Charlotte Mary Yonge.

A storehouse of stories : storehouse the first online

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the sake of seeing Harry punished, for no goodnatured
child would like another to suffer, but because his father had
ordered him to follow them.

As soon as they came into the garden, ' I am sorry,' said
Mr. Steadfast, ' to bring you bad news, but I think, Mr.
Sturdy, it is very proper you should know of your son's be-
haviour, after which you may do as you think best.'

He then told him all the conversation that had passed
between the two boys, and added, ' If my son had been so
artful and naughty, I should certainly have punished him as
much as if he told a lie, for I think the fault the same.'

'I think it is worse,' said Mr. Sturdy; 'for he not only
would tell a lie himself, but would likewise teach a good
boy to do so too; but he shall be well punished, I assure you.'

He then took him in-doors, but presently returned with
the three sixpences which Harry had promised to give to
Jacob if he would let him have his pocket-piece. ' Here, my
dear,' said he, ' I am sure you deserve the sixpences, more
than if you had done as my naughty boy would have had
you ; so pray take them, for I am sure he shall have no more
money, as he makes so bad a use of it'

Jacob thanked him, and said that he did not want to be
paid for being good, but that he chose to be good because
it was right, and the way to be happy.

'Ay,' said Mr. Sturdy, 'it is indeed the only way to be
happy; and those who are naughty never are so. I fancy it
will be a good while before Harry feels happy again; if there
were no other reason beside his punishment, that would be


enough to make him unhappy : he shall be punished suffi-
ciently, I promise him, for so wickedly trying to make you
as bad as himself, and intending to deceive by his artful

Mr. .Steadfest and Jacob then took leave of him, but he
did not tell them in what manner he intended to correct
Harry, nor did I ever hear, though I dare say it was severe.;
for he was never once seen out of doors for a week after-
wards, and was then sent to a boarding-school many miles
distant, where he continued a long time before he was
suffered to play with any of his companions.


As Mr. Steadfast and Jacob walked home they talked a great
deal about what had happened. ' You see, my dear,' said
Mr. Steadfast, ' the sad consequence of being naughty :
children seldom escape being punished for it, and if they do
sometimes get off without being found out, still the thoughts
of their bad behaviour will always make them feel uncom-
fortable: besides, they must quite lose the good opinion and
love of all who know them. What esteem or love could
you ever have Iiad for Hany Sturdy after you knew that he
would deceive, though I had not happened to hear him, or
his father had never found him out ? Could you ever have
depended upon him or trusted him again % ' ' No indeed,'
replied Jacob, ' I should always have thought that perhaps
he was telling stories, or not speaking quite true.' ' You
might well have thought fo,' said his father : ' children who
will be so naughty can never be believed. I once knew a
boy who lost his life through not speaking the truth.'
' Pray,' said Jacob, 'tell me how not speaking the truth could
make him lose his life. I do not understand how telling fil)s
could kill him.' ' You shall hear, my dear,' said his fatiier.
' Ralph Breakclod, who lived near my father's when I was
a boy, was a lad about ten years old, and a very fine, tall,
handsome boy of his age. He looked so smiling and
[^leasing that everybody, when they saw liini, used to adniire

li li 2


him; but they soon found that he told Hes and was not to
be depended upon, and then, though they had hked him at
first, they no longer chose his company.

'" Ralph Breakclod," they used tosay,"isa fine boy and very
handsome, but what does that signify? for he does not speak
the trnth: he is artful, and deceives people: there is no trust-
ing him, nor believing anything he says." When he was sent
on an errand he would stay and play with any boys he met
in the way; and if his parents asked why he had been gone
so long, he would say that he could not find the way, or that
a gentleman met him as he was coming home and desired him
to carry a message for him.

' One day, when his mother sent him to carry a fine large
apple-pie (which she had baked in her oven) to his grand-
mother, who lived about half-a-mile off, he sat down under a
hedge when he had gotten out of sight, and ate it up, and then
broke the dish to bits, and brought the pieces home, saying
that a horse had run against him as he was crossing the road,
and knocked him down, and broken the pie in the middle of
the dirty road.

' His parents had so often found him guilty of telling lies
and deceiving them, that they did not know how to believe
what he said ; but as they were not willing to punish him if
they could help it, and as what he said possibly might be
true, they did not do anything to him, only said they hoped
he was not telling a story, and if they found out that he had
been deceiving them, he should certainly be corrected ver)'

' Ralph again declared that it was all true, and so at
that time had no more said to him about it. But it was
not long before he was again guilty of the same crime: I
do not mean that he ate another pie, but that he told
another story.

' One afternoon when he was going to school he hap-
pened to see me and another boy playing in a field through
which he was to pass. I asked him whither he was going,
and he replied to school. " Are you % " said I. " Our
master has given us half-a holiday " (for we did not go to
the same school). " My master," returned Ralph, " has


not given me a holiday, but I will take one, I am re-
solved : for I am sure I will not go if you do not."
" Pray, Ralph," said I, " do not talk so, for it will be very
wrong to stay and play without leave: I have leave to play
this afternoon, but you have not \ you had therefore better
go as you ought to do, and we will wait for you here."

' " Very well," said he, '' if you will stay for me I will soon
get leave, I warrant you," and away he ran as fast as he
could ; but when he got within sight of his fathers house he
began to walk lame, and put his hand to his hip as if in
great pain, at the same time groaning and crying out, " O,
what shall I do! I am in such pain I do not know what to
do, or how to walk home! "

' His parents, who loved him dearly (for though he was
often naughty, they were in hopes that he would grow good),
were very sorry to see him in such a state, and ran out to
meet him, and enquired what was the matter % " Oh," said
he, pretending to be in great pain, " I have hurt my leg so
bad that I cannot walk. As I was going to school 1 slipped
off the footpath, and have so sprained my leg that I c-annot
put it to the ground, and if you would give me ever so much
I could not walk so far as to the school."

' His mother then led him in doors, and rubbed his leg and
hip with something to do it good, whilst he all the time
scjualled out as if she hurt him by touching him; and as she
really thought he was hurt, and could not walk, she told him
he might stay at home and keep quiet: she then put on his
stocking again, and left him whilst she went about her

'As soon as his mother was gone out of the room he
opened the door and crept softly out of the house, and
came running back again to us who were playing in the field.

'"Well!" said he, "my mother has given me leave to
stay away from school this afternoon, and so I am come to
play with you; " but he did not tell us in what manner he had
gotten the leave to play, for he knew if he had, we should
have told his parents : not that we were tell-tales, and hked
to get our playfellows into trouble; but such a great crime as
iie had been guilty of was so extremely bad that we certainly


should have been naughty ourselves not to tell his friends of

it, that they might take some method to prevent his ever
being so Avicked again; but as we knew nothing at that time
of his naughtiness, we v/ent to play with him as if nothing had

' After we had been at play some time, we began to run
races, to try who could run the fastest ; and just as we were
all running across the field as fast as we could, Ralph's
father, who was going into the town, happened to come by
and saw us.

' He was quite surprised, and could hardly believe that he
saw his son, who he thought was at home unable to \valk.

'" What Ralph !" said he, "is this the way in which you
use US'? And do you tell us that you are hurt for the sake of
staying from school that you may come and play? but it
shall be long enough before you play again, or have another
holiday, I promise you ! I will send word to your master to
whip you at school to-morrow morning for playing truant
and staying away."

' Mr. Breakclod then made a rod of some twigs out of the
hedges, and did flog him most severely indeed ; and though
I was sorry to see my playfellow suffer so much pain, yet I
thought that he quite deserved it for the artful lie he had
been guilty of telling.

' When I went home, I told my father what had happened.
" Ah ! my boy," said he, " you see the consequence of being
naughty, and whoever is so must sutler for it; and those
children who, while they are young, will lie and deceive, will
most likely, when they grow up, come to untimely ends.
Whatever you do, therefore, be sure never to tell a lie, not
even if by so doing you could escape ever so much trouble ;
for you may depend upon it (and so may everybody in the
world) that some time or other you will suffer much more
distress from having been so wicked as to tell a lie, than
telling one can at present possibly save you from. Always,
therefore, my dear boy, be good and honest, and you will be
happy; but if you are deceitful, sly, and naughty, you may
be assured that you will be miserable."

' I listened very attentively to this good advice, and resolved


(as I hope every child wiU do who reads tliis book) to mind,
and never on any account be guilty of deceit and lying.

' Ralph Breakclod had also often been told by his parents
how wicked it was to tell stories, and it would have been well
if he had minded what they said ; but he would not, which
was the cause of his coming to so unhappy an end as he did.

'After his father had found him in the field, according to
his promise he had him well whipped at school the next
morning ; nor did he let him come home before bedtime for
above a month after.

' Ralph began to be sorry that he had been so wicked, and
so indeed he had great reason to be ; for as nobody could
believe a word that he said, he often suffered many incon-

' One day when he really had the headache very bad, his
father gave him a basket to carry to a gentleman's house
about two miles off Ralph said that his head ached so
much that he could not carry it, and he wanted to go to
bed ; but his father thought he only said so for the sake of
being idle and staying at home, as he complained of his leg
when he wanted to stay away from school ; so he made him
go, though if he had never had any reason to doubt his word,
he certainly would let him have gone to bed to Xxy to ease
his head, instead of sending him so far in the heat of the

'Another time, when he had fallen down and hurt his arm,
so that it was really painful to use it, his mother made him
brush some curtains, and carry some chairs which were below
into an upper room, and bring others down ; and when he
complained of his arm, she thought that he only wanted to
deceive her, as he had formerly done about his leg, and
many times besides ; so she insisted upon his doing as she
bade him, though she was too good-tempered a woman to
like to give anybody pain, and would much rather have
finished all the jobs herself than made Ralph increase the
uneasiness of his arm, if she could have believed him when
he told her that it was hurt ; but such kind of troubles he
was every day meeting with, because he had so frequently
told lies and deceived people, that they never could depend


upon anything which he said ; and everybody who accustom
themselves to that foohsh, wicked practice, will most certainly
suffer great inconvenience and distress when it may happen
that they do speak the truth, from its being quite impossible
for anybody to believe what they say.

' The pain and trouble which I have already said that Ralph
daily got himself into by his artful, wicked tricks, were but
trifling to the rest of the story; for, as I told you, he lost his
life through his shocking custom of telling lies.

' It happened one day, almost a twelvemonth after he had
eaten up his grandmother's pie, and when he thought it was
so long ago that it would never be found out, that Mr. Break-
clod's man, who used to drive one of his carts, died, and he
had another to supply his place.

' The new man the moment he saw Ralph smiled, and said,
" I remember that I saw you, master, a great while ago, sitting
under a hedge, eating an apple-pie, and little did I think
then that I should come to live with you. I saw you too,
when you broke the dish again the post, after you had eaten
up the nice pie."

' When his parents heard this it added to their grief greatly,
to think what a naughty child they had ; and they were still
more resolved not to believe anything that he said.

' Soon afterwards his mother made another pie, and bade
Ralph mind and carry it as he should do, and not come and
tell his artful tales after he had eaten it himself.

' Ralph took the pie, and did intend to carry it safe to his
grandmother; but as he went, a horse which was trotting
along in a chaise knocked him down, and the wheel went
over his back, hurt him terribly, and really broke the pie all
to pieces.

' Poor Ralph cried sadly, and with much difficulty and great
pain hobbled home, and told his parents what had happened ;
but they did not believe one word that he said, as he told
very much the same story about the last pie, and walked as
lame, and mAde just as much complaint and crjang about his
leg, when he pretended that was hurt ; so they thought (as
they well might) that he was only trj-ing to deceive them
again, and instead of sending for a surgeon, which they would


have done had they believed that he was so much hurt, his
father whipped him very severely for telling what he thought
was another lie.

' Ralph's back, which was shockingly bruised, grew worse,
nor could he walk nor even sit without great pain, neither
could he sleep when in bed from the violence of the pain ;
but. although he suffered so much nobody pitied him, or
did anything to cure him ; for they all thought that he was
telling tibs that he might not be sent to school, or go on any

' His parents, therefore, only punished him when he com-
plained at home ; and his master beat him at school for
crying and not minding his learning, which indeed he could
not much attend to, because of the real pain that he was in.

' Ralph now began to find the bad consequence of his
wicked, deceitful behaviour, and wished most earnestly that
he had never been so naughty ; but he should have thought
of being good sooner, and minded the kind advice of his
friends, before he suffered so much from not attending to

' At last, however, he grew so very bad, was so thin, could
not eat at all, or sleep when he went to bed, that his father
was so kind as to look at his back, and was quite concerned
to find it so extremely bad.

' Ralph then called out, " Do you believe me now, father?'*
"Yes," replied his father, "I do believe you now, and so I
should from the first if you had not told lies and deceived
me before. You know that your mother and I were both
fond of you, and loved you so dearly that nothing gave us
so much pleasure as to see you happy. We would have
done anything that was right to please you : we both worked
very hard, and took great pains to make you good, but you
told lies and deceived us, and the consequence is that you
have now suffered much pain which might have been re-
lieved could we have believed you. I am sorry, as you did
happen to speak the truth this time, that I did not look at
your back sooner; but indeed it is your own fault for having
been so wicked, and giving me reason to think that you were
falsifyip.g. I do not think that you will ever be cured, but


if you live I hope it will teach )'0u never to deceive anybody


' Ralph made no reply to what his father said : he only
cried sadly, and I suppose did intend to grow good; but the
violent pain of his back brought on a fever, and he died in
about a week after his father had seen it.

' And now, Jacob,' continued Mr. Steadfast. * I hope neither
you nor any other little boy or girl who may ever hear this
sad account of Ralph Breakclod, will look upon it only as a
pretty story to amuse you, but consider all the circumstances
of his sufferings as the sad cousequences of lying; for though
perhaps all children who are guilty of telling lies, or any kind
of deceit, may not happen to hurt their backs, or die just as
Ralph did, yet they may be very certain that some time or
other they will be very severely punLshed for their crime, and
will quite lose the love even of their best friends; neither
will anybody believe a word they say, though they should
chance to speak the truth, as it will be impossible to know
when they do or do not. And unless Harry Sturdy is heartil}'
sorry for what he said to you, and takes care never to deceive
anybody again as long as ever he lives, I dare say that he
will come to be as unhappy as Ralph was.'

When Mr. Steadfast left off speaking, Jacob thanked him
for the history, and promised to remember it ahvays and
speak the truth, and said that he never had told a lie, and
hoped he never should.

' I hope not,' said his father; 'for it is a sad thing, and ]
should not love you half so well as I do. Had you parted
with your pocket-piece after your mother bade you not, it
would have been very wrong ; but after you had done a
wrong thing, being guilty of deceit and falsehood could not
possibly have made it better, but, on the contrary, would
have been adding a still greater crime to the one you had
been guilty of in breaking your word, after you had promised
not to part with the pocket-piece, and that is always the case
when people do what they ought not, and then commit the
sin of lying or deceiving to prevent its being discovered.'

' I think so indeed,' said Jacob; ' but was it not very cross
tJiat neither Mr. or Mrs. Breakclod would look at Ralph's


back when he first told them how bad it was ? ' 'No, my
dear,' repHed Mr. Steadfast, вАҐ indeed I do not think it was.
If they had had any reason to suppose the tale he told them
of being knocked down and the pie broke to pieces was
more true the second than the first time, they would have
been very unkind and wrong not to have looked at and
taken care of his back; but as he had made them really
believe his account of the first pie, though they afterwartls
found it was false, they had no reason to think his second
history was true, or that his back was hurt.'

' Yes, they had,' said Jacob, ' for he told them it was true.'
'So he did,' said Mr. Steadfast; 'and so he did before when
he said the horse had thrown him down; and when he said
he had hurt his leg; and therefore they had no reason to
believe it, because he said it was true : for which r ^ason it
was quite his own fault that they could not believe him; and
it must be the case, that those people who tell lies sometimes
will never be believed.'

Mr. Steadfast again begged Jacob to remember that what
he had been telling him was a true story, not only made to
entertain him, and desiring it might teach him never to be
guilty of lying or deceiving, which was just as bad a crime.

Jacob repeated his intention of always being good and
speaking the truth; and his father, giving him a new bat and
ball, he ran with them into Mr. Right's field, rejoicing that
he had not been so naughty as to mind what Harry had
said to him; and feeling quite happy and comfortable that
he was good, and that his father had made him a present of
the bat and ball, instead of having bought them with the
money Harry would have given him for his pocket-piece.


The children all played very comfortably in Mr. Right's
field. Some of the boys ran races; others played at cricket;
others flew their kites; whilstthegirlsdiverted themselves, some
at blind-man's-buff, others at puss-in-the-corner, and others
at rum-riot, which perhaps you may not be acquainted with;


and as it is very entertaining, I will tell you the way they
always played at it. Three children stand with their backs
all as close together as they can, all singing at once, and
they must be sure to keep time :

What we have to do is this,
All bow, all courtesy, and all kiss ;
And first we are our heads to bow.
As we, my dears, must all do now ;
Then courtesy down unto the ground,
Then rise again, and all jump round ;
And after jumping we do this.
All thus together fondly kiss.

Then they all take hands, and foot it twice round, and
after that begin again. You cannot think how pretty it is
when they mind to sing and dance in the right time, when
they say, ' And first we are our heads to bow,' to bow their
heads at that time ; and to courtesy when they sing, ' Then
courtesy down unto the ground;' and so jump round, when
they sing about jumping ; and to kiss, when the song says,
' We all together fondly kiss.'

Sometimes all the children in Mr. Right's field play at it ;
at the same time standing in different places three together,
and when they all sung, bowed, courtesied, jumped, and
kissed at the same time, it looked a very pretty play indeed.

After all the children had been diverting themselves till
it was almost time for them to go home, Mr. and Mrs. Right
took a walk in the field ; and calling them all to them, Mr.
Right enquired which had been the best child that day.
They were all too modest to praise themselves, and there-
fore they all remained silent for some time. At last Frank
West said, ' We have all been good,' sir ; ' but I think Jacob
Steadfast has been the best.' He then told him all that
Harry Sturdy had said to persuade him to disobey his
mother, and then hide his fault by deceiving her.

When Mr. Right heard it, he was quite astonished that
Harry should be so wicked a boy. ' Well,' says he, ' I could
never have thought Harry Sturdy could have been so very
naughty; I took notice he was not at play amongst you ; but
1 did not suppose he was staying away for being so bad a


boy : I am very sorry to hear such an account of him ; but
if he is so wicked himself, and wants to persuade others to
be so too, it is very proper he should be kept at home; and
if he comes here I shall send him back, for no naughty,
wicked children shall play in my field. But you, Jacob, may
play in my field whenever you please, when your parents
dont want you, and school is over, for I think you have
been verj' good; and as you wished for a bag of marbles,
though you was too good to accept of Harry's money to buy
them, I will get some against you come to play to-morrow.
I will also give some to you, Frank West, for being so kind
as to tell me of Jacob's goodness and honour, or I should
not have known it; and it gives me great pleasure to hear
of good children. I shall likewise, to-morrow, have some
pretty new books come from London ; and which of you
reads the best shall have one in the evening; and if you all
read well, you shall each have one.' 'And I,' said Mrs.
Right, ' have gotten some pretty pincushions and house-
wifes; and those little girls who work the neatest and cleanest
shall have them.'

The children were all much pleased with Mr. and Mrs.
Right's kind promises; and after thanking them for their
goodness, and wishing them a good night, the church-clock
struck eight, and they all ran home.


The next morning tliey all got up, and as soon as they had
finished their break fiists set off for school.

Jacob Steadfast went from home before any of his school-
fellows, intending to get there first, and learn some of his

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 34 of 43)