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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, whilst 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 have 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 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 were 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 amongst 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, 'I 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 honeysuckles and other creeping shrubs, nailed over a frame-work of lath, in the old-fashioned way. It stood just at the end of that long green walk, 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 honeysuckles 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), whilst her little visitors played in the garden and in the field, and Betty came to and fro with the tea-table and teathings.
“ Whilst 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
far to go?'—No, my pretty miss,' said the old man; ‘only a very little way.'-—'I cannot help to carry your sticks, said Master Cartwright, 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
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
to carry ;
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 him. 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 first lord of the land.
“ Now the children never suspected that Mrs. Howard had heard and seen all this, or else Master and Miss Bennet, I am sure, would not have behaved as they did. They thought Mrs. Howard was in the parlour, where they had left her.
By this time everything was ready for tea, and the cake set upon the table, with the strawberries and cream. “And now, Betty,' said Mrs. Howard, you inay
call the children; and be sure, when tea is over, to bring the toys.' Master and Miss Bennet looked as demure when they came in to tea as they had done at dinner ; and a stranger would have thought them as well behaved children as Master and Miss Carte wright; but children who behave well in the sight of their parents, or in company, and rudely or impertinently in private, or among servants, or their playfellows, cannot be called well bred.
“After the young people had had their tea and cake, and strawberries and cream, Betty came with the play-things, and placed them on the table before Mrs. Howard.
You would, perhaps, like to know what these play-things were : First of all was the jointed doll, dressed, as I before said, in a green satin slip, and a gauze bib and apron, and round cap, according to the fashion of those days: then there was the History of the Bible, with coloured cuts; then came a little chest of drawers for doll's clothes ; a doll's wicker cradle ; a bat and ball; a red morocco pocket-book; a needle-book ; and the History of King Pepin, bound and guilt. These beautiful books and toys were placed on the table, before Mrs. Howard, and the little ones waited in silence to see what she would do with them. Mrs. Howard looked first at the play-things, and then at the children, and thus she spoke :
“My dear children, I sent for these pretty toys from the fair, in order to encourage you to be good : there is nothing that gives me greater pleasure than to see children polite and mannerly, endeavouring to please everybody, “in honour preferring one another," as God hath commanded us to do. Pride and ill manners, my dear children, are the sins of the
but humility, and a wish to please every one rather than ourselves, makes us resemble the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who was so humble as even to wash his disciples' feet; and although he knew himself to be one with God, and equal with God, did not despise the poorest among men. Many persons are polite and good mannered when in company with their betters, because, if they were not so, people would have nothing to say to them : but really wellbehaved persons are courteous and civil, not only when they are among their betters, but when they are with servants, or with poor people ; and for this reason, because they know that God's eye is always upon them, and that he will take account of their ill behaviour.'
“ Then Mrs. Howard took the jointed doll, and the History of the Bible, and gave the one to Miss Patty