« AnteriorContinua »
Lo! glad I come; and thou, blest Lamb,
say, “ Behold the way to God !"
SECOND DAY AT MRS. GOODRICHE'S;
THE OLD STORY OF MRS. HOWARD,
The Subject--Good Manners a Christian Virtue.
The next morning, after breakfast, when Mr. Fairchild had prayed and read a chapter with the family, he went out to take a walk. Then Mrs. Goodriche called the three children to her and said, “Now, my dear children, I will tell you a story : come, sit round
these little stools, and hearken.” The children were very much pleased when they heard Mrs. Goodriche say she would tell them a story : for Mrs. Goodriche could tell a great many pretty stories.
“About fifty years ago," said Mrs. Goodriche, "a little old lady, named Mrs. Howard, lived in this house with her maid Betty. She had an old horse, called Crop, which grazed in that meadow, and carried Betty to market once a week. Mrs. Howard was one of the kindest and most good-natured old ladies in England : three or four times every year Betty had orders, when she went to market, to bring all
manner of playthings and little books from the toyshop. These playthings and pretty little books Mrs. Howard used to keep by her, till she saw any children whom she thought worthy of them : but she never gave any playthings to children who did not obey their parents, or who were rude or ill-mannered ; for she used to say, that God has commanded us to be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another:' (Rom. xii. 10): 'on which account, she would say, “it is a great sin in the eyes of God for children to be rude and unmannerly.' All the children in the nighbourhood used from time to time to visit Mrs. Howard ; and those who wished to be obliging never came away without some pretty plaything or book.
“At that time there were in this country two families of the name of Cartwright and Bennet : the former much beloved by the neighbours on account of their good qualities; the latter as much disliked for their bad ones.
“ Mr. Bennet was a rich farmer, aud lived in a good old house with everything handsome and plentiful about him ; but nobody cared to go near him, or to visit his wife, because their manners were so rough and disobliging: and their two children, Master Jacky and Miss Polly, were brought up only to please themselves, and to care for nobody else. But, on the contrary, Mr. and Mrs. Cartwright made their house so agreeable by their civil and courteous manners, that high and low, rich and poor, loved to go there: and Master Billy and Miss Patty Cartwright were spoken well of throughout the whole neighbourhood, for their pretty and modest behaviour. I need not tell you, for you will have found that out already," said Mrs. Goodriche, “ that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were people who had no fear of God about them; whilst Mr. and Mrs. Cartwright had, through the Divine mercy, been brought to the blessed knowledge and fear of their Creator.
“It happened once upon a time, that Betty went to town at the time of the Midsummer Fair, and brought some of the prettiest toys and books which had been seen in this country for a long time: amongst these, were a jointed doll with flaxen hair, and a history of the Bible, full of coloured pictures, exceedingly pretty. Soon after Betty brought these things home, Mrs. Howard said to her, · Betty, you must make a cake and put some plums in it, and a large apple-pie, and some 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 those pretty toys which you brought from the Midsummer Fair.
“ Accordingly Betty made the cake, and the cheese-cakes 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
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 pulled 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.'
“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 ?'
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 presence : 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
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 in. vitation. 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 maid-servant, 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.