Charlotte Mary Yonge.

A storehouse of stories : storehouse the first online

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refused; but this gentleman sending for her afterwards, when
he had a dangerous fit of illness, she went, and behaved
so prudently in the family, and so tenderly to him and his
daughter, that he would not permit her to leave his house,
but soon after made her proposals of marriage. She Avas
truly sensible of the honour he intended her, but, though
poor, she would not consent to be niade a lady till he had
effectually provided for his daughter; for she told him,
that power was a dangerous thing to be trusted with, and
that a good man or woman would never throw themselves
into the road of temptation.

All things being settled, and the day fixed, the neighbours
came in crowds to see the wedding ; for they were all glad
that one who had been such a good little girl, and was be-
come such a virtuous and good woman, was going to be
made a lady : but just as the clerg)anan had opened his
book, a gentleman richly dressed ran into the church and
cried, ' Stop ! stop !' This greatly alarmed the congregation,
particularly the intended bride and bridegroom, who he first
accosted and desired to speak witli them apart. After they
had been talking some little time, the people were greatly
surprised to see Sir Charles to stand motionless, and his
bride cry and faint away in the stranger's arms. This


seeming grief, however, was only a prelude to a flood of
joy which immediately succeeded ; for you must know,
gentle reader, that this gentleman, so richly dressed, was
that identical little boy, whom you before saw in the sailor's
habit; in short it was Mrs. Margery's brother, who was just
come from sea, where he had, after a desperate engage-
ment, taken a rich prize, and hearing, as soon as he
landed, of his sister's intended wedding, had rode post to
see that a proper settlement was made on her, which she
was now entitled to, as he himself was both able and willing
to give her an ample fortune. They soon returned to the
communion table, and were married in tears, but they were
tears of joy.



About this time she heard that IMr. Smith was oppressed
by Sir Timothy Gripe and his friend Graspall; upon which
she, in conjunction with her brother, defended him in
"Westminster Hall, where Mr. Smith gained a verdict. As
a justice of the peace he was struck off the list, and no
longer permitted to act in that capacity. A relation of his
who had a right to the Mouldwell estate, finding that it was
possible to get the better at law of a rich man, laid claim to
it, brought his action, and recovered the whole manor of
Mouldwell; and being afterwards inclined to sell it, he, in
consideration of the aid Lady Margery had lent him dur-
ing his distress, made her the first offer, and she purchased
the whole. This mortified Sir Timothy and his friend
Graspall, who experienced nothing but misfortunes, and was
in a few years so dispossessed of his ill-gotten wealth, that
his family were reduced to seek subsistence from the parish,
at which those who had felt the weight of his iron-hand re-
joiced ; but Lady Margery desired that his children might
be treated with care and tenderness ; ' for they (says she)
are no ways accountable for the actions of their father.'

At her first coming into power, she took care to gratify
her old friends, especially ^Ir. and ^Irs. Smith, whose faniily
she nade happy.




There lived in the northern parts of England a gentle-
woman, who undertook the education of young ladies ; and
this trust she endeavoured faithfully to discharge, by in-
structing those committed to her care in reading, writing,
working, and in all proper forms of behaviour. And though
her principal aim was to improve their minds in all useful
knowledge; to render them obedient to their superiors, and
gentle, kind, and affectionate to each other; yet did she not
omit teaching them an exact neatness in their persons and
dress, and a perfect gentility in their whole carriage.

This gentlewoman, whose name was Teachum, was the
widow of a clergyman, with whom she had lived nine years
in all the harmony and concord which form the only satis-
factory hap{)iness in the married state. Two little girls (the
youngest of which was born before the second year of their
marriage was expired) took up a great part of their thoughts ;
and it was their mutual design to spare no pains or trouble
in their education.

Mr. Teachum was a very sensible man, and took great
delight in improving his wife; as she also placed her chief
jileasure in receiving his instructions. One of his constant
subjects of discourse to her was concerning the education
of children : so that, when in his last illness his physicians
pronounced him beyond the power of their art to relieve
him, he expressed great satisfaction in the thought of leaving
his children to the care of so prudent a mother.

Mrs. Teachum, though exceedingly afflicted by such a
loss, yet thought it her duty to call forth all her resolution


to conquer her grief, in order to apply herself to the care of
these her dear husband's children. But her misfortunes
were not here to end : for within a twelvemonth after the
death of her husband, she was deprived of both her children
by a violent fever that then raged in the country ; and, about
the same time, by the unforeseen breaking of a banker, in
whose hands almost all her fortune was just then placed,
she was bereft of the means of her future support.

The Christian fortitude with which (through her husband's
instructions) she had armed her mind, had not left it in the
power of any outward accident to bereave her of her under-
standing, or to make her incapable of domg what was
proper on all occasions. Therefore, by the advice of all
her friends, she undertook what she was so well qualified
for; namely, the education of children. But as she was
moderate in her desires, and did not seek to raise a great
fortune, she was resolved to take no more scholars than she
could have an eye to herself without the help of other
teachers; and instead of making interest to fill her school,
it was looked upon as a great favour when she would take
any girl. And as her number was fixed to nine, which she
on no account would be prevailed on to increase, great
application was made, when any scholar went away, to have
her place supplied ; and happy were they who could get a
promise for the next vacancy.

Mrs. Teachum was about forty years old, tall and genteel
in her person, though somewhat inclined to fat. She had a
lively and commanding eye, insomuch that she naturally
created an awe in all her little scholars ; except when she
condescended to smile, and talk familiarly to them ; and
then she had something perfectly kind and tender in her
manner. Her temper was so extremely calm and good,
that though she never omitted reprehending, and that pretty
severely, any girl that was guilty of the smallest fault pro-
ceeding from an evil disposition ; yet for no cause what-
soever was she provoked to be in a passion ; but she kept
up such a dignity and authority, by her steady behaviour,
that the girls gready feared to incur her displeasure by dis-
obeying her commands ; and were equally pleased with her



approbation, when they had done anything worthy her com-

At the time of the ensuing history, the school (being full)
consisted of the nine following young ladies :

Miss Jenny Peace.
Miss SUKEY Jennett.
Miss Dolly Friendly.
Miss Lucy Sly.
Miss Patty Lockit.

Miss Nanny Spruce.
Miss Betty Ford.
Miss Henny Fret.
Miss Polly Suckling.

The eldest of these was but fourteen years old, and none
of the rest had yet attained their twelfth year.


It was on a fine summer's evening when the school-hours
were at an end, and the young ladies were admitted to di-
vert themselves for some time, as they thought proper, in a
pleasant garden adjoining to the house, that their governess,
who delighted in pleasing them, brought out a little basket
of apples, which were intended to be divided equally
amongst them ; but Mrs. Teachum being hastily called
away (one of her poor neighbours having had an accident
which wanted her assistance), she left the fruit in the hands
of Miss Jenny Peace, the eldest of her scholars, with a strict
charge to see that every one had an equal share of her

But here a perverse accident turned good Mrs. Teachum's
design of giving them pleasure into their sorrow, and raised
in their little hearts nothing but strife and anger : for, alas !
there happened to be one apple something larger than the
rest, on which the whole company immediately placed their
desiring eyes, and all at once cried out, ' Pray, Miss Jenny,
give me that apple.' Each gave her reasons why she had
the best title to it : the youngest pleaded her youth, and the
eldest her age ; one insisted on her goodness, another from
her meekness claimed a title to preference ; and one, in
confidence of her strength, said positively, she would have


it; but all speaking together, it was difficult to distinguish
who said this, or who said that.

Miss Jenny begged them all to be quiet, but in vain ; for
she could not be heard : they had all set their hearts on
that fine apple, looking upon those she had given them as
nothing. She told them they had better be contented with
what they had, than be thus seeking what it was impossible
for her to give to them all. She offered to divide it into
eight parts, or to do anything to satisfy them ; but she
might as well have been silent ; for they were all talking
and had no time to hear. At last as a means to quiet the
disturbance, she threw this aj^ple, the cause of their conten-
tion, with her utmost force over a hedge into another garden,
where they could not come at it.

At first they were all silent, as if they were struck dumb
with astonishment with the loss of this one poor apple,
though at the same time they had plenty before them.

But this did not bring to pass Miss Jenny's design : for
now they all began again to quarrel which had the most
right to it, and which ought to have had it, with as much
vehemence as they had before contended for the posses-
sion of it ; and their anger by degrees became so high, that
words could not vent half their rage ; and they fell to pulling
of caps, tearing of hair, and dragging the clothes oft' one
another's backs : though they did not so much strike, as en-
deavour to scratch and pinch their enemies.

Miss Dolly Friendly as yet was not engaged in the battle;
but on hearing her friend Miss Nanny Spruce scream out,
that she was hurt by a sly pinch from one of the girls, she
flew on this sly pincher, as she called her, like an enraged
lion on its prey ; and not content only to return the harm
her friend had received, she struck with such force, as felled
her enemy to the ground. And now they could not dis-
tinguish between friend and enemy; but fought, scratched,
and tore, like so many cats, when they extend their claws
to fix them in their rival's heart.

Miss Jenny was employed in endeavouring to part them.

In the midst of this confusion appeared Mrs. Teachum,
who was returning in hopes to see them happy with the


fruit she had given them; but she was some time there
before either her voice or presence could awaken them from
their attention to the fight; when on a sudden they all
faced her. and fear of punishment began now a little to
abate their rage. Each of the misses held in her right hand,
fast clenched, some marks of victory; for they beat and
were beaten by turns. One of them held a little lock of
hair torn from the head of her enemy; another grasped a
piece of a cap, which, in aiming at her rival's hair, had
deceived her hand, and was all the spoils she could gain; a
third clenched a piece of an apron ; a fourth, of a frock.
In short, everyone unfortunately held in her hand a proof
of having been engaged in the battle. And the ground was
spread with rags and tatters, torn from the backs of the
little inveterate combatants.

Mrs. Teachum stood for some time astonished at the
sight; but at last she enquired of Miss Jenny Peace, who
was the only person disengaged, to tell her the whole truth,
and to inform her of the cause of all this confusion.

Miss Jenny was obliged to obey the commands of her
governess ; though she was so goodnatured that she did it
in the mildest terms; and endeavoured all she could to
lessen, rather than increase, Mrs. Teachum's anger. The
guilty persons now began all to excuse themselves as fast as
tears and sobs would permit them.

One said, ' Indeed, madam, it was none of my fault ; for
I did not begin; for Miss Sukey Jennett, without any cause
in the world (for I did nothing to provoke her), hit me a
great slap in the face, and made my tooth ache; the pain
did make me angry; and then, indeed, I hit her a little tap;
but it was on her back ; and I am sure it was the smallest
tap in the world ; and could not possibly hurt her half so
much as her great blow did me.'

'Law, miss!' replied Miss Jennett, 'how can you say
so ? when you know that you struck me first, and that yours
was the great blow, and mine the little tap ; for I only went
to defend myself from your monstrous blows.'

Such like defences they would all have made for them-
selves, each insisting on not being in fault, and throwing the


blame on her companion; but Mrs.Teachum silenced them

by a positive command; and told them, that she saw they
were all equally guilty, and as such she would treat them.

Mrs. Teachum's method of punishing I never could find
out. But this is certain, the most severe punishment she
had ever inflicted on any misses, since she had kept a
school, was now laid on these wicked girls, who had been
thus fighting, and pulling one another to pieces for a sorry

The first thing she did was to take away all the apples ;
telling them, that before they had any more instances of
such kindness from her, they should give her proofs of their
deserving them better. And when she had punished them
as much as she thought proper, she made them all embrace
one another, and promise to be friends for the future;
which, in obedience to her commands, they were forced to
comply with, though there remained a grudge and ill-will in
their bosoms; everyone thinking she was punished most,
although she would have it, that she deserved to be punished
least ; and they contrived all the sly tricks they could think
on to vex and teaze each other.


The next morning Miss Jenny Peace used her utmost
endeavours to bring her school-fellows to be heartily recon-
ciled, but in vain : for each insisted on it, that she was not
to blame ; but that the whole quarrel arose from the faults
of others. At last ensued the following dialogue between
Miss Jenny Peace and Miss Sukey Jennett, which brought
about Miss Jenny's designs; and which we recommend to
the consideration of all our young readers.

Miss Jenny. 'Now pray. Miss Sukey, tell me, wliat did you
get by your contention and quarrel about that foolish apple?'

Miss Sukey. ' Indeed, ma'am, I shall not answer you ; I
know that you only want to prove, that you are wiser than
I, because you are older. But I don't know but some


people may understand as much at eleven years old as
others at thirteen : but because you are the oldest in the
school, you always want to be tutoring and governing. I
don't like to have more than one governess ; and if I obey
my mistress, I think that is enough.'

Miss Jenny. ' Indeed, my dear, I don't want to govern
you, nor to prove myself wiser than you ; I only want that
instead of quarrelling, and making yourself miserable, you
should live at peace and be happy. Therefore, pray do
answer my question, whether you get anything by your
quarrel % '

Miss Sukcy. ' No ! I cannot say I got anything by it : for
my mistress was angry, and punished me; and my hair was
pulled off, and my clothes torn in the scuffle ; neither did I
value the apple ; but yet I have too much spirit to be im-
posed on. I am sure I had as good a right to it as any of
the others ; and I would not give up my right to anyone.'

Miss Je7iny. ' But don't you know. Miss Sukey, it would
have shown much more spirit to have yielded the apple to
another, than to have fought about it % Then indeed you
would have proved your sense ; for you would have shown,
that you had too much understanding to fight about a trifle.
Then your clothes had been whole, your hair not torn from
your head, your mistress had not been angry, nor had your
fruit been taken away from you.'

Miss Sukey. 'And so, miss, you would fain prove, that it
is wisest to submit to everybody that would impose upon
one % But I will not believe it, say what you will.'

Miss Jenny. ' But is not what I say true ? If you had not
been in the battle, would not your clothes have been whole,
your hair not torn, your mistress pleased with you, and the
apples your own % '

Here Miss Sukey paused for some time : for as Miss
Jenny was in the right and had truth on her side, it was
difficult for Miss Sukey to know what to answer. For it is
impossible, without being very silly, to contradict truth; and
yet Miss Sukey was so foolish, that she did not care to own
herself in the wrong ; though nothing could have been so
ereat a sign of her understandinii.


When Miss Jenny saw her thus at a loss for an answer,
she was in hopes of making her companion happy; for, as
she had as much goodnature as understanding, that was
her design. She therefore pursued her discourse in the
following manner :

Miss Jamy. ' Pray, Miss Sukey, do answer me one ques-
tion more. Don't you lie awake at nights, and fret and vex
yourself, because you are angry with your school-fellows ?
Are not you restless and uneasy, because you cannot find a
safe method to be revenged on them, without being punished
yourself % Do tell me truly, is not this your case \ '

Miss Sukey. ' Yes it is. For if I could but hurt my
enemies, without being hurt myself, it would be the greatest
pleasure I could have in the world.'

Miss Jenny. 'Oh fie. Miss Sukey! What you have now
said is wicked. Don't you consider what you say every day
in your prayers % And this way of thinking will make you
lead a very uneasy life. If you would hearken to me, I
could put you into a method of being very happy, and
making all those misses you call your enemies, become your

Miss Sukey. * You could tell me a method, miss ? Do
you think I don't know as well as you what is fit to be
done ? I believe I am as capable of finding the way to be
happy, as you are of teaching me.'

Here Miss Sukey burst into tears, that anybody should
presume to tell her the way to be happy.

Aliss Jenny. ' Upon my word, my dear, I don't mean to
vex you ; but only, instead of tormenting yourself all night
in laying plots to revenge yourself, I would have you employ
this one night in thinking of what I have said. Nothing
will show your sense so much, as to own that you have been
in the wrong. Nor will anything prove a right spirit so
much, as to confess your fault. All the misses will be your
friends, and perhaps follow your example. Then you will
have the pleasure of having caused the quiet of the whole
school; your governess will love you; and you will be at
peace in your mind, and never have any more foolish


quarrels, in which you all get nothing but blows and un-

Miss Sukey began now to find, that Miss Jenny was in
the right, and she herself in the wrong ; but yet she was so
proud she would not own it. Nothing could be so foolish
as this pride; because it would have been both good and
wise in her to confess the truth the moment she saw it.
However, Miss Jenny was so discreet as not to press her
any farther that night \ but begged her to consider seriously
on what she had said, and to let her know her thoughts the
next morning, and then left her.

When Miss Sukey was alone she stood some t?me in great
confusion. She could not help seeing how much hitherto
she had been in the wTong ; and that thought stung her to
the heart. She cried, stamped, and was in as great an
agony as if some sad misfortune had befallen her. At last,
when she had somewhat vented her passion by tears, she
burst forth into the following speech :

' It is very true what Miss Jenny Peace says ; for I am
always uneasy. I don't sleep in quiet; because I am
always thinking, either that I have not my share of wliat
is given us, or that I cannot be revenged on any of the girls
that offend me. And when I quarrel with them, I am
scratched and bruised ; or reproached. And what do I get
by all this % Why, I scratch, bruise, and rejjroach them in
my turn. Is not that gain enough ? I warrant I hurt them
as much as they hurt me. But then indeed, as Miss Jenny
says, if I could make these girls my friends, and did not
wish to hurt them, I certainly might live a quieter, and
perhaps a happier, hfe. But what then, have I been always
in the wrong all my lifetime ? for I always quarrelled and
hated everyone who had offended me. Oh ! I cannot bear
that thought ! It is enough to make me mad ! when I ima-
gined myself so wise and so sensible, to find out that I have
been always a fool. If I think a moment longer about it,
I shall die with grief and shame. I must think myself in
the right ; and I will too. But, as Miss Jenny says, I really
am unhappy; for I hate all my school-fellows ; and yd 1

. * H


dare not do them any mischief; for my mistress will punish
me severely if 1 do. I should not so much mind that
neither; but then those I intend to hurt will triumph over
me, to sec me punished for their sakes. In short, the more
I reflect, the more I am afraid Miss Jenny is in the right ;
and yet it breaks my heart to think so.'

Here the poor girl wept so bitterly, and was so heartily
grieved, that she could not utter one word more ; but sat
herself down, reclining her head upon her hand, in the most
melancholy posture that could be ; nor could she close her
eyes all night, but lay tossing and raving with the thought
how she should act, and what she should say to Miss Jenny
the next day.

When the morning came. Miss Sukey dreaded every mo-
ment, as the time drew nearer when she must meet Miss
Jenny. She knew it would not be possible to resist her
arguments; and yet shame for having been in fault over-
came her.

As soon as Miss Jenny saw Miss Sukey with her eyes
cast down, and confessing, by a look of sorrow, that she
would take her advice, she embraced her kindly ; and, with-
out giving her the trouble to speak^ took it for granted, that
she would leave off quarrelling, be reconciled to her school-
fellows, and make "herself happy.

Miss Sukey did indeed stammer out some words, which
implied a confession of her fault ; but they were spoke so
low they could hardly be heard ; only Miss Jenny, who
always chose to look at the fairest side of her companions'
actions, by Miss Sukey's look and manner guessed her

In the same manner did this good girl, Jennj-, persuade,
one by one, all her school-fellows to be reconciled to each
with sincerity and love.

Miss Dolly Friendly, who had too much sense to engage
in the battle for the sake of an apple, and who was provoked
to strike a blow only for friendship's sake, easily saw the
truth of what Miss Jenny said ; and was therefore presently
convinced, that the best part she could have acted for her
friend, would have been withdrawing her from the scuffle.



After Miss Jenny had completed the good work of making
all her companions friends, she drew them round her in a
little arbour, in that very garden which had been the scene
of their strife, and consequently of their misery ; and then

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 9 of 43)