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By the time Lucy had repeated these verses, Henry came, in his Sunday coat, to tell his mamma, that Sir Charles Noble's carriage was come. Mrs. Fairchild was quite ready; and Lucy and Emily were in such a hurry, that Emily had nearly tumbled down stairs over her sister, and Lucy was upon the point of slipping down on the step of the hall door: however, they all got into the coach without any accident, and the coachman drove away; and that so rapidly, that they soon came in sight of Sir Charles Noble's house.
As it is not likely that you ever saw Sir Charles Noble's house, I will give you some account of it. It is a very large house, built of smooth white stone: it stands in a fine park, or green lawn, scattered over with tall trees and shrubs; but there were no leaves on the trees at the time I am speaking of, because it was winter.
When the carriage drove up to the hall door, a smart footman came out, opened the carriage door, and shewed Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild through a great many rooms, into a grand' parlour, where Lady Noble was sitting upon a sopha, by a large fire, with several other ladies, all of whom were handsomely dressed. Now, as I told you before, Lady Noble was a proud woman: so she did not take much notice of Mrs. Fairchild when she came in, although she ordered the servant to set a chair for her. Miss Augusta Noble was seated on the sopha by her mamma, playing with a very beautiful wax doll; and her two brothers, William and Edward, were standing by her; but they never came forward to Mrs. Fairchild's children, to say that they were glad to see them, or to shew them any kind of civility. If children knew how disagreeable they make themselves when they are rude and ill-behaved, surely they would never be so, but would strive to be civil and courteous to every one, according to
the words of the Bible, “ Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another.” (Rom. xii. 10.).
Soon after Mrs. Fairchild was seated, a servant came to say that Miss Noble's and Master William's and Master Edward's dinners were ready. Augusta," said Lady Noble, “ to your dinner, and take Master and Miss Fairchilds with you; and after you have dined, shew them your playthings, and your baby-house."
Miss Augusta got up; and as she passed by Emily and Lucy, she said, in a very haughty way, “ Mamma says you must come with me. So Emily and Lucy followed Miss Augustá, and the little boys came after them. She went up a pair of grand stairs, and along a very long gallery full of pictures, till they came to a large room, where Miss Augusta's governess was sitting at work, and the children's dinner set out in great order. In one corner of the room was a baby-house. - Do you know what a baby-house is ? If you have not seen such a thing, I will endeavour to describe it to you. It is a small house, fit for dolls, with door and windows, and chimney outside; and inside there is generally a parlour and a kitchen, and a bed-room, with chairs, tables, couches, beds, carpets, and every thing small, just as there is in a l'eal house for people to live in.--Besides the babyhouse, were a number of other toys; a large rocking-horse; a cradle, with a big wooden doll lying in it; and tops, and carts, and coaches, and whips, and trumpets in abundance.
“ Here are Mrs. Fairchild's children come to dine with me, Ma'am,” said Miss Augusta, as she opened the door: “ this is Lucy, and this is Emily, and that is Henry."
The governess did not take much notice of Mrs. Fairchild's children, but said, “Miss Augusta, I wish you would shut the door after you, for it is very cold.”
I do not know whether Miss Augusta heard her governess, but she never offered to go back to shut the door.
The governess, whose name was Beaumont, then called to Master Edward, who was just coming in, to shut the door after him.
“ You may shut it yourself, if you want it shut," answered the rude boy.
When Lucy heard this, she immediately ran and shut the door: upon which Miss Beaumont looked more civilly at her than she had done before, and thanked her for her attention.
Whilst Lucy was shutting the door, Miss Augusta began to stir the fire. "Miss Augusta," said the lady, “ has not your mamma often forbidden you to touch the fire? Some day you will set your frock on fire.”
Miss Augusta did not heed what her governess said this time any more than the last, but went on raking the fire, till at length Miss Beaumont, fearing some mischief, forced the poker out of her hand. Miss Augusta looked very much displeased, and was going to make a pert answer, when her mamma, and the other ladies, came into the room to see the children dine. The young ones immediately seated themselves quietly at the table, to eat their dinner.
“ Are my children well behaved ?” said Lady Noble, speaking to the governess : “I thought Í heard you finding fault with Augusta when I came in.” “Oh, no! Ma'am,” said the
“ Miss Augusta is a good young Lady: I seldom have reason to find fault with her.”
Lucy and Emily looked at Miss Beaumont, and wondered to hear her say that Miss Augusta was good ; but they were silent. “ I am
happy to say,” said Lady Noble, speaking to Mrs. Fairchild,“ that mine are very promising children: Augusta has a good heart."
“ Ab, Lady Noble!” said Mrs. Fairchild, “ I am afraid none of us can say so much of our children : there is no child that can be said to have a good heart.”
Lady Noble looked with surprise at Mrs. Fairchild, but made her no answer.
Just at that moment a servant came in, and set a plate of apples on the table.
“ Miss Beauinont,” said Lady Noble, “ take care that Augusta does not eat above one apple : you know that she was unwell yesterday from eating too
Miss Beaumont assured Lady Noble that she would attend to her wishes, and the ladies left the
When they were gone, the governess gave two apples to each of the children, excepting Augusta, to whom she gave only one. The rest of the apples she took out of the plate, and put in her work-bag for her own eating.
When every one had done dinner, and the tablecloth was taken away, Lady Noble's children got
and left the table, and Henry and Emily were following, but Lucy whispered to them to say grace; accordingly they stood still by the table, and, putting their hands together, they said the grace which they had been used to say after dinner at home.
“ What are you doing?" said Augusta.
your mamma is religious, and makes you do all these things. Don't you say your prayers four times every day?”
" Sometimes oftener," said Emily.
" Dear! how tiresome it must be to be so religious !” said Miss Augusta : “ and where's the use of it?"
“ Why don't you know," said Lucy, “ that if we do not serve God, we shall go to hell when we die; and if we do serve him,
go to heaven?” “ But you are not going to die now," said Miss Augusta : “ you are as young as I am;
young people don't die. It will be time enough to be religious, you know, when we get old, and expect to die.”
“ Oh! but," said little Henry, “perhaps we may never live to be old : many children die younger than we are.”
Whilst Henry was speaking, William and Edward stood listening to him, with their mouths wide open; and when he liad finished his speech, they broke out into a loud fit of laughter.
" When our parson dies, you shall be parson, Henry,” said Edward ; " but I'll never go to church when you preach."
No, he sha'n't be parson; he shall be clerk,” said William : “ then he will have all the graves to dig."
“I'll tell you what,” said Henry; “ your mamma was never worse out in her life than when she said her's were good children.”
“ Take that for your sauciness, you little beggar," said Master William, giving Henry a blow on the side of the head : and he would have given him several more had not Lucy and Emily ran in between.
“ If you fight in this room, boys, I shall tell my mamma,” said Miss Augusta. Come, go down stairs : we don't want you here: go and feed your dogs."
William and Edward accordingly went off, and