Charlotte Mary Yonge.

A storehouse of stories : storehouse the first online

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refrain from tears, only by imagining what Chloe must feel
after her wickedness (by which indeed she lost the very
happiness she intended treacherously to gain) ; nor could
she enjoy one moment's peace till, by confessing her fault,
and heartily repenting of it, her mind was restored to its
former calm and tranquillity.' Miss Dolly thanked Miss
Jenny for her remarks; but Miss Lucy Sly was most sen-
sibly touched with this story, as cunning had formerly en-
tirely possessed her mind ; and said, that if her companions
were not weary at present of their arbour, she would now
recount to them the history of her life, as this story was a
proper introduction to it.


Miss Lucy Sly was of the same age as Miss Dolly Friendly;
but shorter, at least, by half the head. She was generally


called a pretty girl, from having a pair of exceeding fine
black eyes, only with the allay of something cunning in their
look. She had a high forehead, and very good curling black
hair. She had a sharp high nose, and a very small mouth.
Her complexion was but indifferent, and the lower part of
her face ill-turned, for her chin was too long for due pro-


' From the time I was two years old (said Miss Lucy) my
mamma was so sickly that she was unable to take any great
care of me herself, and I was left to the care of a governess,
who made it her study to bring me to do what she had a
mind to have done, without troubling her head what induced
me so to do. And whenever I did anything wrong, she used
to say it was the foot-boy, and not miss, that was naughty.
Nay, she would say it was the dog, or the cat, or anything
she could lay the blame upon, sooner than own it was I. I
thought this pure, that I was never in fault; and soon got
into a way of telling any lies, and of laying my own faults
on others, since I found I should be believed. I remember
once, when I had broken a fine china-cup, that I artfully
got out of the scrape, and hid the broken cup in the foot-
boy's room. He was whipped for breaking it; and the next
day, whilst I was at play about the room, I heard my gover-
ness say to a friend who was with her, " Yesterday Miss
Lucy broke a china-cup ; but the artful little hussy went
and hid it in the foot-boy's room, and the poor boy was
whipped for it. I don't believe there was ever a girl of her
age that had half her cunning and contrivance." I knew by
her tone of voice and her manner of speaking, that she did
not blame me in her heart, but rather commended my in-
genuity. And I thought myself so wise, that I could thus
get off the blame from myself, that T every day improved in
new inventions to save myself, and have others i)unished in
my place.

' This life of endeavouring to deceive I led till I came to
school. But here I found that I could not so well carrv on


my little schemes ; for I was found out and punished for my
own faults ; and this created in me a hatred to my com-
panions. For whatever miss I had a mind to serve as I
used to serve our foot-boy, in laying the blame falsely upon
her, if she could justify herself, and prove me in the wrong,
I was very angry with her for daring to contradict me, and
not submitting as quietly to be punished wrongfully, as the
foot-boy was forced to do.

'■ This is all I know of my life hitherto.'

Thus ended Miss Lucy Sly : and Miss Jenny Peace com-
mended Miss Lucy for her free confession of her faults, and
said, ' She doubted not but she would find the advantage of
amending, and endeavouring to change a disposition so very
pernicious to her own peace and quiet, as well as to that of
all her friends;' but they now obeyed the summons of the
supper-bell, and soon after retired to rest.



Our little company, as soon as the morning school-hours
were over, hastened to their arbour, and were attentive to
what Miss Jenny Peace should propose to them for their
amusement till dinner-time; when Miss Jenny, looking round
upon them, said, ' that she had not at present any story to
read ; but that she hoped, from Miss Dolly Friendly's ex-
ample yesterday, some of the rest might endeavour some-
limes to furnish out the entertainment of the day.' Upon
which Miss Sukey Jennett said, ' that though she could not
promise them such an agreeable story as Miss Dolly's ; yet
she would read them a letter she had received the evening
before from her cousin Peggy Smith, who lived at York ; in
which there was a story that she thought ver}' strange and
remarkable. They were all very desirous of it, when Miss
Sukey read as follo^^■s :

' Dear cousin, — I promised, you know, to write to you
when I had anything to tell you ; and as I think the fol-


lowing story very extraordinary, I was willing to keep my

' Some time ago there capie to settle in this city a lady,
whose name was Dison. We all visited her : but she had
so deep a melancholy, arising, as it appeared, from a settled
state of ill-health, that nothing we could do could afford her
the least relief, or make her cheerful. In this condition she
languished amongst us five years, still continuing to grow
worse and worse.

' We all grieved at her fate. Her flesh was withered away;
her appetite decayed by degrees, till all food became nauseous
to her sight; her strength failed her; her feet could not sup-
port her tottering body, lean and worn away as it was ; and
we hourly expected her death. When, at last, she one day
called her most intimate friends to her bedside, and, as well
as she could, spoke to the following purpose: "I know you
all pity me; but alas! I am not so much the object of your
pity as your contempt; for all my misery is of my own seek-
ing, and owing to the wickedness of my own mind. I had
two sisters, with whom I was bred up; and I have all my
lifetime been unhappy, for no other cause but for their suc-
cess in the world. When we were young, I could neither eat
nor sleep in peace, when they had either praise or pleasure.
When we grew up to be women, they were both soon mar-
ried much to their advantage and satisfaction. This galled
me to the heart ; and, though I had several good offers, yet
as I did not think them in all respects equal to my sisters,
I would not accept them ; and yet was inwardly vexed to
refuse them, for fear I should get no better. I generally
deliberated so long that I lost my lovers, and then I jiineil
fort-hat loss. I never wanted for anything; and was in a
situation in which I might have been happy, if I pleased.
My sisters loved me very well ; for I concealed as much as
possible from them my odious envy ; and yet never did any
poor wretch lead so miserable a life as I have done ; for
every blessing they enjoyed was a dagger to my heart. 'Tis
this envy that has caused all my ill-heallh, has preyed upon
my very vitals, and will now bring me to my grave."

'In a few days after this confession she died; and her



words and death made such a strong impression on my
mind, that I could not help sending you this relation ; and
begging you, my dear Sukey, to remember how careful we
ought to be to curb in our minds the very first risings of a
passion so detestable, and so fatal, as this proved to poor
Mrs. Uison. I know I have no particular reason for giving
you this caution, for I never saw anything in you but what
deserved the love and esteem of

' Your very affectionate cousin,

' M. Smith.'

As soon as Miss Sukey had finished her letter, Miss Patty
Lockit rose up, and, flying to Miss Jenny Peace, embraced
her and said, ' What thanks can I give you, my dear friend,
for having put me into a way of examining my heart, and
reflecting on my own actions; by which you have saved me,
perhaps, from a life as miserable as that of the poor woman
in Miss Sukey's letter !' Miss Jenny did not thoroughly
understand her meaning: but imagining it might be some-
thing relating to her past life, desired her to explain herself;
which she said she would do, telling now, in her turn, all
that had hitherto happened to her.


Miss Patty Lockit was but ten years old; tall, and in-
clined to fat. Her neck was short ; and she was not in the
least genteel. Her face was very handsome ; for all her fea-
tures were extremely good. She had large blue eyes ; was
exceeding fair ; and had a great bloom on her cheeks. Her
hair was the very first degree of light brown ; was bright
and shining; and hung in ringlets halfway down her back.
Her mouth was rather too large; but she had such fine
teeth, and looked so agreeably when she smiled, that you
was not sensible of any fault in it.

This was tlie person of Miss Patty Lockit, who was
now to relate her past life; which she did in tlie following
manner :



' I lived till I was six years old, in a veiy large family ; for
I had four sisters, all older than myself, and three brothers.
We played together, and passed our time much in the
common way : sometimes we quarrelled, and sometimes
agreed, just as accident would have it. Our parents had
no partiality to any of us ; so we had no cause to envy one
another on that account ; and we lived tolerably well to-

' When I was six years old, my grandmother by my Other's
side (and who Avas also my godmother) offering to take me
to live with her, and promising to look upon me as her own
child, and entirely to provide for me, my father and mother,
as they had a large family, very readily accepted her offer,
and sent me directly to her house.

'About half a year before this, she had taken another god-
daughter, the only child of my Aunt Bradly, who was lately
dead, and whose husband was gone to the West Indies.
My cousin, Molly Bradly, was four years older than I ; and
her mother had taken such jxiins in her education, that she
understood more than most girls of her age; and had so
much liveliness, good-humour, and ingenuity, that everbody
was fond of her; and wherever we went together, all the
notice was taken of my cousin, and I was very little re-

' Though I had all my life before lived in a family where
every one in it was older, and knew more than myself, yet
I was very easy; for we were generally together in the
nursery, and nobody took much notice of us, whether we
knew anything, or whether we did not. But now, as I lived
in the house with only one companion, who was so much
more admired than myself, the comparison began to vex me,
and I found a strong hatred and aversion for my cousin
arising in my mind ; and yet I verily believe I should have
got the better of it, and been willing to have learnt of my
cousin, and should have loved her for teaching me, if any
one had told me it was right ; and if it had not been that
Betty, the maid who took care of us, used to be for ever


teasing me about the preference that was shown to my
cousin, and the neglect I always met with. She used to
tell me, that she wondered how I could bear to see Miss
Tvlolly so caressed j and that it was want of spirit not to
think myself as good as she was ; and, if she was in my
place, she would not submit to be taught by a child ; for
my Cousin Molly frequently offered to instruct me in any-
thing she knew; but I used to say (as Betty had taught rne)
that I would not learn of her; for she was but a child,
though she was a little older ; and that I was not put under
her care, but that of my grandmamma. But she, poor
woman, was so old and unhealthy, that she never troubled
her head much about us, but 'only to take care that we
wanted for nothing. » I lived in this manner three years,
fretting and vexing myself tl^t I did not know so much,
nor was so much liked, as my Cousin INIolly, and Vet re-
solving not to learn anything she could teach me, wlfen my
grandmamma was advised to send hie to school; bot, as
sooi^ as I came here, the ease was much worse ; for, instead
of one person to envy, I found many ; for ♦S.U my school-
fellows had learned more than I ; and ii[^ead of enoea-
vouring to get knowledge,^ J began to haSLall those who
knew more than myself; and this, T am |«y convinced,
Avas owing to that odious enVy which, if nowturedj/^vould
always have made me as'^able as Mrs. Ijl^n was, and
which consttotly tormented- i^|jL>till we came. to live in that
general peace and good-hujnoiSl^we have lately eq^oyed :
and as I hope this wicked spirit. -was not natural to me, but
only blown up by that vile Betiy s ii^tig^tipn^, I 'don't doul^
but I shall now grow very happy, and learn "Something eveiy
day, and be pleased with being instructec], and that I sl^ilj
always love those who are so good as to instruct me/ •

-« ^. ;"■ ;. • •

Here ]Miss Patty Lockit ceased ; and the dinner-bell
called them from their arbour.

Mrs. Teachum, as soon as they had dined, told them,
that she thought it proper they should use some bodily
exercise, that they might not, by sitting constantly still, im-
pair their health. Not but that she was greatly pleased with


their innocent and instructive manner of employing their
leisure hours; but this wise woman knew that the faculties
of the mind grow languid and useless, when the health of
the body is lost.

As soon as they understood their governess's pleasure,
they readily resolved to obey her commands, and desired
that, after school, they might take a walk as far as the dairy-
house, to eat some curds and cream, Mrs. Teachum not
only granted their request, but said she would dispense with
their school-attendance that afternoon, in order to give them
more time for their walk, which was between two and three
miles ; and she likewise added that she herself would go
with them. They all flew like lightning to get their hats,
and to equip themselves for their walk ; and, with cheerful
countenances, attended Mrs. Teachum in the schoolroom.
This good gentlewoman, so far from laying them under a
restraint by her presence, encouraged them to run in the
fields and gather flowers ; which they did, each miss trying
to get the best to present to her governess. In this agree-
able manner, with laughing, talking, and singing, they arrived
at the dairy-house before they imagined they had walked a

There lived at this dairy-house an old woman, near
seventy years of age. She had a fresh colour in her face ;
but was troubled with the palsy, that made her head shake
a little. She was bent forward with age, and her hair was
quite grey : but she retained much good-humour, and re-
ceived this little party with a hearty welcome.

Our little gentry flocked about this good woman, asking
hiTr a thousand questions. Miss Polly Suckling asked her,
' Why slie shook her head so?' and Miss Patty Lockit said,
' She hoped her hair would never be of such a colour.'

Miss Uenny Peace was afraid they would say something
ithat wouVl offend the old woman, and advised them to turn
theifMiscOurse. ' Oh ! let the dear rogues alone,' says the
old woman; 'I like their prattle;' and, taking Miss Polly
by the hand, said, ' Come, my dear, we will go into the
dairy, and .skim the milkpans.' At which words they all ran
into the dairy, and some of them dipped their fingers in the


cream; which, when Mrs. Nelly perceived (who was the
eldest daughter of" the old woman, and managed all the
affairs), she desired they would walk out of the dairy, and
she would bring them what was fit for them : upon which
Miss Dolly Friendly said, ' she had rather be as old and
good-natured as the mother, than as young and ill-natured
as the daughter.'

The old woman desired her company to sit down at a
long table, which she soon supplied with plenty of cream,
strawberries, brown bread, and sugar. Mrs. Teachum took
her place at the upper end, and the rest sat down in their
usual order, and ate plentifully of these good things. After
which Mrs. Teachum told them they might walk out and
see the garden and orchard, and by that time it would be
proper to return home.

The good old woman showed them the way into the
garden; and gathered the finest roses and pinks she could
pick, and gave thtm to Miss Polly, to whom she had taken
a great fancy.

At their taking leave, Mrs. Teachum rewarded the good
old woman for her trouble ; who, on her part, expressed
much pleasure in seeing so many well-behaved young ladies ;
and said, she hoped they would come often.

These little friends had not walked far in their way home,
before they met a miserable ragged fellow, who begged their
charity. Our young folks immediately gathered about this
poor creature, and were hearkening very earnestly to his
story, which he set forth in a terrible manner, of having
been burnt out of his house, and, from one distress to an-
other, reduced to that miserable state they saw him in, when
Mrs. Teachum came up to them. She was not a little
pleased to see all the misses' hands in their pockets, pulling
out half-pence, and some sixpences. She told them she
approved of their readiness to assist the poor fellow, as he
appeared to them ; but oftentimes those fellows made up
dismal stories without much foundation, and because they
were lazy, and would not work. INIiss Dolly said, indeed
she believed the poor man spoke truth ; for he looked
honest; and, besides, he seemed almost starved.


Mrs. Teachum told them it would be too late before they
could get home; so, after each of them had given what they
thought proper, they pursued their walk, prattling all the
way .

They got home about nine o'clock ; and, as they did not
choose any supper, the bell rang for prayers ; after which
our young travellers retired to their rest, where we doubt not
but they had a good repose.



Mrs. Teachum, in the morning, inquired how her scholars
did after their walk, and was pleased to hear they were all
very well. They then performed their several tasks with
much cheerfulness; and, after their school-hours, they were
hastening, as usual, to their arbour, when Miss Jenny desired
them all to go thither without her, and she would soon
follow them ; which they readily consented to, but begged
her not to deprive them long of the pleasure of her sweet

Miss Jenny then went directly into her governess's parlour,
and told her that she had some thoughts of reading to her
companions a fairy tale, which was also given her by her
mamma ; and though it was not in such a pompous style,
nor so full of wonderful images, as the giant-stor}-; yet she
would not venture to read anything of that kind without her
permission ; but, as she had not absolutely condemned all
that sort of writing, she hoped she was not guilty of a fault
in asking that permission. Mrs. Teachum, with a gracious
smile, told her, that she seemed so thoroughly well to under-
stand the whole force of her Monday night's discourse to her,
that she might be trusted almost in anything ; and desired her
to go and follow her own judgment and inclinations in the
amusement of her happy friends. Miss Jenny, overjoyed with
this kind condescension in her governess, thanked her, with
a low courtesy, and said, she hoped she should never do any-
thing unworthy of the confidence reposed in her ; and has-


tening to the arbour, she there found all her little company
quite impatient of this short absence.

Miss Jenny told them that she had by her a fairy tale,
which, if they liked it, she would read; and as it had pleased
her, she did not doubt but it would give them equal jjlea-

It was the custom now so much amongst them to assent
to any proposal that came from Miss Jenny, that they all
with one voice desired her to read it, till Miss Polly Suck-
ling said, ' that although she was very unwilling to contra-
dict anything Miss Jenny liked, yet she could not help
saying, she thought it would be better if they were to read
some true history, from which they might learn something;
for she thought fairy tales were only fit for little children.'

Miss Jenny could not help smiling at such an objection
coming from the little dumpling, who was not much above
seven years of age ; and then said, ' I will tell you a story,
my little Polly, of what happened to me whilst I was at

' There came into our village, when I was six years old,
a man who carried about a raree-show, which all the chil-
dren of the parish were fond of seeing ; but I had taken it
into my head, that it was beneath my wisdom to see raree-
shows, and therefore would not be persuaded to join my
companions to see this sight; and although I had as great
an inclination as any of them to see it, yet I avoided it, in
order to boast of my own great sense in that I was above
such trifles.

' When my mamma asked me, " Why I would not see
the show, when she had given me leave ? " I drew up my
head, and said, " Indeed I did not like raree-shows. That
I had been reading ; and I thought that much more worth
my while than to lose my time at such foolish entertain-
ments."' My mamma, who saw the cause of my refusing
this amusement was only a pretence of being wise, laughed,
and said, " She herself had seen it, and it was really very
comical and diverting." On hearing this, I was heartily
sorry to think I had denied myself a pleasure which I fan-
cied was beneath me, when I found e\-en my mamma was


not above seeing it. This in a great measure cured me of
the folly of thinking myself above any innocent amusement.
And when I grew older, and more capable of hearing reason,
my mamma told me, " She had taken this method of laugh-
ing at me, as laughing is the proper manner of treating
affectation ; which, of all things, she said, she would have
me carefully avoid ; othenvise, whenever I was found out, I
should become contemptible."'

Here Miss Jenny ceased speaking ; and Miss Polly Suck-
ling, blushing that she had made any objection to what
Miss Jenny had proposed, begged her to begin the fairy tale;
when, just at this instant, Mrs. Teachum, who had been
taking a walk in the garden, turned into the arbour to de-
light herself with a view of her little school united in
harmony and love, and Miss Jenny, with great good humour,
told her mistress the small contest she had just had with
Miss Polly about reading a fairy tale, and the occasion of it.
Mrs. Teachum kindly chucking the little dumpling under
the chin said, she had so good an opinion of Miss Jenny
as to answer for her, that she would read nothing to them
but what was proper ; and added, that she herself would
stay and hear this fairy tale which Miss Jenny, on her
commands, immediately began.

A Fairy Tale.

Above two thousand years ago, there reigned over the
kingdom of Tonga a king, whose name was Abdallah. He
was married to a young princess, the daughter of a king of
a neighbouring country, whose name was Rousignon. Her
beauty and prudence engaged him so far in affection to her,
that every hour he could possibly spare from attending the
affairs of his kingdom he spent in her apartment. They
had a little daughter, to whom they gave the name of Hebe,,
who was the darling and mutual care of both.

Tiie king was quiet in his dominions, beloved by his
subjects, happy in his family, and all his days rolled on


in calm content and joy. The king's brother Abdulham
was also married to a young ]>rincess named Tropo, who in
seven years had brought him no children ; and she con-
ceived so mortal a hatred against the queen (for she
envied her happiness in the little Princess Hebe) that she
resolved to do her some mischief. It was impossible for
her, during the king's lifetime, to vent her malice without
being discovered ; and therefore she pretended the greatest
respect and friendship imaginable for the unsuspecting

Whilst things were in this situation the king fell into a
violent fever, of which he died ; and during the time that
the queen was in the height of her affliction for him, and
could think of nothing but his loss, the Princess Tropo took
the opportunity of putting in execution her malicious in-
tentions. She inflamed her husband's passions by setting
forth the meanness of his spirit in letting a crown be
ravished from his head by a female infant, till ambition
seized his mind, and he resolved to wield the Tongian
sceptre himself. It Avas very easy to bring this about, for,

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 14 of 43)