Charlotte Mary Yonge.

A storehouse of stories : storehouse the first online

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to resist any allurement which would tempt me from my
duty; and I cannot be easy till you have given me an oj)-
portunity of showing you the firmness of my resolution; and
if you Avill give me lea\-e to take a walk in the wood alone,
this evening, I shall return to you with pleasure, and will
promise not to exceed any bounds that you shall prescribe.'
The queen was not mucli pleased with this request ; but
the [)rincess was so earnest with her to grant it, that she
could not well refuse, without seeming to suspect her sin-


cerity; which she did not, but only feared for her safety;
and, giving her a strict charge, not to stir a step out of the
wood, or to speak to the false Rozella, if she came in her
way, she reluctantly gave her consent.

The princess walked through all the flowery labyrinths,
in which she had so often strayed with Rozella; but she
was so shocked with the thoughts of her wickedness, that
she hardly gave a sigh for the loss of a companion once so
dear to her; and, as a proof that her repentance was sincere,
though she heard Rozella singing in an arbour (puiposely
perhaps to decoy her) she turned away without the least
emotion, and went quite to the other side of the wood;
where looking into the meadow in which she first beheld
that false friend, she saw a girl about her own age leaning
against a tree, and crying most bitterly. But the moment
she came in sight, the young shepherdess (for such by her
dress she appeared to be) cried out, ' O help, dear young
lady, help me; for I am tied here to this tree, by the spite-
ful contrivance of a wicked young shepherdess, called
Rozella: my hands too, you see, are bound behind me, so
that I cannot myself unloose the knot; and if I am not
released, here must I lie all night: and my wretched parents
will break their hearts, for fear some sad accident should have
befallen their only child, their poor unhappy Florimel !'

The princess, hearing her speak of Rozella in that man-
ner, had no suspicion of her being one of that false girl's de-
luding companions, but rather thought that she was a fellow-
sufiferer with herself; and therefore, without any consideration
of the bounds prescribed, she hastened to relieve her, and
even thought that she should have great pleasure in telling
her mother, that she had saved a poor young shepherdess
from Rozella's malice, and restored her to her fond parents.
But as soon as she had unloosed the girl from the tree, and
unbound her hands, instead of receiving thanks for what
she had done, the wicked Florimel burst into a laugh, and
suddenly snatching from the Princess Hebe's side her father's
picture, which she al\va)-s wore hanging in a riband, she
ran away with it as fast as she could over the meadow.

The princess was so astonished at this strange piece of
N 2


ingratitude and treachery, and was so alarmed for fear of
losing what she knew her mother so highly valued, that,
hardly knowing what she was about, she pursued Florimel
with all her speed, begging and entreating her not to bereave
her so basely and ungratefully of that picture, which she
would not part with for the world: but it was all to no pur-
pose; for Florimel continued her flight, and the princess
her pursuit, till they arrived at Brunetta's castle-gate; where
the fairy herself appeared, dressed and adorned in the most
becoming manner, and, with the most bewitching smile that
can come from dazzling beauty, invited the princess to enter
her castle (into which Florimel was run to hide herself), and
promised her, on that condition, to make the idle girl restore
the picture.

It was now so late that it was impossible for the princess
to think of returning home that night; and the pleasing
address of Brunetta, together with the hopes of having her
picture restored, soon prevailed with her to accept of the
fairy's invitation.

The castle glittered with gaudy furniture; sweet music
was heard in every room; the whole company, who were all
of the most beautiful forms that could be conceived, strove
who should be most obliging to this their new guest. They
omitted nothing that could amuse and delight the senses.
And the Princess Hebe was so entranced with joy and rap-
ture, that she had not time for thought, or for the least
serious reflection; and she now began to think, that she had
attained the highest happiness upon earth.

After they had kept her three days in this round of plea-
sure and delight, they began to pull off the mask ; nothing
was heard but quarrels, jars, and* galling speeches. Instead
of sweet music, the apartments were filled with screams and
howling ; for every one giving way to the most outrageous
passions, they were always doing each other some mahcious
turn, and one universal horror and confusion reigned.

The princess was haied by all, and was often asked, with
insulting sneers, why she did not return to her peaceful grove
and condescending mother 1 But her mind having been thus
turned aside from what was right, could not bear the tlioughts


of returning ; and though, by her daily tears, she showed her
repentance, shame prevented her return : but this again was
not the right sort of shame ; for then she would humbly have
taken the punishment due to her crime ; and it was rather a
stubborn pride, which, as she knew herself so highly to
blame, would not give her leave to suffer the confusion of
again confessing her fault ; and till she could bring herself
to such a state of mind, there was no remedy for her misery.

Just as Miss Jenny had read these words, Mrs. Teachum
remembering some orders necessary to be given in her
family, left them, but bid them go on, saying she would
return again in a quarter of an hour. But she was no sooner
gone from them, than our little company, hearing the sound
of trumpets and kettledrums, which seemed to be playing at
some little distance from Mrs. Teachum's house, suddenly
started from their seats, running directly to the terrace ; and,
looking over the garden wall, they saw a Iroop of soldiers
riding by, with these instruments of music playing before them.

They were highly delighted with the gallant and splendid
appearance of these soldiers, and watched them out of sight ;
and were then returning to the arbour, where Miss Jenny
had been reading ; but Miss Nanny Spruce espied such
another troop coming out of the lane from whence the first
had issued, and cried out, ' O ! here is another fine sight ;
let us stay and see these go by too.' ' Indeed (said Miss
Dolly Friendly) I am in .such pain for the poor Princess
Hebe, while she is in that sad castle, that I had rather hear
how she escaped (for that, I hope, she will) than see all the
soldiers in the world ; and besides, it is but seeing the same
thing we have just looked at before.' Here some were for
staying, and others for going back ; but as Miss Dolly's
party was the strongest, the few were ashamed to avow their
inclinations ; and they were returning to their arbour, when
they met Mrs. Teachum, who informed them their dancing
master was just arrived, and they must attend him ; but in
the evening they might finish their story.

They were so curious (and especially Miss Dolly Friendly)
to know what was become of the princess, that they could


have wished not to have been interrupted \ but yet, without
one word of answer, they compUed with what their governess
thought most proper ; and in the evening, hastening to their
arbour, Mrs. Teachuni herself being present, Miss Jenny went
on in the following manner :


The queen, in the meantime, suffered for the loss of her
child more than words can express, till the good fairy'
Sybella returned. The queen burst into tears at the sight
of her ; but the fairy immediately cried out, ' You may spare
yourself, my royal guest, the pain of relating what has hap-
pened. I know it all; for that old man, whom I took such
pity on, was a phantom raised by Brunetta to allure me
hence, in order to have an opportunity, in my absence, of
seducing the princess from her duty. She knew nothing but
a probable story could impose on me; and therefore raised
that story of the misery of the old man's son (from motives
which too often, indeed, cause the miser}- of mortals) ; as
knowing I should think it my duty to do what I could to
relieve such a wretch. I will not tell you of all my journey,
nor what I have gone through. I know your mind is at
present too much fixed on the princess to attend to such a
relation ; I'll only tell you what concerns yourself When
the phantom found, that by no distress he could disturb my
mind, he said he was obliged to tell the truth ; what was the
intention of my being deluded from home, and what had
happened since ; and then vanished away.' Here the fairy
related to the queen everything that had happened to the
princess, as has already been written ; and concluded with
saying, that she would wander about the castle walls (for
Brunetta had no power over her) ; and if she could get a
sight of the princess, she would endeavour to bring her to a
true sense of her fault, and then she might again be restored
to happiness.

The queen blessed the fairj^ for her goodness ; and it
was not long before Sybella's contimial assiduity got her a
sight of the princess ; for she often wandered a little way


towards that wood she had once so much dehghted in, but
never could bring herself to enter into it : the thouglit of
seeing her injured mother made her start back, and run half
wild into the fatal castle. Rozella used frecjuently to throw
herself in her way ; and on hearing her sighs, and seeing her
tears, would burst into a sneering laugh at her folly; to avoid
which laugh, the i)oor princess first suffered herself to throw
off all her principles of goodness and obedience, and was now
iallen into the very contempt she so much dreaded.

The first time the fairy got a sighi of her, she called to
her with the most friendly voice ; but the princess, stung to
the soul with the sight of her, fled away, and did not venture
out again in several days. The kind Sybella began almost
to despair of regaining her lost child ; but never failed walk-
ing round the castle many hours every day. And one even-
ing, just before the sun set, she heard within the gates a loud
tumultuous noise, but more like riotous mirth than the voice
either of rage or anger; and immediately she saw the prin-
cess rush out at the gate, and about a dozen girls, laughing
and shouting, running after her. The poor princess flew
with all her speed, till she came to a little arbour, just by the
side of the wood ; and her pursuers, as they intended only to
tease her, did not follow her very close ; but, as soon as they
lost sight of her, returned all back again to the castle.

Sybella went directly into the arbour, where she found the
little trembler prostrate on the ground, crying and sobbing
as if her heart was breaking. The fairy seized her hand, and
would not let her go till she had prevailed with her to return
to the Placid Grove, to throw herself once more at her
mother's feet, assuring her that nothing but this humble state
of mind would cure her misery and restore her wonted peace.

The queen was filled with the highest joy to see her
child ; but restrained herself so much, that she showed not
the least sign of it till she had seen her some time prostrate
at her feet, and had heard her with tears ])roperly confess,
and ask pardon for, all her faults. She then raised, and
once more forgave her ; but told her that she must learn
more humility and distrust of herself before she should
again expect to be trusted.


The princess made no answer ; but by a modest down-
cast look expressed great concern and true repentance ; and
in a short time recovered her former peace of mind ; and as
she never afterwards disobeyed her indulgent mother, she
daily increased in wisdom and goodness.

After having lived on in the most innocent and peaceful
manner for three years (the princess being just turned of
eighteen years old) the fairy told the queen that she would
now tell her some news of her kingdom, which she had
heard in her journey ; namely, that her sister-in-law was
dead, and her brother-in-law had made proclamation through-
out the kingdom, of great rewards to any one who should
produce the queen and the Princess Hebe, whom he would
immediately reinstate on the throne.

The Princess Hebe was by when she related this, and
said she begged to lead a private life, and never more be
exposed to the temptation of entering into vice, for which
she had already so severely smarted.

The fairy told her, that, since she doubted herself, she
was now fit to be trusted ; for, said she, ' I did not like your
being so sure of resisting temptation, when first 1 conferred
on you the gift of wisdom. But you will, my princess, if
you take the crown, have an opportunity of doing so much
good, that, if you continue virtuous, you will have perpetual
pleasures ; for power, if made a right use of, is indeed a
very great blessing.'

The princess answered, that if the queen, her mother,
thought it her duty to take the cro^vn, she would cheerfully
submit, though a private life would be otheraise her choice.

The queen replied, that she did not blame her for choos-
ing a private life ; but she thought she could not innocently
refuse the power that would give her such opportunities of
doing good, and making others happy ; since, by that refusal,
the power might fall into hands that would make an ill use
of it.

After this conversation, they got into the same car in
which they travelled to the wood of Ardella ; arrived safely
at the city of Algorada; and the Princess Hebe was seated,
with universal consent, on her father's throne ; where she

THE governess: 1S5

and her people were reciprocally happy, by her great wisdom
and prudence; and die queen-mother spent the remainder
of her days in peace and joy, to see her beloved daughter
prove a blessing to such numbers of human creatures; whilst
she herself enjoyed that only true content and happiness this
world can produce ; namely, a peaceful conscience and a
quiet mind.

When Miss Jenny had finished her storj^, Mrs. Teachum
left them for the present, that they might, with the utmost
freedom, make their own observations ; for she knew she
should be acquainted wth all their sentiments from Miss
Jenny afterwards.

The little hearts of all the company were swelled with joy,
in that the Princisss Hebe was at last made happy; for hope
and fear had each by turns possessed their bosoms for the
fate of the little princess ; and Miss Dolly Friendly said,
that Rozella's artful manner was enough to have drawn the
wisest girl into her snares ; and she did not see how it was
possible for the Princess Hebe to withstand it, especially
when she cried for fear of parting with her.

Miss Sukey Jennett said that Rozella's laughing at her, and
using her with contempt, she thought was insupportable, for
who could bear the contempt of a friend ?

Many and various were the remarks made by Miss Jenny's
hearers on the story she had read to them. But now they
were so confirmed in goodness, and every one was so settled
in her affection for her companions, that, instead of being
angry at any opposition that was made to their judgments,
every one spoke her opinion with the utmost mildness.

Miss Jenny sat some time silent to hear their conversation
on her fairy tale. But her seeing them so much altered in
their manner of talking to each other, since the time they
made their little remarks on her story of the Giants, filleti
her whole mind with the most sincere pleasure ; and with a
smile peculiar to herself, and which diffused a cheerfulness
all around her, she told her companions the joy their present
behaviour had inspired her with ; but saying that it was as
late as their governess chose they should stay out, she rose,



and walked towards the house, whither she was cheerfully
followed by tlie whole company.

Mrs. Teachum after sujjper, again, in a familiar manner,
talked to them on the subject of the fairy tale, and en-
couraged them, as much as possible, to answer her freely in
whatever she asked them; and at last said, 'My good
children, I am very much pleased when you are innocently
amused ; and yet I would have you consider seriously enough
of what you read, to draw such morals from your books, as
may influence your future practice ; and as to fairy tales irt
general, remember that the fairies, as I told Miss Jenny
before of Giants and Magic, are introduced, by the writers of
those tales, only by way of amusement to the reader. For if
the story is well written, the common course of things would
produce the same incidents, without the help of fairies.

'As for example, in this of the Princess Hebe you see
the queen, her mother, was not admitted to know the
fairy's history, till she could calm her mind enough to
hearken to reason; which only means, that whilst we give
way to the raging of our passions, nothing useful can ever
sink into our minds. For by the fairy Sybella's story you
find, that by our own faults we may turn the greatest advan-
tages into our own miserj^, as Sybella's mother did her
beauty, by making use of the influence it gave her over her
husband to tease him into the ruin of his child ; and as also
Brunetta did, by depending on her father's gift, to enable her
to complete her desires, and therefore never endeavouring
to conquer them.

' You may observe also, on the other side, that no accident
had any power to hurt Sybella, because she followed the
paths of virtue, and kept her mind free from restless passions.
' You see happiness in the good Sybella's peaceful grove,
and misery in the wicked Brunetta's gaudy castle. The
queen desiring the fairy to endow her child with true wis-
dom, was the cause that the Princess Hebe had it in her
power to be happy. But take notice that, when she swer\'ed
from her duty, all her knowledge was of no use ; but only
rendered her more miserable, by letting her see her o\\ti folly
iu the stronger light. Rozella first tempted the princess to


disobedience, by moving her tenderness and alarming her
friendship, in fearing to part with her ; and then by per-
suading her to set up her own wisdom in opposition to her
mother's commands, rather than be laughed at, and despised
by her friends. You are therefore to observe, that if you
would steadily persevere in virtue, you must have resolution
enough to stand the sneers of those who would allure you to
vice ; for it is the constant practice of the vicious to en-
deavour to allure others to follow their example, by an
affected contempt and ridicule of virtue.

' By the Princess Hebe's being drawn at last beyond the
prescribed bounds, by the cries and entreaties of that in-
sidious girl, you are to learn, that whatever appearance of
virtue any action may be attended with, yet, if it makes )''0u
go contrary to the commands of those who know better what
is for your good, than you do yourselves, and who can see
farther into the consequences of actions than can your tender
years, it will certainly lead you into error and misfortune;
and you find, as soon as the princess had once overleaped
the bounds, another plausible excuse arose to carry her on ;
and by a false fear of incurring her mother's displeasure, she
really deserved that displeasure, and was soon seduced into
the power of her enemy.

'The princess, you see, could have no happiness till she
returned again to her obedience, and had confessed her
fault. And though in this story all this is brought about by
fairies, yet the moral of it is, that whenever we give way to our
passions, and act contrary to our duty, we must be miserable.

' But let me once more observe to you, that these fairies
are intended only to amuse you ; for remember that the
misery which attended the Princess Hebe and her disobe-
dience, as well as the natural consequence of her amend-
ment and return to her duty, was content and happiness for
the rest of her life.'

Here good Mrs. Teachum ceased ; and Miss Jenny, in the
name of the company, thanked her for her kind instructions,
and promised that they would endeavour, to the utmost of
their power, to imprint them on their memory for the rest of
their lives.




This morning our little society rose very early, and were
all dressed with neatness and elegance, in order to go to
church. Mrs. Teachum put Miss Polly Suckling before her,
and the rest followed, two and two, with perfect regularity.

Mrs. Teachum expressed great approbation that her
scholars, at this solemn place, showed no sort of childish-
ness, notwithstanding their tender age ; but behaved with de-
cency and devotion suitable to the occasion.

They went again in the same order, and behaved again
in the same manner, in the afternoon ; and when they re-
turned from church, two young ladies, Lady Caroline and
Lady Fanny Delun, who had formerly known Miss Jenny
Peace, and who were at present in that neighbourhood with
their uncle, came to make her a visit.

Lady Caroline was fourteen years of age, tall and genteel
in her person, of a fair complexion, and a regular set of fea-
tures ; so that, upon the whole, she was generally compli-
mented with being very handsome.

Lady Fanny, who was one year younger than her sister,
was rather little of her age, of a brown complexion, her
features irregular ; and, in short, she had not the least real
pretensions to beauty.

It was but lately that their father was, by the death of his
eldest brother, become Earl of Delun ; so that their titles
were new, and they had not been long used to your lady-

Miss Jenny Peace received theni as her old acquaintance :
however, she paid them the deference due to their quality,
and at the same time took care not to behave as if she
imagined they thought of nothing else.

As it was her chief delight to communicate her pleasures
to others, she introduced her new-made friends to her old
acquaintance, and expected to have spent a very agreeable
afternoon. But to describe the behaviour of these two


young ladies is very difficult. Lady Caroline, who was
dressed in a pink robe, embroidered thick with gold, and
adorned with very fine jewels and the finest Mechlin lace,
addressed most of her discourse to her sister, that she might
have the pleasure every minute of uttering ' Your ladyship,'
in order to show what she herself expected. And as she
spoke, her fingers were in perpetual motion, either adjusting
her tucker, placing the plaits of her robe, or fiddling with
a diamond cross, that hung down on her bosom, her eyes
accompanying her fingers as they moved, and then again
suddenly snatched off, that she might not be observed to
think of her own dress ; yet was it plain that her thoughts
were employed only on that and her titles. Miss Jenny
Peace, although she would have made it her choice always
to be in such company as did not deserve ridicule, yet had
she honour enough to treat affectation as it deserved. And
she addressed herself to Lady Caroline with so many lady-
ships, and such praises of her fine clothes, as she hoped
would have made her ashamed ; but Lady Caroline was too
full of her own vanity to see her design, and only exposed
herself ten times the more, till she really got the better of
Miss Jenny, who blushed for her, since she was incapable of
blushing for herself

Lady Fanny's dress was plain and neat only, nor did she
mention anything about it ; and it was very visible her
thoughts were otherwise employed ; neither did she seem to
take any delight in the words ' Your ladyship' : but she
tossed and threw her person about into so many ridiculous
postures, and as there happened unfortunately to be no
looking-glass in the room where they sat, she turned and
rolled her eyes in so many different w^ays, in endeavouring
to view as much of herself as possible, that it was very plain
to the whole company she thought herself a beauty, and
admired herself for being so.

Our little society, whose hearts were so open to each
other that they had not a thought they endeavoured to con-
ceal, were so filled with contempt at Lady Caroline and
Lady Fanny's behaviour, and yet so strictly obliged, by good
manners, not to show that contempt, that the reserve they

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 17 of 43)