« ZurückWeiter »
custards, and cheese-cakes: and we will invite Master and Miss Cartwright, and Master Bennet and his sister Miss Polly, and some other children, to spend a day with us; and, before they go home, we will give those who have behaved well during the day, some of these pretty toys which you brought from the Midsummer Fair.'
“Accordingly Betty made the cake, and the cheesecakes and custards, and the large apple-pie; and Mrs. Howard sent to invite Master and Miss Cartwright, and Master Bennet and his sister, to spend the next day with her.
“In those days little misses did not wear muslin or linen frocks, which, when they are dirtied, may easily be washed, and made clean again; but they wore stuff, silk, and satin slips, with lace or gauze ruffles, and bibs and aprons, and little round caps with artificial flowers. Children were then taught to be very careful never to dirty their best clothes, and to fold them up very smooth when they took them off.
“When Mrs. Bennet received Mrs. Howard's invitation for her children, she called them to her, and said, My dears, you are to go to-morrow to see Mrs. Howard : and I have been told that she has by her some very pretty toys, which she means to give away to those children who please her best. You have seen the gilt coach and four which she gave last year to Miss Cartwright, and the little watch which Master Cartwright received from her last Christmas; and why should not you also have some of these fine toys! Only try to please the old lady to-morrow, and I dare say she will give you some: for I am sure you are quite as good as Master and Miss Cartwright, though you are not quite so sly.'
666 Oh!' said Master Bennet, I should like to get the toys, if it was only to triumph over Master Cartwright. But what must we do to please Mrs. Howard ?
6. Why,' said Mrs. Bennet, when your best things are put on to-morrow, you must take care not to rumple or soil them before you appear in Mrs. Howard's pres. ence : and when you come into her parlour, you must stop at the door, and bow low, and courtesy: and when you are desired to sit down, you must sit still, till dinner is brought in: and when dinner is ready, you must stand up and say grace before you eat; and you must take whatever is offered you, without saying, I will have this, and I will have that, as you do at home.'
“Mrs. Bennet gave her children a great many other rules for their behaviour in Mrs. Howard's presence, which I have not time to repeat now,” said Mrs. Goodriche; “all of which Master Jacky and Miss Polly promised to remember: for they were very desirous to get the playthings.
« And now I will tell you what Mrs. Cartwright said to her children, when she got Mrs. Howard's invitation. She called them to her, and said, “Here, Billy-here, Patty-is a note from Mrs. Howard, to invite you to spend the day with her to-morrow: and I am glad of it, because I know you love to go to Mrs. Howard's, she is so good to all children, and has been particularly kind to you. I hear she has some pretty playthings by her now, to give away; but don't you be greedy of them, my dears ; you have a variety of playthings, you know ; more than most children have; and it does not become any one to be covetous: man's life does not consist in the abundance of things which he possesses. And remember, my dear children, to behave civilly and politely to everybody: for although your papa and I will not be there to watch you, as we do when you are at home, yet the eye of God will be upon you, to remark whether you do well or ill: and if you find yourselves at any time tempted to be rude and ill-mannered, if you secretly call for help for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, it will surely be granted you.'
"In this manner Mrs. Cartwright talked to her children; and they answered, that they hoped they should be assisted to behave well the next day, for they knew very well that they could not do any good without the Divine help.
“And now I will tell you how these children behaved. -About eleven o'clock Mrs. Cartwright had her two children dressed in their best, and sent them, with the servant-maid, to Mrs. Howard's. As they were walking quietly over a corn-field, through which they must needs pass, they saw Master and Miss Bennet, with their servant, sitting on a stile at the further end of the field. *Oh!' said Miss Patty, there are Master and Miss Bennet, on the way, I suppose, to Mrs. Howard's. I am sorry we have met with them: I am afraid they will get us into some mischief.'- Why should you say so?' said. Master Cartwright: ‘let us speak of things as we may find them.'
" When Master and Miss Cartwright came near the stile, Master Bennet called to them, . What a long time you have been coming over the field! we have been waiting for you this half hour,' said he. •Come, now let us join company : I suppose that you are going, as we are, to Mrs. Howard's ? Master Cartwright answered civilly: and all the children, with the two servants, got over the stile, and went down a pretty lane which was beyond. Į « The children walked on quietly till they came to a duck pond, partly overgrown with weeds, which was at the farther end of the lane. When they came near to this, Master Bennet whispered to his sister, “I'll see now if I can't spoil Miss Patty's smart silk slip.'— Do, Jack,' answered Miss Polly. Master Bennet then, winking at his sister, went up to the pond, and pulling up some of the weeds, which were all wet and muddy, he threw them at Miss Cartwright's slip; saying, at the same time, There, miss; there is a present for you.' But, as it happened, Miss Cartwright saw the weeds coming, and caught them in her hand, and threw them from her. Upon this Master Bennet was going to pluck more weeds; but Mr. Cartwright's maid-servant held his hands, while little Billy and his sister ran forwards to Mrs. Howard's house, which was just in sight, as fast as their feet would carry them. There now !' said Miss Polly! those spiteful children are gone to tell Mrs. Howard what you have done, brother, and we shall not get any toys. You are always in mischief, that you are.—'I am sure you told me to throw the weeds,' answered Master Bennet. 'I am sure I did not,' said Miss Polly. But you knew that I was going to do it,' said he.But I did not,' said she. “But you did, for I told you,' said he.
“ In this manner this brother and sister went on scolding each other till they came to Mrs. Howard's gate : there Miss Polly smoothed her apron, and Master Jacky combed his hair with his pocket comb, and they walked hand in hand into Mrs. Howard's parlour, as if nothing had happened. They made a low bow and courtesy at the door, as their mamma had bidden them; and Mrs. Howard received them very kindly, for Master and Miss Cartwright had not mentioned a word of their ill behaviour on the road.
“ Besides Master and Miss Cartwright, there were
several other children sitting in Mrs. Howard's parlour, waiting till dinner should be set on the table. My mother was there," said Mrs. Goodriche: “ she was then a very little girl; and your grandmother, and great uncle, both young ones; with many others now dead and gone. In one corner of the parlour was a cupboard with glass doors, where Mrs. Howard had placed such of those pretty toys (as I before spoke of) which she meant to give away in the afternoon. The prettiest of these was the jointed doll, neatly dressed in a green satin slip, and gauze apron and bib.
“ By the time Master and Miss Bennet had made their bow and courtesy, and were seated, Betty came in with the dinner, and Mrs. Howard called the children to the table. Master and Miss Bennet, seeing the beautiful toys before them through the glass doors of the cupboard, did not forget to behave themselves well at table : they said grace aloud, holding up their hands; and ate such things as were offered them: and Mrs. Howard, who noticed their good behaviour, began to hope that Farmer Bennet's children were becoming better.
“After the children had got their dinner, it being a very pleasant afternoon, Mrs. Howard gave them leave to play in the garden, and in the little croft, where she kept her old horse Crop; but take care, my dears,' she said to the little girls, not to soil your slips, or tear your aprons.' The children were much pleased with this permission to play: and after they had gone out, Mrs. Howard put on her hood and cloak, and said to Betty, 'I shall drink tea, Betty, in my bower, at the end of the grass walk : do you bring my little tea-table there, and the strawberries and cream, and the cake which you made yesterday; and when we have finished our tea, bring those toys which are in the glass cupboard, to divide among the children.'-' And I think, madam,' said Betty, that Master and Miss Bennet will gain some of them to-day, for I thought they behaved very well at dinner.'— Indeed, Betty,' said Mrs. Howard, •1 must say I never saw them behave so mannerly as they did at dinner: and if they do but keep it up till night, I shall not send them home without some pretty present, I assure you.'
“ When Mrs. Howard had given her orders to Betty, she took her golden-headed stick in her hand, and went down the grass walk to her bower. It was a pretty
bower, as I have heard my mother say, formed of honey. suckles and other creeping shrubs, nailed over a framework of lath, in the old-fashioned way. It stood just at the end of that long greenwalk, and at the corner of the field; so that any one sitting in the bower might see through the lattice-work and foliage of the honey. suckles into the field, and hear all that was said. There good Mrs. Howard sat knitting (for she prepared stockings for most of the poor children in the neighbourhood), while her little visiters played in the garden and in the field, and Betty came to and fro with the tea-table and tea-things.
“While the children were all engaged with their sports in the croft, a poor old man, who had been gathering sticks, came by that way, bending under the weight of the load. When he appeared, the children ceased from their play, and stood looking at him. “Poor man!' said Miss Patty Cartwright, “those sticks are too heavy for you to carry; have you far to go ??—No, my pretty miss,' said the old man; 'only a very little way.'-'Í cannot help to carry your sticks,' said Master Cart. wright, “because I have my best coat on. I could take off that, to be sure, but then my other things would be spoiled: but I have got a penny here, if you please to accept it.' So saying, he forced the penny into the poor man's hand.—In the mean time Master Bennet went behind the old man, and giving the sticks a sly pull, the string that tied them together broke, and they all came tumbling on the ground. The children screamed, but nobody was hurt. 'O my sticks!' said the poor man :: “the string is broke! What shall I do to gather them together again ? I have been all day making this little fagot.'—We will help you,' said Master Cartwright: "we can gather your sticks together without fear of hurting our clothes.' So all the little ones set to work (excepting Master and Miss Bennet, who stood by laughing), and in a little while they made up the poor man's bundle of sticks again; and such as had a penny in their pockets gave it to him. Miss Patty Cartwright had not a penny, but she had a silver sixpence, which she gave to the old man, and ran before him to open the gate (which led out of the field), wishing him good night, and courtesying to him as civilly as if he had been the greatest man of the land.
“Now the children never suspected that Mrs. Howard