in an
instant into flourishing corn-fields and beautiful gardens.

Mrs. Cecil was just beginning to tell her daughter, that nothing was
made which could be said to be entirely useless, when the post-boy came
running up to inform her, that one of the wheels of the chaise was
broken to pieces, and he did not know what he should do to get it up the
hill.

"This is a sad accident indeed!" said Mrs. Cecil, "and I know not what
any of us are to do, for I do not see a single habitation near us."

"Bless you! my lady," answered the boy, "do but please to turn about,
and you will see plenty of habitations. I be no stranger here; and
though there be no gentlefolks live in the place, I will be answerable
for finding you a clean, neat cottage, with homely fare, but a hearty
welcome. The first you see, over there by the trees, belongs to my aunt:
do, Madam, please to walk up to it, whilst I go seek for two or three
men to help me up with the _chai_."

During this speech, Mrs. Cecil had turned her head, and was very
agreeably surprised at seeing, very near the spot where she stood, a
little cluster of neat cottages among some trees, which, on ascending
the hill, she had not perceived, having been equally struck, as Matilda
was, with the extent of the plain before them.

They proceeded, as the post-boy had desired them, to the first cottage,
where they found a woman busily employed in preparing her husband's
supper, whilst four pretty little children, with ruddy complexions and
smiling faces, were eating milk with wooden spoons out of a large bowl
which was placed in the midst of them.

The good woman received them very kindly, and offered them every thing
her cottage afforded, such as milk, whey, brown bread, eggs, and some
common but ripe and relishing fruit. Matilda expressed much wonder, that
she found the means of procuring even the necessaries of life on a
bleak, wild common; and was extremely surprised when the woman assured
her that the common, which she seemed to think so little of, was what
furnished them with the greater part of the comforts they enjoyed:
telling her also, that if it were more fertile, and were to be inclosed
and cultivated, it would be quite lost to them, because they were too
poor to be able to rent even the smallest portion of it. "As it is,"
added she, "all the cottagers on this little spot have a right to feed
their cattle, and to cut turf for their winter fire. Neither my cow nor
my goats cost me any thing; we have a little garden, which, between my
husband and myself, is kept in pretty good order, and produces as many
vegetables as we can make use of. I have plenty of poultry, which I
carry to market, and have milk to feed my pig; so that we have nothing
to wish for, but that God may preserve our health, and continue to us
the blessings we enjoy."

Matilda was astonished at this account, and made many observations to
her mamma on the pleasure of finding people happier than she expected,
which gave her the greatest satisfaction, as they were convincing proofs
of the goodness of her disposition: and she did not fail to observe to
her, that the mixture of fertile vallies, barren mountains, hills,
woods, and plains, with which the earth is diversified, each in various
ways, and at different seasons of the year, are productive of good to
the industrious.

Mrs. Cecil and Matilda were obliged to pass the night in the cottage:
the next morning the wheel of the chaise being repaired, and having
satisfied the good woman for the trouble they had given her, and made
some little presents to her children, they continued their journey; and
being but a short distance from a small village, through which lay the
high road to London, they arrived at that city without any accident, or
meeting with any thing farther, worthy of being related.



THE STRAWBERRIES.


Constance, Julia, and Dorothy had obtained their mamma's leave to spend
the afternoon with a young lady who lived at the distance of a mile and
a half from their house; and as soon as they had dined, their maid being
ordered to attend them, they set forward down a shady green lane, and
across the fields.

Nothing could be more agreeable and pleasant than the weather, or more
beautiful than the way they had to go; the hedges were full of the
sweetest flowers, and the birds sung with more than usual harmony.
Susan, the maid, was quite delighted; she stopped every moment to look
around, and admire the beauties which presented themselves to her eyes
on every side.

Not so her young ladies: they had each a reason why they could neither
enjoy the fragrance of the flowers, the music which echoed from every
bush, nor any of the beauties which surrounded them.

Constance was so afraid of the smallest worm which happened to lie in
her path, was so terrified at every fly which passed her, that she could
enjoy nothing. She walked on, with her eyes bent on the ground, watching
each blade of grass, and stepping with the utmost precaution, expecting
every moment to be stung to death, or bit by some dangerous insect.

Julia had passed the whole time of dinner in bewailing the loss of a
cold chicken on which she had set her heart; but her dear little pussy
having wandered into the pantry in search of a mouse, and being just as
fond of cold chicken as her young mistress, and thinking it preferable
to the finest mouse (perhaps because it was a greater rarity to her),
this ill-bred pussy had dragged it away into a corner, where, if she did
not eat it all at one meal, she had leave to finish it the next day.

Julia had lost her dinner: disappointed of her cold chicken, she saw
nothing else on the table (though there were several dishes which the
rest of the family commended extremely) which she could possibly eat of.
She was too nice to eat any thing common, and had persuaded herself that
nothing but delicacies agreed with her: she could not taste either beef
or mutton, or ever dine without fish, lamb, or poultry; she hated the
winter because there were no vegetables to be had but potatoes, and was
delighted when the season came for her to dine on green peas,
cauliflower, and asparagus.

The delicate Julia often rose hungry from table; and as this had been
the case on the day of their walk, she was sick and uncomfortable,
sauntered along, complaining at every step, and, had she not suddenly
recollected having a nice biscuit in her pocket, would probably have
been unable to proceed.

Dorothy troubled herself as little as her sisters about the birds or the
flowers, the lowing of the cattle, or the fine prospect. Naturally
indolent, and hating to move from her place, she was much less inclined
to do so after dinner, than at any other time of the day; for she had no
objection to either beef, mutton, or potatoes, and would (if she had
been suffered to do so) eat of all three, and as many more different
things, as much as would have been sufficient, either of them, for the
dinner of any child of her age.

"Come, Miss Dorothy," cried Susan, "do pray walk a little faster. Dear
me! how heavy do you trudge along, with your arms hanging down by your
sides! Why, you will not take the trouble to lift your feet from the
ground--pray look what a dust you raise at every step. Come, take me by
the arm--look, what a pretty wood this is we are got into, and--oh dear!
what a quantity of strawberries there are upon that bank. Do you see how
beautiful and red they appear among the brambles and dry sticks which
lie over them?"

The very idea of something to eat was sure to rouse Dorothy. Constance
and Julia also advanced to look at the strawberries; they were very
tempting, and they each wished to taste them, but there were
difficulties in the way not likely to be conquered.

Julia's desire for them soon vanished, for she recollected that she had
neither cream nor sugar, without which she did not think them eatable.

Dorothy said they were very good without either, and she wished she had
a good basket-full, she would soon shew them how well she liked them;
but they could not be got at without removing the brambles and wood,
which appeared to have been purposely laid over them, to preserve them
till they were ripe; and Dorothy, after taking away three or four
sticks, and a bush or two, began to puff and blow, as if she had been
running a race, and declared she could do no more, much as she wished
for the strawberries, if it would save her life.

"How can you be so extremely lazy?" exclaimed Constance, eager to get at
the tempting fruit. "You cannot bear to take the least trouble,
Dorothy--come, let me help you; I should be sorry to leave them. What a
beautiful scarlet they are, and how finely they smell!--Come, come, let
us remove these brambles."

Dorothy had thrown herself upon the grass, declaring she could not stir;
and Susan, who was well acquainted with the dispositions of her three
young ladies, determined not to interfere.

Constance began very briskly to take away the brambles; but she had
scarcely uncovered a few of the strawberries, when a small insect, which
she had disturbed, flew out of a bush directly against her, entangled
its little wings in her hair, and almost frightened her into fits. She
ran to Susan in the most terrible alarm, insisting that a hornet had
got into her hair, and that she should be stung to death in an instant.
She prevailed upon her sisters to leave the spot immediately, and nobody
could persuade her but that she had disturbed a hornet's nest, and had
had a most miraculous escape.

They spent the afternoon with their young friend much in the usual
manner; each of them constantly meeting with something or other to
disturb them and spoil their pleasure.

Returning in the evening through the wood, they saw a group of little
boys and girls sitting under the trees, and eating strawberries; some
had their hats full, some held them in their hands, and others in little
baskets of their own making.

Susan asked them where they had gathered so many strawberries. "Why
there," answered one of the boys, "where you see the bushes and brambles
all in a heap. We covered them up above a week ago, to let them ripen;
but I wonder we did not lose them all, for somebody has been here, I am
sure, though I suppose they did not see the nice strawberries, or they
never would have been such fools as to leave them: but it was well for
us that they were so blind."

"And whom did you get to take the trouble to remove all those things for
you?" inquired Dorothy, as she hung on Susan's arm with all her weight.

"Lauk-a-day! Miss," said the boy, grinning in her face, "to be sure you
be joking. Do you call that trouble?"

Constance said he was very right; that it certainly could be _no
trouble_; but she really wondered they had not been terrified from
attempting to get at the strawberries, when they saw what a number of
frightful and dangerous creatures were creeping and flying about them.
And now the whole party not only grinned, but laughed aloud; and Julia
told her sisters they had better not make such foolish observations,
which only served to make the children laugh at them: that it was
ridiculous to suppose they should think it a labour to remove a few
brambles, or that they should be so weak as to be afraid of harmless
flies and worms; but she must say, she was a little surprised that they
did not go home with their strawberries, and get some cream and sugar to
eat with them: no house in the country was without cream; there could
be no difficulty in getting a bit of sugar, and it would make them so
nice, that they would never afterwards relish them alone.

"That would be very unfortunate," replied a girl some years older than
the others (who only noticed Julia's speech by redoubled peals of
laughter), "for we should lose many such a treat as we are now enjoying,
if we were to take such a foolish whim into our heads. Pray, Miss, do
you imagine that my mother keeps a cow, to give us the cream to eat with
strawberries? No! no! she sells her butter, and buys us clothes with the
money. I wish you could all three spend a month in our cottage, you
would learn to be glad enough of having one nicety, without wishing to
add another to it; and to know that those who choose to eat must learn
to work, and not call trouble that which is no more than play. You would
also perceive, after spending two or three days on your knees in weeding
the corn or the garden, that you are in no danger of being either stung
or bit by innocent flies or caterpillars, and that till you get rid of
all your foolish fancies, you will have no pleasure in any thing in the
world, but that all your happiness and comfort will be sacrificed to
whim, indolence, and weakness?"


THE END.


E. Hemsted, Printer, Great New-street, Gough-square.





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