Charlotte Mary Yonge.

A storehouse of stories : storehouse the first online

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Sukey put on her hat, and set off with the basket which
had the eggs in it upon her arm. She had not walked long
before Dick Trip overtook her. 'Good morning to you,
Sukey,' said he; 'pray, where are you going?' 'Only to
Mrs. North's,' replied she, ' to carr}' this basket of eggs.' ' I
will carry them for you, if you please,' said Dick, ' for I am
going that way.' ' Thank you,' said Sukey; ' you may take


them if you will be so good, for I begin to be tired of them ;
but be sure you dont let them fall or break them.' He then
took the basket, and promising to take care of it, walked
along by the side of her. As they went on, a rat happened
to come out of the ditch, and ran before them. ' There's a
rat ! ' cried Dick ; ' now we shall have a nice hunt.' Then, for-
getting the care of the eggs, away they both ran, and Dick,
trying to hit it with his hat, slipped his foot into the ditch,
and down he fell, eggs and all.

He was not hurt, but every one of the eggs was broken,
which Sukey seeing, burst out a crj-ing, and did not know
what to do, because she was conscious she had done what
her mother bid her not. 'Oh! what shall I do?' said she,
'what shall I do? My mother will beat me !' ' I am very
sorr}',.' said Dick ; ' I am sure I did not do it on purpose. I
wish I could tell how to help you.' After they had staid
some time to look at the broken eggs, Sukey was obliged
to return home, though she had reason to expect her mother
to be angr}', knowing the accident had happened owing to
her not having minded what she said to her,'

' Well,' said her mother, as soon as she saw her. ' what did
Mrs. North say? and what did she give you for the eggs?'
'O mother!' replied Sukey, 'I am afraid of telling you,
because you will beat me, but all the eggs are broken. I let
Dick Trip carry them because my arm ached, and he fell
down and broke every one.' ' No ; I will not beat you,' said
her mother, 'because you have told me the truth; but you
have lost a new bonnet by not minding what I said to you,
for with the money Mrs. North was to give for those eggs, I
should have bought you one ; but now you have let the eggs
fall, and made me lose the money, I promise you you must
go without, for I cannot afford to buy one; neither shall I
give you the penny I intended for carrying them, and I hope
the next time you will remember, and mind what I say to

'Now,' said Mrs. Bell (as soon as Miss Polly had finished
the story), 'dont you think you was like Sukey? Her
mother told her to carry the eggs herself ; but she gave them
to a boy, because she was tired, and he broke them ; and


I bade you unpick your work yourself, and you gave it to
Dolly Quick, because you was tired, and she spoilt it. And
so some mischief or another always happens when children
do not mind, and do as they are desired.'

' It is a very pretty story,' said Kitty Spruce, ' and is some-
thing like one I found in my book. If you please, ma'am,
I will read it.' 'Pray do, my dear,' said Mrs. Bell; so she


There was a little boy whose father gave him a hen and
chickens to call his own, and promised him that if he would
take care of and feed them, they should not be killed to be
eaten, but be kept to lay eggs.

The boy was much pleased with his father's present, and
took great delight in looking after them, and fed them two
or three times every day ; but it happened unfortunately that
his father's horses were kept in a stable in the same yard
Avith his chickens, and every time the door was opened, in
they all ran to scratch amongst the hay and straw, and were
so close to the horses' heels, that they were in the utmost
danger of being trod upon and killed.

The boy was sadly distressed about it, and tried all the
ways he could think of to keep them out. He talked to
them a great deal of the hazard they ran of being hurt, and
tried to persuade them not to go in any more. ' You shall,
my dear little chickens, have everything you want ; and if you
wish for some hay to cover yourselves and scratch amongst,
it shall be brought in the yard ; but I beg you will not go
into the stable, for I am sure you will be hurt if you do.'

In this manner he spoke to his hen and chickens ; but as
fowls, you know, cannot understand what is said, they paid
no regard to his good advice, but went into the stable as
usual, and two of them were soon after killed by the horses
treading upon them, which they could not help, as the
chickens went where they were putting down their feet.

When the boy took them up, he kissed their cold feathers,


and shaking his head, said, ' How silly it was that you would
not mind me, chickens ; you might then still have been alive
and merry; but you would not mind what I said, though, if
you had had the least sense, you might have been sure I
only advised you to keep out of the stable for your good.'
His father happened to overhear what he was saying to his
dead chickens, and caUing him, said, ' I think, my boy, you
talk very reasonably if your chickens can understand what
you say, yet that, you know, they cannot ; but as you have
sense to understand what 1 say to you, I wish you would
always remember, and learn from the death of your own
chickens, how much you may suffer if you will not attend to
good advice, but like them foolishly follow your own fancy,
at'ter you are told you had better not. His father then went
away, and left a fine basket of peaches and nectarines near
him, telling him upon no account to touch them.

The boy looked at the fruit, and could not help wishing
to taste it. ' My fatl>er,' said he to himself, ' does not grudge
some of these peaches, only he thinks perhaps they may
make me sick ; but surely a little one cannot hurt me. I
will take it, for I dont think that can disagree with me.' He
then took hold of the smallest he could find, but was severely
punished for his disobedience to his father, for a wasp on
the side of the peach, which he did not see, stung his finger
very bad, and put him to violent pain. In a short time his
whole hand and arm were swelled to a monstrous size, and
he was in more pain than he ever had felt in his life.

When his father returned to him, he was crying and sob-
bing sadly, nor could he help showing his hand, the pain of
which caused his tears. ' How silly, now, my boy,' said his
father, ' it was not to mind me ! If you had, you might still
have been merry and free from pain ; but you would not
mind, though you might have been sure, if you had had any
sense, that I only advised you for your own good. Are you
not more silly than the chickens \ for they could not possibly
understand, and therefore did not know that you advised
them for their good ; but you did understand what I said,
and know that I always tell you what is proper for you. I
know what is right, as much better than you do, as you do


better than a chicken ; and if you will not show more sense
than they do by minding what is said, you must suffer for it.'

' I never heard that story before,' said Mrs. Bell, when
Kitty Spruce left off reading, ' and I wish all my little scholars
would try and remember it, for it is very true ; and I never
knew children who disobeyed their friends, and did what
they were bid not, either happy or beloved. Children, my
dears, are very young, and therefore cannot know as well as
their parents : you all, who are old enough to talk and read,
think you know better than little babies do : then why
should not you think that men and women know better than
you do, who, though bigger and wiser than babies, are still
only children % Besides, you should always remember that
your fathers and mothers love you dearly, and take great
care of you, and put themselves to much trouble and ex-
pense to provide everything that is fit for you; and if they
refuse letting you do, or have what you happen to wish for,
it is not because they are cross, but because they know it
would not be proper or good for you. All children, therefore,
who love their parents, always do as they are desired the
moment they are spoken to, and never want to have what
they are once told they must not.'

Just as Mrs. Bell finished talking, the clock struck twelve,
and all the little boys and girls having finished their tasks
of reading and working, made their bows and curtseys, and
w^ent home to their dinners.


A LITTLE before two o'clock, IMrs. Bell's scholars all set off
from their different homes to return to school, and as most
of them lived pretty near together, they generally met in the
way to school.

At one end of the ^'illage which they were to pass before
they got to Mrs. Bell's, there was a' Avell, bricked round
about as high as a stool ; but though there certainly ought
to have been a cover to the top of the well, there was not ;
yet, though it was so dangerous a place, as you shall hear it


proved, the children used very often to sit down to play, or
rest themselves there. As they were going along, Jemmy
Flint, a boy about three or four years old, got some stones
in his shoes, and ran first, to sit upon the side of the well to
take his shoes off, and shake the stones out. Roger Riot, who
saw him sitting, ran to him with the design of frightening
him, by making him believe he would j)ut him down ; but
happening to run against him, and push 'him harder than he
intended, he did throw him down in earnest, and into the
Avell poor little Jemmy tumbled. All the children ran as
fast as they could whsn they saw him flill, in hopes of
being able to help him up again ; but the water was low, and
they could not possibly reach him, though they saw the
poor little fellow struggling and wanting assistance. They
then ran back again to their houses, calling for somebody to
come and help Jemmy. Come and help little Jemmy !

Poor Mrs. Flint and all the neighbours made as much
haste as they possibly could to the well, but before they got
tliere, the child was sunk to the bottom, and when at last
they got him up, he was quite dead. His mother took him
in her arms, and kissed his cold little wet face, whilst her
tears dropped upon him.

Just as she had carried him indoors, his sister, a little
girl about seven years old, returned from an errand she had
been sent upon. When she saw her brother in her mother's
arms, looking so pale, she enquired what was the matter with
him % ' Our dear little Jemmy,' said her mother, ' tumbled
down the well, and is drowned, and he will never speak to
us any more.' Upon hearing which, Patty, who was very
fond of her brother, burst out a crying, and said, ' Oh ! what
shall I do for my Jemmy !' She then ran to him, as her
mother laid him on the bed, and kissing his wet cheeks,
called outj ' Jemmy ! brother ! Wake, and open your eyes !
What shall I do without you ? I love you dearly, and want
you to talk to me, to play and nm about with me.' ' Oh !
my dear,' said her mother, ' he will never talk or run about
with you again, for he is clead.' ' But perhaps,' said Patty, ' if
he was to be wiped dry and warmed, he would come to
life. So she pulled off his wet clothes, and warmed his night


shirt and nightcap, and put them on, and covered him with
the bed-clothes ; but all her care was of no service, as he
was quite dead before they got him out of the well.

The next evening Mr. Right buried him, and all the
children of the village were at the funeral. Roger Riot,
who was amongst them, cried very much, as well he might
when he thought of the mischief he had done, and the
sorrow he had occasioned poor Mrs. Flint and her daughter
Patty, who loved Jemmy dearly, because he was a good
boy, and therefore did not like to part from him.

After he was buried, Mr. Right took Roger Riot by the
hand, and talked a great deal to him. ' Dont you remem-
ber,' said he, ' when you ran after the girls in my field, I told
you how naughty it was to try to tease people, and that you
should never do anything without thinking whether what
you are going to do is right % And now, by not minding my
advice, you have killed one of your play-fellows. Do you
consider how wicked it is to kill people ? and that those who
do so must be hanged? Should you like to be hanged 1'
' Indeed, indeed, sir, I did not do it for the purpose,' replied
Roger ; ' I always loved Jemmy Flint, and would not have
hurt him upon any account, if I could have helped it. I
am sure I did not mean to drown him !'

' What, then, did you mean to do ]' said Mr. Right.
' Only to play with, and frighten him,' answered Roger.
' And do you like to be frightened V replied Mr. Right, ' Do
you think that was pretty play, to wish to tease and terrify a
poor little boy less than yourself? It is a foolish, ill-natured,
very wrong thing, to try to frighten anybody \ you dont
know what mischief it may do : sometimes it makes people
so sick, that they never get well as long as they live ; some-
times it quite" kills them ; but if it happens not to do so
much harm, it is still very disagreeable ; and we should never
do anything that is disagreeable to any body, but should take
particular care not to do anything which may make people
imeasy or hurt them ; and had you minded these rules you
would not have knocked poor little Jemmy into the well.'

Roger Riot stood ver)- quietly to hear all that Mr. Right
said to him, and then, promising to be more careful of his


behaviour for the future, -walked home very gravely, where
he staid the rest of the evening without jjlaying, for he
thought so much about little Jemmy, that he had no inclina-
tion to play or talk ; and I hope this will be a warning to
all children, neither to go too near the water, nor to push
or drive one another about without seeing where they are
going, or how much they may hurt one another.


The next morning, as the litde folks went to school, Roger
Riot, as he passed by the well, said that he did not believe
he should ever see that, or any other well, without thinking
of little Jemmy Flint ; nor did he feel as if he should ever
play so rudely as he had done. He said he wished he had
minded what Mr. Right had said to him before, for he was
very unhappy, and did not much think he should ever be
comfortable any more.

' Yes,' said Frank West, ' I hope some time or other you
will be comfortable again, though I can't say I wonder you
should now be unhappy, after having been the cause of a
boy's being drowned. I should wonder, indeed, if you did
feel happy and merry, especially as you did it in doing what
you have been told not to do. If you had run against him
by accident, without intending it, it would not have been so
bad ; but you did it on juirpose to frighten him and make
him cry, you said. I can't think how you can like to do so,
Roger. And then you are so careless, that I wonder you
have not killed more of your play-fellows. You know you
have hurt them very much ; and I assure you, that Nanny
Trundle's head is very poorly still, owing to the bruise she
received when you ran against her, and flung her down ; and
she has never been without the headache since. Yet then
you said you did not intend to do any harm ; neither did
you intend any harm when you cut Peter Limp's leg by
throwing the hatchet at him ; nor when you spoiled Sam
Strut's clothes with rotten eggs : yet you know his father
was very angry with him, and thrashed him heartily when he


went home, for dirting his new coat ; and yet you say you

never intend to do any harm. I wish, therefore, if you do
not such thin.L's on purpose, you would take rather more
care, and not do so without intending it.'

By the time Frank had finished speaking they arrived at
Mrs. Bell's, who repeated much the same as Mr. Right had
said to Roger, and advised all little boys and girls in her
school to be very careful how they behaved whilst at play,
and never to try to tease or frighten each other. Just after
she had set them all their tasks, Master Bill Crafty's maid
brought him to school with a message from his papa to Mrs.
Bell, to beg the favour of her to let him know if Master Bill
.was naughty or told any more fibs. Mrs. Bell then enquired
how he had behaved ; and the maid told her, that when his
papa brought him home the night he had been whipped, he
put him to bed without his supper, nor would he let him
have anything to eat next day till he had been to Mr.
West's, and ask little Joe's pardon for using him so crossly ;
that after that his papa talked to him a great deal, and he
had now promised to be good ; but if he was not he was to
be whipped and punished a great deal more than he had
ever been yet.

Mrs. Bell then said she hoped he would be good, and
promised to send word home in case he was not ; but
Master Bill had been so punished, and suffered so very
much, that he began to think he had better be good than
naughty ; he therefore sat quite still all the morning,
and learned his lesson ; and when Mrs. Bell called him to
say it, he spelt it quite right, without missing a letter : so
she gave him an apple and a biscuit to encourage him to be
good, and asked him if he did not think that much more
agreeable than being beat and tied to his stool, and going
without any victuals. He confessed he liked it much better,
and felt more comfortable than when he was naughty. ' Yes,'
said she, ' and so do all children, for none are ever comfort-
able who are not good.' She then repeated the following
verses, and Miss Hannah Right, Frank West, and Jenny
Meek liked them so well, that they begged the favour of


her to give them each a copy, that they might learn to say
them by heart, which she did.

If any one wishes for pleasure and ease,

They must constantly goodness maintain ;
Their parents at all times endeavour to please,

Or their wishes will be but in vain.

With good-humour each child should directly obey

Whatever its friends sliall require;
Not argue, and pout, and saunter away.

Without doing what they desire.

For those who are naughty, and will not attend

To the advice which their parents liestow,
Against all true goodness and virtue offend,

And shall never sweet happiness know.

' What happiness now,' continued Mrs. Bell, ' could you
find, Master Crafty, whilst you was sitting in the corner of the
room, tied like a dog to your stool, or whilst your jjapa was
whipping you ^ Neither .should I think could Jack Sneak
be very happy whilst his father was horse-whipping him all
the way home, or when locked up in the closet. Nor even
should I suppose Ben Heady, when he goes creeping about
by himself, not daring to go into Mr. Right's field, feels very
comfortable; but I am very glad that naughtiness is always
attended with such disagreeable feelings, that children may
remember and not be naughty any more, after having known
how sad a thing it is.' 'Sad indeed,' said Jenny Meek; ' for
I remember when I was naughty one day, a great Avhile ago,
I felt more unhappy than I did all the time 1 had my fever,
though I was so bad.'

'Yes, I dare say you did, my dear,' said Mrs. Bell; ' it is a
sad thing to be sick, but much worse to be naughty.' 'What,
ma'am!' said Ned Brisk; 'had you rather be sick than
naughty?' ' N es, a great deal,' she replied. 'I should be
very sorry to be ill, for I do not like to be in pain ; but I
still less like to be naughty. If I was sick, good peo])le
would love me, and nurse, and take care of me; but if I
was naughty nobody would nurse me, nor like to help me; and
if peoplewould not be so kind as to give me their assistance,
I don't know what would become of me, for there are a


great many things I could not do for myself; but I must
not expect they would help me if I was naughty.' When
the clock struck twelve Master Crafty's maid came to fetch
him home, and to enquire how he had behaved. Mrs. Bell told
her that he had been a good boy, and she was in great
hopes he would grow quite good, and not be naughty any
more. She then bade him and all her little scholars re-
member to come soon in the afternoon ; and wishing them
well home, shut the door and went to dinner.


As the children were going home, Jacob Steadfast took out
a silver pocket-piece, and tossed it up and down as he

When Harry Sturdy (the oldest boy in Mrs. Bell's school)
saw it, he asked Jacob to give it to him. ' It is a very
pretty pocket-piece,' said he; 'I wish you would let me have
it. I will give you anything in change for it; how much is
it worth?'

Jacob answered, ' My father told me that it was worth a
shilling ; but I cannot let you have it, because when my
mother gave it to me, she bade me never part with it, but
keep it till I was a man.' ' Pho ! ' said Harry, ' is that the
only reason why you cannot let me have it ? When you are
a man it will never be of any service to you; I will give you
sixpence for it now, and bring you two more sixpences which
I have at home in the afternoon, if you Avill but give it
to me.'

' No,' replied Jacob, * you may keep your sixpences youi-
self, and, as you say, they will be of much more use to you;
but I shall not part with this, because my mother bade
me not.'

' And is that the only reason why you will not let me have
it?' said Harry. 'Yes, indeed it is,' answered Jacob, 'for
there are many things that I could buy with the three six-
pences you offer me which I should like much better: I
could buy a new bat and ball, and some marbles I want


sadly, and a top too, and some dumps, and a new skipping-
rope; and I had much rather have them than this pocket-
piece.' 'Well, then, what a foolish fellow you are!' said
Harry. ' What ! foolish to mind what my mother said to
me !' replied Jacob. ' Do you call that being foolish % I am
sure it would be much more foolish, and naughty too, not to
mind her; and, though I wanted the things more than I do,
and you oftered me ten sixpences, I would not part with it,
or do anything she bade me not ; for I think I must look
like a fool indeed, if, when she should ask me to let her
look at my pocket-piece, I should be forced to say that I
had sold it; and then, when she asked me why I parted from
it after she had bidden me not, what could I say, but hang
my head and look foolish indeed? No, no, Harry; if you
call me foolish for minding what is said to me, and doing as
my kind mother bids me, you may if you please ; but I
promise you I shall not do otherwise.' ' Why, then,' said
Harry, ' if you should not like to tell her that you sold it,
drop it down and I will pick it up, and if you please you
may try to get it again ; but if once I get it, I warrant that
you never shall, and then you may tell your mother that you
dropped it as you were playing with it, and Harry Sturdy,
a boy much bigger than yourself, caught it up, and would
not let you have it again.'

Just as he had finished these words, Mr. Steadfast, who
had been walking in a field on the other side of the hedge,
and had heard all that passed between his son and Harry-,
jumped over the bank, and taking hold of Sturdy, thrashed
him most heartily (as he well deserved) with a cane whicli
he had in his hand. ' Is it in this way,' said Mr. Steadfast,
' that you try to corrupt your school-fellows, and make them
as naughty as yourselH Are you not ashamed of wanting
to persuade Jacob to do what his mother bade him not ?
and, what is worse, try to teach him to cheat and deceive
her, by telling her that he dropped the pocket-piece, and you
picked it up and would not let him have it again % I do not
know what you call lying, Harry, but I assure you that I
think, if Jacob had said so after he had droj^ped it on pur-
pose, it would have been as much a lie as any other he


could have told ; and whatever you may think of it, I
promise you, to deceive people in that artful manner is quite
as wicked and naughty as any other deceit can be ; but
since you make no better use of your money than to try to
buy people to be naughty with it, I shall tell your father and
mother, that they may not give you any more ; and I will
ask them if they do not think deceiving and being so artful
just as wicked as telling lies.'

He then took hold of his arm and made him go with him
directly home, where he found Mr. Sturdy tying up some
flowers in his garden. Jacob too went with them, not for

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 33 of 43)