Charlotte Mary Yonge.

A storehouse of stories : storehouse the first online

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spoke to them the following speech; which she delivered in
so mild a voice, that it was sufficient to charm her hearers
into attention, and to persuade them to be led by her ad-
vice, and to follow her example in the paths of goodness.

' My dear friends and school-fellows, you cannot imagine
the happiness it gives me to see you thus all so heartily re-
conciled. You will find the joyful fruits of it. Nothing
can show so much sense as thus to own yourselves in fault ;
for could anything have been so foolish as to spend all your
time in misery, rather than at once to make use of the i)ower
you have of making yourselves happy % Now if you will
use as many endeavours to love as you have hitherto done
to hate each other, you will find that every one amongst
you, whenever you have anything given you, will have
double, nay, I may say eight times (as there are eight of
you) the pleasure, in considering that your companions are
happy. What is the end of quarrels, but that everyone is
fretted and vexed, and no one gains anything? Whereas
by endeavouring to please and love each other, the end is
happiness to ourselves, and joy to everyone around us. I
am sure, if you will speak the truth, none of you have been
so easy since you quarrelled, as you are now you are recon-
ciled. Answer me honestly, if this is not tnith.

Here Miss Jenny was silent, and waited for an answer.
But the poor girls, who had in them the seeds of goodwill
to each other, although those seeds were choked and over-
run with the weeds of envy and pride ; as in a garden the
finest strawberries will be spoiled by rank weeds, if care is
not taken to root them out ; these poor girls, I say, now
struck with the force of truth, and sorry for what they had


done, let drop some tears, which trickled down their cheeks,
and were signs of meekness, and sorrow for their fault.
Not like those tears which burst from their swollen eyes,
when anger and hatred choked their words, and their proud
hearts laboured with stubbornness and folly; when their
skins reddened, and all their features were changed and
distorted by the violence of passion, which made them
frightful to the beholders, and miserable to themselves : вАФ
No ! far other cause had they now for tears, and far dif-
ferent were the tears they shed; their eyes, melted with
sorrow for their faults, let fall some drops, as tokens of
their repentance ; but, as soon as they could recover them-
selves to speak, they all with one voice cried out, ' Indeed,
Miss Jenny, we are sorry for our fault, and will follow your
advice; which we now see is owing to your goodness.'

Miss Jenny now produced a basket of apples, which she
had purchased out of the little pocket-money she was
allowed, in order to prove, that the same things may be a
pleasure or a pain, according as the persons, to whom they
are given, are good or bad.

These she placed in the midst of her companions, and
desired them to eat and enjoy themselves ; and now they
were so changed, that each helped her next neighbour
before she would touch any for herself; and the moment
they were grown thus goodnatured and friendly, they were
as well-bred, and as polite, as it is possible to describe.

Miss Jenny's joy was inexpressible, that she had caused
this happy change; nor less was the joy of her companions,
who now began to taste pleasures, from which their ani-
mosity to each other had hitherto debarred them. They all
sat looking pleased on their companions ; their faces bor-
rowed beauty from the calmness and goodness of their
minds ; and all those ugly frowns, and all that ill-natured
sourness, which when they were angry and cross were but
too plain in their faces, were now entirely fled ; jessamine
and honey-suckles surrounded their seats, and played round
their heads, of which they gathered nosegays to present each
other with. They now enjoyed all the pleasure and happi-
ness that attend those who are innocent and good.


Miss Jenny, with her heart overflowing with joy at this
happy change, said, ' Now, my dear companions, that you
may be convinced what I have said and done was not
occasioned by any desire of proving myself wiser than you,
as Miss Sukey hinted while she was yet in her anger, I will,
if you please, relate to you the history of my past life; by
which you will see in what manner I came by this way of
thinking ; and as you will perceive it was chiefly owing to
the instructions of a kind mamma, you may all likewise reap
the same advantage under good Mrs. Teachum, if you will
obey her commands, and attend to her precepts. And after
I have giv'en you the particulars of my life, I must beg that
every one of you will, some day or other, when you have
reflected upon it, declare all that you can remember of your
own ; for, should you not be able to relate anything worth
remembering as an example, yet there is nothing more likely
to amend the future part of anyone's life, than the recol-
lecting and confessing the faults of the past.'

All our little company highly approved of Miss Jenny's
proposal, and promised, in their turns, to relate their own
lives ; and Miss Polly Suckling cried out, ' Yes indeed.
Miss Jenny, I'll tell all when it comes to my turn ; so pray
begin, for I long to hear what you did, when you was no
bigger than I am now.' Miss Jenny then kissed little Polly,
and said she would instantly begin.

But as in the reading of any one's story, it is an additional
pleasure to have some acquaintance with their persons ; and
as I delight in giving my little readers every pleasure that is
in my power ; I shall endeavour, as justly as I can, by de-
scription, to set before their eyes the picture of this good
young creature : and the same of every one of our young
company, as they begin their lives.


Miss Jenny Peace was just turned of fourteen, and could
be called neither tall nor short of her age ; but her whole
person was the most agreeable that can be imagined. She
had an exceeding fine complexion, with as much colour in
her cheeks as is the natural effect of perfect health. Her


hair was light brown, and curled in so regular and yet easy
a manner, as never to want any assistance from art. Her
eyebrows (which were not of that correct turn as to look as
if they were drawn with a pencil) and her eyelashes were
both darker than her hair ; and the latter being very long,
gave such a shade to her eyes as made them often mistaken
for black, though they were only a dark hazel. To give
any description of her eyes beyond the colour and size,
which was perfectly the medium, would be impossible;
ixcept by saying, they were expressive of every thing that
is amiable and good ; for through them might be read
every single thought of the mind ; from whence they had
such a brightness and cheerfulness, as seemed to cast a
lustre over her whole face. She had fine teeth, and a mouth
answering to the most correct rules of beauty ; and when
she spoke (though you were at too great a distance to hear
what she said) there appeared so much sweetness, mild-
ness, modesty and goodnature, that you found yourself filled
more with pleasure than admiration in beholding her. The
delight which eveiyone took in looking on Miss Jenny was
evident in this, that though Miss Sukey Jennet and Miss
Patty Lockit were both what maybe called handsomer girls;
and if you asked any persons in company their opinion,
they would tell you so ; yet their eyes were a direct contra-
diction to their tongues, by being continually fixed on Miss
Jenny; for, while she was in the room, it was impossible
to fix them anywhere else. She had a natural ease and
gentility in her shape ; and all her motions were more
pleasing, though less striking than what is commonly ac-
quired by the instruction of dancing masters.

Such was the agreeable person of Miss Jenny Peace. Avho,
in her usual obliging manner, and with an air pleasing
beyond my power to express, at the request of her com-
panions began to relate the history of her life, as follows :


* My father dying when I was but half a year old, I was
left to the care of my mamma, who was the best woman in
the world, and to whose memor}^ I shall ever pay the most


grateful honour. From the time she had any children, she
made it the whole study of her life to promote their welfare,
and form their minds in the manner she thought would best
answer her purpose of making them both good and happy;
for it was her constant maxim, that goodness and hajjpiness
dwelt in the same bosoms, and were generally found to live
so much together, that they could not easily be separated.

' My mother had six children born alive ; but could pre-
serve none beyond the first year, except my brother, Harry
Peace, and myself. She made it one of her chief cares to
cultivate and preserve the most perfect love and harmony
between us. My brother is but a twelvemonth older than
I ; so that, till I was six years old (for seven was the age in
which he was sent to school) he remained at home with me;
in which time we often had little childish quarrels; but my
mother always took care to convince us of our error in
wrangling and fighting about nothing, and to teach us how
much more jjleasure we enjoyed whilst we agreed. She
showed no partiality to either, but endeavoured to make us
equal in all things, any otherwise than that she taught me I
owed a respect to my brother as the eldest.

' Before my brother went to school, we had set hours
appointed us, in which we regularly attended to learn what-
ever was thought necessary for our improvement; my
mamma herself daily watching the opening of our minds,
and taking great care to instruct us in what manner to make
the best use of the knowledge we attained. Whatever we
read she explained to us, and made us understand, that we
might be the better for our lessons. When we were capable
of thinking, we made it so much a rule to obey our parent,
the moment she signified her pleasure, that by that means
we avoided many accidents and misfortunes; for examj^le :
my brother was running one day giddily round the brink of
a well ; and if he had made the least fiilse step, he must
have fallen to the bottom, and been drowned ; my mamma,
by a sign with her finger that called him to her, preserved
him from the imminent danger he was in of losing his life;
and then she took care that we should both be the better
for this little incident, by laying before us how mucli our


safety and happiness, as well as our duty, were concerned in
being obedient.

' My brother and I once had a quarrel about something
as trifling as your apple of contention ; and, though we both
heartily wished to be reconciled to each other, yet did our
little hearts swell so much with stubbornness and pride, that
neither of us would speak first; by which means we were so
silly as to be both uneasy, and yet would not use the remedy
that was in our own power to remove that uneasiness. My
mamma found it out, and sent for me into her closet, and
said, " She was sorry to see her instructions had no better
effect on me; for," continued she, "indeed, Jenny, I am
ashamed of your folly, as well as wickedness, in thus con-
tending with your brother." A tear, which I believe flowed
from shame, started from my eyes at this reproof; and I
fixed them on the ground, being too much overAvhelmed
with confusion to dare to lift them up on my mamma. On
which she kindly said, " She hoped my confusion was a
sign of my amendment. That she might indeed have used
another method, by commanding me to seek a recon-
ciliation with my brother; for she did not imagine I was
already so far gone in perverseness, as not to hold her
commands as inviolable ; but she was willing, for my good,
first to convince me of my folly." As soon as my confusion
would give me leave to speak, on my knees I gave her
a thousand thanks for her goodness, and went immediately
to seek my brother. He joyfully embraced the first oppor-
tunity of being reconciled to me ; and this was one of the
jjleasantest hours of my life. This quarrel happened when
my brother came home at a breaking-up, and I was nine
years old.

' My mamma's principal care was to keep up a perfect
amity between me and my brother. I remember once,
when Harry and I were playing in the fields, there was a
small rivulet stopped me in my way. My brother, being
nimbler and better able to jump than myself, with one
spring leaped over, and left me on the other side of it; but
seeing me uneasy that I could not get over to him, his
goodnature prompted him to come back and to assist me;


and, by the help of his hand, I easily passed over. On this
my good mamma bid me remember how much my brother's
superior strength might assist me in his being my protector ;
and that I ought in return to use my utmost endeavours to
oblige him ; and that then we should be mutual assistants
to each other throughout life. Thus everything that passed
was made use of to improve my understanding and amend
my heart.

' I believe no child ever spent her time more agreeably
than I did; for I not only enjoyed my own pleasures, but
also those of others. And when my brother was carried
abroad, and I was left at home, that he was pleased, made
me full amends for the loss of any diversion. The con-
tentions between us (where our parent's commands did not
interfere) were always exerted in endeavours each to prefer
the other's pleasures to our own. My mind was easy and
free from anxiety; for as I always took care to speak truth,
I had nothing to conceal from my mamma, and consequently
had never any fears of being found in a lie. For one lie
obliges us to tell a thousand others to conceal it; and I
have no notion of any conditions being so miserable, as to
live in a continual fear of detection. Most particularly, my
mamma instructed me to beware of all sorts of deceit ; so
that I was accustomed, not only in words to speak truth,
but also not to endeavour by any means to deceive.

' But though the friendship between my brother and me
was so strongly cultivated, yet we were taught, that lying for
each other, or praising each other when it was not deserved,
was not only a fault, but a very great crime ; for this, my
mamma used to tell us, was not love, but hatred ; as it was
encouraging one another in folly and wickedness. And
though my natural disposition inclined me to be very tender
of everything in my power, yet was I not suffered to give
way even to this in an unreasonable degree. One instance
of which I remember.

' When I was about eleven years old, I had a cat that I
had bred up from a little kitten, that used to play round
me, till I had indulged for the poor animal a fondness that
made me delight to have it continually with me wherever I
went ; and, in return for my indulgence, the cat seemed to


have changed its nature, and assumed the manner that more
properly belongs to dogs than cats ; for it would follow me
about the house and gardens, mourn for my absence, and
rejoice at my i)resence. And, what was very remarkable, the
poor animal would, when fed by my hand, lose that caution
which cats are known to be possessed of, and eat whatever
I gave it, as if it could reflect that I meant only its good,
and no harm could come from me.

' I was at last so accustomed to see this little Frisk (for
so I called it) playing round me, that I seemed to miss part
of myself in its absence. But one day the poor little crea-
ture followed me to the door; when a parcel of schoolboys
coming by, one of them catched her up in his arms, and
ran away with her. All my cries w' ere to no purpose ; for
he was out of sight with her in a moment, and there was no
method to trace his steps. The cruel wretches, for sport,
as they called it, hunted it the next day from one to the
other, in the most barbarous manner; till at last it took
shelter in that house that used to be its protection, and
came and expired at my feet.

' I was so struck with the sight of the little animal dying
in that manner, that the great grief of my heart overflowed
at my eyes, and I was for some time inconsolable.

' My indulgent mamma comforted without blaming me,
till she thought I had sufficient time to vent my grief; and
then, sending for me into her chamber, spoke as follows :

' " Jenny, I have watched you ever since the death of
your little favourite cat ; and have been in hopes daily, that
your lamenting and melancholy on that account would be
at an end. But I find you still persist in grieving, as if such
a loss was irreparable. Now, though I have always en-
couraged you in all sentiments of goodnature and com-
passion; and am sensible, that where those sentiments are
strongly implanted, they will extend their influence even to
the least animal ; yet you are to consider, my child, that
you are not to give way to any passions that interfere with
your duty; for whenever there is any contention between
your duty and your inclinations, you must conquer the
latter, or become wicked and contemptible. Ifj therefore,


you give way to this melancholy, how will you be able to
perform your duty towards me, in cheerfully obeying my
commands, and endeavouring, by your lively prattle and
innocent gaiety of heart, to be my companion and delight ?
Nor will you be fit to converse with your brother, whom (as
)0u lost your good papa when you were too young to know
that loss) I have endeavoured to educate in such a manner,
that I hope he will be a father to you, if you deserve his
ove and protection. In short, if you do not keep command
enough of yourself to prevent being ruffled by every acci-
dent, you will be unfit for all the social offices of life, and
be despised by all those whose regard and love are worth
your seeking. I treat you, my girl, as capable of considering
what is for your own good ; for though you are but eleven
years of age, yet I hope the pains I have taken in explaining
all you read, and in answering all your questions in search
of knowledge, has not been so much thrown away, but that
you are more capable of judging, than those unhappy chil-
dren are, whose parents have neglected to instruct them.
And therefore, farther to enforce what I say, remember, that
repining at any accident that happens to you, is an offence
to that God to whom I have taught you daily to pray for
all the blessings you can receive, and to whom you are to
return humble thanks for every blessing.

' " I expect therefore, Jenny, that you now dry up you"
tears, and resume your usual cheerfulness. I do not doubt
but your obedience to me will make you at least put on the
appearance of cheerfulness in my sight. But you will de-
ceive yourself, if you think that is performing your duty ;
for if you would obey me as you ought, you must try heartily
to root from your mind all sorrow and gloominess. You
may depend upon it, this command is in your power to
obey ; for you know I never recpire anything of you that is
impossible "

' After my mamma had made this speech, she went out
to take a walk in the garden, and left me to consider of
what she had said.

' The moment I came to reflect seriously, I found it was
indeed in my power to root all melancholy from my heart,


when I considered it was necessary, in order to perform my
duty to God, to obey the best of mothers, and to make myself
a blessing and a cheerful companion to her, rather than a
l)urden, and the cause of her uneasiness, by my foolish

' This little accident, as managed by my mamma, has
been a lesson to me in governing my passions ever since.

' It would be endless to repeat all the methods this good
mother invented for my instruction, amendment, and im-
provement. It is sufficient to acquaint you, that she con-
trived that every new day should open to me some new
scene of knowledge ; and no girl could be happier than I
was during her life. But, alas ! when I was thirteen years
of age, the scene changed. My dear mamma was taken ill
of a scarlet fever. I attended her day and night whilst she
lay ill, my eyes starting with tears to see her in that con-
dition ; and yet I did not dare to give my sorrows vent, for
fear of increasing her pain.'

Here a trickling tear stole from Miss Jenny's eyes. She
suppressed some rising sobs that interrupted her speech,
and was about to proceed in her story, when, casting her
eyes on her companions, she saw her sorrow had such an
effect upon them all, that there was not one of her hearers
who could refrain from shedding a sympathising tear. She
therefore thought it was more strictly following her mamma's
precepts to pass this part of her story in silence, rather than
to grieve her friends ; and having wiped away her tears, she
hastened to conclude her story; which she did as follows:

' After my mamma's death, my Aunt Newman, my father's
sister, took the care of me ; but being obliged to go to
Jamaica, to settle some affairs relating to an estate she is
possessed of there, she took with her my Cousin Harriet,
her only daughter, and left me under the care of good Mrs.
Teachum till her return. And since I have been here, you
all know as much of my history as I do myself

As Miss Jenny spoke these words, the bell summoned
them to supper, and to the presence of their go\-erness, who


having narrowly watched their looks ever since the fray,
had hitherto plainly perceived, that though they did not
dare to break out again into an open quarrel, yet their
hearts had still harboured unkind thoughts of one another.
She was surprised noic., as she stood at a window in the
hall that overlooked the garden, to see all her scholars walk
towards her hand in hand, with such cheerful countenances,
as plainly showed their inward good humour. And as she
thought proper to mention to them her pleasure in seeing
them thus altered. Miss Jenny Peace related to her governess
all that had pased in the arbour, with their general recon-
ciliation. Mrs. Teachum gave Miss Jenny all the applause
due to her goodness, saying, ' She herself had only waited
a little while, to see if their anger would subside, and love
take its place in their bosoms, without her interfering again;
for that she certainly should otherwise have done, to have
brought about what Miss Jenny had so happily effected.'

Miss Jenny thanked her governess for her kind appro-
bation, and said, ' That if she would give them leave, she
would spend what time she was pleased to allow them from
school in this little arbour, in reading stories, and such things
as she should think a proper and innocent amusement.'

Mrs. Teachum not only gave leave, but very much ap-
proved of this proposal ; and desired Miss Jenny, as a re-
ward for what she had already done, to preside over these
diversions, and to give her an account in what manner they
proceeded. Miss Jenny promised in all things to be guided
by good Mrs. Teachum. And now, soon after supper, they
retired to rest, free from those uneasy passions which used
to prevent their quiet ; and as they had passed the day in
pleasure, at night they sunk in soft and sweet repose.



Early in the morning, as soon as Miss Jenny arose, all
her companions flocked round her; for they now looked on


her as the best friend they had in the world; and they
agreed, when they came out of school, to adjourn into their
arbour, and divert themselves till dinner-time; which they
accordingly did. When Miss Jenny proposed, if it was
agreeable to them to hear it, to read them a story which she
had put in her pocket for that purpose ; and as they now
began to look upon her as the most proper person to direct
them in their amusements, they all replied, ' What was most
agreeable to her would please them best.' She then began
to read the following story, with which we shall open their
first day's amusement.


A great many hundred years ago, the mountains of Wales
were inhabited by two giants; one of whom was the terror
of all his neighbours and the plague of the whole country.
He greatly exceeded the size of any giant recorded in his-
tory ; and his eyes looked so fierce and terrible, that they

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 10 of 43)