Charlotte Mary Yonge.

A storehouse of stories : storehouse the first online

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says she, ' longer than I intended, and am, I am afraid, come
too soon for you now.' ' No, but indeed you are not,' replied
the other : ' for I have got my lesson, and so has Sally
Dawson, and so has Harry Wilson, and so have we all ; ' and
they capered about as if they were overjoyed to see her.
' Why then,' says she, ' you are all very good, and God Al-
mighty will love you ; so let us begin our lessons.' They
all huddled round her, and though at the other place they
were employed about words and syllables, here we had
people of much greater understanding who dealt only in sen-

The letters being brought upon the table, one of the
little ones set up the following sentence.

' The Lord have mercy upon me, and grant that I may be
always good, and say my prayers, and lo^•e the Lord my
God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my


strength ; and honour the king and all good men in author-
ity under him.'

Then the next took the letters, and composed this sentence.

' Lord have mercy upon me, and grant that I may love
my neighbour as myself, and do unto all men as I would
have them do unto me, and tell no lies ! but be honest and
just in all my dealings.'

Lesson for the Conduct of Life.

He that would thrive,
Must rise by five.

He that hath thriv'n,
I\Iay lay till seven.

Truth may be blam'd,
But can't be sham'd.

Tell me with whom you go,
And I'll tell what you do.

A friend in your need,
Is a friend indeed.

They never can be wise.
Who good counsel despise.

As we were returning home, we saw a gendeman, who
was very ill, sitting under a shady tree at the corner of the
rookeiy. Though ill, he began to joke with Little Margery,
and said, laughing, ' So, Goody Two-Shoes, they tell me
you are a cunning little baggage ; pray can you tell me what
I shall do to get well V ' Yes, sir,' says she, ' go to bed when
your rooks do, and get up with them in the morning ; earn,
as they do, every day what you eat, and eat and drink no
more than you earn : and you'll get health and keep it.
What should induce the rooks to frequent gentleman's
houses, only but to tell them how to lead a prudent life 1
they never build under cottages or farm-houses, because
they see that these people know how to live without their

Thus wealth and wit you may improve,
Taught by tenants of the grove. '

The gentleman laughing, gave Margery sixpence, and
told her she was a sensible hussy.




Who does not know Lady Ducklington, or who does not
know that she was buried at this parish church? Well, I
never saw a grander funeral in all my life : but the money
they squandered away, would have been better laid out in
little books for children, or in meat, drink, and clothes for
the poor.

All the country round came to see the burying, and it was
late before the corpse was interred. After which, in the
night, or rather about two o'clock in the morning, the bells
were heard to jingle in the steeple, which frightened the
people prodigiously, who all thought it was Lady Duckling-
ton's ghost dancing among the bell ropes. The people
flocked to Will Dobbins, the clerk, and wanted him to go to
see what it was ; but William said he was sure it was a ghost,
and that he would not offer to open the door. At length
Mr. Long, the rector, hearing such an uproar in the village,
went to the clerk, to know why he did not go into the
church, and see who was there. ' I go, sirl' says William, ' why
the ghost would frighten me out of my wits.' Mrs. Dobbins
too cried, and laying hold of her husband, said, he should
not be eat up by the ghost. ' A ghost, you blockhead,' says
Mr. Long in a pet, ' did either of you ever see a ghost in a
church, or know anybody that did?' 'Yes,' says the clerk,
* my father did once in the shape of a windmill, and it walked
all around the church in a trice, with jack boots on, and had
a gun by its side, instead of a sword.' ' A fine picture of a
ghost, truly,' says Mr. Long ; ' give me the key of the church,
you monkey; for I tell you there is no such thing now,
whatever may have been formerly.' Then taking the key, he
went to the church, all the people following him. As soon
as he had opened the door, what sort of a ghost do you
think appeared ? Why, little Two-Shoes, who being weary
had fallen asleep in one of the pews during the funeral ser-
vice, and was shut in all night. She immediately asked Mr.


Long's pardon for the trouble she had given him, told him
she had been locked into the church, and said she should not
have rung the bells, but that she was very cold, and hearing
farmer Boult's man go whistling by with his horses, she
was in hopes he would have gone to the clerk for the key to
let her out.



The people were ashamed to ask Little Madge any questions
before Mr. Long, but as soon as he was gone, they all got
round her to satisfy their curiosity, and desired she would
give them a particular account of all that she had heard or

Her Tale.

' I went to the church, said she, as most of you did last night,
to see the burying, and, being very weary, I sat me down in
Mr. Johns's pew, and fell fast asleep. At eleven of the clock
I awoke ; which I believe was in some measure occasioned
by the clock's striking, for I heard it. I started up, and
could not at first tell where I was; but after some time I
recollected the funeral, and soon found that I was shut in
the church. It was dismal dark, and I could see nothing;
but while I was standing in the pew, something jumped up
upon me behind, and laid, as I thought, its hands over my
shoulders. I own I was a little afraid at first ; however, I
considered that I had always been constant at prayers, and
at church, and that I had done nobody any harm, but had
endeavoured to do what good I could ; and then, thought
I, what have I to fear? Yet I kneeled down to say my
prayers. As soon as I was on my knees, something very
cold, as cold as marble, aye, as cold as ice, touched my
neck, which made me start ; however, I continued my
prayers, and having begged protection from Almighty God,
I found my spirits come, and I was sensible I had nothing
to fear; for God Almighty protects not only all those that
are good, but also all those who endeavour to be good, —


nothing can withstand the power, and exceed the goodness
of God Almighty. Armed with the confidence of His
protection, I walked down the church aisle, when I heard
something pit, pat, pit, pat, pit, pat, come after me, and
something touched my hand, which seemed as cold as a
marble monument. I could not think what this was, yet I
knew that it could not hurt me, and therefore I made myself
easy ; but being very cold, and the church being paved with
stones, which were very damp, I felt my way. as well as I could,
to the pulpit ; in doing which something rushed by me and
almost threw me down. However, I was not frightened,
for I knew that God Almighty would suffer nothing to hurt

' At last I found out the pulpit, and having shut the door,
I laid me down on the mat and cushion to sleep ; when
something thrust and pulled the door, as I thought, for
admittance, which prevented my going to sleep. At last it
cries, " Bow, wow, wow ; " and I concluded it must be Mr.
Saunderson's dog, which had followed me from their house to
church ; so I opened the door, and called Snip, Snip, and the
dog jumped upon me immediately. After this. Snip and I
lay down together, and had a comfortable nap ; for when I
awoke again it was almost light. I then walked up and
down all the aisles of the church to keep myself warm ; and
though I went into the vaults, and trod on Lady Duckling-
ton's coffin, I saw nothing, and I believe it was owing to the
reason Mr. Long has given you, namely, that there is no
such thing to be seen. As to my part, I would as soon lie all
night in a church as in any other place ; and I am sure that
any little boy or girl, who is good and loves God Almighty,
and keeps His commandments, may as safely lie in the church,
or the churchyard, as anywhere else, if they take care not
to get cold, for I am sure there are no things either to
hurt or to frighten them ; though any one possessed of fear,
might have taken neighbour Saunderson's dog with his
cold nose for a ghost ; and if they had not been undeceived,
as I was, would never have thought otherwise.' All the
company acknowledged the justness of the observation, and
thanked little Two-Shoes for her advice.



After this, my dear children, I hope you will not believe
any foolish stories that ignorant, weak, or designing people
may tell you about ghosts, for the tales of ghosts, witches, and
fairies are the frolics of a distempered brain. No wise man
ever saw either of them. Little Margery was not afraid ;
no, she had good sense, and a good conscience, which is
a cure for all these imaginary evils.



Some days after this, a more dreadful accident befel little
Madge. She happened to be coming late from teaching,
when it rained, thundered, and lightened, and therefore she
took shelter in a farmer's barn, at a distance from the
village. Soon after, the tempest drove in four thieves, who,
not seeing such a little creep-mouse girl as Two-Shoes, lay
down on the hay next to her, and began to talk over their
exploits, and to settle plans for future robberies. Little
Margery, on hearing them, covered herself with straw. To
be sure she was frightened, but her good sense taught her,
that the only security she had was in keeping herself con-
cealed; therefore she laid very still, and breathed very softly.
About four o'clock these wicked people came to a resolu-
tion to break both Sir William Dove's house and Sir
Timothy Gripe's, and by force of arms to carry off all their
money, ]jlate, and jewels ; but as it was thought then too
late, they all agreed to defer it till the next night. After
laying this scheme, they all set out upon their pranks, which
greatly rejoiced Margery, as it would any other little girl in
lier situation. Early in the morning she went to Sir William,
and told him the whole of their conversation. Upon which
he asked her name, then gave her something, and bid her


call at his house the day following. She also went to Sir
Timothy, notwithstanding he had used her so ill, for she
knew it was her duty to do good for evil. As soon as he
was informed who she was, he took no notice of her ; upon
which she desired to speak to Lady Gripe, and having
informed her ladyship of the affair, she went her way. This
lady had more sense than her husband, which indeed is not
a singular case; for instead of despising Little Margery and
her information, she privately set people to guard the house.
The robbers divided themselves, and went about the time
mentioned to both houses, and were surprised by the guards
and taken. Upon examining these wretches, (one of which
turned evidence,) both Sir William and Sir Timothy found
that they owed their lives to the discovery made by Little
Margery ; and the first took great notice of her, and would
no longer let her lie in a barn ; but Sir Timothy only said,
that he was ashamed to owe his life to the daughter of one
who was his enemy; so true it is, ' That a proud man seldom
forgives those he has injured.'



Mrs. Williams, who kept a college for instructing little
gentlemen and ladies in the science of A, B, C, was at this
time very old and infirm, and wanted to decline this im-
portant trust. This being told to Sir William Dove, who
lived in the parish, he sent for IMrs. Williams, and desired
she would examine Little Two-Shoes, and see whether she
was qualified for the office. This was done, and Mrs.
Williams made the following report in her favour, namely,
that Little Margery was the best scholar, and had the best
head and the best heart of any one she had examined. All
the country had a great opinion of INIrs. W^illiams, and this
character gave them also a great opinion of Mrs. Marger}-,
for so Ave must now call her.

This Mrs. Margeiy thought the happiest period of her


life ; but more happiness was in store for her. God Al-
mighty heaps up blessings for all those who love him, and
though for a time he may suffer them to be poor and
distressed, and hide his good purposes from human sight,
yet in the end they are generally crowned with happiness
here, and no one can doubt their being so hereafter.




In the first part of this work the young student has read,
and I hope with pleasure and improvement, the history of
this Lady, while she was known and distinguished by the
name of Little Two-Shoes \ we are now come to a period
of her life when that name was discarded, and a more
eminent one bestowed upon her, I mean that of Mrs.
Margery Two-Shoes: for as she was now president of the
A, B, C college, it became necessary to exalt her in title as
in place.

No sooner was she settled in this office, but she laid every
possible scheme to promote the welfare and happiness of
all her neighbours, and especially of her litde ones, in whom
she took great delight ; and all those whose parents could
not afford to pay for their education, she taught for nothing
but the pleasure she had in their company; for you are to
observe that they were very good, or were soon made so by
her good management.




^VE have already informed the reader, diat the school where
she taught was that which was before kept by Mrs. Williams.
The room was very large and spacious, and as she knew
that nature intended children should be always in action,
she placed her different letters, or alphabets, all round the
school, so that every one was obliged to get up and fetch a
letter, or to spell a word when it came to their turn \ whicli
not only kept them in health, but fixed the letters and
points firmly in their minds.



It happened one day, when Mrs. Two-Shoes was diverting
the children after dinner, as she usually did, with some
innocent games, or entertaining and instructive stories, that
a man arrived with the melancholy news of Sally Jones's
father being thrown from his horse, and thought past all
recovery ; nay, the messenger said, that he was seemingly
dying when he came away. Poor Sally was greatly dis-
tressed, as indeed were all in the school, for she dearly
loved her father and Mrs. Two-Shoes, and all her children
dearly loved her.

At this instant something was heard to flap at the window,
at which the children were surprised ; but Mrs. Marger}'
knowing what it was, opened the casement, and drew in
a pigeon with a letter.

As soon as he was placed upon the table, he walked up
to little Sally, and dropping the letter, cried ' Co, co, coo ; '
as much as to say, ' There, read it.'

' My dear Sally, — God Almighty has been very merciful
and. restored your papa to us again, who is now so well as to
be able to sit up. I hear you are a good girl, my dear, and


I hope you will never forget to praise the Lord for that his
great goodness and mercy to us. — What a sad thing it would
have been if your father had died, and left both you and me,
and little Tommy in distress, and without a friend. Your
father sends his blessing with mine. — Be good, my dear child,
and God Almighty will also bless you, whose blessing is
above all things.

'I am, my dear Sally,

' Your affectionate mother,

'Martha Jones.'



Soon after this, a very dreadful accident happened in the
school. It was on a Thursday morning, I very well remem-
ber, when the children having learned their lessons soon,
she had given them leave to play, and they were all running
about the school, and diverting themselves with the birds
and the lamb ; at this time the dog, all of a sudden, laid
hold of his mistress's apron, and endeavoured to pull her out
of the school. She was at first surprised ; however, she
followed him to see what he intended. No sooner had he
led her back into the garden, but he ran back, and pulled
out one of the children in the same manner; upon which she
ordered them all to leave the school immediately, and they
had not been out five minutes before the top of the house
fell in. What a miraculous deliverance was here ! How
gracious ! How good was God Almighty to save all these
children from destruction, and to make use of such an
instrument as a little sagacious animal to accomplish his
divine will. I should have observed, that as soon as they
were all in the garden, the dog came leaping round them to
express his joy, and when the house was fallen, laid himself
down (juietly by his mistress.

Some of the neighbours who saw the school fall, and who
were in great pain for Margery and her little ones, soon

G 2


spread the news through the village, and all the parents,
terrified for their children, came crowding in abundance:
they had, however, the satisfaction to find them all safe, and
upon their knees with their mistress giving God thanks for
their happy deliverance.

You are not to wonder, my dear reader, that this little
dog should have more sense than you, or your father, or
your grandfather.

Though God Almighty has made man the lord of the crea-
tion, and endowed him with reason, yet, in many respects,
he has been altogether as bountiful to other creatures of
his forming. Some of the senses of other animals are more
acute than ours, as we find by daily experience.

The downfall of the school was a great misfortune to
Mrs. Margery; for she not only lost all her books, but was
destitute of a place to teach in; but Sir William Dove being
informed of this, ordered it to be built at his own expense,
and till that could be done. Farmer Grove was so kind as to
let her have his large hall to teach in.



While at Mr. Grove's, which was in the heart of the village,
she not only taught the children in the daytime, but the
farmer's servants and all the neighbours to read and write
in the evening ; and it was a constant practice, before they
went away, to make them all go to prayers and sing psalms.
By this means the people grew extremely regular, his servants
were always at home instead of being at the alehouse, and
he had more work done than ever. This gave not only Mr.
Grove, but all the neighbours, an high opinion of her good
sense and prudent behaviour ; and she was so much es-
teemed, that the most of the differences in the jiarish were
left to her decision; and if a man and wife quarrelled, (which
sometimes happened in that part of the kingdom.) both
parties certainly came to her for advice. Ever)' bod}- knows


that Martha Wilson was a passionate scolding jade, and that
John her husband was a surly ill-tempered fellow. These
were one day brought by the neighbours for IMarger}' to
talk to them, when they talked before her and were going to
blows ; but she, stepping between them, thus addressed the
husband : 'John,' says she, ' you are a man, and ought to have
more sense than to fly in a passion at every word that is
said amiss by your wife ■. and Martha,' says she, ' you ought to
know your duty better than to say anything to aggravate your
husband's resentment. These frequent quarrels arise from
the indulgence of your violent passions ; for I know you both
love each other, notwithstanding what has passed between
you. Now, pray tell me, John, and tell me, Martha, when
you have had a quarrel over night, are you not both sorry
for it the next day % ' They both declared that they were.
' Why then,' says she, ' I'll tell you how to prevent this for
the future, if you promise to take my advice.' They both
promised her. 'You know,' says she, 'that a small spark will
set fire to tinder, and that tinder properly placed will set fire
to a house : an angry word is with you as that spark, for
you are both as touchy as tinder, and very often make your
own house too hot to hold you. To prevent this, therefore,
and to live happily for the future, you must solemnly agree,
that if one speaks an angry word, the other will not answer,
till he or she has distinctly called over the alphabet, and
the other not reply till he has told twenty ; by this means
your passions will be stifled, and reason will have time to
take the rule.'

This is the best recipe that was ever given for a married
couple to live in peace. Though John and his wife freciuently
attempted to quarrel afterwards, they never could get their
passions to a considerable height, for there was something
so droll in thus carrying on the dispute, that, before they
got to the end of the argument, they saw the absurdity of
it, laughed, kissed, and were friends.




Mrs. Margery was always doing good, and thought she
could never sufficiently gratify those who had done anything
to serve her. These generous sentiments naturally led her
to consult the interest of Mr. Grove, and the rest of her
neighbours; and as most of their lands were meadow, and
they depended much on their hay, which had been for many
years greatly damaged by the wet weather, she contrived an
instmment to direct them when to mow their grass with
safety, and prevent their hay being spoiled. They all came
to her for advice, and by that means got in their hay with-
out damage, whilst most of that in the neighbouring village
was spoiled.

This occasioned a very great noise in the countr}-, and so
greatly provoked were the people who resided in the other
parishes, that they absolutely sent old Gaffer Goosecap (a
busy fellow in other people's concerns) to find out evidence
against her. The wiseacre happened to come to her to
school, when she was walking about with a raven on one
shoulder, a pigeon on the other, a lark on her hand, and a
lamb and a dog by her side ; which indeed made a droll
figure, and so surprised the man that he cried out, 'A witch !
a witch ! a witch ! '

Upon this, she laughing, answered, 'A conjuror I a conjuror!
a conjuror! ' and so they parted; but it did not end thus, for
a warrant was issued out against Mrs. IMargery, and she was
carried to a meeting of the justices.

At the meeting, one of the justices who knew little of life,
and less of the law, behaved very idly; and though no body
was able to prove anything against her, asked who she could
bring to her character. 'Who can you bring against my
character, sir,' says she. ' There are people enough who
would appear in my defence, were it necessary: but I never
supposed that anyone here could be so weak as to believe
there was any such thing as a witch. If I am a witch,
this is my charm, and (laying a barometer or weather glass
on the table) it is with this, says she, that I have taught my


neighbours to know the state of the weather.' All the
company laughed; and Sir William Dove, who was on the
bench, asked her accusers, how they could be such fools as
to think there was any such thing as a witch %

After this, Sir William inveighed against the absurd and
foolish notions which the country people had imbibed con-
cerning witches and witchcraft, and having proved that there
was no such thing, but that all were the effects of folly and
ignorance, he gave the court such an account of Mrs.
Margery and her virtue, good sense, and pmdent behaviour,
that the gentlemen present were enamoured with her, and
returned her public thanks for the great service she had done
the country-. One gentleman in particular, I mean Sir Charles
Jones, had conceived such an high opinion of her that
he offered her a considerable sum to take care of his family,
and the education of his daughter, which, however, she

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 8 of 43)