Charlotte Mary Yonge.

A storehouse of stories : storehouse the first online

. (page 1 of 43)
Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 1 of 43)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

^ I







Storehouse of Stories



Storehdlsk iHK First








All ri''hti reserved



It has been felt to be a pity that the old childrcjis clcLSsics of the
last century or half century should be allowed entirely to die-
out ; or only to exist in the dusty shelves of anciait bedrooms,
preserved by tender recollections of those who themselves belong
to a fast passing generation. Thus this little collection has been
put together, not comprising all that Jiave come within t/ie com-
piler's pm, but those which have from any cause appeared to
Iter specially worthy of preservatioti, eitlier for curiosity or for
inhermt i?iterest.

The fairy tale a7id cheap book variety have not been attempted,
i.e. the regular fatty tale such as Cifiderella, q;^c. They Jmve
already been thoroughly resuscitated ; but the class of books
which worthy mothers recommended to the exclusio?i of the fairy
tale in the last decades of the eighteenth century has, it seems to
us, met with somewhat unmerited contempt. Judging from our
oion childhood, we find that we preferred the inherited books of
the former gaieration to any of our own, with a few rare ex-
ceptions, among which Maria EdgewortfC s stand first.

Philip Quarll, the story that we have picked first in our list,
came to us with tlie reputation of being by Daniel Defoe ; but
we have never found anything to icarrant the supposition, and


from the cojnpany in which we found it and its gmeral tone
we rather suspect that it must have been written in the period
preceding the First French Revolution by some ardent believer in
the comforts and benefits of primeval simplicity. It must once
have been very popidar, for we remember to have seen it reduced
to rhyme, in a little pictured fiursery book; and it deserves it, for
it has much of the charms of the true desert island story.

Goody Two Shoes has always enjoyed the fiction of being
attributed to Oliver Goldsmith in those days when he was
the hack of the booksellers, and writing books for children
was considered beneath an author's dignity. There is a certaifi
dry humour itt soyne passages and a tenderness iii others thai
incline us much to the belief that it could come from no one else
but the writer of the Vicar of Wakefield and the Deserted
Village, hideed we could almost imagine that Dr. Primrose
himself had described the panic at the supposed ghost ifi the
church, in the sartie tone as the ride to church, the family
portrait, or the gross of green spectacles. The story has gone
through many editioiis, aJid is to be found in several collec-
tions of tales for little children, but usually with this part

The next little book, ' the Governess^ is better knoivn as 'Mrs.
Teach' em,^ a name that became a proverb, so that 7ve have found
people who imagine the appellation simply a slang word for
a schoolmistress, and would hardly believe that there was
such a book. We cannot help thinking that there is a good
deal of amusement to be derived from the descriptions of the
young ladies with their characteristic names ; and though the
fairy tales themselves are heavy, there is something exquisitely
giiaiftt i?i the moralisifigs upon them, and on the fragment of
genteel comedy. This, it tnay be observed, is introduced for the
purpose of showing the wrong 7C'ay of telling a story, all rattled


out in haste and confusion., Just as a girl would most likely do
it. That there must be real ability in Mrs. Teach' em, and that
she was not without her effect, we gather from the existence of a
feeble little imitation — where, by the bye, Goody Ttvo Shoes is
spoken of with magnificent scorn — and likewise from this idea
having evidently suggested that of * Mrs. Leicester's School,' by
Mary Lamb — to say nothing of Mrs. Sherwood' s adaptation
to her own Evangelical style, in the cotirse of which she has
introdiiced one admirable fairy tale.

The next three stories, Jc7tii7na Placid, the Perambulations of
a Mouse, and the Village School, were the delight of our earlier
days. We knew thetn in a renewed edition, but we have since
been favoured with a sight of them in their native form, little
thill duodecimos, in paper covers, gilt and fiotvered over. They
are printed by John Marshall, but bear no date. They were
however, with their compafiions, the Adventures of a Peg-top,
the History of a Pincushio7i, and the History of a Great Many
Little Boys and Girls, written betiueen 1770 a7id 1790, just
when Mrs. Trimmer was giving an impetus to children's
literature. When any initials of the author are given they are
M.P., but these stood for the place of her residence, Maryland
Poittt, near Stratford. Female authorship was so dreadful
a matter in those days that the strictest incognito was preserved
by the writer; and, when her publisher wished at least for
a nom de plume, she adopted that of Mary Pelhafn. Though
Mrs. Tri}n??ter overlooked i7iany of her works i?t MS., it was
long before she was allowed to know the true name of the writer,
bjit afterwards the two ladies became intimate frie7ids.

The real 7ia77ie was Do7-othy Kilner; it was that of her 7vhole
life, for she never married ; and from four years old to eighty-07ie
lived at Maryla7id Poi7it, where, as her brother's children grew
up round her, she beca77ie an author on their behalf She died on


the ^th of February, 1836. I am indebted for these particulars
to one of her surviving fiieces, who has kindly allowed me to
make them known, in the belief that there are some few even of
mothers and aunts who may be glad to learn the source of their
early favourites.

The History of a Great Many Little Boys and Girls is so ifi-
fantinc that I durst not introduce it here, but it is iji some respects
the drollest of alL Miss Mary Anne Selfish is summarily cured
of greediness by being made to sit in the pigstye, and Tofnfny
Piper, when crying ' / won't be washed,' has his nursery in-
vaded by Mr. Make Good, to have his ablutions completed in
the waterbutt in the yard, where the illustration represe7its
Jiim, a miserable spectacle, Mr. Make Good standing over him
in a cocked hat. This worthy, by the bye, we have foimd as
Monsieur Reforme in the French translation in the Lectures
gradu'ees. These must have edified the nephews and nieces in
their younger days ; but there is inuch more individual character
in some of the latter stories, especially in the Village School.
There, be it observed, there is no separation ofraJiks, fior parti-
ality in the treattnent of the flocks, a?id the totiches of i7ianners
are very amusing. ' With cuts,' these books were always
advertised; cuts that did duty again and again, ahcays of
wainscoted rooms, and high-back chairs, and girls with long
waists, sleeves down to the elbow, neat little aprons, round caps
indoors, and shepherdess hats out of doors. Their mammas
have high mob caps at home and hats abroad; the clergymen
promenade in gown, bands, wigs, and shovel hats. The drollest
bit of costume is in the History of a Pincushion, where one
Sally Flaufit, beuig invited to a tenant' s feast, disdains a 'garnet
coloured stuff' given her by her good au?it, and repairs to a
barn to array herself in a ' silk coat,' with a tall stnart cap
fnuch the worse for wear, and a cushion, over which to roll lur


hair. A triangular bit of lookinglass is her toilette apparatus,
and her confidant her cousin Jack, -who treacherously completes
her headgear with some streatners of straw and a couple of
datigling sheep's feet. The two illustrations of this seme are
capital, atid we learn, by the bye, that boarding-schools near
Londoti were evcfi thai pernicious to the good sense of far fliers'
daughters. Mrs. Dorothy Kilner wrote other books of a ?nore
advanced style, but 7ve have only seen one, in which a squire
expounds a gallery of paifitings oti sacred subjects re cry Simday
to a circle of friends, who appear to be about as well acquainted
with scripture as the London fashionables who asked Sir Joshua
Reynolds who Samuel was.

Of the story of the Little Queen we know nothing except
that it was, together with Philip Quarll, Little Jack, Cowper's
John Gilpin, Pope's Universal Prayer, and some others of
mijior account, i?i a book called the Childreris Miscellany. It
may have been a satire in its own tifne, for the Little Queen's
political economy is not very imlike that of Louis XV. Any
way, when I was innocent of any such suspicion, I thought it an
amusifig story.

Little Jack is by Thomas Day, the eccentric doctrinaire, who
wrote Sandford afid Merton, studied education with Richard
Edgc7C'orth, and failed so deliciously in the Lucinda and
Sabrina he brought up, intending to have a choice of model wives.
No doubt Jack is intended to show the superiority of natural to
artificial breeding; but that does not prevent it from being a
pleasant, lively story, with a good deal of the mark of talent
about it. Would that we could present the modern reader with the
picture of Jack, habited like a Chelsea pensioner, cooking his
dinfier wider a rock. The pictorial art of story books was at a
low ebb theti, though, ive beliroe, it inspired quite as fnuch admi-
ration in youfig people it was designed for, as do in their turn


the really beautiful illustrations that a^t as training to eye and
taste. Unadorned, hcnvever, I send forth this Storehouse,
curious to see whether tJie verdict of the present race of readers
will discover interest in the tales that were charmitig to at least
two past gaierations,

March 1870.



The History of Philip Quaril i

The renowned History of Little Goody Two-Shoes . 67

The Governess ; or, the Little Female Academy . 89

Jemima Placid; or, the Advantage of Good-Nature . 223

The Life and Perambulations of a Mouse . . . 262

The Village School 335

The Little Queen 403

The History of Little Jack 412





The resources of the human mind in strugghng against
misfortunes are never so well understood as m situations
of distress and difficulty. Nothing is so feeble, nothing so
helpless, as a being that has been accustomed to subsist by
the labour of others, without the least exertion. This is one
of the disadvantages attending a state of refinement and
civilisation. Mankind forget the simple dictates of reason
and nature, and make a thousand pernicious indulgences
necessary to their ideas of happiness. One man imagines
that it is impossible to transport himself from place to place
without the assistance of other animals, who are to relieve
him from the fatigue of using his own legs; another, that it
is impossible to supply his hunger without a splendid table,
covered with the jjroductions of every climate; a third can-
not sleep unless upon beds of down, and in a palace. Thus
are a thousand things made necessary to our happiness,
which have no natural connection with it, and our lives are
consumed in the acquisition of superfluous trifles. Our
vanity, ever ingenious to torment us, renders us incapal)le of
repose, and j)rompts us to be continually making useless
comy)arisons with all around.

Surely, in this respect, the uncultured savage that in-
habits the woods, and asks no more than a skin to repel


t]ie winds of winter, a hut to defend him from the storms,
and a moderate quantity of the coarsest food, is happier far
than we. He views the wliole detail of European luxury
with indifference and contempt, and prefers his native
woods and plains to all the magnificence of our cities; nor
would the most effeminate native of our capital be more
mortified to inhabit the rudest forests, than he to exchange
them for the endless restraints and ceremonies, which we
submit to in civilised society. He sleeps as sound upon a
bed of grass and leaves, and gratifies his hunger as satis-
factorily with roasted corn, or millet, as a rich and indolent
citizen can do with all the accumulated inventions of arts
and manufactures. But in the entire possession of all his
bodily faculties, how great is the superiority of the savage !
The inhabitant of cities, pale, feeble, and bloated, drags on
a tedious existence with difficulty, under the incumbrance of
an hundred diseases, to whicli his intemperance has sub-
jected him. Before half his life is run out, we frequently
behold him incapable of using his limbs, and that idleness,
which was at first voluntary, becomes inevitable, from the
imbecility he has contracted. In vain would the beautiful
revolution of the seasons attract his notice, or call him out
to share the common blessings which nature dispenses to
all her unccrrupted offspring. Neither the care of his own
necessary affairs, the defence of his country, nor even fears
for his own personal safety, can any longer animate him to
the smallest exertion ; and should he not be in a situation
to buy the assistance of others, he must remain for ever
attached to one spot, like a muscle or an oyster. How
different from this is the life of an American or a Tartar!
Accustomed from his infoncy to contend with dangers and
difficulties, he becomes hardened against all the vicissitudes
of nature, against all tlie attacks of fortune. Wherever the
earth extends'her surfice, he finds a bed ; the forest affords
him all the shelter he demands ; and he can everywhere
procure, by his own industry, sufficient food to supply his
wants. In the use of his limbs, and the full enjoyment of
all his natural powers, he is not exceeded by the very beasts
that fly before him. Such are all the uncivilised nations


with which we were formerly acquainted ; such are those
which are lately added to our knowledge by modern dis-

But the most extraordinary instances of the exertions of
human beings in difficult situations, are to be found in the
lives of such men as have been compelled by shipwreck to
remain for several years on uninhabited islands. Deprived
in an instant of all the advantages and support which we
derive from mutual assistance, they have been obliged to
call forth all the latent resources of their own minds. From
a contemplation of these we are enabled to form some ideas
of the wonderful powers of the human constitution, when
properly stimulated to action by necessity. Th^ following
narrative, whether real or fictitious, seems to be admirably
adapted to the illustration of this subject, and therefore we
shall make no apology for reprinting, in this collection,

The History of Philip Quarll.

Philip Quarll was an English sailor, who assisted to navi-
gate a ship in the southern seas of America. During his
voyage they were assailed by such a violent tempest, which
continued without intermission for two days and nights,
that the captain and the most experienced mariners began
to despair of the safety of the ship. In this exigency, Quaill,
being bold and active, took a hatchet in his hand and ran
up the shrouds, by the captain's order, to cut away the
main-yard, which they could not lower; but by the time he
had mounted, there came a sea whicli dashed the ship
against a rock, and with the violence of the motion flung
Quarll, who was astride upon the main-yard, on the top of
the rock, where, having the good fortune to fall into a clift,
he was secured from being washed back again into the sea
and drowned, as all the rest were that belonged to the ship.

Quarll, in a dismal condition, remained the succeeding
night in the clift, being continually beaten with the dashing
back of the sea, and being both bruised and numbed, pulled
off his clothes which were dripping wet, over fatigued, lays
himself down on the smoothest place of the rock he could

li 2


find, being quite spent with the hardship he had undergone,
and slept while his clothes were drying.

His sleep, though very profound, was not refreshing : the
danger he had been lately in so ran in his mind, that death
was ever before his eyes, and constantly disturbed his
rest: but nature, which wanted repose, would be supplied.
Having slept a few hours, he awakes almost as much
fatigued as before, and faint for want of nourishment, having
taken none for thirty-six hours before : so having looked
upon his clothes, which he perceived were not quite dry, he
turned the other side to the sun, and laid himself down to
sleep again ; but still nothing but horror entered his mind.

When he awoke, he was very much terrified with his
dreams, and stared about him in a frighted manner, ex-
pecting every minute some creature to devour him; but,
taking a little courage, put on his clothes, which by this
time were quite dry. He then looks about him, but, alas!
could see nothing but the dreadful effects of the late
tempest, dead corpses, broken planks, and battered chests
floating ; and such sights as at once filled him with terror
and grief

Turning from those shocking objects, which presented to
his eyes the dreadful death he so lately had escaped, he sees
on the other side the prospect of one more terrible, hunger
and thirst, attended with all the miseries that can make life
burdensome. Being seized with the terror of the threaten-
ing evil, he turns again towards the sea, and looking on the
dead corpses, which the sea now and then drove to the
rock and back again, ' Oh! that I was like one of you,' said
he, ' past all dangers ! I have shared with you in the terrors
of death: why did I not also partake with you in its relief ■?
But why should I complain % and have so much reason to
be thankful! Had I been cut off, when the cares of saving
this worthless carcase intercepted me from seeking the sal-
vation of my soul, I should not have had the present oppor-
tunity of taking care of it.' So, having returned thanks for
his late deliverance, he resigns himself to Providence, on
whom he fully relies; climbs up the rock, and being come
10 the top, sees land on the inside, bearing both treer, and


grass : ' Heaven be praised ! ' said he, ' I shall not perisli
upon these barren rocks ; ' so made a shift to go down to it
the weather then being calm.

Being come to the other side of the rock, he finds at the
bottom of it a narrow lake, which separated it from the
land: therefore pulling off his clothes, the water being but
shallow, he wades over with them in his arms; and dressing
himself, walks up a considerable way in the island, witliout
seeing any human creature, or perceiving any sign of its
being inhabited, which struck a great damp to his spirits.
He walks it over and over, cross-ways and long-waj-s; yet
could see nothing but monkeys, strange beasts, birds, and
fowls, such as he had never seen before.

Having ranged himself weary, he sat down under a cluster
of trees, that made an agreeable arbour. The place being
pleasant and cool, made, as it were, for repose, and he being
still very much fatigued, prompted him to lie down and
sleep, during which his mind is continually alarmed with the
frightful aspect of grim death. Sometimes he fancies him-
self striving with the rolling waves, stretching out his arm
to catch hold of a plank tossing by; which, just come at, is
beaten back by the roaring billows, whose terrible noise
pronounces his death : at other times he thinks himself
astride upon a piece of a mast, labouring to keep himself on,
and of a sudden washed away, and sunk down by a bulky
wave; on every side of him men calling for help; others
spent and past speaking ; here some floating that are already
perished, and there others expiring ; thus in every object
seeing his approaching fate.

Being awaked out of that irksome and uneasy sleep, he
falls into as anxious and melancholy thoughts : ' I have,' said
he, ' escaped being drowned, but how shall I avoid starving \
Here is no food for man. But why should I despair ?
Cannot I eat grass for a few days % by which time Pro-
vidence, which has hitherto protected me, may raise me
some means to get from hence.' So, being entirely re-
signed, he walks about to see the island, which he found
surrounded with rocks, at the bottom of which there was a
small lake, which was fordable in most places, so that he


could with ease wade over to the rock ; which he did at
every side of the island, to see if he could perceive any
ship, w^hereby he might get away: but seeing none, and
it drawing towards night, he returns, and employs the re-
mainder of the day in looking for the most convenient place
for him to pass away the approaching night; and, having
fixed upon one of the highest trees, he gets up as far as he
well could, fearing some wild beast might devour him if he
slept below; where, having returned thanks to Heaven for
his late great deliverance, he commits himself to its care ;
then settles and falls to sleep, and slept till hunger waked
him in the morning, having dreamt over night of abundance
of victuals, which he would fain have come at, but was kept
oft" by a cross cook, who bid him go and fish for some : to
which he answered, that he was shipwrecked, and had no-
thing to fish withal. ' Well then,' said the cook to him
again, ' go where thou wast like to lose thy life, and there
thou shalt find wherewithal to support it.'

Being awaked, he makes reflections upon his dream,
which he imagined might proceed from the emptiness of his
stomach, it being customary for people to dream of victuals
when they go to bed hungry. But driven by necessity, and
led by curiosity, he w^ent to the same side of the rock he
had been cast upon; where, having stood several hours
without seeing shipping, or aught that might answer his
dream, the air coming from the sea being pretty sharp, and
he faint, having taken no manner of food for near three
days, he gave over all hopes of relief. Thus submitting
himself to the will of Heaven, which he supposed decreed a
lingering death to punish him for his past sins, he resolves
to return where he lay the night before, and there wait for
his doom; but being stopped by a sudden noise which
issued from a creek in the rock, not far from where he stood,
he had the curiosity to go and see what occasioned it.

Being come to the place he heard the noise proceed from,
he sees a fine large cod-fish near six feet long, dabbling in
a hole in the rock, where the late storm had cast it.

One under condemnation of death, and just arrived at the
place of execution, could not be more rejoiced at the coming


of a reprieve, than he was at the sight of this fish, having
felt several sick qualms, forerunners of the deatli he thought
he was doomed to. 'Heaven l.^e praised !' said he, 'here
is subsistence for several days ! '

So having taken off both his garters, he gets into the Iiole
where the fish lay, and having run them through its gills, he
hauls it out, and drags it after him, being heavy, and he
very weak. Going along, he finds several oysters, muscles,
and cockles, in his way, which the sea had cast up and
down the rock ; and having a knife about him, he sat down
and eat a few ; so refreshed himself, his spirits being ex-
hausted for want of food. This small nutriment very much
recniited his decayed strength, and the thoughts of his sup-
ply of provision having dispersed the dull ideas his late want
had bred in his mind, he cheerfully takes his fish, which he
drags with much more vigour than before ; and filling his
pockets with salt that was congealed by the sun, which he
found in the concavities of the rock, away he goes to tlie
place where he lay the night before, in order to dress some
of the cod-fish ; where being come, he jiicks up a parcel of
dry leaves, and, with his knife and a flint, struck fire and
kindled them ; then getting together a few sticks, made a
fire presently and broiled a slice of his fish, of which he
eat so heartily that it overcame his stomach, being grown
weak with fasting. Thus sick and out of order, he applies
to the recourse of the feeble, which was lying down ; and
having much fatigued and harassed himself with hauling the

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 1 of 43)