All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced, that the fate of empires depended on the education of youth.


A Motto from Aristotle may appear pedantic, but it was chosen merely to oppose such high authority to the following assertions of Dr. Johnson.

"Education," says he, ‘is as well known, and has long been as well known as ever it can be. Endeavouring to make children prematurely wise is useless labour. Suppose they have more know­ledge at five or six years old than other children, what use can be made of it? It will be lost before it is wanted, and the waste of so much time and labour of the teacher is never to be re­paidBoswell's Life of Johnson..’—The remainder of this passage contains such an illiberal attack upon a celebrated female [Page iv]writer, as ought surely to have been suppressed by Dr. Johnson's biographer. When the Doctor at­tempted to ridicule this lady for keeping an infant boarding-school, and for condescending to write ele­mentary books for children, he forgot his own eu­logium upon Dr. Watts, of whom he speaks thus:

‘For children he condescended to lay aside the philosopher, the scholar, and the wit, to write little poems of devotion, and systems of instruc­tion adapted to their wants and capacities, from the dawn of reason, to its gradation of advance in the morning of life. Every man acquainted with the common principles of human action, will look with veneration on the writer, who is at one time combating Locke, and at another time making a catechism for chilaren in their fourth year. A vo­luntary descent from the dignity of science is per­haps the hardest lesson which humility can teach.’

It seems however a very easy task to write for children. Those only who have been interested in the education of a family, who have patiently fol­lowed children through the first processes of reasoning, who have daily watched over their thoughts and feelings: those only, who know with what ease and rapidity the early associations of ideas are formed, on which the future taste, character, and happiness de­pend, can feel the dangers and difficulties of such an undertaking.

[Page v] For a length of time education was classed amongst the subjects of vague and metaphysical speculation; but, of late, it has attained its proper station in ex­perimental philosophy.—The sober sense of Locke, and the enthusiastic eloquence of Rousseau, have di­rected to this object the attention of philosophers and men of genius. Many theories have been in­vented, several just observations have been made, and some few facts have been established.

Dr. Reid remarks, that ‘if we could obtain a distinct and full history of all that hath passed in the mind of a child, from the beginning of life and sensation, till it grows up to the use of reason, how its insant faculties began to work, and how they brought forth and ripened all the various no­tions, opinions, and sentiments, which we find in ourselves, when we come to be capable of reslec­tion, this would be a treasure of natural history, which would probably give more light into the human faculties, than all the systems of philoso­phers about them, since the beginning of the world. *

Indeed in all sciences the grand difficulty has been to ascertain sacts—a difficulty which, in the science of education, peculiar circumstances conspire to in­crease. Here the objects of every experiment are so [Page vi]interesting, that we cannot hold our minds indiffe­rent to the result. Nor is it to be expected, that many registers of experiments, successful and unsuc­cessful, should be kept, much less should be pub­lished, when we consider, that the combined powers of affection and vanity, of partiality to his child, and to his theory, will act upon the mind of a pa­rent, in opposition to the abstract love of justice, and the general desire to increase the wisdom and happi­ness of mankind.

Notwithstanding these difficulties, an attempt to keep such a register has actually been made: it was begun in the year 1776, long before Doctor Reid's book was published. The design has from time to time been pursued to this present year; and though much has not been collected, every circumstance and conversation that has been preserved is faithfully and accurately related.

These notes have been of great advantage to the writer of the following Stories; and will probably, at some future time, be laid before the public, as a collection of experiments upon a subject which has been hitherto treated theoretically.

The following tales have been divided into two parts, as they were designed for different classes of children. The question, whether society could sub­sist without the distinction of ranks, is a question [Page vii]involving a variety of complicated discussions, which we leave to the politician and the legislator. At present, it is necessary that the education of different ranks should, in some respects, be different; they have few ideas, few habits in common; their pecu­liar vices and virtues do not arise from the same causes, and their ambition is to be directed to diffe­rent objects. But justice, truth, and humanity, are confined to no particular rank, and should be en­forced with equal care and energy upon the minds of young people of every station; and it is hoped that these principles have never been forgotten in the fol­lowing pages.

The two first stories, "The Orange Man," and "Trusty," were written for a much earlier age than any of the others, and with such a perfect sim­plicity of expression as, to many, may appear in­sipid and ridiculous. This degree of simplicity is, however, necessary sor very young children, who, when they begin to learn to read, should be rewarded for the trouble of decyphering every word, by being enabled to understand the sense of the whole. Since these two Stories were written, a number of excellent little books have supplied the deficiency which was then complained of by all parents. It was not, therefore, thought necessary to write any more for that age. In the tales which succeed to them in this [Page viii]collection the same simplicity of language has not been observed. The use of elementary books is to store the minds of children with facts, and to enlarge their vocabulary. After these purposes have been effected, it is waste of time, and a mere useless ex­ercise of the memory, to continue this species of reading. As the ideas of children multiply, the lan­guage of their books should become less simple; else their taste will quickly be disgusted, or will remain stationary. Children that live with people who con­verse with elegance, will not be contented with a style inferior to what they hear from every body near them.

It may be remarked, that almost all language is metaphorick—from the conversation of the maid in the nursery, who lulls a cross infant to sleep, to that of the lady in the drawing-room, who, with silly civility, takes a child upon her lap to entertain it by a repetition of fashionable phrases. Slang (the term is disgracefully naturalized in our vocabulary) contains as much and as abstract metaphor as can be found in the most refined literary language. Nor have we reason to suppose, that one kind of meta­phor is more difficult than another to be understood by children; they frequently hear the most compli­cated metaphorical expressions in conversation, such as allude to our fashions and the prejudices of society, with which they are utterly unacquainted.

[Page ix] All poetical allusions have however been avoided in this book—only such situations are described, as children can casily imagine, and which may conse­quently interest their feelings.—Such examples of virtue are painted as are not above their conception of excellence, and their powers of sympathy and emulation.

It is not easy to give rewards to children, which shall not indirectly do them harm, by fostering some hurtful taste or passion. In the story of Lazy Law­rence, where the object was to excite a spirit of in­dustry, care has been taken to proportion the reward to the exertion, and to point out, that people feel cheerful and happy whilst they are employed. The reward of our industrious boy, though it be money, is only money considered as the means of gratifying a benevolent wish. In a commercial nation, it is especially necessary to separate, as much as possible, the spirit of industry and avarice; and to beware lest we introduce Vice under the form of Virtue.

In the story of Tarlton and Loveit are represented the danger and the folly of that weakness of mind, and easiness to be led, which too often pass for good-nature; and, in the story of the False Key, are pointed out some of the evils to which a well-educated boy, when he first goes to service, is ex­posed, from the profligacy of his fellow-servants.

[Page x] In the Birth-day Present, in the History of Mademoiselle Panache, and in the character of Mrs. Theresa Tattle, in the second part, the Parent's As­sistant has pointed out the dangers which may arise in education from a bad servant, a silly governess, and a common acquaintance.

In the Barring-out, the errors to which a high spirit and the love of party are apt to lead, have been made the subject of correction; and it is hoped that the common fault of making the most mischievous characters appear the most active, and the most in­genious, has been as much as possible avoided. Un­successful cunning will not be admired, and cannot induce imitation.

It has likewise been attempted in these Stories to provide antidotes against ill-humour, the epidemic rage for dissipation, and the fatal propensity to admire and imitate whatever the fashion of the moment may distinguish. Were young people, either in public Schools or in private families, absolutely free from bad examples, it would not be adviseable to intro­duce despicable and vicious characters in books in­tended for their improvement. But in real life they must see vice, and it is best that they should be early shocked with the representation of what they are to avoid. There is a great deal of difference between innocence and ignorance.

[Page xi] To prevent precepts of morality from tiring the ear and the mind, it was necessary to make the sto­ries in which they are introduced in some measure dramatic; to keep alive hope, and fear, and curi­osity, by some degree of intricacy. At the same time care has been taken to avoid inflaming the ima­gination, or exciting a restless spirit of adventure, by exhibiting false views of life, and creating hopes which, in the ordinary course of things, cannot be realised.

Dr. Johnson—to recur to him, not from a spirit of contradiction, but from a fear that his authority should establish dangerous errors—Dr. Johnson says, that ‘Babies do not like to hear stories of babies like themselves; that they require to have their imaginations raised by tales of giants and fairies, and castles and inchantments.’—The fact remains to be proved: but supposing that they do prefer such tales, is this a reason why they should be indulged in reading them? It may be said that a little ex­perience in life would soon convince them, that fai­ries, and giants, and enchanters, are not to be met with in the world. But why should the mind be filled with fantastic visions, instead of useful know­ledge? Why should so much valuable time be lost? Why should we vitiate their taste, and spoil their appetite, by suffering them to feed upon sweetmeats? [Page xii]It is to be hoped, that the magic of Dr. Johnson's name will not have power to restore the reign of fairies.

But even when the improbability of fairy tales is avoided, care should be taken to keep objects in their just proportions, when we attempt an imitation of real life.

‘Love, hatred, fear and anger, are to be raised in the soul,’ says an eminent poet, ‘by shew­ing their objects out of their true proportion, ei­ther greater than the life or less; but instruction is to be given, by shewing them what they really are.’

And surely a writer, who sincerely wishes to in­crease the happiness of mankind, will find it easy to give up the fame that might be acquired by elo­quence, when it is injurious to the cause of truth.


VERY, very little children must not read this story, for they cannot understand it; they will not know what is meant by a liear, and a boy of truth.

Very little children, when they are asked a question, say "yes," and "no," without know­ing the meaning of the words; but you, chil­dren, who can speak quite plain, and who can tell, by words, what you wish for, and what you want, and what you have seen, and what you have done; you who understand what is meant by the words "I have done it," or "I have not," you may read this story, for you can understand it.

Frank and Robert were two little boys, about eight years old. Whenever Frank did any­thing wrong, he always told his father a [...] [Page xii] [...] [Page] [...] [Page 2]mother of it; and when any body asked him about any thing which he had done or said, he always told the truth; so that every body who knew him believed him: but nobody who knew his brother Robert believed a word which he said, because he used to tell lies. Whenever he did any thing wrong, he never ran to his father and mother to tell them of it; but when they asked him about it, he denied it, and said he had not done the things which he had done. The reason that Robert told lies was, because he was afraid of being punished for his faults if he confessed them. He was a coward, and could not bear the least pain; but Frank was a brave boy, and could bear to be punished for little faults: his mother never punished him so much for such little faults, as she did Ro­bert for the lies which he told, and which she found out afterward.

One evening these two little boys were play­ing together in a room by themselves; their mother was ironing in a room next to them, and their father was out at work in the fields, so there was nobody in the room with Robert and Frank; but there was a l [...]ttle dog Trusty [...]ving by the fire-side. Trusty was a pretty [Page 3]playful little dog, and the children were very fond of him.

"Come," said Robert to Frank, "there is Trusty lying beside the fire asleep, let us go and waken him, and he will play with us."—"O yes, do, let us," said Frank. So they both ran to­gether towards the hearth to waken the dog. Now there was a bason of milk standing upon the hearth, and the little boys did not see where­abouts it stood, for it was behind them: as they were both playing with the dog, they kicked it with their fe [...]t, and threw it down; and the bason broke, and all the milk ran out of it over the hearth, and about the floor; and when the little boys saw what they had done, they were very sorry, and frightened, but they did not know what to do: they stood for some time looking at the broken bason and the milk, with­out speaking. Robert spoke first.

"So, we shall have no milk for supper to­night," said he, and he sighed —

"No milk for supper!—why not?" said Frank; "is there no more milk in the house." "Yes, but we shall have none of it; for do not you remember, last Monday, when we threw down the milk, my mother said we were very [Page 4]careless, and that the next time we did so, we should have no more,—and this is the next time; so we shall have no milk for supper to­night."

"Well, then," said Frank, "we must do without it, that's all: we will take more care another time; there's no great harm done; come, let us run and tell my mother. You know she bid us always tell her directly when we broke any thing; so come," said he, taking hold of his brother's hand. "I will come just now," said Robert; "don't be in such a hurry, Frank—can't you stay a minute?" So Frank stayed: and then he said, "Come now, Ro­bert." But Robert answered, "Stay a little longer, for I dare not go yet—I am afraid."

Little boys, I ad [...]ise you, never be afraid to tell the truth; never say "stay a minute," and, "stay a little longer," but run directly, and tell of what you have done that is wrong. The longer you stay, the more afraid you will grow; till at last, perhaps, you will not d [...]re to tell the truth at all. — Hear what happened to Robert.

The longer he stayed, the more unwilling he was to go to tell his mother that he had thrown the milk down; and at last he pulled his hand [Page 5]away from his brother, and cried, "I won't go at all; Frank, can't you go by yourself?" — "Yes," said Frank, "so I will; I am not afraid to go by myself: I only waited for you out of good-nature, because I thought you would like to tell the truth too."

"Yes, so I will; I mean to tell the truth when I am asked; but I need not go now, when I do not choose it:—and why need you go either?—can't you wait here?—sure [...]y my mo­ther can see the milk when she comes in."— Frank said no more, but, as his brother would not come, he went without him. He opened the door of the nex [...] room, where he thought his mother was ironing; but when he went in, he saw that she was gone, and he thought she was gone to fetch some more clothes to iron. The clothes, he kn [...]w, were hanging on the bushes in the garden; so he thought his mo­ther was gone there, and he ran after her to tell what had happened.

Now whilst Frank was gon [...], Robert was left in the room by himself; and all the while he was alone he was thinking of some excuses to make to his mother, and he was sorry that Frank was gone to tell her the truth. He said [Page 6]to himself, "If Frank and I both were to say, that we did not throw down the bason, she would believe us, and we should have milk for supper. I am very sorry Frank would go to tell her about it." Just as he said this to himself, he heard his mother coming down stairs. "Oh ho!" said he to himself, "then my mother has not been out in the garden, and so Frank has not met her, and cannot have told her; so now I may say what I please."

Then this naughty, cowardly boy determin­ed to tell his mother a lie.

She came into the room; but when she saw the broken bason, and the milk spilled, she stop­ped short, and cried—

"So, so! —what a piece of work is here! — who did this, Robert?"

"I don't know, ma'am," said Robert, in a very low voice.

"You don't know, Robert! —tell me the truth—I shall not be angry with you, child— you will only lose the milk at supper; and as for the bason, I would rather have you break all the basons I have, than tell me one lie.—So don't tell me a lie. —I ask you, Robert, did you break the bason?"

[Page 7] "No, ma'am, I did not," said Robert, and he coloured as red as fire.

"Then, where's Frank?—did he do it?" —"No mother, he did not," said Robert; for he was in hopes, that when Frank came in, he should persuade him to say that he did not do it.

"How do you know", said his mother, "that Frank did not do it?"

"Because—because—because, ma'am," said Robert, hesitating, as liars do for an excuse— "because I was in the room all the time, and I did not see him do it."

"Then how was the bason thrown down? If you have been in the room all the time you can tell."

Then Robert, going on from one lie to an­other, answered—

"I suppose the dog must have done it."— "Did you see him do it?" says his mother. "Yes," said this wicked by. "Trusty, Trusty," said his mother, turning round; and Trusty, who was lying before the fire, drying his legs, which were wet with the milk, jump­ed up, and came to her. Then she said, "Fie! fie! Trusty!" and she pointed to the milk. [Page 8]"Get me a switch out of the garden, Robert; Trusty must be be [...]t for this." Robert ran for the switch, and in the garden he met his bro­ther: he stopped him, and told him, in a great hurry, all that he had said to his mother; and he begged of him not to tell the truth, but to say the same as he had done.

"No, I will not tell a lie," said Frank.— "What! and is Trusty to be beat!—he did not throw down the milk, and he shan't be beat for it—let me go to my mother."

They both ran toward the house; Robert got first home, and he locked the house door, that Frank might not come in. He gave the switch to his mother. Poor Trusty! he looked up as the switch was l [...]fted over his head, but he could not speak, to tell the truth. Just as the blow was falling upon him, Frank's voice was heard at the window,—"Stop, stop! dear mo­ther, stop!" cried he, as loud as ever he could call; "Trusty did not do it—let me [...]n—I and Robert did it—but do not b [...]a [...] Robert."

"Let us in, let us in," cried another voice, which Robert k [...]ew to be his father's; "I am just come from work, and here's the do [...] lock­ed." Robert turned as pale as ashes when he [Page 9]heard his father's voice, for his father always whipped him when he told a lie.

His mother went to the door, and unlocked it. "What's all this?" cried his father, as he came in; so his mother told him all that had happened;—how the milk had been thrown down; how she had asked Robert whether he had done it; and he said that he had not, nor that Frank had not done it, but that Trusty the dog had done it; how she was just going to beat Trusty, when Frank came to the window and told the truth. "Where is the switch with which you were going to beat Trusty?" said the father.

Then Robert, who saw, by his father's looks, that he was going to beat him, fell upon his knees, and cried for mercy, saying, "Forgive me this time, and I will never tell a lie again."

But his father caught hold of him by the arm—"I will whip you now," said he, "and then, I hope, you will not." So Robert was whipped, till he cried so loud with the pain, that the whole neighbourhood could hear him.

"There," said his father, when he had done, "now go to supper; you are to have no [Page 10]milk to night, and you have been whipped. See how liars are served!" Then, turning to Frank, "Come here, and shake hands with me, Frank; you will have no milk for supper, but that does not signify; you have told the truth, and have not been whipped, and every body is pleased with you. And now I'll tell you what I will do for you—I will give you the little dog Trusly, to be your own dog. You shall feed him, and take care of him, and he shall be your dog; you have saved him a beating, and I'll answer for it you'll be a good master to him. Trusty, Trusty, come here." Trusty came; then Frank's father took off Trusty's collar. "To-morrow I'll go to the brazier's," added he, "and get a new collar made for your dog: from this day forward he shall always be called after you, Frank!—And, wife, whenever any of the neighbours' children ask you why the dog Trusty is to be called Frank, tell them this story of our two boys: let them know the difference between a liar and a boy of truth.


CHARLES was the name of the honest boy; and Ned was the name of the thief. Charles never touched what was not his own; this is being an honest boy: Ned often took what was not his own; this is being a thief. Charles's father and mother, when he was a very little boy, had taught him to be honest, by always punishing him when he meddled with what was not his own: but when Ned took what was not his own, his father and mother did not punish him; so he grew up to be a thief.

Early one summer's morning, as Charles was going along the road to school, he met a man leading a horse which was laden with panniers. The man stopped at the door of a public-house which was by the road fide; and he said to the landlord, who came to the door, [Page 12]"I won't have my horse unloaded, I shall only stop with you whilst I eat my breakfast; give my horse to some one to hold here on the road, and let the horse have a little hay to eat." The landlord called, but there was no one in the way; so he beckoned to Charles, who was going by, and begged him to [...]old the horse. "Oh," said the man, "but can you engage him to be an honest boy? for these are oranges in my baskets; and it is not every little boy one can leave with oranges."—"Yes," said the landlord, "I have known Charles from the cradle upwards, and I never caught him in a lie or a theft; all the parish knows him to be an honest boy; I'll engage your oranges will be as safe with him as if you were by yourself."— "Can you so?" said the orange man; "then I'll engage, my lad, to give you the finest orange in my basket, when I come from break­fast, if you'll watch the red whilst I am away."— "Yes," said Charles, "I will take care of your oranges." So the man put the bridle into his hand, and he went into the house to eat his breakfast.

Charles had watched the horse and the oranges about five minutes, when he saw one [Page 13]of his schoolfellows coming towards him; as he came nearer, Charles saw that it was Ned. Ned stopped as he passed, and said—

"Good-morrow to you, Charles; what are you doing there? whose horse is that? and what have you got in the baskets?"—"There are oranges in the baskets," said Charles; "and a man, who has just gone into the inn here to eat his breakfast, bid me take care of them, and so I did; because he said he would give me an orange when he came back again."

"An orange!" cried Ned; "are you to have a whole orange?—I wish I was to have one! However, let me look how large they are." Saying this, Ned went towards the pan­nier, and lifted up the cloth that covered it. "La! what fine oranges!" he exclaimed, the moment he saw them. "Let me touch them to feel if they are ripe."

"No," said Charles, "you had better not; what signifies it to you whether they are ripe, you know, since you are not to eat them. You should not meddle with them, they are not yours, —you must not touch them." "Not touch them! surely," said Ned, "there's no harm in touching them. You don't think I mean to steal [Page 14]them, I suppose." So Ned put his hand into the orange-man's basket, and he took up an orange, and he felt it; and when he had felt it, he smelled it. "It smells very sweet," said he, "and it feels very ripe; I long to taste it; I will only just suck one drop of juice at the top." Saying these words, he put the orange to his mouth.

Little boys, who wish to be honest, beware of temptation; do not depend too much upon yourselves; and remember, that it is easier to resolve to do right at first, than at last. People are led on, by little and little, to do wrong.

The sight of the oranges tempted Ned to touch them; the touch tempted him to smell them; and the smell tempted him to taste them.

"What are you about, Ned?" cried Charles, taking hold of his arm. "You said, you only wanted to smell the orange; do, put it down, for shame!"

"Don't say for shame to me," cried Ned, in a surly tone; the oranges are not your's, Charles!" — "No, they are not mine, but I promised to take care of them, and so I will: — so put down that orange!"

[Page 15] "Oh, if it comes to that, I won't," said Ned, and let us see who can make me, if I don't choose it; — I'm stronger than you."

"I am not afraid of you for all that," re­plied Charles, "for I am in the right." Then he snatched the orange out of Ned's hand, and he pushed him with all his force from the basket. Ned, immediately returning, hit him a violent blow, which almost stunned him. Still, how­ever, this good boy, without minding the pain, persevered in defending what was left in his care; he still held the bridle with one hand, and covered the basket with his other arm, as well as he could. Ned struggled in vain, to get his hands into the pannier again; he could not; and, finding that he could not win by strength, he had recourse to cunning. So he pretended to be out of breath and to desist; but he meant, as soon as Charles looked away, to creep softly round to the basket, on the other side. Cunning people, though they think themselves very wise, are almost always very silly.

Ned, intent upon one thing, the getting round to steal the oranges, forgot that if he went too close to the horse's heels, he should [Page 16]startle him. The horse indeed, disturbed by the bustle near him, had already left off eating his hay, and began to put down his ears; but when he felt something touch his hind legs, he gave a sudden kick, and Ned fell backwards, just as he had seized the orange.

Ned screamed with the pain; and at the scream all the people came out of the public house to see what was the matter; and amongst them came the orange-man.

Ned was now so much ashamed, that he almost forgot the pain, and wished to run away; but he was so much hurt, that he was obliged to sit down again. The truth of the matter was soon told by Charles, and as soon believed by all the people present who knew him: for he had the character of being an honest boy, and Ned was known to be a thief and a liar.

So nobody pitied Ned for the pain he felt. "He deserves it," says one. "Why did he meddle with what was not his own?" —"Pugh! he is not much hurt, I'll answer for it," said another. "And if he was, it's a lucky kick for him, if it keeps him from the gallows," says a third. Charles was the only person who said nothing; he helped Ned away to a bank. For brave boys are always good-natured.

[Page 17] "Oh, come here," said the orange-man, calling him; "come here, my honest lad! what! you got that black eye in keeping my oranges, did you? — that's a flout little fellow," said he, taking him by the hand, and leading him into the midst of the people. Men, wo­men, and children, had gathered around, and all the children fixed their eyes upon Charles, and wished to be in his place.

In the mean time the orange man took Charles's hat off his head, and filled it with fine China oranges. "There, my little friend," said he, "take them, and God bless you with them! If I could but afford it, you should have all that is in my basket."

Then the people, and especially the children, shouted for joy; but as soon as there was silence, Charles said to the orange-man, "Thank's, master, with all my heart; but I can't take your oranges, only that one I earned; take the rest back again: as for a black eye, that's no­thing! but I won't be paid for it; no more than for doing what's honest. So I can't take your oranges, master; but I thank you as much as if I had them." Saying these words, Charles offered to pour the oranges back into the basket, bat the man would not let him.

[Page 18] "Then," said Charles, "if they are honestly mine, I may give them away;" so he emptied the hat amongst the children his companions. "Divide them amongst you," said he; and without waiting for their thanks, he pressed through the crowd, and ran towards home. The children all followed him, clapping their hands, and thanking him.

The little thief came limping after. Nobody praised him, nobody thanked him; he had no oranges to eat, nor had he any to give away. People must be honest, before they can be generous. Ned sighed as he went towards home; "And all this," said he to himself, "was for one orange; it was not worth while." No. It is never worth while to do wrong. Little boys who read this story, consider which would you rather have been, the honest boy, or the thief.


YOUNG Hardy was educated by Mr. Free­man, a very good master, at one of the Sunday schools in —shire. He was honest, obedient, active, and good-natured; so that he was es­teemed and beloved by his master, and by his companions. Beloved by all his companions who were good, he did not desire to be loved by the bad; nor was he at all vexed or ashamed, when idle, mischievous, or dishonest boys at­tempted to plague or ridicule him. His friend Loveit, on the contrary, wished to be univer­sally liked; and his highest ambition was to be thought the best natured boy in the school:— and so he was. He usually went by the name of poor Loveit, and every body pitied him when he got into disgrace, which he frequently did; for though he had a good disposition, he was often led to do things, which he knew to be wrong, merely because he could never have the courage to say, no; because he was afraid to offend the ill-natured, and could not bear to be laughed at by fools.

[Page 20] One fine autumn evening, all the boys were permitted to go out to play in a pleasant green meadow, near the school. Loveit, and another boy, called Tarlton, began to play a game at battledore and shuttlecock, and a large party stood by to look on; for they were the best players at battledore and shuttlecock in the school, and this was a trial of skill between them. When they had kept it up to three hundred and twenty, the game became very in­teresting: the arms of the combatants grew so tired, that they could scarcely wield the battle­dores: —the shuttlecock began to waver in the air; now it almost touched the ground, and now, to the astonishment of the spectators, mounted again high over their heads; yet the strockes became fe [...]bler and feebler; and "now Loveit!" "now Tarlton!" resounded on all sides. For another minute the victory was doubtful; but at length, the setting sun shining full in Loveit's face so dazzled his eyes, that he could no longer see the shuttlecock, and it fell at his feet.

After the first shout for Tarlton's triumph was over, every body exclaimed, "Poor Loveit!" —he's the best natured fellow in the world!— [Page 21]what a pity that he did not stand with his black to the sun."

"Now I dare you all to play another game with me," cried Tarlton, vauntingly; and as he spoke, he tossed the shuttlecock up with all his force: with so much force, that it went over the hedge, and dropped into a lane, which went close beside the field. "Hey-day!" said Tarl­ton, "what shall we do now?"

The boys were strictly forbidden to go into the lane; and it was upon their promise not to break this command, that they were allowed to play in the adjoining field.

No other shuttlecock was to be had, and their play was stopped. They stood on the top of the bank peeping over the hedge. "I see it yonder," said Tarlton; "I wish any body would get it. One could get over the gate at the bottom of the field, and be back again in half a minute," added he, looking at Loveit. "But you know we must not go into the lane," said Loveit, hesitatingly. "Pugh!" said Tarl­ton, "why now what harm could it do?"— "I don't know," said Loveit, drumming upon his battledore; "but—" "You don't know, man! why then what are you afraid of? I ask [Page 22]you."—Loveit coloured, went on drumming, and again, in a lower voice, said "he didn't know." But upon Tarlton's repeating, in a more insolent tone, "I ask you, man, what you're afraid of?" he suddenly left off drum­ming, and looking round, said, "he was not afraid of any thing that he knew of."—"Yes, but you are," said Hardy, coming forward. "Am I," said Loveit; "of what, pray, am I afraid?" "Of doing wrong!" "Afraid of doing wrong!" repeated Tarlton, mimicking him, so that he made every body laugh. "Now hadn't you better say, afraid of being flogged?" —"No," said Hardy, coolly, after the laugh had somewhat subsided, "I am as little afraid of being flogged as you are, Tarlton; but I meant—" "No matter what you meant; why should you interfere with your wisdom, and your meanings; nobody thought of asking you to stir a step for us; but we asked Loveit, be­cause he's the best fellow in the world."—"And for that very reason you should not ask him, because you know he can't refuse you any thing?" "Indeed though," cried Loveit, piqued, "there you're mistaken, for I could refuse if I chose it." Hardy smiled; and Loveit, [Page 23]half afraid of his contempt, and half afraid of Tarlton's ridicule, stood doubtful, and again had recourse to his battledore, which he ba­lanced most curiously upon his fore finger. "Look at him!—now do look at him!" cried Tarlton; "did you ever in your life see any body look so silly!—Hardy has him quite under thumb; he's so mortally afraid of Parson Prig, that he dare not, for the soul of him, turn ei­ther of his eyes from the tip of his nose; look how he squints!"—"I don't squint," said Loveit, looking up, "and nobody has me under his thumb; and what Hardy said, was only for fear I should get into disgrace:—he's the best friend I have." Loveit spoke this with more than usual spirit, for both his heart and his pride were touched. "Come along them," said Hardy, taking him by the arm in an affectionate manner; and he was just going, when Tarl­ton called after him, "Ay, go along with its best friend, and take care it does not get into a scrape;—good by, Little Panado!"—"Who do they call Little Panado," said Loveit, turn­ing his head hastily back. "Never mind," said Hardy, "what does it signify?"—"No," said Loveit, "to be sure it does not signify; [Page 24]but one does not like to be called Little Pa­nado: besides," added he, after going a few steps farther, "they'll all think it so ill-natured. —I had better go back, and just tell them, that I'm very sorry I can't get their shuttlecock;— do come back with me."— ‘No, said Hardy, I can't go back; and you'd better not.’ "But, I assure you, I won't stay a minute; wait for me," added Loveit; and he slunk back again to prove that he was not Little Pa­nado.

Once returned, the rest followed of course; for to support his character for good-nature, he was obliged to yield to the entreaties of his companions, and to shew his spirit, leapt over the gate, amidst the acclamations of the little mob:—he was quickly out of sight.

"Here," cried he, returning in about five minutes, quite out of breath, "I've got the shuttlecock; and I'll tell you what I've seen," cried he, panting for breath. "What?" cried every body, eagerly. "Why, just at the turn of the corner, at the end of the lane," panting. "Well," said Tariton, impatiently, "do go on."—"Let me just take breath first." "Pugh! never mind your breath."—"Well then, just [Page 25]at the turn of the corner, at the end of the lane, as I was looking about for the shuttlecock, I heard a great rustling somewhere near-me, and so I looked where it could come from; and I saw, in a nice little garden, on the opposite side of the way, a boy, about as big as Tarlton, sitting in a great tree, shaking the branches; and at every shake down there came such a shower of sine large rosy apples, they made my mouth water: so I called to the boy, to beg one; but he said, he could not give me one, for that they were his grandfather's; and just at that minute, from behind a gooseberry bush, up popped the uncle—the grandfather poked his head out of the window; so I ran off as fast as my legs would carry me, though I heard him bawling after me all the way."

"And let him bawl," cried Tarlton, "he shan't bawl for nothing; I'm determined we'll have some of his fine large rosy apples before I sleep to-night."—At this speech a general silence ensued; every body kept their eyes fixed upon Tarlton, except Loveit, who looked down, apprehensive that he should be drawn on much farther than he intended.—"Oh, indeed!" said he to himself, "as Hardy told me, I had better not have come back!"

[Page 26] Regardless of this confusion, Tarlton conti­nued, "But before I say any more, I hope we have no spies amongst us. If there is any one of you afraid to be slogged, let him march off this instant!"—Loveith coloured, bit his lips, wished to go, but had not the courage to move first.—He waited to see what every body else would do;—nobody stirred;—so Loveit stood still.

"Well then," cried Tarlton, giving his hand to the boy next him, then to the next, "your word and honour that you won't betray me; but stand by me, and I'il stand by you."—Each boy gave his hand, and his promise; repeating "stand by me, and I'll stand by you."—Loveit hung back till the last; and had almost twisted off the butten of the boy's coat who sereened him, when Tarlton came up, holding out his hand, "Come, Loveit, lad, you're in for it: Stand by me, and I'll stand by you."—" In­deed, Tarlton," expostulated he, without look­ing him in the sace, "I do wish you'd give up this seheme; I dare say all the apples are gone by this time;—I wish you would—Do, pray, give up this scheme."—"What seheme, man! you hav [...]n [...]t heard it yet; you may as well know [Page 27]your text before you begin preaching." The corners of Loveit's mouth could not refuse to smile, though in his heart he felt not the slightest inclination to laugh. "Why I don't know you, I declare I don't know you to-day," said Tarlton; "you used to be the best natured, most agreeable lad in the world, and would do any thing one asked you; but you're quite al­tered of late, as we were saying just now, when you skulked away with Hardy: come, do man, pluck up a little spirit, and be one of us, or you'll make us all have you." "Hate me!" repeated Loveit, with terror; "no, surely, you won't all Hate me!" and he mechanically stretched out his hand, which Tarlton shook violently, saying, "Ay, now, that's right."— "Ay, now, that's wren [...]!" whispered Loveit's conscience; but his conscience was of no use to him, for it was always overpowered by the voice of numbers; and though he had the wish, he never had the power, to do right. "Poor Loveit! I knew he would not refuse us," cried his companions; and even Tarlton. the mo­ment he shook hands with him, despised him. It is certain, that weakness of mind is despised both by the good and by the bad.

[Page 28] The league being thus formed, Tarlton as­sumed all the airs of a commander, explained his schemes, and laid the plan of attack, upon the poor old man's apple tree. It was the only one he had in the world. We shall not dwell upon their confultation, for the amusement of contriving such expeditions is often the chief thing which induces idle boys to engage in them.

There was a small window at the end of the back stairease, through which, between nine and ten o'clock at night, Tarlton, accompanied by Loveit and another boy, crept out. It was a moonlight night, and, after crossing the field, and climbing the gate, directed by Loveit, who now resol [...]ed to go through the affair with spi­rit, they proceeded down the lane with rash, yet fearful shops. At a distance Loveit s [...]w the write-washed cottage, and the apple tree beside it: they quickened their pace, and with some difficulty scrambled through the hedge which fenced the garden, though not without being scratched and [...]o [...] by the briars. Every thing was silent. Yet now and then at every rustling of the leaves they started, and their hearts beat violently. Once as Loveit was climbing the apple tree, he thought he heard a door in the [Page 29]cottage open, and earnestly begged his com­panions to desist and return home. This how­ever he could, by no means, persuade them to do, until they had filled their pockets with ap­ples; then, to his great joy, they returned, crept in at the staircase window, and each re­tired, as softly as possible, to his own apart­ment.

Love it slept in the room with Hardy, whom he had left tast asleep, and whom he now was extremely afraid of wakening. All the apples were emptied out of Loverit's pockets, and lodged with Tarlton till the morning, for fear the smell should betray the secret to Hardy. The [...]oom door was apt to creak, but it was opened with such precaution, that no noise could be heard, and Loveit found his friend as fast asleep as when he left him.

"Ah," said he to himself, "how quietly he sleeps! I wish I had been sleeping too." The reproaches of Loveit's conscience, however, served no other purpose but to torment him; he had not sufficient strength of mind to be good. The very next night, in spite of all his fears, and all his penitence, and all his resolutions, by a little fresh ridicule and persuasion he was in­duced [Page 30]to accompany the same party on a similar expedition. We must observe, that the neces­sity for continuing their depredations became stronger the third day; for, though at first only a small party had been in the secret, by degrees it was divulged to the whole school; and it was necessary to secure secresy by sharing the booty.

Every one was astonished, that Hardy, with all his quickness and penetration, had not yet discovered their proceedings; but Loveit could not help suspecting that he was not quite so ig­norant as he appeared to be. Loveit had strictly kept his promise of secresy, but he was by no means an artful boy; and in talking to his friend, conscious that he had something to con­ceal, he was perpetually on the point of betray­ing himself; then recollecting his engagement, he blushed, stammered, bungled; and upon Hardy's asking what he meant, would answer with a filly guilty countenance, that he did not know; or abruptly break off, saying, Oh no­thing! nothing at all!

It was in vain that he urged Tarlton to per­mit him to consult his friend; a gloom over­spread Tarlton's brow when he began to speak on the subject, and he always returned a pe­remptory [Page 31]refusal, accompanied with some such taunting expression as this—"I wish we had nothing to do with such a sneaking sellow. He'll betray us all, I see, before we have done with him."—"Well," said Loveit to himself, "so I am abused after all, and called a sneaking fellow for my pains; that's rather hard to be sure, when l've got so little by the job."

In truth he had not got much, for in the di­vision of the booty only one apple, and a half of another which was only half ripe, happened to fall to his share; though, to be sure, when they had all eaten their apples, he had the sa­tisfaction to hear every body declare they were very sorry they had forgotten to offer some of theirs to "poor Loveit!"

In the mean time the visits to the apple tree had been now too frequently repeated to remain concealed from the old man, who lived in the cottage. He used to examine his only tree very frequently, and missing numbers of [...]osy apples which he had watched ripening, he, though not much prome to suspicion, began to think that there was something going wrong; especially as a gap was made in his hedge, and there were several small footsteps in his flower beds.

[Page 32] The good old man was not at all inclined to give pain to any living creature, much less to children, of whom he was particularly fond. Nor was he in the least avaricious, for though he was not rich, he had enough to live upon, because he had been very industrious in his youth; and he was always very ready to part with the little he had; nort was he a cross old man. If any thing would have made him angry, it would have been the seeing his fa­vourite tree ro [...] bed, as he had promised himself the pleasure of gaving his red apples to his grand­children on his birth-day. However he looked up at the tree in sorrow rather than in anger, and leaning upon his staff, he began to con­sider what he had best do.

"If I complain to their master," said he to himself, "they will certainly be flogged, and that I should be sorry for; yet they must not be let to go on stealing, that would be worse still, for that would surely bring them to the gallows in the end. Let me see—oh, ay, that will do; I will borrow farmer Kent's dog Barker, he'll keep them off, I'll answer for it."

Father Kent lent his dog Barker, cautioning his neighbour at the same time, to be sure to [Page 33]chain him well, for he was the fiercest mastiff in England. The old man, with farmer Kent's assistance, chained him fast to the trunk of the apple tree.

Night came, and Tarlton, Loveit, and his companions, returned at the usual hour. Grown bolder now by frequent success, they came on talking and laughing. But the moment they had set their soot in the garden, the dog started up; and, shaking his chain as he sprang forward, barked with unremitting fury. They stood still as if fixed to the spot. There was just moonlight enough to see the dog. "Let us try the other side of the tree," said Tarlton. But to which ever side they turned the dog flew round in an instant, barking with encreased fury.

"He'll break his chain and tear us to pieces," cried Tarlton; and, struck with ter or, he immediately threw down the basket he had brought with him, and betook himself to flight with the greatest precipitation. — "Help me! oh, pray, help me! I cant't get through the he ge," cried Loveit in a lamentable tone, whilst the dog growled hideously, and sprang forward to the extremity of his chain. — "I [Page 34]can't get out! Oh, for God's sake, stay for me one minute, dear Tarlton!"

He called in vain, he was left to struggle through his difficulties by himself; and of all his dear friends, not one turned back to help him. At last, torn and terrified, he got through the hedge and ran home, despising his compa­nions for their selfishness. Nor could he help observing, that Tarlton, with all his vaunted prowess, was the first to run away from the appearance of danger The next morning he could not help reproaching the party with their conduct. — "Why could not you, any of you, stay one minute to help me?" said he. "We did not hear you call," answered one. "I was so frightened," said another, "I would not have turned back for the whole world." — "And you, Tarlton?" — "I," said Tarlton. "Had not I enough to do to take care of myself, you blockhead? Every one for himself in this world!" "So I see," said Loveit gravely. "Well, man! is there any thing strange in that" — "Strange! why yes, I thought you all loved me?" "Lord, love you, lad! so we do; but we love ourselves better." — "Hardy would not have served me so, however," said [Page 35]Loveit, turning away in disgust. Tarlton was alarmed. — "Pugh!" said he; "what nonsense have you taken into your brain? Think no more about it. We are all very sorry, and beg your pardon; come, shake hands, for give and forget." Loveit gave his hand, but gave it rather coldly. — "I forgive it with all my heart," said he, "but I cannot forget it so soon!" — "Why then you are not such a good-humoured follow as we thought you were. Surely you cannot bear malice, Loveit." Loveit smiled, and allowed that n [...] certainly could not bear malice. "Well then, come; you know at the bottom we all love you, and would do any thing in the world for you." Poor Loveit, flattered in his foible, began to believe that they did love him at the bottom, as they said, and even with [...]i [...] eyes open consented again to be duped.

"How strange it is," thought he, "that I should set such value upon the love of those I despise! When I'm once out of this scrape, I'll have no more to do with them, I'm deter­mined."

Compared with his friend Hardy, his new associates did indeed appear contemptible; for [Page 36]all this time Hardy had treated him with uni­form kindness, avoided to pry into his secrets, yet seemed ready to receive his confidence, if it had been offered.

After school in the evening, as he was stand­ing silently beside Hardy, who was ruling a sheet of paper for him, Tarlton, in his brutal manner, came up, and seizing him by the arm, cried, "Come along with me, Loveit, I've something to say to you." — "I can't come now," said Loveit, drawing away his arm. —"Ah, do come now," said Tarlton in a voice of persuasion. — "Well, I'll come presently." — "Nay, but do, pray; there's a good fellow, come now, because I've something to say to you." — "What is it you've got to say to me? I wish you'd let me alone," said Loveit; yet at the same time he suffered himself to be led away.

Tarlton took particular pains to humour him and bring him into temper again; and even, though he was not very apt to part with his play-things, went so far as to say, "Loveit, the other day you wanted a top; I'll give you mine, if you desire it." — Loveit thanked him, and was overjoyed at the thoughts of possessing [Page 37]this top. "But what did you want to say to me just now?" — "Aye, we'll talk of that pre­sently — not yet — when we get out of hearing." — "Nobody is near us," said Loveit. — "Come a little farther, however," said Tarlton, look­ing round suspiciously — "Well now, well?" "You know the dog that frightened us so last night?" — "Yes." — "It will never frighten us again." — "Won't it? how so?" — "Look here," said Tarlton, drawing from his pocket something wrapped in a blue handkerchief. — "What's that?" Tarlton opened it. "Raw meat!" exclaimed Loveit. "How came you by it?" — "Tom, the servant boy, Tom got it for me, and I'm to give him sixpence." — "And is it for the dog?" — "Yes; I vowed I'd be re­venged on him, and after this he'll never bark again." — "Never bark again! — What do you mean? — Is it poison?' exclaimed Loveit, s [...]ing back with horror. "Only poison for [...]," said Tarlton, confused; "you could not look more shocking if it was poison for a [...]stia [...]." Loveit stood for nearly a minute in profound silence. "Tarlton," said he, at lasts in a changed tone and altered manner, "I did not know you; I will have no more to do [Page 38]with you." — "Nay, but stay," said Tarlton, catching hold of his arm, "stay; I was only joking." — "Let go my arm, you were in ear­nest." — "But then that was before I knew there was any harm. If you think there's any harm?" — "If," said Loveit. "Why you know, I might not know; for Tom told me it's a thing that's often done; ask Tom." — "I'll ask nobody! Surely we know better what's right and wrong than Tom does." — "But only just ask him, to hear what he'll say." — "I dont' want to hear what he'll say," cried Loveit vehemently. "The dog will die in agonies — in horrid agonies! There was a dog poisoned at my father's, I saw him in the yard. — Poor creature! he lay, and howled, and writhed himself!" — "Poor creature! — Well, there's no harm done now," cried Tarlton, in an hypocritical tone. But though he thought sit to dissemble with Loveit, he was thoroughly determined in his purpose.

Poor Loveit, in haste to get away, returned to his friend Hardy; but his mind was in such agitation, that he neither talked nor moved like himself; and two or three times his heart was so full that he was ready to burst into tears.

[Page 39] "How good-natured you are to me," said he to Hardy, as he was trying vainly to entertain him; "but if you knew—." Here he stopped short, for the bell for evening prayer rang, and they all took their places, and knelt down. After prayers, as they were going to bed, Loveit stopped Tarlton—"Well!" asked he, in an inquiring manner, fixing his eyes upon him;— "Well!" replied Tarlton, in an audacious tone, as if he meant to set his inquiring eye at defiance; — "what do you mean to do to night?"—"To go to sleep, as you do, I sup­pose," I plied Tarlton, turning away abruptly, and whistling as he walked off.

"Oh, he has certainly changed his mind!" said Leveit to himself, "else he could not whistle." About t [...]n minutes after this, as he and Herdy were undressing, Hardy suddenly re­collected that he had left his new kite out upon the grass. "Oh," said he, "it will be quite spoiled before morning!"—"Call Tom," said Loveit, "and bid him bring it in for you in a minute." They both went to the top of the stairs to call Tom; no one answered. They called again louder. "Is Tom below?"— "I'm here," answered he at last, coming out [Page 40]of Tarlton's room with a look of mixed embar­rassment and effrontery. And as he was re­ceiving Hardy's commission, Loveit saw the corner of the blue handkerchief hanging out of his pocket. This excited fresh suspicions in Loveit's mind; but, without saying one word, he immediately stationed himself at the window in his room, which looked out towards the lane; and, as the moon was risen, he could see if any one passed that way. "What are you doing there?" said Hardy, after he had been watching some time; why don't you come to bed?" Loveit returned no answer, but continued stand­ing at the window. Nor did he watch long in vain; presently he saw Tom gliding slowly along a by-path, and get over the gate into the lane.

"He's gone to do it!" exclaimed Loveit aloud, with an emotion which he could not command. "Who's gone! to do what!" cried Hardy, starting up. "How cruel, how wicked!" continued Loveit. "What's cruel —what's wicked? speak out at once!" re­turned Hardy, in that commanding tone which, in moments of danger, strong minds feel them­selves entitled to assume towards weak ones. [Page 41]Loveit instantly, though in an incoherent man­ner, explained the affair to him. Scarcely had the words passed his lips, when Hardy sprang up, and began dressing himself without saying one syllable. "For God's sake, what are you go­ing to do?" said Loveit in great anxiety. "They'll never forgive me! don't betray me! they'll never forgive me! pray speak to me! only say you won't betray us."—"I will not betray you, trust to me," said Hardy; and he left the room, and Loveit stood in amazement: whilst, in the mean time, Hardy, in hopes of overtaking Tom before the fate of the poor dog was decided, ran with all possible speed across the meadow, and then down the lane. He came up with Tom just as he was climbing the bank into the old man's garden. Hardy, too mūch out of breath to speak, seized hold of him, dragged him down, detaining him with a firm grasp whilst he panted for utterance— "What, master Hardy, is it you? what's the matter? what do you want?"—"I want the poisoned meat that you have in your pocket." —"Who told you that I had any such thing," said Tom, clapping his hand upon his guilty pocket. "Give it me quietly, and I'll let you [Page 42]off."—"Sir, upon my word I hav'n't? I didn't? I don't know what you mean," said Tom trembling, though he was by far the strongest of the two; "indeed I don't know what you mean."—"You do," said Hardy, with great indignation, and a violent struggle immediately commenced. The dog, now alarmed by the voices, began to bark outrage­ously. Tom was terrified lest the old man should come out to see what was the matter; his strength forsook him, and flinging the hand­kerchief and meat over the hedge, he ran away with all his speed. The handkerchief fell with­in the reach of the dog, who instantly shapped at it: luckily it did not come untied. Hardy saw a pitchfork on a dunghill close beside him, and seizing upon it, stuck it into the handker­chief. The dog pull [...]d, tore, growled, grappled, yelled; it was impossible to get the handker­chief from between his teeth; but the knot was loosed, the meat unperceived by the dog drop­ped out, and while he dragged off the hand­kerchief in triumph, Hardy with inexpre [...]le joy plunged the pitchfork into the poisoned meat, and bore it away.

[Page 43] Never did hero retire with more satisfaction from a field of battle. Full of the pleasure of successful benevolence, Hardy tripped joyfully home, and vaulted over the window-fill, when the first object he beheld was Mr. Power, the usher, standing at the head of the stairs, with his candle in his hand.

"Come up, whoever you are," said Mr. William Power in a stern voice; I thought I should find you out at last. Come up, who­ever you are!" Hardy obeyed without reply.— "Hardy!" exclaimed Mr. Power, starting back with astonishment; "is it you, Mr. Har­dy?" repeated he, holding the light to his face. "Why, Sir, said he in a sneering tone, "I'm sure, if Mr. Trueman was here, he wouldn't believe his own eyes; but for my part, I saw through you long since, I never liked saints for my share. Will you please to do me the fa­vour, Sir, if it is not too much trouble, to empty year pockets.—Hardy obeyed in silence. "Hey day! meat! raw meat! what next?"— "That's all," said Hardy, emptying his pockets inside out. "This is all," said Mr. Power, taking up the meat.—"Pray, Sir," said Hardy eagerly, "let that meat be burned, it is poison­ed." [Page 44]—"Poisoned!" cried Mr. William Power, letting it drop out of his fingers; "you wretch!" looking at him with a menacing air, "what is all this? Speak." Hardy was silent. "Why don't you speak?" cried he, shaking him by the shoulder impatiently. Still Hardy was silent. "Down upon your knees this minute, and con­fess all, tell me where you've been, what you've been doing, and who are your accomplices, for I know there is a gang of you: so," added he, pressing heavily upon Hardy's shoulder, "down upon your knees this minute, and confess the whole, that's your only way now to get off yourself. If you hope for my pardon, I can tell you it's not to be had without asking for."—"Sir," said Hardy, in a firm but respectful voice, "I have no pardon to ask, I have nothing to confess, I am innocent; but if I were not, I would never try to get off myself by betraying my companions."—"Very well, Sir! very well! very fine! stick to it, stick to it, I advise you— and we shall see. And how will you look to­morrow, Mr. Innocent, when my uncle the Doctor comes home?" "As I do now, Sir," said Hardy, unmoved. His composure threw Mr. Power into a rage too great for utterance. [Page 45]"Sir," continued Hardy, "ever since I have been at school, I never told a lie, and therefore, Sir, I hope you will believe me now. Upon my word and honour, Sir, I have done nothing wrong."—"Nothing wrong? Better and bet­ter! what, when I catched you going out at night?"—"That to be sure was wrong," said Hardy, recollecting himself; "but except that—" "Except that, Sir! I will except no­thing. Come along with me, young gentle­man, your time for pardon is past." Saying these words, he pulled Hardy along a narrow passage to a small closet, set apart for desperate offenders, and usually known by the name of the Black Hole. "There, Sir, take up your lodging there for to-night," said he, pushing him in; "to-morrow I'll know more, or I'll know why," added he, double locking the door, with a tremendous noise, upon his prisoner, and lock­ing also the door at the end of the passage, so that no one could have access to him. "So now I think I have you safe!" said Mr. Wil­liam Power to himself, stalking off with steps which made the whole gallery resound, and which made many a guilty heart tremble. The conversation which had passed between [Page 46]Hardy and Mr. Power at the head of the stairs had been anxiously listened to, but only a word or two here and there had been distinctly over­heard. The locking of the black hole door was a terrible sound—some knew not what it portended, and others, knew too well; all assem­bled in the morring with faces of anxiety. Tarlton's and Loveit's were the most agitated. Tarlton for himself; Loveit for his friend, for himself, for every body. Every one of the party, and Tarlton at their head, surrounded him with reproaches; and considered him as the author of the evils which hung over them. "How could you do so? and why did you say any thing to Hardy about it? when you had promised too! Oh what shall we all do! what a serape you have brought us into! Loveit, it's all your fault!"—"All my fault!" repeated poor Loveit, with a sigh; "well, that is hard."

"Goodness! there's the bell," exclaimed a number of voices at once. "Now for it!" They all stood in a half circle for morning prayers! they listened, "Here he is coming! No—Yes—Here he is!" And Mr. William Power, with a gloomy brow, appeared and walked up to his place at the head of the room. [Page 47]They knelt down to prayers, and the moment they rose Mr. William Power, laying his hand upon the table, cried, "Stand still, gentlemen, if you please." Every body stood sto [...]k still; he walked out of the circle; they guessed that he was gone for Hardy, and the whole room was in commotion. Each with eagerness ask­ed each what none could answer, "Has be t [...]ld?" —"What has he t [...]ld?"—"Who has he told of?"—"I hope he has not told of me?" cried they. "I'll answer for it he has told of all of us," said Tarlton. "And I'll answer for it he has told of none of us," answered Loveit, with a sigh. "You don't think he's such a fool, when he can get himself off," said Tarlton.

At this instant the prisoner was led in, and as he passed through the circle, every eye was fixed upon him; his eye turned upon no one, not even upon Loveit, who pulled him by the coat as he passed—every one felt almost afraid to breathe.—"Well, Sir," said Mr. Power, sitting down in Mr. Trueman's ell [...]ow chair, and placing the prisoner opposite to him; "well, Sir, what have you to say to me this morning?" —"Nothing, Sir," answered Hardy, in a de­cided yet modest manner; "nothing but what [Page 48]I said last night."—"Nothing more?"—"No­thing more, Sir."—"But I have something more to say to you, Sir, then; and a great deal more, I promise you, before I have done with you; and then seizing him in a fury, he was just going to give him a severe flogging, when the school-room door opened, and Mr. True­man appeared, followed by an old man whom Loveit immediately knew. He leaned upon his stick as he walked, and in his other hand carried a basket of apples. When they came within the circle, Mr. Trueman stopped short— "Hardy!" exclaimed he, with a voice of un­seigned surprise, whilst Mr. William Power stood with his hand suspended.—"Aye, Hardy, Sir," repeated he. "I told him you'd not be­lieve your own eyes."—Mr. Trueman ad­vanced with a slow step. "Now, Sir, give me leave," said the Usher, eagerly drawing him aside and whispering.—"So, Sir," said Mr. T. when the whisper was done, addressing himself to Hardy with a voice and manner, which, had he been guilty, must have pierced him to the heart, "I find I have been deceived in you— it is but three hours ago that I told your uncle I never had a boy in my school in whom I [Page 49]placed so much confidence; but, after all this show of honour and integrity, the moment my back is turned, you are the first to set an ex­ample of disobedience to my orders. Why do I talk of disobeying my commands, you are a thief!"—"I, Sir," exclaimed Hardy, no longer able to repress his feelings.—"You, Sir—you and some others," said Mr. Trueman, looking round the room with a penetrating glance— "you and some others—" "Aye, Sir," inter­rupted Mr. William Power, "get that out of him if you can—ask him."—"I will ask him nothing; I shall neither put his truth or his honour to the trial; truth and honour are not to be expected amongst thieves." "I am not a thief! I have never had any thing to do with thieves," cried Hardy, indignantly. "Have not you robbed this old man? don't you know the taste of these apples?" said Mr. Trueman, taking one out of the basket. "No, Sir, I do not; I never touched one of that old man's apples."—"Never touched one of them! I sup­pose this is some vile equivocation; you have done worse, you have had the barbarity, the baseness, to attempt to poison his dog; the poi­soned meat was found in your pocket last night." [Page 52]—"The poisoned meat was found in my pocket, Sir I but I never attempted to poison the dog, I saved his life."—"Lord bless him," said the old man. "Nonsense! cunning!" said Mr. Power. "I hope you won't let him impose upon you so, Sir." "No, he cannot impose upon me, I have a proof he is little prepared for," sa [...]d Mr. Trueman, producing the blue hand­kerchief in which the meat had been wrapped.

Tariton turned pale; Hardy's countenance never changed.—"Don't you know this hand­kerchief, Sir?"—"I do, Sir?"—"Is it not your,"—"No, Sir."—"Don't you know whose it is?" cried Mr. Power. Hardy was silent.

"Now, gentlemen," said Mr. Trueman, "I am not fond of punishing you; but when I do it y [...]u know it is always in earnest. I will be­gin with the eldest of you; I will begin with Hardy, and flog you with my own hands till this handkerchief is owned." "I'm sure it's not mine;" and "I'm sure it's none of mine," burst from every mouth, whilst they looked at each other in dismay, for none but Hardy, Loveit, and Tarlton knew the secret.— "My cane!" said Mr. Trueman, and Power handed him the cane—Loveit groaned from the [Page 53]bottom of his heart—Tarlton le [...]ned back a­gainst the wall with a black countenance— Hardy looked with a steady eye at the cane.

"But first," said Mr. Trueman, laying down the cane, "let us see; perhaps we may find out the owner of this handkerchief another way," examining the corners; it was torn almost to pieces, but luckily the corner that was marked remained.

"J. T.!" cried Mr. Trueman. Every eye turned upon the guilty Tarlton, who, now, as pale as ashes and trembling in every limb, sunk down upon his knees, and in a whining voice begged for mercy. "Upon my word and ho­nour, Sir, I'll tell you all; I should never have thought of stealing the apples if Loveit had not first told me of them; and it was Tom who first put the poisoning the dog into my head: it was he that carried the meat; wasn't it?" said he, appealing to Hardy, whose word he knew must be believed—"Oh, dear Sir!" continued he, as Mr. Trueman began to move towards him, "do let me off—do pray let me off this time! I'm not the only one indeed, Sir! I hope you won't make me an example for the rest—It's very hard I'm to be flogged [Page 52]more than they!" "I'm not going to flog you."—"Thank you, Sir," said Tarlton, getting up and wiping his eyes. "You need not thank me," said Mr. Trueman. "Take your handkerchief—go out of this room—out of this house—let me never see you more."

"If I had any hopes of him," said Mr. True­man, as he shut the door after him; "if I had any hopes of him, I would have punished him; but I have none—punishment is meant only to make people better; and those who have any hopes of themselves will know how to submit to it."

At these words Loveit first, and immediately all the rest of the guilty party, stepped out of the ranks, confessed their fault, and declared themselves ready to bear any punishment their master thought proper.—"Oh, they have been punished enough," said the old man; "forgive them, Sir."

Hardy looked as if he wished to speak.

"Not because you ask it," said Mr. True­man, "though I should be glad to oblige you —it wouldn't be just—but there (pointing to Hardy), there is one who has merited a reward; [Page 53]the highest I can give him is the pardon of his companions."

Hardy bowed, and his face glowed with plea­sure, whilst every body present sumpathised in his feelings.—"I am sure," thought Loveit, "this is a lesson I shall never forget."

"Gentlemen," said the old man with a faul­tering voice, "it wasn't for the sake of my ap­ples that I spoke; and you, Sir," said he to Hardy, "I thank you for saving my dog. If you please, I'll plant on that mount, opposite the window, a young apple tree, from my old one; I will water it, and take care of it with my own hands for your sake, as long as I am able.— And may God bless you! (laying his trembling hand on Hardy's head) may God bless you— I'm sure God will bless all such boys as you are"


IN the pleasant valley of Ashton there lived an elderly woman of the name of Preston; she had a small neat cottage, and there was not a weed to be seen in her garden. It was upon her garden that she chiefly depended for sup­port: it consisted of strawberry beds, and one small border for flowers. The pinks and roses she tied up in nice nosegays, and sent either to Clifton or Bristol to be sold; as to her straw­berries, she did not send them to market, be­cause it was the custom for numbers of people to come from Clifton, in the summer time, to eat strawberries and cream at the gardens in Ashton.

Now the widow Preston was so obliging, ac­tive, and good humoured, that every one who came to see her was pleased. She lived happily in this manner for several years; but, alas! one autumn she fell sick, and, during her illness, every thing went wrong; her garden was ne­glected, her cow died, and all the money which she had saved was spent in paying for medicines. [Page]The winter passed away, while she was so weak that she could earn but little by her work; and, when the summer came, her rent was called for, and the rent was not ready in her little purse as usual. She begged a few months delay, and they were granted to her; but at the end of that time there was no resource but to sell her horse Lightfoot. Now Lightfoot, though perhaps he had seen his best days, was a very great favourite: in his youth he had al­ways carried the dame to market behind her husband; and it was now her little son Jem's turn to ride him. It was Jem's business to seed Lightfoot, and to take care of him; a charge which he never neglected, for, besides being a very good-natured, he was a very in­dustrious boy.

"It will go near to break my Jem's heart," said dame Preston to herself, as she sat one even­ing beside the fire stirring the embers, and con­sidering how she had best open the matter to her son, who stood opposite to her, eating a dry crust of bread very heartily for supper.

"Jem," said the old woman, "what, ar't hungry?"

"That I am, brave and hungry!"

[Page 56] "Aye! no wonder, you've been brave hard at work — Eh?"

"Brave hard! I wish it was not so dark, mo­ther, that you might just step out and see the great bed I've dug; I know you'd say it was no bad day's work —and, oh mother! I've good news; Farmer Truck will give us the giant-strawberries, and I'm to go for 'em to-morrow morning, and I'll be back afore breakfast."

"God bless the boy! how he talks! — Four mile there, and four mile back again, afore breakfast."

"Aye, upon Lightfoot you know, mother, very easily; mayn't I?"

"Aye, child!"

"Why do you sigh, mother?"

"Finish thy supper, child."

"I've done!" cried Jem, swallowing [...]e last mouthful hastily, as if he thought he had been too long at supper — "and now for the great needle; I must see and mend Lightfoot's bridle afore I go to bed." — To work he set, by the light of the fire, and the dame having once more stirred it, began again with "Jem, dear, does he go lame at all now" — "What Light­foot! Oh la, no, not he! — never was so well [Page 57]of his lameness in all his life—he's grown quite young again, I think, and then he's so fat he can hardly wag." — "God bless him — that's right — we must see, Jem, and keep him fat."

"For what, mother?"

"For Monday fortnight at the fair. He's to be—sold!"

"Lightfoot!" cried Jem, and let the bridle fall from his hand; "and will mother sell Lightfoot?"

"Will; no: but I must, Jem."

"Must; who says you must? why must you, mother?"

"I must, I say, child — Why, must not I pay my debts honestly — and must not I pay my rent; and was not it called for long and long ago; and have not I had time; and did not I promise to pay it for certain Monday fortnight, and am not I two guineas short — and where am I to get two guineas? So what signifies talk­ing, child," said the widow, leaning her head upon her arm, "Lightfoot must go."

Jem was silent for a sew minutes.—"Two guineas; that's a great, great deal. — If I work­ed, and worked, and worked ever so hard, I could no ways earn two guineas afore Mon­day fortnight—could I, mother?"

[Page 58] "Lord help thee, no; not an' work thyself to dea [...]h."

"But I could earn something, though, I say," cried Jem proudly; "and I will earn something — if it be ever so little, it will be some­thing — and I shall do my very best; so I will."

"That I'm sure of, my child," said his mo­ther, drawing him towards her and kissing him; "you were always a good industrious lad, that I will say afore your face or behind your back; —but it won't do now— Lightfoot must go."

Jem turned away, struggling to hide his tears, and went to bed without saying a word more. But he knew that crying would do no good, so he presently wiped his eyes, and l [...]y awake, considering what he could possibly do to save the horse.—"If I get ever so little," he still said to himself, "it will be something; and who knows but Landlord might then wait a bit longer? and we might make it all up in time; for a penny a day might come to two guineas in time."

But how to get the first penny was the ques­tion — The he recollected, that one day, when he had been sent to Clifton to sell some flowers, he had seen an old woman with a board beside [Page 59]her covered with various sparkling stones, which people stopped to look at as they passed, and he remembered that some people b [...]ught the stones; one paid twopence, another threepence, and another sixpence for them; and Jem heard her say that she got them amon [...]st the neigh­bouring rocks: so he thought that if he tried he might find some too, and sell them as she had done.

Early in the morning he wakened full of this scheme, jumped up, dressed himself, and, having given one look at poor Lightfoot in his stab [...]e, s [...]t off to Clifton in search of the old woman, to enquire where she found her sparkling stones. But it was too early in the morning, the old woman was not at her seat; so he turned back again disappointed▪ — He did not waste his time waiting for her, but saddled and bridled Light­foot, and went to farmer Truck's for the g [...]t­strawberries. A great part of the morning was spent in putting them into the ground; a [...], as soon as that was finished, [...]e let out again in quest of the old woman, who, to his great joy, he spied sitting at her corner of the street with her board before her. But this old woman was deaf and cross; and when at last Jem made her [Page 60]hear his questions, he could get no answer from her, but that she found the fossils where he would never find any more. "But can't I look where you looked?" — "Look away, no­body hinders you," replied the old woman; and these were the only words she would say. — Jem was not, however, a boy to be easily discou­raged; he went to the rocks, and walked slowly along, looking at all the stones as he passed. Presently he came to a place where a number of men were at work loosening some large rocks, and one amongst the workmen was stooping down looking for something very eagerly; Jem ran up, and asked if he could help him. "Yes," said the man, "you can; I've just dropped, amongst this heap of rubbish, a fine piece of crystal that I got to-day." — "What kind of a looking thing is it?" said Jem. "White, and like glas," said the man, and went on working whilst Jem looked very care­fully over the heap of rubbish for a great while. "Come," said the man, "it's gone for ever; don't trouble yourself any more, my boy." —" It's no trouble; I'll look a little longer; we'll not give it up so soon," said Jem; and, after he had looked a little longer, he found the piece of [Page 61]crystal. "Thank'e," said the man, "you are a fine little industrious fellow." Jem, encouraged by the tone of voice in which the man spoke this, ventured to ask him the same questions which he had asked the old woman. "One good turn deserves another," said the man; "we are going to dinner just now, and shall leave off work—wait for me here, and I'll make it worth your while."

Jem waited; and, as he was very attentively observing how the workmen went on with their work, he heard somebody near him give a great yawn, and, turning round, he saw stretched upon the grass, beside the river, a boy about his own age, who he knew very well went in the village of Ashton by the name of Lazy Lawrence: a name which he most justly de­served, for he never did any thing from morn­ing to night; he neither worked nor played, but sauntered or lounged about restless and yawning. His father was an alehouse-keeper, and being generally drunk, could take no care of his son, so that Lazy Lawrence grew every day worse and worse. However, some of the neighbours said that he was a good-natured poor fellow enough, and would never do any one [Page 62]harm but himself; whilst others, who were wiser, often shook their heads, and told him, that idleness was the root of all evil.

"What, Lawrence!" cried Jem to him, when he saw him lying upon the grass— "what, are you asleep?" — "Not quite." — "Are you a wake?" — "Not quite." — "What are you doing there?" — "Nothing." — "What are you thinking of?" — "Nothing." — "What makes you lie there?" — "I don't know—be­cause I can't find any body to play with me to­day — Will you come and play?" — "No, I can't; I'm busy."—"Busy," cried Lawrence, stretching himself, "you are always busy — I would not be you for the world, to have so much to do always." — "And I," said Jem laughing, "would not be you for the world, to have nothing to do." So they parted, for the workman just then called Jem to follow him. He took him home to his own house, and showed him a par­cel of fossils, which he had gathered, he said, on purpose to sell, but had never had time yet to sort them. He set about it however now, and having picked out those which he judged to be the best, he put them in a small basket, and gave them to Jem to sell, upon condition that [...] should bring him half of what he got. Jem, [Page 63]pleased to be employed, was ready to agree to what the man proposed, provided his mother had no objection to it. When he went home to dinner, he told his mother his scheme, and she smiled and said he might do as he pleased, for she was not afraid of his being from home. "You are not an idle boy," said she, "so there is little danger of your getting into any mis­chief."

Accordingly Jem that evening took his stand, with his little basket, upon the bank of the river, just at the place where people land from a ferry-boat, and where the walk turns to the wells, where numbers of people perpetually pass to drink the waters. He chose his place well, and waited almost all evening, offering his fos­sils with great assiduity to every passenger; but not one person bought any. "Holla!" cried some sailors, who had just rowed a boat to land, "bear a hand here, will you, my little fellow! and carry these parcels for us into yonder house." Jem ran down immediately for the parcels, and did what he was asked to do so quickly, and with so much good will, that the master of the boat took notice of him, and, when he was go­ing away, stopped to ask him what he had got in his little basket; and when he saw that they [Page 64]were fossils, he immediately told Jem to follow him, for that he was going to carry some shells he had brought from abroad to a lady in the neighbourhood who was making a grotto. "She will very likely buy your stones into the bar­gain: come along, my lad; we can but try."

The lady lived but a very little way off, so that they were soon at her house. She was alone in her parlour, and was sorting a bundle of feathers of different colours: they lay on a sheet of pasteboard upon a window-seat, and it hap­pened that as the sailor was bustling round the table to shew off his shells, he knocked down the sheet of pasteboard, and scattered all the fea­thers. The lady looked very sorry, which Jem observing, he took the opportunity, whilst she was busy looking over the sailor's bag of shells, to gather together all the feathers, and sort them according to their different colours, as he had seen them sorted when he first came into the room.

"Where is the little boy you brought with you? I thought I saw him here just now."— "And here I am, ma'am," cried Jem, creeping from under the table with some few remaining feathers which he had picked from the carpet; [Page 65]"I thought," added he, pointing to the others, "I had better be doing something than stand­ing idle, ma'am." She smiled, and, pleased with his activity and simplicity, began to ask him several questions; such as, who he was, where he lived, what employment he had, and how much a day he earned by gathering fossils. "This is the first day I ever tried," said Jem; "I never sold any yet, and, if you don't buy 'em now, ma'am, I'm afraid nobody else will, for I've asked every body else." — "Come then," said the lady laughing, "if that is the case, I think I had better buy them all." So emptying all the fossils out of his basket, she put half a crown into it. Jem's eyes sparkled with joy. "Oh, thank you, ma'am," said he, "I will be sure and bring you as many more to­morrow." — "Yes, but I don't promise you," said she, "to give you half a crown to-mor­row." — "But, perhaps, though you don't pro­mise it, you will."—"No," said the lady, "do not deceive yourself; I assure you that I will not. That, instead of encouraging you to be industrious, would teach you to be idle." Jem did not quite understand what she meant by this, but answered, "I'm sure I don't wish to [Page 66]be idle; what I want is to earn something every day, if I knew how: I'm sure I don't wish to be idle. If you knew all, you'd know I did not." — "How do you mean, if I knew all?" — "Why I mean, if you knew about Light­foot." — "Who's Lightfoot?" — "Why, mam­my's horse," added Jem, looking out of the window; "I must make haste home and feed him, afore it get dark; he'll wonder what's gone with me." — "Let him wonder a few mi­nutes longer," said the lady, "and tell me the rest of your story." — "I've no story, ma'am, to tell, but as how mammy says he must go to the fair Monday fortnight to be sold, if she can't get the two guineas for her rent; and I should be main sorry to part with him, for I love him, and he loves me; so I'll work for him, I will, all I can: to be sure," as mammy says, "I have no chance, such a little fellow as I am, of earning two guineas afore Monday fortnight." — "But are you in earnest willing to work," said the lady; "you know there is a great deal of difference between picking up a few stones, and working steadily every day, and all day long." — "But," said Jem, "I would work every day, and all day long." — "Then," said [Page 67]the lady, "I will give you work. Come here to-morrow morning, and my gardener will set you to weed the shrubberies, and I will pay you six-pence a day. Remember you must be at the gates by six o'clock." Jem bowed, thank­ed her, and went away. It was late in the evening, and he was impatient to get home to feed Lightfoot; yet he recollected that he had promised the man who had trusted him to sell the fossils that he would bring him half of what he got for them; so he thought that he had bet­ter go to him directly: and away he went, run­ning along by the water side about a quarter of a mile, till he came to the man's house. He was just come home from work, and was sur­prised when Jem shewed him the half-crown, saying, "Look what I got for the stones: you are to have half, you know." — No," said the man, when he had heard his story, "I shall not take half of that; it was given to you. I ex­pected but a shilling at the most, and the half of that is but sixpence, and that I'll take. — Wife! give the lad two shillings, and take this half-crown." So wife opened an old glove, and took out two shillings; and the man, as she opened the glove, put in his fingers, and took [Page 68]out a little silver penny. — "There, he shall have that into the bargain for his honesty — Honesty is the best policy—There's a lucky penny for you, that I've kept ever since I can remember." — "Don't you ever go to part with it, do ye hear!" cried the woman. "Let him do what he will with it, wife," said the man. "But," argued the wife, "another penny would do just as well to buy ginger bread, and that's what it will go for." — "No, that it shall not, I promise you;" said Jem; and so he ran away home, fed Lightfoot, stroaked him, went to bed, jumped up at five o'clock in the morning, and went singing to work as gay as a lark.

Four days he worked "every day and all day long," and the lady every evening, when she came out to walk in her gardens, looked at his work. At last she said to her gardener, "This little boy works very hard." — "Never had so good a little boy about the grounds," said the gardener; "he's always at his work, let me come by when I will, and he has got twice as much done as another would do; yes, twice as much, ma'am; for look here—he began at this here rose bush, and now he's got to where you stand, [Page 69]ma'am; and here is the day's work that t'other boy, and he's three years older too, did to-day —I say, measure Jem's fairly, and it's twice as much, I'm sure." — "Well, said the lady to her gardener, shew me how much is a fair good day's work for a boy of his age."—"Come at six o'clock, and go at six? why, about this much, ma'am," said the gardener, marking off a piece of the border with his spade. "Then, little boy," said the lady, "so much shall be your task every day; the gardener will mark it off for you: and when you've done, the rest of the day you may do what you please." Jem was extremely glad of this; and the next day he had finished his task by four o'clock; so that he had all the rest of the evening to himself. Jem was as fond of play as any little boy could be, and, when he was at it, played with all the eagerness and gaiety imaginable: so as soon as he had finished his task, fed Lightfoot, and put by the sixpence he had earned that day, he ran to the play-ground in the village, where he found a party of boys playing, and amongst them Lazy Lawrence, who indeed was not playing, but lounging upon a gate with his thumb in his mouth. The rest were playing at [Page 70]cricket. Jem joined them, and was the mer­riest and most active amongst them; till, at last, when quite out of breath with running, he was obliged to give up to rest himself, and sat down upon the stile, close to the gate on which Lazy Lawrence was swinging. "And why don't you play, Lawrence?" said he.—"I'm tired," said Lawrence. — "Tired of what?" — "I don't know well what tires me; grandmother says I'm ill, and I must take something—I don't know what ails me." — "Oh, pugh! take a good race, one, two, three, and away, and you'll find yourself as well as ever. Come, run — one, two, three, and away." — "Ah, no, I can't run indeed," said he, hanging back hea­vily; "you know I can play all day long if I like it, so I don't mind play as you do, who have only one hour for it." — "So much the worse for you. Come now, I'm quite fresh again, will you have one game at ball; do." — "No, I tell you I can't; I'm as tired as if I had been working all day long as hard as a horse." — "Ten times more," said Jem, "for I have been working all day long as hard as a horse, and yet you see I'm not a bit tired; only a little out of breath just now." — "That's very [Page 71]odd," said Lawrence, and yawned, for want of some better answer; then taking out a handful of halfpence—"See what I got from father to­day, because I asked him just at the right time, when he had drank a glass or two; then I can get any thing I want out of him—see! a penny, two-pence, three-pence, four-pence — there's eight-pence in all; would not you be happy if you had eight-pence?" — "Why, I don't know," said Jem laughing, "for you don't seem happy, and you have eight-pence." — "That does not signify though—I'm sure you only say that be­cause you envy me—you don't know what it is to have eight-pence—you never had more than two-pence or three-pence at a time in all your life." Jem smiled. "Oh, as to that," said he, "you are mistaken, for I have at this very time more than two-pence, three-pence, or eight-pence either; I have—let me see—stones, two shillings; then five day's work, that's five six-pences, that's two shillings and six-pence, in all makes four shillings and six-pence, and my sil­ver penny, is four and seven-pence — Four and seven-pence!" — "You have not!" said Law­rence, roused so as absolutely to stand upright, "four and seven-pence! have you? Shew it [Page 72]me, and then I'll believe you. — "Follow me then," cried Jem, "and I'll soon make you believe me; come." — "Is it far?" said Law­rence, following half running, half hobbling, till he came to the stable, where Jem shewed him his treasure. "And how did you come by it? honestly?" — "Honestly; to be sure I did; I earned it all." — "Lord bless me, earned it! well, I've a great mind to work; but then it's such hot weather; besides grandmother says I'm not strong enough yet for hard work; and besides, I know how to coax daddy out of money when I want it, so I need not work. — But four and seven-pence; let's see, what will you do with it all? — "That's a secret," said Jem, looking great. "I can guess; I know what I'd do with it if it was mine — First, I'd buy pockets full of gingerbread; then I'd buy ever so many apples and nuts; don't you love nuts? I'd buy nuts enough to last me from this time to Christmas, and I'd make little Newton crack 'em for me, for that's the worst of nuts, there's the trouble of cracking 'em." — "Well, you never deserve to have a nut." — "But you'll give me some of yours," said Lawrence in a fawning tone, for he thought it [Page 73]easier to coax than to work — "you'll give me some of your good things, won't you?" — "I shall not have any of those good things," said Jem. "Then what will you do with all your money?" — "Oh, I know very well what to do with it; but, as I told you, that's a secret, and I shan't tell it any body — Come now, let's go back and play — their game's up, I dare say." — Lawrence went back with him full of curio­sity, and out of humour with himself and his eight-pence. — "If I had four and seven-pence," said he to himself, "I certainly should be happy!"

The next day, as usual, Jem jumped up before six o'clock and went to his work, whilst Lazy Lawrence sauntered about without knowing what to do with himself. In the course of two days he laid out six-pence of his money in ap­ples and gingerbread, and as long as these lasted he sound himself well received by his compa­nions; but at length the third day he spent his last halfpenny, and when it was gone, unfor­tunately some nuts tempted him very much, but he had no money to pay for them; so he ran home to coax his father, as he called it. When he got home, he heard his father talk­ing [Page 74]very loud, and at first he thought he was drunk; but when he opened the kitchen door, he saw that he was not drunk, but angry.

"You lazy dog!" cried he, turning sudden­ly upon Lawrence, and gave him such a violent box on the ear as made the light flash from his eyes; "you lazy dog! see what you've done for me — look! — look, look, I say!" Lawrence looked as soon as he came to the use of his senses, and, with fear, amazement, and remorse, beheld at least a dozen bottles burst, and the fine Worcestershire cyder streaming over the floor. "Now, did not I-order you three days ago to carry these bottles to the cellar; and did not I charge you to wire the corks? answer me, you lazy rascal; did not I?" — "Yes," said Lawrence, scratching his head. "And why was not it done? I ask you," cried his fa­ther with renewed anger, as another bottle burst at the moment. "What do you stand there for, you lazy brat? why don't you move? I say—No, no," catching hold of him, "I be­lieve you can't move; but I'll make you." And he shook him, till Lawrence was so giddy he could not stand. "What had you to think of? what had you to do all day long, that you [Page 75]could not carry my cyder, my Worcestershire cyder, to the cellar when I bid you? But go, you'll never be good for any thing, you are such a lazy rascal — get out of my sight!" So saying, he pushed him out of the house door, and Lawrence sneaked off, seeing that this was no time to make his petition for halfpence.

The next day he saw the nuts again, and, wishing for them more than ever, went home in hopes that his father, as he said to himself, would be in a better humour. But the cyder was still fresh in his recollection, and the mo­ment Lawrence began to whisper the word "halfpenny" in his ear, his father swore, with a loud oath, "I will not give you a halfpenny, no, not a farthing, for a month to come; if you want money, go work for it; I've had enough of your laziness — Go work!" At these terrible words Lawrence burst into tears, and, going to the side of a ditch, sat down and cried for an hour; and when he had cried till he could cry no more, he exerted himself so far as to empty his pockets, to see whether there might not hap­pen to be one halfpenny left; and, to his great joy, in the farthest corner of his pocket one halfpenny was found. With this he proceeded [Page 76]to the fruit woman's stall. She was busy weigh­ing out some plums, so he was obliged to wait; and, whilst he was waiting, he heard some peo­ple near him talking and laughing very loud. The fruit woman's stall was at the gate of an inn-yard; and peeping through the gate in this yard, Lawrence saw a postilion and a stable-boy about his own size playing at pitch-far­thing. He stood by watching them for a few minutes. "I begun but with one halfpenny," cried the stable-boy with an oath, "and now I've got two-pence!" added he, jingling the half-pence in his waistcoat pocket Lawrence was moved at the sound, and said to himself, "If I begin with one halfpenny, I may end like him with having two-pence; and it is easier to play at pitch-farthing than to work."

So he stepped forward, presenting his half­penny, offering to toss up with the stable-boy, who, after looking him full in the face, ac­cepted the proposal, and threw his halfpenny into the air. "Head or tail!" cried he. "Head," replied Lawrence, and it came up head. He seized the penny, surprised at his own success, and would have gone instantly to have laid it out in nuts; but the stable-boy [Page 77]stopped him, and tempted him to throw again. This time he lost; he threw again and won; and so he went on, sometimes losing, but most frequently winning, till half the morning was gone. At last, however, he chanced to win twice running, and, finding himself master of three halfpence, said he would play no more. The stable-boy, grumbling, swore he would have his revenge another time, and Lawrence went and bought the nuts. "It is a good thing," said he to himself, "to play at pitch-farthing: the next time I want a halfpenny I'll not ask my father for it, nor go to work neither." Satisfied with this resolution, he sat down to crack his nuts at his leisure, upon the horse-block in the inn-yard. Here, whilst he eat, he overheard the conversation of the stable-boys and postilions. At first their shocking oaths and loud wrangling frightened and shock­ed him; for Lawrence, though a lazy, had not yet learned to be a wicked boy. But, by de­grees, he was accustomed to their swearing and quarrelling, and took a delight and interest in their disputes and battles. As this was an amusement which he could enjoy without any sort of exertion on his part, he soon grew so [Page 78]fond of it, that every day he returned to the stable-yard, and the horse-block became his constant seat. Here he sound some relief from the insupportable fatigue of doing nothing, and here, hour after hour, with his elbows on his knees, and his head on his hands, he sat the spectator of wickedness. Gaming, cheating, and lying, soon became familiar to him; and, to complete his ruin, he formed a sudden and close intimacy with the stable-boy with whom he had first began to game—a very bad boy. The consequences of this intimacy we shall pre­sently see. But it is now time to inquire what little Jem has been doing all this while.

One day, after he had finished his task, the gardener asked him to stay a little while, to help him to carry some geranium pots into the hall. Jem. always active and obliging, readily stayed from play, and was carrying in a heavy flower-pot, when his mistress crossed the h [...]ll. "What a terrible litter!" said the, "you are making here—why don't you wipe your shoes upon the mat?" Jem turned round to look for the mat, but he saw none. "Oh," said the lady, recollecting herself, "I can't blame you, for there is no mat."—"No, ma'am" said the [Page 79]gardener, "nor I don't know when, if ever, the man will bring home those mats you bespoke, ma'am."—"I am very sorry to hear that," said the lady, "I wish we could find somebody who would do them, if he can't—I should not care what sort of mats they were, so that one could wipe one's feet on them." Jem, as he was sweeping away the litter, when he heard these last words, said to himself, "perhaps I could make a mat?" And all the way home, as he trudged along whistling, he was thinking over a scheme for making mats, which, however bold it may appear, he did not despair of exe­cuting, with patience and industry. Many were the difficulties which his "prophetic eye" foresaw; but he felt within himself that spirit, which spurs men on to great enterprizes, and makes them "trample on impossibilities."

He recollected, in the first place, that he had seen Lacy Lawrence, whilst he lounged upon the gate, twist a bit of heath into diffe­rent shapes, and he thought, that if he could find some way of plaiting heath firmly together, it would make a very pretty green soft mat, which would do very well for one to wipe one's shoes on. About a mile from his mother's [Page 80]house, on the common which Jem rode over when he went to farmer Truck's for the giant-strawberries, he remembered to have seen a great quantity of this heath; and, as it was now only six o'clock in the evening, he knew that he should have time to feed Lightfoot, stroak him, go to the common, return, and make one trial of his skill before he went to bed.

Lightfoot carried him swiftly to the common, and there Jem gathered as much of the heath as he thought he should want. But, what toil! what time! what pains did it cost him, before he could make any thing like a mat! Twenty times he was ready to throw aside the heath, and give up his project, from impatience of re­peated disappointments. But still he persevered. Nothing truly great can be accomplished with­out toil and time. Two hours he worked be­fore he went to bed. All his play hours the next day he spent at his mat; which, in all, made five hours of fruitless attempts—The sixth, however, repaid him for the labours of the other five; he conquered his grand diffi­culty of fastening the heath substantially toge­ther, and at length completely finished a mat, [Page 81]which far surpassed his most sanguine expecta­tions. He was extremely happy—sung, danced round it—whistled—looked at it again and again, and could hardly leave off looking at it when it was time to go to bed. He laid it by his bed-side, that he might see it the moment he wakened in the morning.

And now came the grand pleasure of carry­ing it to his mistress. She looked full as much surprized as he expected, when she saw it, and when she heard who made it. After having duly admired it, she asked him how much he expected for his mat. "Expect!—Nothing, ma'am," said Jem; "I meant to give it you, if you'd have it; I did not mean to sell it. I made it at my play hours, and I was very happy making it; and I'm very glad too that you like it; and if you please to keep it, ma'am—that's all."—"But that's not all," said the lady. "Spend your time no more in weeding in my garden, you can employ yourself much better; you shall have the reward of your ingenuity as well as of your industry. Make as many more such mats as you can, and I will take care and dispose of them for you."—"Thank'e, ma'am," said Jem, making his best bow, for he thought [Page 82]by the lady's looks that she meant to do him a favour, though he repeated to himself, "dis­pose of them," what does that mean?'

The next day he went to work to make more mats, and he soon learned to make them so well and quickly, that he was surprized at his own success. In every one he made he found less difficulty, so that, instead of making two, he could soon make sour, in a day. In a fortnight he made eighteen. It was Saturday night when he finished, and he carried, at three journeys, his eighteen mats to his mistress's house; piled them all up in the hall, and stood with his hat off, with a look of proud humility, beside the pile, waiting for his mistress's appearance. Pre­sently a folding door, at one end of the hall, opened, and he saw his mistress, with a great many gentlemen and ladies, rising from several tables.

"Oh! there is my little boy, and his mats," cried the lady; and, followed by all the rest of the company, she came into the hall. Jem modestly retired whilst they looked at his mats; but in a minute or two his mistress beckoned to him, and, when he came into the middle of the circle, he saw that his pile of mats had disap­peared. "Well," said the lady smiling, "what [Page 83]do you see that makes you look so surprised?"— "That all my mats are gone," said Jem; "but you are very welcome."—"Are we?" said the lady; "well, take up your hat, and go home then, for you see that it is getting late, and you know, "Lightfoot will wonder what's become of you." Jem turned round to take up his hat, which he had left on the floor.

But how his countenance changed! the hat was heavy with shillings. Every one who had taken a mat had put in two shillings; so that for the eighteen mats he had got thirty-six shillings. "Thirty-six shillings!" said the lady; "five and seven-pence I think you told me you had earned already—how much does that make? I must add, I believe, one other six-pence to make out your two guineas."—"Two guineas!" exclaimed Jem, now quite conquering his bash­fulness, for at the moment he forgot where he was, and saw nobody that was by. "Two guineas!" cried he, clapping his hands together —"Oh Lightfoot!—oh mother!" Then, re­collecting himself, he saw his mistress, whom he now looked up to quite as a friend. "Will you thank them all," said he, scarcely daring to glance his eye round upon the company, "will you thank 'em, for you know I don't know how [Page 84]to thank 'em rightly." Every body thought, however, that they had been thanked rightly.

"Now we won't keep you any longer-on­ly," said his mistress, "I have one thing to ask you, that I may be by when you shew your treasure to your mother."—"Come, then," said Jem, "come with me now."—"Not now," said the lady laughing, "but I will come to Ashton to-morrow evening; perhaps your mother can find me a few strawherries."

"That she will," said Jem; "I'll search the garden myself." He now went home, but felt it a great restraint to wait till to-morrow even­ing before he told his mother. To console himself he flew to the stable: "Lightfoot, you're not to be sold to-morrow! poor fel­low!" said he, patting him, and then could not refrain from counting out his money. Whilst he was intent upon this, Jem was startled by a noise at the door: somebody was trying to pull up the latch. It opened, and there came in Lazy Lawrence, with a boy in a red jacket, who had a cock under his arm. They started when they got into the middle of the stable, and when they saw Jem, who had been at first hid­den by the horse.

[Page 85] "We—we—we came"—stammered Lazy Lawrence—"I mean, I came to—to—to—" "To ask you," continued the stable-boy in a bold tone, "whether you will go with us to the cock-fight on Monday? See, I've a fine cock here, and Lawrence told me you were a great friend of his, so I came."

Lawrence now attempted to say something in praise of the pleasures of cock-fighting, and in recommendation of his new companion. But Jem looked at the stable-boy with dislike, and a sort of dread; then turning his eyes upon the cock with a look of compassion, said in a low voice to Lawrence, "Shall you like to stand by and see its eyes pecked out?"—"I don't know," said Lawrence, "as to that; but they say a cock-fight's a fine fight, and it's no more cruel in me to go than another; and a great many go; and I've nothing else to do, so I shall go."—"But I have something else to do," said Jem, laughing, "so I shall not go." —"But," continued Lawrence, "you know Monday is the great Bristol fair, and one must be merry then, of all days in the year."—"One day in the year, sure, there's no harm in being merry," said the stable-boy. "I hope not," [Page 86]said Jem; for I know, for my part, I am merry every day in the year."—"That's very odd," said Lawrence; "but I know, for my part, I would not for all the world miss going to the fair, for at least it will be something to talk of for half a year after—come, you'll go, won't you?"—"No," said Jem, still looking as if he did not like to talk before the ill-looking stran­ger. "Then what will you do with all your money?"—"I'll tell you about that another time," whispered Jem; "and don't you go to see that cock's eyes pecked out; it won't make you merry, I'm sure."—"If I had any thing else to divert me," said Lawrence, hesitating and yawning.—"Come," cried the stable-boy, seizing his stretching arm, "come along," cried he; and, pulling him away from Jem, upon whom he cast a look of extreme contempt, "leave him alone, he's not the sort."— "What a sool you are," said he to Lawrence, the moment he got him out of the stable, "you might have known he would not go—else we should soon have trimmed him out of his four and seven-pence. But how came you to talk of four and seven-pence; I saw in the manger a hat full of silver."—"Indeed!" exclaimed [Page 87]Lawrence. "Yes, indeed—but why did you stammer so when we first got in? you had like to have blown us all up."—"I was so asham­ed," said Lawrence, hanging down his head. "Ashamed! but you must not talk of shame now you are in for it, and I shan't let you off: you owe us half a crown, recollect, and I must be paid to-night; so see and get the money some how or other." After a considerable pause he added, "I'll answer for it he'd never miss half a crown out of all that silver."—"But to steal," said Lawrence, drawing back with horror—"I never thought I should come to that—and from poor Jem too—the money that he has worked so hard for too."—"But it is not stealing; we don't mean to steal; only to borrow it: and, if we win, as we certainly shall, at the cock-fight, pay it back again, and he'll never know any thing of the matter; and what harm will it do him? Besides, what signi­fies talking, you can't go to the cock-fight, or the fair either, if you don't; and I tell ye we don't mean to steal it; we'll pay it again Mon­day night." Lawrence made no reply, and they parted without his coming to any determi­nation.

[Page 88] Here let us pause in our story—we are almost afraid to go on—the rest is very shocking—our little readers will shudder as they read. But it is better that they should know the truth, and see what the idle boy came to at last.

In the dead of the night Lawrence heard somebody tap at his window. He knew well who it was, for this was the signal agreed upon between him and his wicked companion. He trembled at the thoughts of what he was about to do, and lay quite still, with his head under the bed-clothes, till he heard the second tap. Then he got up, dressed himself, and opened his window. It was almost even with the ground. His companion said to him in a hol­low voice, "Are you ready." He made no answer, but got out of the window and follow­ed. When he got to the stable, a black cloud was just passing over the moon, and it was quite dark. "Where are you?" whispered Law­rence, groping about, "where are you? Speak to me."—"I am here; give me your hand." Lawrence stretched out his hand. "Is that your hand?" said the wicked boy, as Lawrence laid hold of him; "how cold it felt."—"Let us go back," said Lawrence; "it is time yet." [Page 89]—"It is no time to go back," replied the other opening the door; "you've gone too far now to go back:" and he pushed Lawrence into the stable.—"Have you found it—take care of the horse—have you done?—what are you about? —make haste, I hear a noise," said the stable­boy, who watched at the door. "I am feeling for the half crown, but I can't find it."— "Bring all together." He brought Jem's broken flower-pot, with all the money in it, to the door.

The black cloud was now passed over the moon, and the light shone full upon them.— "What do we stand here for?" said the stable­boy, snatching the flower-pot out of Lawrence's trembling hands, and pulled him away from the door. "Good God!" cried Lawrence, "you won't take all—you said you'd only take half a crown, and pay it back on Monday —you said you'd only take half a crown!"— "Hold your tongue," replied the other walk­ing on, deaf to all remonstrances—"if I am to be hanged ever, it sha'n't be for half a crown." Lawrence's blood ran cold in his veins, and he felt as if all his hair stood on end. Not another word passed. His accomplice carried off the [Page 90]money, and Lawrence crept, with all the hor­rors of guilt upon him, to his restless bed. All nigh he was starting from frightful dreams; or else, broad awake, he lay listening to every small noise, unable to stir, and scarcely daring to breathe—tormented by that most dreadful of all kinds of fear, that fear which is the constant companion of an evil conscience. He thought the morning would never come; but when it was day, when he heard the birds sing, and saw every thing look cheerful as usual, he selt still more miscrable. It was Sunday morning, and the bell rang for church. All the children of the village, dressed in their Sunday clothes, in­nocent and gay, and little Jem, the best and gayest amongst them, went flocking by his door to church. "Well, Lawrence," said Jem, pulling his coat as he passed, and saw Law­rence leaning against his father's door, "what makes you look so black?"—"I!" said Law­rence starting, "why do you say that I look black?"—"Nay then," said Jem, "you look white enough, now, if that will please you; for you're turned as pale as death."—"Pale!" replied Lawrence, not knowing what he said; and turned abruptly away, for he dared not [Page 91]stand another look of Jem's; conscious that guilt was written in his sace, he shunned every eye. He would now have given the world to have thrown off the load of guilt which lay up­on his mind; he longed to follow Jem, to fall upon his knees, and confess all; dreading the moment when Jem should discover his loss, Lawrence dared not stay at home, and not knowing what to do, or where to go, he me­chanically went to his old haunt at the stable­yard, and lurked thereabouts all day, with his accomplice, who tried in vain to quiet his fears and raise his spirits, by talking of the next day's cock-fight. It was agreed, that, as soon as the dusk of the evening came on, they should go together into a certain lonely field, and there divide their booty.

In the mean time Jem, when he returned from church, was very full of business, prepar­ing for the reception of his mistress, of whose intended visit he had informed his mother; and, whilst she was arranging the kitchen and their little parlour, he ran to search the straw­berry-beds. "Why, my Jem, how merry you are to-day!" said his mother when he came in with the strawberries, and was jumping about [Page 92]the room playfully. "Now keep those spirits of yours, Jem, till you want 'em, and don't let it come upon you all at once. Have it in mind that to-morrow's fair day, and Lightfoot must go. I bid farmer Truck call for him to­night; he said he'd take him along with his own, and he'll be here just now—and then I know how it will he with you, Jem!"—"So do I!" cried Jem, swallowing his secret with great difficulty, and then tumbling head over heels four times running. A carriage passed the window and stopped at the door. Jem ran out; it was his mistress. She came in smiling, and soon made the old woman smile too, by praising the neatness of every thing in the house. But we shall pass over, however important they were deemed at the time, the praises of the strawberries, and of "my grandmother's china plate." Another knock was heard at the door. "Run, Jem," said his mother, "I hope it's our milk-woman with cream for the lady." No; it was farmer Truck come for Lightfoot. The old woman's countenance fell. "Fetch him out, dear," said she, turning to her son; but Jem was gone; he flew out to the stable the moment he saw the flap of farmer Truck's [Page 93]great-coat. "Sit ye down, farmer," said the old woman, after they had waited about five minutes in expectation of Jem's return. "You'd best sit down, if the lady will give you leave; for he'll not hurry himself back again. My boy's a fool, madam, about that there horse." Trying to laugh, she added, "I knew how Lightfoot and he would be loath enough to part—he won't bring him out till the last minute; so do sit ye down, neighbour." The sarmer had scarcely sat down, when Jem, with a pale wild countenance, came back. "What's the matter?" said his mistress. "God bless the boy!" said his mother, looking at him quite frightened, whilst he tried to speak, but could not. She went up to him, and then lean [...]ng his head against her, he cried, "It's gone!—it's all gone!" and, bursting into tears, he sobbed as if his little heart would break. "What's gone, love?" said his mother. "My two guineas —Lightfoot's two guineas. I went to fetch 'em to give you, mammy; but the broken flower-pot that I put them in, and all's gone! —quite gone!" repeated he, checking his sobs. "I saw them safe last night, and was shewing 'em to Lightfoot; and I was so glad to think I [Page 94]had earned them all myself; and I thought how surprised you'd look, and how glad you'd be, and how you'd kiss me, and all!"

His mother listened to him with the greatest surprise, whilst his mistress stood in silence, looking first at the old woman, and then at Jem with a penetrating eye, as if she suspected the truth of his story, and was afraid of becoming the dupe of her own compassion. "This is a very strange thing!" said she gravely. "How came you to leave all your money in a broken flower-pot in the stable? How came you not to give it to your mother to take care of?"— "Why, don't you remember," said Jem, look­ing up in the midst of his tears; "why, don't you remember you your own self bid me not tell her about it till you were by."—"And did you not tell her?"—"Nay, ask mammy," said Jem, a little offended; and, when after­wards the lady went on questioning him in a severe manner, as if she did not believe him, he at last made no answer. "Oh, Jem! Jem! why don't you speak to the lady? said his mother. "I have spoke, and spoke the truth," said Jem proudly, "and she did not believe me."

[Page 95] Still the lady, who had lived too long in the world to be without suspicion, maintained a cold manner, and determined to wait the event without interfering, saying only, that she hoped the money would be found; and advised Jem to have done crying. "I have done," said Jem, "I shall cry no more." And as he had the greatest command over himself, he actually did not shed another tear, not even when the farmer got up to go, saying, he could wait no longer. Jem silently went to bring out Lightfoot.— The lady now took her seat where she could see all that passed at the open parlour window. —The old woman stood at the door, and seve­ral idle people of the village, who had gathered round the lady's carriage examining it, turned about to listen. In a minute or two Jem ap­peared, with a steady countenance, leading Lightfoot; and, when he came up, without saying a word, put the bridle into farmer Truck's hand. "He has been a good horse," said the farmer. "He is a good horse!" cried Jem, and threw his arm over Lightfoot's neck, hiding his own face as he leaned upon him.

At this instant a party of milkwomen went by; and one of them having set down her pail, [Page 96]came behind Jem, and gave him a pretty smart blow upon the back.—He looked up.—"And don't you know me?" said she. "I forget," said Jem;" I think I have seen your face before, but I forget."—"Do you so? and you'll tell me just now," said she, "half opening her hand, "that you forget who gave you this, and who charged you not to part with it too." Here she quite opened her large hand, and on the palm of it appeared Jem's silver penny. "Where?" exclaimed Jem seizing it, "oh where did you find it? and have you?—oh tell me, have you got the rest of my money?"—"I know nothing of your money—I don't know what you would be at," said the milkwoman. "But where, pray tell me where, did you find this?"—"With them that you gave it to, I suppose," said the milkwoman, turning away suddenly to take up her milk-pail. But now Jem's mistress called to her through the win­dow, begging her to stop, and joining in his entreaties to know how she came by the silver penny.

"Why, madam," said she, taking up the corner of her apron, "I came by it in an odd way too—You must know my Betty is sick, so [Page 97]I come with the milk myself, though it's not what I'm used to; for my Betty—you know my Betty," said she, turning round to the old woman, "my Betty serves you, and she's a tight and stirring lassy, ma'am, I can assure—" "yes, I don't doubt it," said the lady impa­tiently; "but about the silver penny?"— "Why, that's true; as I was coming along all alone, for the rest came round, and I came a short cut across yon field—No, you can't see it, madam, where you stand—but if you were here—" "I see it—I know it," said Jem, out of breath with anxiety. "Well—well—I rest­ed my pail upon the stile, and sets me down awhile, and there comes out of the hedge—I don't know well how, for they startled me so I'd like to have thrown down my milk—two boys, one about the size of he," said she, point­ing to Jem, "and one a matter taller, but ill­looking like, so I did not think to stir to make way for them, and they were like in a desperate hurry: so, without waiting for the stile, one of 'em pulled at the gate, and when it would not open (for it was tied with a pretty stout cord) one of 'em whips out with his knife and cuts it—

[Page 98] "Now have you a knife about you, Sir?" continued the milk-woman to the farmer. He gave her his knife.

"Here now, ma'am, just sticking as it were here, between the blade and the haft, was the filver penny. He took no notice, but when he opened it, out it falls; still he takes no heed, but cuts the cord, as I said before, and through the gate they went, and out of sight in half a minute. I picks up the penny, for my heart misgave me that it was the very one husband had had a long time, and had given against my voice to he," pointing to Jem; "and I charg­ed him not to part with it; and, ma'am, when I looked I knew it by the mark, so I thought I would shew it to he," again pointing to Jem, "and let him give it back to those it belongs to."—"It belongs to me," said Jem, "I ne­ver gave it to any body—but—" "But," cried the farmer, "those boys have robbed him —it is they who have all his money."—"Oh, which way did they go?" cried Jem, "I'll run after them."

"No, no," said the lady, calling to her ser­vant; and she desired him to take his horse and ride after them. "Aye," added farmer Truck, [Page 99]do you take the road, and I'll take the field­way, and I'll be bound we'll have 'em pre­sently."

Whilst they were gone in pursuit of the thieves, the lady, who was now thoroughly convinced of Jem's truth, desired her coach­man would produce what she had ordered him to bring with him that evening. Out of the boot of the carriage the coachman immediately produced a new saddle and bridle.

How Jem's eyes sparkled when the saddle was thrown upon Lightfoot's back! "Put it on your horse yourself, Jem," said the lady— "it is yours."

Consused reports of Lightfoot's splendid ac­coutrements, of the pursuit of thieves, and of the fine and generous lady who was standing at dame Preston's window, quickly spread through the village, and drew every body from their houses. They crowded round Jem to hear the story. The children especially, who were all fond of him, expressed the strongest indignation against the thieves. Every eye was on the stretch; and now some, who had run down the lane, came back shouting, "Here they are! they've got the thieves!"

[Page 100] The footman on horseback carried one boy before him; and the farmer, striding along, dragged another. The latter had on a red jack­et, which little Jem immediately recollected, and scarcely dared lift his eyes to look at the boy on horseback. "Good God!" said he to himself, "it must be—yet surely it can't be Lawrence!" The footman rode on as fast as the people would let him. The boy's hat was flouched, and his head hung down, so that no­body could see his face.

At this instant there was a disturbance in the crowd. A man who was half drunk pushed his way forwards, swearing that nobody should stop him; that he had a right to see; and he would see. And so he did; for, forcing through all resistance, he staggered up to the footman just as he was lifting down the boy he had car­ried before him. "I will—I tell you I will see the thief!" cried the drunken man, pushing up the boy's hat.—It was his own son.—"Law­rence!" exclaimed the wretched father. The shock sobered him at once, and he hid his face in his hands.

There was an awful silence. Lawrence fell on his knees, and in a voice that could scarcely [Page 101]be heard made a full confession of all the cir­cumstances of his guilt. "Such a young crea­ture so wicked! What could put such wicked­ness into your head?"—"Bad company," said Lawrence. "And how came you—what brought you into bad company?"—"I don't know—except it was idleness." While this was saying, the farmer was emptying Lazy Lawrence's pockets; and when the money ap­peared, all his former companions in the village looked at each other with astonishment and ter­ror. Their parents grasped their little hands closer, and cried, "Thank God! he is not my son—how often, when he was little, we used, as he lounged about, to tell him that idleness was the root of all evil."

As for the hardened wretch his accomplice, every one was impatient to have him sent to gaol. He had put on a bold, insolent counte­nance, till he heard Lawrence's confession; till the money was found upon him; and he heard the milk-woman declare, that she would swear to the silver penny which he had dropped. Then he turned pale, and betrayed the strongest signs of fear. "We must take him before the [Page 102]justice," said the farmer, "and he'll be lodged in Bristol gaol. "Oh!" said Jem, springing forwards when Lawrence's hands were going to be tied, "let him go—won't you—can't you let him go?"—"Yes, madam, for mer­cy's sake," said Jem's mother to the lady, "think what a disgrace to his family to be sent to gaol." His father stood by wringing his hands in an agony of despair. "It's all my fault," cried he; "I brought him up in idle­ness." —"But he'll never be idle any more," said Jem; won't you speak for him, ma'am?"— "Don't ask the lady to speak for him," said the farmer; "it's better he should go to bridewell now, than to the gallows by and by."

Nothing more was said, for every body felt the truth of the farmer's speech. Lawrence was sent to bridewell for a month, and the sta­ble-boy was transported to Botany Bay.

During Lawrence's confinement, Jem often visited him, and carried him such little presents as he could afford to give; and Jem could af­ford to be generous, because he was industrious. Lawrence's heart was touched by his kindness, and his example struck him so forcibly, that, when his confinement was ended, he resolved [Page 103]to set immediately to work; and, to the asto­nishment of all who knew him, soon became remarkable for industry: he was found early and late at his work, established a new charac­ter, and for ever lost the name of Lazy Law­rence.


MR. SPENCER, a very benevolent and sen­sible man, undertook the education of several poor children. Amongst the rest was a boy of the name of Franklin, whom he had bred up from the time he was five years old. Franklin had the misfortune to be the son of a man of infamous character; and for many years this was a disgrace and reproach to his child. When any of the neighbours' children quarrelled with him, they used to tell him he would turn out like his father. But Mr. Spencer always as­sured him, that he might make himself what­ever he pleased; that by behaving well he would certainly, sooner or later, secure the es­teem and love of all who knew him, even of those who had the strongest prejudice against him on his father's account.

This hope was very delightful to Franklin, and he shewed the strongest desire to learn and to do every thing that was right; so that Mr. Spencer soon grew fond of him, and took great [Page 105]pains to instruct him, and to give him all the good habits and principles which might make him a useful, respectable, and happy man.

When he was about thirteen years of age, Mr. Spencer one day sent for him into his clo­set; and as he was folding up a letter which he had been writing, said to him with a very kind look, but in a graver tone than usual, "Frank­lin, you are going to leave me."—"Sir!" said Franklin. "You are now going to leave me, and to begin the world for yourself. You will carry this letter to my sister, Mrs. Churchill, in Queen's Square—you know Queen's Square." Franklin bowed. "You must expect," con­tinued Mr. Spencer, "to meet with several disagreeable things, and a great deal of rough work, at your first setting out; but be faithful and obedient to your mistress, and obliging to your fellow-servants, and all will go well. Mrs. Churchill will make you a very good mistress if you behave properly, and I have no doubt but you will."—"Thank you, Sir."—"And you will always (I mean as long as you deserve it) find a friend in me."—"Thank you, Sir— I am sure you are—" There Franklin stop­ped short, for the recollection of all Mr. Spen­cer's [Page 106]goodness rushed upon him at once, and he could not say another word. "Bring me a candle to seal this letter," said his master; and he was very glad to get out of the room. He came back with the candle, and with a stout heart stood by whilst the letter was sealing; and when his master put it into his hand, said, in a cheerful voice, "I hope you will let me see you again, Sir, sometimes." — "Certainly: whenever your mistress can spare you I shall be very glad to see you; and, remember, if ever you get into any difficulty, don't be afraid to come to me. I have sometimes spoken harshly to you, but you will not meet with a more in­dulgent friend." Franklin at this turned away with a full heart; and, after making two or three attempts to express his gratitude, left the room without being able to speak.

He got to Queen's Square about three o'clock. The door was opened by a large red-faced man in a blue coat and scarlet waistcoat, to whom he felt afraid to give his message, lest he should not be a servant. "Well, what's your busi­ness, Sir?" said the butler. "I have a letter for Mrs. Churchill, Sir," said Franklin, endea­vouring to pronounce his Sir in a tone as re­spectful [Page 107]as the butler's was insolent. The man having examined the direction, seal, and edges of the letter, carried it up stairs, and in a few minutes returned, and ordered Franklin to rub his shoes well and follow him. He was then shewn into a handsome room, where he found his mistress, an elderly lady. She asked him a few questions, examining him attentively as she spoke; and her severe eye at first, and her gra­cious smile afterwards, made him feel that she was a person to be both loved and feared. "I shall give you in charge," said she, ringing a bell, "to my housekeeper, and I hope she will have no reason to be displeased with you."

The housekeeper, when she first came in, appeared with a smiling countenance; but the moment she cast her eyes on Franklin, it chang­ed to a look of surprise and suspicion. Her mistress recommended him to her protection, saying, "Pomfret, I hope you will keep this boy under your own eye." And she received him with a cold "very well, ma'am;" which plain­ly shewed she was not disposed to like him. In fact Mrs. Pomfret was a woman so fond of power, and so jealous of favour, that she would have quarrelled with an angel who had got so [Page 108]near her mistress without her introduction. She smothered her displeasure, however, till night; when, as she attended her mistres's toi­lette, she could not refrain from expressing her sentiments. She began cautiously: "Ma'am, is not this the boy Mr. Spencer was talking of one day—that has been brought up by the Villaintropic Society, I think they call it?"—"Phi­lanthropic Society; yes; and my brother gives him a high character: I hope he will do very well."—"I'm sure I hope so too; but I can't say; for my part, I've no great notion of those low people. They say all those children are taken from the very lowest drugs and refugees of the town, and surely they are like enough, ma'am, to take after their own fathers and mo­thers."—"But they are not suffered to be with their parents, and therefore cannot be hurt by their example. This little boy to be sure was unfortunate in his father, but he has had an ex­cellent education."—"Oh, edication! to be sure, ma'am, I know—I don't say but what edication is a great thing. But then, ma'am, edication can't change the natur that's in one, they say; and one that's born naturally bad and low, they say, all the edication in the world [Page 109]won't do no good; and, for my part, ma'am, I know you knows best, but I should be afraid to let any of those Villaintropic folks get into my house, for nobody can tell the natur of them aforehand: I declare it frights me."—"Pom­fret, I thought you had better sense: how would this poor boy earn his bread? he would be forced to starve or steal if every body had such pre­judices." Pomfret, who really was a good wo­man, was softened at this idea, and said, "God forbid he should starve or steal, and God forbid I should say any thing prejudiciary of the boy, for there may be no harm in him."—"Well," said Mrs. Churchill, changing her tone, "but, Pomfret, if we don't like the boy at the end of a month, we have done with him; for I have only promised Mr. Spencer to keep him a month upon trial—there is no harm done."— "Dear, no, ma'am, to be sure—and cook must put up with her disappointment, that's all."— "What disappointment?"—"About her ne­phew, ma'am; the boy she and I was speaking to you for."—"When?"—"The day you called her up about the almond pudding, ma'am; if you remember, you said you should have no objections to try the boy; and upon that cook [Page 110]bought him new shirts; but they are to the good, as I tell her."—"But I did not promise to take her nephew."—"Oh, no, ma'am, not at all; she does not think to say that, else I should be very angry; but the poor woman never let fall a word, any more than frets that the boy should miss such a good place."— "Well, but since I did say that I should have no objection to try him, I shall keep my word; let him come to-morrow: let them both have a fair trial, and at the end of the month I can decide which I like best, and which we have bet­ter keep."

Dismissed with these orders, Mrs. Pomfret hastened to report all that had passed to the cook, like a favourite minister; proud to dis­play the extent of her secret influence. In the morning Felix, the cook's nephew, arrived; and the moment he came into the kitchen every eye, even the scullion's, was fixed upon him with approbation, and afterwards glanced upon Franklin with contempt—contempt which Franklin could not endure without some confu­sion, though quite unconscious of having deserv­ed it; nor, upon the most impartial and cool self-examination, could be comprehend the jus­tice [Page 111]of his judges. He perceived indeed, for the comparisons were minutely made in audible and scornful whispers, that Felix was a much handsomer, or, as the kitchen-maid expressed it, a much more genteeler gentlemanly-looking like sort of person than he was; and he was made to understand, that he wanted a frill to his shirt, a cravat, a pair of thin shoes, and, above all, shoe-strings, besides other nameless advantages, which justly made his rival the ad­miration of the kitchen. However, upon call­ing to mind all that his friend Mr. Spencer had ever said to him, he could not recollect his having warned him that shoe-strings were in­dispensable requisites to the character of a good servant; so that he could only comfort himself with resolving, if possible, to make amends for these deficiencies, and to dissipate the prejudices which he saw were formed against him, by the strictest adherence to all that his tutor had taught him to be his duty. He hoped to secure the approbation of his mistress by scrupulous obedience to all her commands, and faithful care of all that belonged to her; at the same time he flattered himself he should win the good will of his fellow-servants, by shewing a con­stant [Page 112]desire to oblige them. He pursued this plan of conduct steadily for nearly three weeks, and found that he succeeded beyond his expecta­tions in pleasing his mistress; but unfortu­nately he found it more difficult to please his fellow servants, and he sometimes offended when he least expected it.

He had made great progress in the affections of Corkscrew the butler, by working indeed very hard for him, and doing every day at least half his business. But one unfortunate night the butler was gone out—the bell rang—he went up stairs; and his mistress asking where Corkscrew was, he answered that he was gone out. "Where to?" said his mistress. "I don't know," answered Franklin. And as he had told exactly the truth, and meant to do no harm, he was surprised, at the butler's return, when he repeated to him what had passed, to receive a sudden box on the ear, and the appel­lation of a mischievous, impertinent, mean-spirit­ed brat! "Mischievous, impertinent, mean!" repeated Franklin to himself; but, looking in the butler's face, which was of a deeper scarlet than usual, he judged that he was far from so­ber, and did not doubt but that the next morn­ing, [Page 113]when he came to the use of his reason, he would be sensible of his injustice, and apologize for this box of the ear. But no apology coming all day, Franklin at last ventured to request an explanation, or rather to ask what he had best do on the next occasion. "Why," said Cork­screw, "when mistress asked for me, how came you to say I was gone out?"—"Because you know, I saw you go out."—"And when she asked you where I was gone, how came you to say that you did not know?—"Because in­deed I did not."—"You are a stupid block-head: could not you say I was gone to the washerwoman's?"—"But were you?" said Franklin. "Was I!" cried Corkscrew, and looked as if he would have struck him again; "how dare you give me the lie?—Mr. Hypo­crite, you would be ready enough, I'll be bound, to make excuses for yourself.—Why are not mistress's clogs cleaned? go along and blacken 'em this minute, and send Felix to me.

From this time forward Felix alone was pri­vileged to enter the butler's pantry. Felix be­came the favourite of Corkscrew; and though Franklin by no means sought to pry into the mysteries of their private conferences, nor ever [Page 114]entered without knocking at the door, yet it was his fate once to be sent of a message at an unluckly time, and as the door was half open he could not avoid seeing Felix drinking a bumper of red liquor, which he could not help suspect­ing to be wine; and as the decanter, which usually went up stairs after dinner, was at this time in the butler's grasp, without any stopper in it, he was involuntarily forced to suspect they were drinking his mistress's wine.

Nor were the bumpers of port of the only un­lawful rewards which Felix received; his aunt the cook had occasion for his assistance, and she had many delicious douceurs in her gift. Many a handful of currants, many a half custard, many a triangular remnant of pie, besides the choice of his own meal at breakfast, dinner, and supper, f [...]li to the share of the favourite Felix; whilst Franklin was neglected, though he took the utmost pains to please the cook in all ho­nourable service, and, when she was hot, angry, or hurried, he was always at hand to help her; and in the hour of adversity, when the clock struck five, and no dinner was dished, and no kitchen maid with twenty pair of hands was to be had, Franklin would answer to her call, with [Page 115]flowers to garnish her dishes, and presence of mind to know, in the midst of the commotion, where every thing that was wanting was to be found; so that, quick as lightning, all difficul­ties vanished before him. Yet when the dan­ger was over, and the hour of adversity passed, the ungrateful cook would forget her bene­factor, and, when it came to be his supper time, would throw him, with a carelessness which touched him sensibly, any thing which the other servants were too nice to eat. All this Frank­lin bore with fortitude, nor did he envy Felix the dainties which he eat sometimes close beside him: "For," said he to himself, "I have a clear conscience, and that is more than Felix can have. I know how he wins cook's fa­vour too well, and I fancy I know how I have offended her; for, since the day I saw the basket, she has done nothing but huff me."

The history of the basket was this. Mrs. Pomfret, the housekeeper, had several times, directly and indirectly, given the world below to understand that she and her mistress thought there was a prodigious quantity of meat eaten of late. Now when she spoke, it [Page 116]was usually at dinner-time; she always looked, or Franklin imagined that she looked, suspi­ciously at him. Other people looked still more maliciously; but as he felt himself perfectly in­nocent, he went on eating his dinner in silence. But at length it was time to explain. One Sunday there appeared a handsome sirloin of beef, which before noon on Monday had shrunk almost to the bare bone, and presented such a deplorable spectacle to the opening eyes of Mrs. Pomfret, that her long smothered indignation burst forth, and she boldly declared she was now certain there had been foul play, and she would have the beef found, or she would know why. She spoke, but no beef appeared; till Franklin, with a look of sudden recollection, cried, "Did not I see something like a piece of beef in a basket in the dairy—I think—" The cook, as if somebody had smote her a deadly blow, grew pale; but suddenly recovering the use of her speech, turned upon Franklin, and with a voice of thunder gave him the lie direct; and forth­with, taking Mrs. Pomfret by the ruffle, led the way to the dairy, declaring she could defy the world—"that so she could, and would." —"There, ma'am," said she, kicking an empty [Page 117]basket which lay on the floor—"there's malice for you—ask him why he don't shew you the beef in the basket."—"I thought I saw—" poor Franklin began. "You thought you saw!" cried the cook coming close up to him with kimboed arms, and looking like a dragon. —"And pray, Sir, what business have such a one as you to think you see?"—"And pray, ma'am, will you be pleased to speak—perhaps, ma'am, he'll condescend to obey you—ma'am, will you be pleased to forbid him my dairy— for here he comes prying and spying about— and how, ma'am, am I to answer for my butter and cream, or any thing at all?—I'm sure it's what I can't pretend to, unless you do me the justice to forbid him my places."

Mrs. Pomfret, whose eyes were blinded by her prejudices against the folks of the Villain­tropic Society, and also by her secret jealously of a boy whom she deemed to be a growing fa­vourite of her mistress's, took part with the cook, and ended, as she began, with a firm per­suasion that Franklin was the guilty person. "Let him alone, let him alone!" said she; "he has as many turns and windings as a hare; but we shall catch him yet, I'll be bound, in [Page 118]some of his doublings. I knew the nature of him well enough, from the first time I ever set my eyes upon him; but mistress shall have her own way, and see the end of it." These words, and the bitter sense of injustice, drew tears at length fast down the proud cheek of Franklin, which might possibly have touched Mrs. Pom­fret, if Felix, with a sneer, had not called them crocodile tears. "Felix too!" thought he, "this is too much." In fact Felix had till now professed himself his firm ally, and had on his part received from Franklin unequivocal proofs of friendship; for it must be told, that every other morning, when it was Felix's turn to get breakfast, Felix never was up in decent time, and must inevitably have come to public dis­grace, if Franklin had not got all the breakfast things ready for him, the bread and butter spread and the toast toasted; and had not moreover re­gularly, when the clock struck eight, and Mrs. Pomfret's foot was heard overhead, ran to call the sleeping Felix, and helped him constantly through the hurry of getting dressed one instant before the housekeeper came down stairs. All this could not but be present to his memory; but, scorning to reproach him, Franklin wiped [Page 119]away his crocodile tears, and preserved a mag­nanimous silence.

The hour of retribution was however not so far off as Felix imagined. Cunning people may go on cleverly in their devices for some time, but though they may escape once, twice, perhaps ninety-nine times, what does that signify, for the hundredth they come to shame, and lose all their character. Grown bold by frequent success, Felix became more careless in his operations; and it happened that one day he met his mistress full in the passage, as he was going on one of the cook's secret errands. "Where are you going, Felix?" said his mistress. "To the washerwoman's, ma'am," answered he with his usual effrontery. "Very well," said she, "call at the bookseller's in — stay, I must write down the direction.— Pomfret," said she, opening the housekeeper's room door, "have you a bit of paper." Pom­fret came with the writing-paper, and looked very angry to see that Felix was going out without her knowledge; so, while Mrs. Churchill was writing the direction, she stood talking to him about it; whilst he, in the great­est terror imaginable, looked up in her face as [Page 120]she spoke, but was all the time intent upon parry­ing on the other side the attacks of a little French dog of his mistres's, which, unluckily for him, had followed her into the passage. Manchon was extremely fond of Felix, who, by way of pleasing his mistress, had paid most assiduous court to her dog; yet now his caresses were rather troublesome. Manchon leaped up, and was not to be rebuffed. "Poor fellow, poor fellow — down! down! poor fellow!" cried Felix, and put him away. But Manchon leaped up again, and began smelling near the fatal pocket in a most alarming manner. "You will see by this direction where you are to go," said his mistress. "Manchon, come here— and you will be so good as to bring me — down! down! Manchon, be quiet!" But Manchon knew better; he had now got his head into Felix's pocket, and would not be quiet till he had drawn from thence, rustling out of its brown paper, half a cold turkey, which had been missing since morning. "My cold tur­key, as I'm alive!" exclaimed the housekeeper, darting upon it with horror and amazement. "What is all this?" said Mrs. Churchill in a composed voice. "I don't know, ma'am," [Page 121]answered Felix, so confused that he knew not what to say—"but—" "But what?" cried Mrs. Pomfret, indignation flashing from her eyes. "But what?" repeated his mistress, waiting for his reply with a calm air of atten­tion, which still more disconcerted Felix; for though with an angry person he might have some chance of escape, he knew that he could not invent any excuse in such circumstances which could stand the examination of a person in her sober senses. He was struck dumb. "Speak," said Mrs. Churchill, in a still lower tone; "I am ready to hear all you have to say: in my house every body shall have justice— speak—but what?"—"But," stammered Fe­lix; and, after in vain attempting to equivocate, confessed that he was going to take the turkey to his cousin's: but he threw all the blame upon his aunt, the cook, who, he said, had or­dered him upon this expedition. The cook was now summoned; but she totally denied all knowledge of the affair, with the same violence with which she had lately confounded Franklin about the beef in the basket; not entirely, how­ever, with the same success, for Felix, perceiv­ing by his mistress eye that she was upon the [Page 122]point of desiring him to leave the house imme­diately, and not being very willing to leave a place in which he had lived so well with the butler, did not hesitate to confront his aunt with assurance equal to her own. He knew how to bring his charge home to her. He pro­duced a note in her own hand-writing, the purport of which was to request her cousin's acceptance of "some delicate cold turkey," and to beg she would send her by the return of the bearer a little of her cherry-brandy.

Mrs. Churchill coolly wrote upon the back of the note her cook's discharge, and informed Felix she had no further occasion for his ser­vices; but, upon his pleading with many tears, which Franklin did not call crocodile tears, that he was so young, and that he was under the dominion of his aunt, he touched Mrs. Pom­fret's compassion, and she obtained for him per­mission to stay till the end of the month, to give him yet a chance of redeeming his cha­racter.

Mrs. Pomfret, now seeing how far she had been imposed upon, resolved for the future to be more upon her guard with Felix, and felt that she had treated Franklin with great injus­tice, [Page 123]when she accused him of mal-practices about the sirloin of beef. Good people, when they are made sensible that they have treated any one with injustice, are impatient to have an opportunity to rectify their mistake; and Mrs. Pomfret was now prepared to see every thing which Franklin did in the most favour­able point of view, especially as the next day she discovered that it was he who every morn­ing boiled the water for her tea, and buttered her toast, services for which she had always thought she was indebted to Felix. Besides, she had rated Felix's abilities very highly, be­cause he made up her weekly accounts for her; but unluckily once, when Franklin was out of the way, and she brought a bill in a hurry to her favourite to cast up, she discovered that he did not know how to cast up pounds, shillings, and pence, and he was obliged to confess that he must wait till Franklin came home.

But, passing over a number of small incidents which gradually unfolded the character of the two boys, we must proceed to a more serious affair.

Corkscrew, frequently, after he had finished taking away supper, and after the housekeeper [Page 124]was gone to bed, sallied forth to a neighbouring alehouse to drink with his friends. The ale­house was kept by that cousin of Felix's who was so fond of "delicate cold turkey," and who had such choice cherry-brandy. Corkscrew kept the key of the house door, so that he could return home at what hour he thought proper; and, if he should by accident be called for by his mistress after supper, Felix knew where to find him, and did not scruple to make any of those excuses which poor Franklin had too much integrity to use. All these precau­tions taken, the butler was at liberty to indulge his favourite passion, which so increased with indulgence, that his wages were by no means sufficient to support him in this way of life. Every day he felt less resolution to break through his bad habits, for every day drinking become more necessary to him. His health was ruined. With a red, pimpled, bloated face, emaciated legs, and a swelled, diseased body, he appeared the victim of intoxication. In the morning when he got up his hands trembled, his spirits slagged, he could do nothing till he had taken a dram; an operation which he was oblig­ed to repeat several times in the course of the [Page 125]day, as all those wretched people must who once acquire this custom.

He had run up a long bill at the alehouse which he frequented; and the landlord, who grew urgent for his money, refused to give him further credit. One night, when Corckscrew had drank enough only to make him fretful, he leaned with his elbow surlily upon the table, began to quarrel with the landlord, and swore that he had not of late treated him like a gen­tleman. To which the landlord coolly replied, "That as long as he had paid like a gentleman, he had been treated like one, and that was as much as any one could expect, or, at any rate, as much as any one would meet with, in this world." For the truth of this assertion he appealed, laughing, to a party of men who were drinking in the room. The men, however, took part with Corkscrew, and, drawing him over to their table, made him sit down with them. They were in high good humour, and the butler soon grew so intimate with them, that, in the openness of his heart, he soon com­municated to them, not only all his own affairs, but all that he knew, and more than all that he knew, of his mistress's.

[Page 126] His new friends were by no means uninte­rested in his conversation, and encouraged him as much as possible to talk; for they had secret views, which the butler was by no means suf­ficiently sober to discover. Mrs. Churchill had some fine old family plate; and these men belonged to a gang of housebreakers. Before they parted with Corkscrew, they engaged him to meet them again the next night; their inti­macy was still more closely cemented. One of the men actually offered to lend Corkscrew three guineas towards the payment of his debt, and hinted that, if he thought proper, he could easily get the whole cleared off. Upon this hint Corkscrew be came all attention, till, after some hesitation on their part, and repeated promises of secresy on his, they at length disclosed their plans to him. They gave him to understand, that if he would assist in letting them into his mistres's house, they would let him have an ample share in the booty. The butler, who had the reputation of being an honest man, and indeed whose integrity had hitherto been proof against every thing but his mistres's port, turn­ed pale and trembled at this proposal; drank [Page 127]two or three bumpers to drown thought; and promised to give an answer the next day.

He went home more than half intoxicated. His mind was so full of what had passed, that he could not help bragging to Felix, whom he found awake at his return, that he could have his bill paid off at the alehouse whenever he pleased; dropping besides some hints, which were not lost upon Felix. In the morning Felix reminded him of the things which he had said; and Corkscrew, alarmed, endeavoured to evade his questions, by saying that he was not in his senses when he talked in that manner. Nothing however that he could urge made any impression upon Felix, whose recollection on the subject was perfectly distinct, and who had too much cunning himself, and too little con­fidence in his companion, to be the dupe of his dissimulation. The butler knew not what to do when he saw that Felix was absolutely de­termined either to betray their scheme, or to become a sharer in the booty.

The next night came, and he was now to make a final decision; either to determine on breaking off entirely with his new acquaint­ance, [Page 128]or taking Felix with him to join in the plot.

His debt, his love of drinking, the impossi­bility of indulging it without a fresh supply of money, all came into his mind at once, and conquered his remaining scruples. It is said by those whose fatal experience give them a right to be believed, that a drunkard will sacri­fice any thing, every thing, sooner than the pleasure of habitual intoxication.

How much easier is it never to begin a bad custom, than to break through it when once formed!

The hour of rendezvous came, and Cork­screw went to the alehouse, where he found the house-breakers waiting for him, and a glass of brandy ready poured out. He sighed—drank —hesitated—drank again—heard the landlord talk of his bill—saw the money produced, which would pay it in a moment — drank again — cursed himself, and, giving his hand to the vil­lain who was whispering in his ear, swore that he could not help it, and must do as they would have him. They required of him to give up the key of the house-door, that they might get another made by it. He had left it with Felix, [Page 129]and was now obliged to explain the new difficulty which had arisen. Felix knew enough to ruin them, and must therefore be won over. This was no very difficult task; he had a strong desire to have some worked cravats, and the butler knew enough of him to believe that this would be a sufficient bribe. The cravats were bought and shewn to Felix. He thought them the only things wanting to make him a complete fine gentleman, and to go without them, especially when he had once seen himself in the glass with one tied on in a splendid bow, appeared impos­sible. Even this paltry temptation, working upon his vanity, at length prevailed with a boy, whose integrity had long been corrupted by the habits of petty pilfering and daily falsehood. It was agreed that, the first time his mistress sent him out on a message, he should carry the key of the house door to his cousin's, and deliver it into the hands of one of the gang, who were there in waiting for it. Such was the scheme. Felix, the night after all this had been planned, went to bed and fell fast asleep; but the butler, who had not yet stifled the voice of conscience, felt, in the silence of the night, so insupport­ably miserable, that, instead of going to rest, he [Page 130]stole softly into the pantry for a bottle of his mistress's wine, and there, drinking glass after glass, he stayed till he became so far intoxicated that, though he contrived to find his way back to bed, he could by no means undress himself. Without any power of recollection, he flung himself upon the bed, leaving his candle half hanging out of the candlestick beside him. Franklin slept in the next room to him, and presently wakening, thought he perceived a strong smell of something burning. He jump­ed up, and seeing a light under the butler's door, gently opened it, and to his astonishment beheld one of the bed curtains in flames. He immediately ran to the butler, and pulled him with all his force to rouse him from his lethar­gy. He came to his senses at length, but was so terrified, and so helpless, that, if it had not been for Franklin, the whole house would soon inevitably have been on fire. Felix, trembling and cowardly, knew not what to do; and it was curious to see him obeying Franklin, whose turn it was now to command. Franklin ran up stairs to waken Mrs. Pomfret, whose terror of fire was so great that she came from her room almost out of her senses, whilst he, with [Page 131]the greatest presence of mind, recollected where he had seen two large tubs of water, which the maids had prepared the night before for their washing, and, seizing the wet linen which had been left to soak, threw them upon the flames. He exerted himself with so much good sense, that the fire was presently extinguished. Every thing was now once more safe and quiet. Mrs. Pomfret, recovering from her fright, postponed all enquiries till the morning, and rejoiced that her mistress had not been wakened, whilst Corkscrew flattered himself that he should be able to conceal the true cause of the accident. "Don't you tell Mrs. Pomfret where you found the candle when you came into the room," said he to Franklin. "If she asks me, you know I must tell the truth," replied he. "Must!" repeated Felix sneeringly; "what you must be a tell-tale!"—"No, I never told any tales of any body, and I should be very sorry to get any one into a scrape; but for all that I shall not tell a lie, either for myself or any body else, let you call me what names you will."—"But if I were to give you something that you would like," said Corkscrew;— "something that I know you would like!" [Page 132]repeated Felix. "Nothing you can give me will do," answered Franklin steadily; "so it is useless to say any more about it—I hope I shall not be questioned." In this hope he was mis­taken; for the first thing Mrs. Pomfret did in the morning was to come into the butler's room to examine and deplore the burnt curtains, whilst Corkscrew stood by endeavouring to ex­culpate himself by all the excuses he could in­vent. Mrs. Pomfret, however, thought some­times blinded by her prejudices, was no fool, and it was absolutely impossible to make her be­lieve that a candle which had been left on the hearth, where Corkscrew protested he had left it, could have set curtains on fire which were at least six foot distance. Turning short round to Franklin, she desired that he would shew her where he found the candle when he came into the room. He begged not to be question­ed; but she insisted. He took up the candle­stick; but the moment the housekeeper cast her eye upon it, she snatched it from his hands —"How did this candlestick come here? This was not the candlestick you found here last night," cried she. "Yes, indeed, it was," answered Franklin. "That is impossible," [Page 133]retorted she vehemently, "for I left this can­dlestick with my own hands, last night, in the hall, the last thing I did after you," said she, turning to the butler, "was gone to bed—I'm sure of it—Nay, don't you recollect my taking this japanned candlestick out of your hand, and making you go up to bed with the brass one, and I bolted the door at the stair head after you?"

This was all very true; but Corkscrew had afterwards gone down from his room by a ba [...]k staircase, unbolted that door, and, upon his re­turn from the alehouse, had taken the japanned candlestick by mistake up stairs, and had left the brass one in its stead upon the hall table.

"Oh, ma'am," said Felix, "indeed you forget, for Mr. Corkscrew came into my room to desire me to call him betimes in the morn­ing, and I happened to take particular notice, and he had the japanned candlestick in his hand, and that was just as I heard you bolting the door—indeed, ma'am, you forget."—"In­deed, Sir," retorted Mrs. Pomfret, rising in an­g [...]r, "I do not forget; I'm not come to be supper-annuated yet, I hope—How do you dare to tell me I forget?"—"Oh, ma'am," cried [Page 134]Felix, "I beg your pardon, I did not—I did not mean to say you forgot—but only I thought, perhaps, you might not particularly remember; for it you please to recollect—" "I won't please to recollect just whatever you please, Sir!—Hold your tongue—Why should you poke yourself into this scrape—What have you to do with it, I should be glad to know?"— "Nothing in the world, oh nothing in the world; I'm sure I beg your pardon, ma'am," answered Felix in a soft tone, and, sneaking off, left his friend Corkscrew to fight his own bat­tle, secretly resolving to desert in good time if he saw any danger of the alehouse transactions coming to light.

Corkscrew could make but very blundering excuses for himself; and, conscious of guilt, he turned pale, and appeared so much more terri­fied than butlers usually appear when detected in a lie, that Mrs. Pomfret resolved, as she said, to sift the matter to the bottom. Impatiently did she wait till the clock struck nine, and her mistress's bell rang, the signal for her attendance at her levee.—"How do you find yourself this morning, ma'am," said she, undrawing the cur­tains. "Very sleepy, indeed," answered her [Page 135]mistress in a drowsy voice; "I think I must sleep half an hour longer—shut the curtains." —"As you please, ma'am; but I suppose I had better open a little of the window shutter, for it's past nine."—"But just struck."— "Oh dear, ma'am, it struck before I came up stairs, and you know we are twenty minutes slow — Lord bless us?" exclaimed Mrs. Pomfret, as she let fall the bar of the window, which roused her mistress—"I'm sure I beg pardon a thousand times—it's only the bar—because I had this great key in my hand."—Put down the key then, or you'll knock something else down; and you may open the sthutters now, for I'm quite awake."—"Dear me! I'm so sorry to think of disturbing you," cried Mrs. Pomfret, at the same time throwing the shut­ters wide open: "but, to be sure, ma'am, I have something to tell you, which won't let you sleep again in a hurry. I brought up this here key of the house door for reasons of my own, which I'm sure you'll approve of—but I'm not come to that part of my story yet—I hope you were not disturbed by the noise in the house last night, ma'am."—"I heard no noise."—"I am surprised at that though," [Page 136]continued Mrs. Pomfret, and now proceeded to give a most ample account of the fire, of her fears, and her suspicions.—"To be sure, ma'am, what I say is, that, without the spirit of prophecy, one can no ways account for what has passed. I'm quite clear in my own judg­ment that Mr. Corkscrew must have been out last night after I went to bed; for, besides the japanned candlestick, which of itself I'm sure is strong enough to hang a man, there's another circumstance, ma'am, that certifies it to me — though I have not mentioned it, ma'am, to no one yet," lowering her voice—"Franklin, when I questioned him, told me, that he left the lantern in the outside porch in the court last night, and this morning it was on the kitchen table: now, ma'am, that lantern could not come without hands; and I could not for­get about that, you know; for Franklin says he's sure he left the lantern out."—"And do you believe him?"—"To be sure, ma'am — how can I help believing him? I never found him out in the least symptom of a lie since ever he came into the house; so one can't help be­lieving in him, like him or not."—"Without meaning to tell a falsehood, however, he might [Page 137]make a mistake."—"No, ma'am, he never makes mistakes; it is not his way to go gossip­ping and tattling; he never tells any thing till he's asked, and then it's fit he should. About the sirloin of beef, and all, he was right in the end I found, to do him justice; and I'm sure he's right now about the lantern—he's always right." Mrs. Churchill could not help smiling. —"If you had seen him, ma'am, last night in the midst of the fire—I'm sure we may thank him that we were not burned alive in our beds —and I shall never forget his coming to call me—Poor fellow! he that I was always scold­ing and scolding, enough to make him hate me. But he's too good to hate any body; and I'll be bound I'll make it up to him now."— "Take care that you don't go from one ex­treme into another, Pomfret; don't spoil the boy."—No, ma'am, there's no danger of that; but I'm sure if you had seen him last night yourself, you would think he deserved to be re­warded."—"And so he shall be rewarded," said Mrs. Churchill; "but I will try him more fully yet."—"There's no occasion, I think, for trying him any more, ma'am," said Mrs. Pomfret, who was as violent in her likings as [Page 138]as in her dislikes. "Pray desire," continued her mistress, "that he will bring up breakfast this morning; and leave the key of the house door, Pomfret, with me."

When Franklin brought the urn into the breakfast parlour, his mistress was standing by the fire with the key in her hand. She spoke to him of his last night's exertions in terms of much approbation. "How long have you lived with me?" said she, pausing; "three weeks, I think?"—"Three weeks and four days, madam."—"That is but a short time; yet you have conducted yourself so as to make me think I may depend upon you. You know this key?"—"I believe, madam, it is the key of the house door."—"It is: I shall trust it in your care. It is a great trust for so young a person as you are." Franklin stood silent, with a firm but modest look. "If you take the charge of this key," continued his mistress, "remember it is upon condition that you never give it out of your own hands. In the day­time it must not be left in the door. You must not tell any body where you keep it at night; and the house door must not be unlocked after eleven o'clock at night, unless by my orders. [Page 139]Will you take charge of the key upon these conditions?"—"I will, madam, do any thing you order me," said Franklin, and received the key from her hands.

When Mrs. Churchill's orders were made known, they caused many secret marvellings and murmurings. Corkscrew and Felix were disconcerted, and dared not openly avow their discontent; and they treated Frank­lin with the greatest seeming kindness and cordiality. Every thing went on smoothly for three days; the butler never attempted his usual midnight visits to the alehouse, but went to bed in proper time, and paid particular court to Mrs. Pomfret, in order to dispel her suspicions. She had never had any idea of the real fact, that he and Felix were joined in a plot with house-breakers to rob the house, but thought he only went out at irregular hours to indulge himself in his passion for drinking.—So stood affairs the night before Mrs. Churchill's birth­day. Corkscrew, by the housekeeper's means, ventured to present a petition that hemight go to the play the next day, and his request was granted. Franklin came into the kitchen just when all the servants had gathered round the [Page 140]butler, who, with great importance was read­ing aloud the play-bill. Every body present soon began to speak at once, and with great en­thusiasm talked of the playhouse, the actors and actresses; and then Felix, in the first pause, turned to Franklin, and said, "Lord, you know nothing of all this! you never went to a play, did you?"—"Never," said Franklin, and felt, he did not know why, a little ashamed; and he longed extremely to go to one. "How should you like to go to the play with me to­morrow," said Corkscrew. "Oh," exclaimed Franklin, "I should like it exceedingly."— "And do you think mistress would let you if I asked."—"I think—may be she would, if Mrs. Pemfret asked her."—"But then you have no money, have you?"—"No," said Franklin, sighing. "But stay, said Corkscrew, "what I am thinking of is, that if mistress will let you go, I'll treat you myself, rather than that you should be disappointed."

Delight, surprise, and gratitude, appeared in Franklin's face at these words. Corkscrew re­j [...]ced to see that now, at least, he had found a most powerful temptation. "Well, then, I'll go just now and ask her: in the mean time [Page 141]lend me the key of the house door for a minute or two."—"The key!" answered Franklin starting; "I'm sorry, but I can't do that, for I've promised my mistress never to let it out of my own hands."—"But how will she know any thing of the matter?—Run, run and get it for us."—"No, I cannot," replied Franklin, re­sisting the push which the butler gave his shoul­der. "You can't?" cried Corkscrew, chang­ing his tone; "then, Sir, I can't take you to the play."—"Very well, Sir," said Franklin sorrowfully, but with steadiness. "Very well, Sir," said Felix, mimicking him, "you need not look so important, nor fancy yourself such a great man, because you're master of a key." —"Say no more to him," interrupted Cork­screw; let him alone to take his own way— Felix, you would have no objection, I suppose, to going to the play with me?"—"Oh, I should like it of all things, if I did not come between any body else"—"But come, come!" added the hypocrite, assuming a tone of friendly persuasion, "you won't be such a blockhead, Franklin, as to lose going to the play for no­thing; it's only just obstinacy: what harm can it do to lend Mr. Corkscrew the key for five [Page 142]minutes; he'll give it to you back again safe and sound. "I don't doubt that," answered Franklin "Then it must be all because you don't wish to oblige Mr. Corkscrew."—"No; but I can't oblige him in this: for, as I told you before, my mistress trusted me; I promised never to let the key out of my own hands; and you would not have me break my trust: Mr. Spencer told me that was worse than robbing." At the word robbing both Corkscrew and Felix involuntarily cast down their eyes, and turned the conversation immediately, say­ing that he did very right; that they did not really want the key, and had only asked for it just to try if he would keep his word. "Shake hands," said Corksorew, "I am glad to find you out to be an honest fellow!"—"I'm sorry you did not think me one before, Mr. Cork­screw:" said Franklin, giving his hand rather proudly; and he walked away.

"We shall make no hand of this prig," said Corkscrew. "But we'll have the key from him in spite of all his obstinacy," said Felix; "and let him make his story good as he can afterwards. He shall repent of these airs. To-night I'll watch him, and find out [Page 143]where he hides the key; and when he's asleep we'll get it without thanking him."

This plan Felix put in execution. They discovered the place where Franklin kept the key at night, stole it whilst he slept, took off the impression in wax, and carefully replaced it in Franklin's trunk, exactly where they found it.

Probably our young readers cannot guess what use they could mean to make of this im­pression of the key in wax. Knowing how to do mischief is very different from wishing to do it; and the most innocent persons are generally the least ignorant. By means of the impres­sion, which they had thus obtained, Corkscrew and Felix proposed to get a false key made by Picklock, a smith who belonged to their gang of housebreakers; and with this false key they knew they could open the door whenever they pleased.

Little suspecting what had happened, Frank­lin the next morning went to unlock the house­door as usual; but finding the key entangled in the lock, he took it out to examine it, and perceived a lump of wax sticking in one of the wards. Struck with this circumstance, it brought to his mind all that had passed the pre­ceding [Page 144]evening, and, being sure that he had no wax near the key, he began to suspect what had happened; and he could not help recollecting what he had once heard Felix say, that "give him but a halfpenny worth of wax, and he could open the strongest lock that ever was made by hands."

All these things considered, Franklin resolv­ed to take the key just as it was, with the wax sticking in it, to his mistress. "I was not mis­taken when I thought I might trust you with this key," said Mrs. Churchill, after she had heard his story. "My brother will be here to day, and I shall consult him; in the mean time say nothing of what has passed."

Evening came, and after tea Mr. Spencer sent for Franklin up stairs. "So, Mr. Frank­lin," said he, I'm glad to find you are in such high trust in this family. Franklin bowed. "But you have lost, I understand, the pleasure of going to the play to-night."—"I don't think any thing—much, I mean—of that, Sir," answered Franklin smiling. "Are Corkscrew and Felix gone to the play."—"Yes; half an hour ago, Sir."—"Then I shall look into his [Page 145]room, and examine the pantry and the plate that is under his care."

When Mr. Spencer came to examine the pantry, he found the large salvers and cups in a basket behind the door, and the other things placed so as to be easily carried off. Nothing at first appeared in Corkscrew's bed-chamber to streng then their suspicions, till, just as they were going to leave the room, Mrs. Pomfret exclaimed, "why, if there is not Mr. Cork­screw's dress coat hanging up there! and if here isn't Felix's fine cravat that he wanted in such a hurry to go to the play!—Why, Sir, they can't be gone to the play—look at the cravat.— Ha! upon my word, I am afraid they are not at the play—No, Sir, no! you may be sure that they are plotting with their barbarous gang at the alehouse—and they'll certainly break in­to the house to-night—we shall all be murder­ed in our beds, as sure as I'm a living woman, Sir—But if you'll only take my advice—" "Pray, good Mrs. Pomfret, don't be alarmed." —"Nay, Sir, but I won't pretend to sleep in the house, if Franklin isn't to have a blunder­buss, and I a baggonet."—"You shall have both [Page 146]indeed, Mrs Pomfret; but don't make such a noise, for every body will hear you."

The love of mystery was the only thing which could have conquered Mrs. Pomfret's love of talking. She was silent; and contented herself the rest of the evening with making signs, looking ominous and stalking about the house like one possessed with a secret.

Escaped from Mrs. Pomfret's fears and ad­vice, Mr. Spencer went to a shop within a few doors of the alehouse, which he heard Cork­screw frequented, and sent to beg to speak to the landlord. He came; and, when Mr. Spencer questioned him, confessed that Cork­screw and Felix were actually drinking in his house, with two men of suspicious appearance. That, as he passed through the passage, he heard them disputing about a key; and that one of them said, "Since we've got the key, we'll go about it to-night." This was sufficient infor­mation. Mr. Spencer, lest the landlord should give them information of what was going for­wards, took him along with him to Bow-street.

A constable and proper assistance was sent to Mrs. Churchill's. They stationed themselves in a back parlour, which opened on a passage [Page 147]leading to the butler's pantry, where the plate was kept. A little after midnight they heard the hall-door; Corkscrew and his accomplices went directly to the pantry, and there Mr. Spen­cer and the constable immediately secured them, as they were carrying off their booty.

Mrs. Churchill and Pomfret had spent the night at the house of an acquaintance in the same street. "Well, ma'am," said Mrs. Pom­fret, who had heard all the news in the morn­ing, "the villains are all safe, thank God; I was afraid to go to the window this morning, but it was my luck to see them all go by to gaol —they looked so shocking!—I am sure I never shall forget Felix's look to my dying day!— But poor Franklin! ma'am, that boy has the best heart in the world—I could not get him to give a second look at them as they passed— poor fellow! I thought he would have dropped; and he was so modest, ma'am, when Mr. Spen­cer spoke to him, and told him he had done his duty."—"And did my brother tell him what re­ward I intend for him."—"No, ma'am, and I'm sure Franklin thinks no more of reward than I do."—"I intend," continued Mrs. Churchill," to sell some of my old useless plate, and to lay [Page 148]it out in an annuity for Franklin's life."— "La, ma'am!" exclaimed Mrs. Pomfret with unfeigned joy, "I'm sure you are very good; and I'm very glad of it."—"And," continued Mrs. Churchill, "here are some tickets for the play, which I shall beg you, Pomfret, to give him, and to take him with you."—"I am very much obliged to you, indeed, ma'am; and I'll go with him with all my heart, and choose such plays as won't do no prejudice to his morality. —And ma'am," said Mrs. Pomfret, "the night after the fire I left him my great bible, and my watch, in my will; for I never was more mis­taken at the first in any boy in my born days: but he has won me by his own deserts, and I shall from this time forth love all the Villain­tropic folks for his sake."


"THE mother of mischief," says an old pro­verb, "is no bigger than a midge's wing"

At Doctor Middleton's school in England, there was a great tall dunce of the name of Fisher, who never could be taught how to look out a word in a dictionary. He used to tor­ment every body with—"Do pray help me! I can't make out this one word."—The per­son who usually helped him in his distress was a very clever good-natured boy, of the name of De Grey. De Grey had been many years under Dr. Middleton's care, and by his abili­ties and good conduct did him great credit. The doctor certainly was both proud and fond of him; but he was so well beloved, or so much esteemed by his companions, that nobody had ever called him by the odious name of favourite, [Page 150]until the arrival of a new scholar of the name of Archer.

Till Archer came, the ideas of favourites and parties, were almost unknown at Dr. Middle­ton's; but he brought all these ideas fresh from a great public-school, at which he had been educated—at which he had acquired a sufficient quantity of Greek and Latin, and a super­abundant quantity of party-spirit. His aim, the moment that he came to a new school, was, to get to the head of it, or at least to form the strong­est party. His influence, for he was a boy of considerable abilities, was quickly felt, though he had a powerful rival, as he thought proper to call him, in De Grey; and, with him, a rival was always an enemy. De Grey, so far from giving him any cause of hatred, treated him with a degree of cordiality, which would pro­bably have had an effect upon Archer's mind, if it had not been for the artifices of Fisher.

It may seem surprising, that a great dunce should be able to work upon a boy like Archer, who was called a great genius; but when ge­nius is joined to a violent temper, instead of being united to good sense, it is at the mercy even of dunces.

[Page 151] Fisher was mortally offended one morning by De Grey's refusing to translate his whole lesson for him. He went over to Archer, who, con­sidering him as a partisan deserting from the enemy, received him with open arms, and translated his whole lesson, without expressing much contempt for his stupidity. From this moment Fisher forgot all De Grey's former kindness, and considered only how he could in his turn mortify the person, whom he felt to be so much his superior.

De Grey and Archer were now reading for a premium, which was to be given in their class. Fisher betted on Archer's head, who had not sense enough to despise the bet of a blockhead. On the contrary, he suffered him to excite the spirit of rivalship in its utmost fury by collecting the bets of all the school.— So, that this premium now became a matter of the greatest consequence, and Archer, instead of taking the means to secure a judgment in his favour, was listening to the opinions of all his companions. It was a prize which was to be won by his own exertions, but he suffered him­self to consider it as an affair of chance. The [...]onsequence was, that he trusted to chance— [Page 152]his partisans lost their wagers, and he the pre­mium —and his temper.

"Mr. Archer," said Dr. Middleton, after the grand affair was decided, "you have done all, that genius alone could do; but you, De Grey, have done all that genius, and industry united, could do."

"Well!" cried Archer with affected gaiety, as soon as the Doctor had left the room— "Well, I'm content with my sentence—Ge­nius alone! for me—industry for those who want it"—added he, with a significant look at De Grey.

Fisher applauded this as a very spirited speech, and by insinuations, that Dr. Middleton "al­ways gave the premium to De Grey," and that "those who had lost their bets might thank themselves for it, for being such simpletons as to bet against the favourite," he raised a murmur, highly flattering to Archer, amongst some of the most credulous boys; whilst others loudly proclaimed their belief in Dr. Middle­ton's impartiality. These warmly congratu­lated De Grey. At this Archer grew more and more angry, and when Fisher was proceed­ing to speak nonsense for him, pushed forward [Page 153]into the circle to De Grey, crying—"I wish, Mr. Fisher, you would let me fight my own battles!"

"And I wish," said young Townsend, who was fonder of diversions than of premiums, or battles, or of any thing else—"I wish, that we were not to have any battles; after having worked like horses, don't set about to fight like dogs. Come," said he, tapping De Grey's shoulder, "let us see your new play-house, do—It's a holiday, and let us make the most of it—let us have the School for Scandal, do, and I'll play Charles for you, and you De Grey shall be my little Premium.—Come, do open this new play-house of yours to-night."

"Come then!" said De Grey, and he ran across the play-ground to a waste building, at the farthest end of it, in which, at the earnest request of the whole community, and with the permission of doctor Middleton, he had with much pains and ingenuity erecte [...] a theatre.

"The new theatre is going to be opened! Follow the Manager!—Follow the Manager!" —echoed a multitude of voices.

"Follow the Manager!" echoed very dis­agreeably in Archer's ear; but as he could not [Page 154]be left alone, he was also obliged to follow the Manager. The moment that the door was un­locked, the crowd rushed in; the delight and wonder expressed at the sight was great, and the applauses and thanks which were bestowed upon the Manager were long and loud.

Archer at least thought them long, for he was impatient till his voice could be heard. When at length the exclamations had spent themselves, he walked across the stage with a knowing air, and looking round contemptu­ously—

"And is this your famous play-house?" cried he. "I wish you had any of you seen the play-house I have been used to!"

These words made a great and visible change in the feelings and opinions of the public. "Who would be a servant of the public? or who would toll for popular applause?"—A few words spoken in a decisive tone by a new voice operated as a charm, and the play-house was in an instant metamorphosed in the eyes of the spectators. All gratitude for the past was for­gotten, and the expectation of something bet­ter justified to the capricious multitude their [Page 155]disdain of what they had so lately pronounced to be excellent.

Every one now began to cri [...]cise. One ob­served, "that the green certain was full of holes, and would not draw up."—Another at­tacked the scenes—"Scenes! they were not like real scenes—Archer must know best, be­cause he was used to these things."—So every body crowded to hear something of the other playhouse. They gathered round Archer to hear the description of his playhouse, and at every sentence insulting comparisons were made. When he had done, his auditors looked round—dighed—and wished that Archer had been their Manager. They turned from De Grey, as from a person who had done them an injury. Some of his friends—for he had friends, who were not swayed by the popular opinion— felt indignation at this ingratitude, and were going to express their feelings, but De Grey stopped them, and begged that he might speak for himself.

"Gentlemen," said he, coming forward, as soon as he felt that he had sufficient command of himself—

[Page 156] "My friends, I see you are discontented with me and my playhouse. I have done my best to please you: but if any body else can please you better, I shall be glad of it. I did not work so hard for the glory of being your Manager. You have my free leave to tear down"—Here his voice faultered, but he hur­ried on—"You have my free leave to tear down all my work as fast as you please—Ar­cher, shake hands first, however, to shew that there's no malice in the case."

Archer, who was touched by what his rival said, and stopping the hand of his new partisan Fisher, cried, "No, Fisher! no!—no pulling down. We can alter it. There is a great deal of ingenuity in it considering."

In vain Archer would now have recalled the public to reason. The time for reason was past, enthusiasm had taken hold of their minds. —"Down with it!—Down with it!" "Ar­cher for ever!" cried Fisher, and tore down the curtain. The riot once begun, nothing could stop the little mob, till the whole theatre was demolished. The love of power prevailed in the mind of Archer; he was secretly flat­tered by the zeal of his party, and he mistook [Page 157]their love of mischief for attachment to himself. De Grey looked on superior. "I said I could bear to see all this, and I can," said he—"now it is all over."—And now it was all over there was silence. The rioters stood still to take breath, and to look at what they had done. There was a blank space before them.

In this moment of silence there was heard something like a female voice.—"Hush!— What strange voice is that?" said Archer. Fisher caught fast hold of his arm—Every body looked round to see where the voice came from It was dusk—Two window-shutters at the far­thest end of the building were seen to move slowly inwards. De Grey, and in the same instant Archer went forward; and as the shut­ters opened, there appeared through the hole the dark face and shrivelled hands of a very old gypsey. She did not speak; but she looked first at one, and then at another. At length she fixed her eyes upon De Grey—"Well, my good woman, what do you want with me?"

"Want!—nothing—with you," said the old woman; "do you want nothing with me?"

"Nothing," said De Grey. Her eye im­mediately turned upon Archer—"You want [Page 158]something with me," said she with emphasis— "I!—What do I want!" replied Archer— "No," said she, changing her tone, "you want nothing—nothing will you ever want, or I am much mistaken in that face."

In that watch-chain, she should have said, for her quick eye had espied Archer's watch-chain. He was the only person in company who had a watch, and she therefore judged him to be the richest.

"Had you ever your fortune told, Sir, in your life?"

"Not I!" said he, looking at De Grey, as if he was afraid of his ridicule if he listened to the gypsey.

"Not you!—no!—for you will make your own fortune, and the fortune of all that belong to you!"

"There's good news for my friends!" cried Archer—"And I'm one of them, remember that," cried Fisher.—"And I"—"And I"— joined a number of voices.

"Good luck to them!" cried the gypsey, "good luck to them all!"

Then as soon as they had acquired sufficient confidence in her good-will, they pressed up to [Page 159]the window—"There," cried Townsend, as he chanced to stumble over the carpenter's mitre-box, which stood in the way—"There's a good omen for me. I've stumbled on the mitre-box; I shall certainly be a Bishop."

Happy he who had sixpence, for he bid fair to be a Judge upon the Bench. And happier he who had a shilling, for he was in the high road to be one day upon the woolsack, Lord High Chancellor of England. No one had half a crown, or no one would surely have kept it in his pocket upon such an occasion, for he might have been an Archbishop, a King, or what he pleased.

Fisher, who like all weak people was ex­tremely credulous, had kept his post immove­able in the front row all the time, his mouth open, and his stupid eyes fixed upon the gypsey, in whom he felt implicit faith.

Those, who have least confidence in their own powers, and who have least expectation from the success of their own exertions, are al­ways most disposed to trust in fortune-tellers and fortune. They hope to win, when they cannot earn; and as they can never be con­vinced by those who speak sense, it is no won­der [Page 160]they are always persuaded by those who talk nonsense.

"I have a question to put," said Fisher in a solemn tone. "Put it then," said Archer, "what hinders you?" "But they will hear me," said he, looking suspiciously at De Grey. "I shall not hear you," said De Grey, "I am going." Every body else drew back, and left him to whisper his question in the gypsey's ear.

"What is become of my Livy?"

"Your sister Livy, do you mean?" said the gypsey.

"No, my Latin Livy."

The gypsey paused for further information — ‘It had a leaf torn out in the beginning, and I hate Dr. Middleton—’

"Written in it," interrupted the gypsey —

"Right — the very book!" cried Fisher with joy. "But how could you know it was Dr. Middleton's name? I thought I had scratched it, so that nobody could make it out."

"Nobody could make it out but me," re­plied the gypsey. "But never think to deceive me," said she, shaking her head at him in a manner that made him tremble."

"I don't deceive you indeed. I tell you the whole truth. I lost it a week ago."

[Page 161] "True."

"And when shall I find it?"

"Meet me here at this hour to-morrow evening, and I will answer you. — No more! — I must be gone — Not a word more to­night."

She pulled the shutters towards her, and left the youth in darkness. All his companions were gone. He had been so deeply engaged in this conference, that he had not perceived their departure. He found all the world at supper, but no entreaties could prevail upon him to disclose his secret. Townsend rallied in vain. As for Archer, he was not disposed to destroy by ridicule the effect, which he saw that the old woman's predictions in his favour had had upon the imagination of many of his little partisans. He had privately slipped two good shillings into the gypsey's hand to secure her; for he was willing to pay any price, for any means of ac­quiring power.

The watch-chain had not deceived the gyp­sey, for Archer was the richest person in the community. His friends had imprudently sup­plied him with more money than is usually trusted to boys of his age. Doctor Middleton [Page 162]had refused to give him a larger monthly allow­ance than the rest of his companions; but he brought to school with him secretly the sum of five guineas. This appeared to his friends and to himself an inexhaustible treasure.

Riches and talents would, he flattered him­self, secure to him that ascendancy of which he was so ambitious. "Am I your Manager, or not?" was now his question. "I scorn to take advantage of a hasty moment, but since last night you have had time to consider. If you desire me to be your Manager, you shall see what a theatre I will make for you. In this purse," said he, shewing through the net­work a glimpse of the shining treasure — "in this purse is Aladdin's wonderful lamp — Am I your Manager? — Put it to the vote."

It was put to the vote. About ten of the most reasonable of the assembly declared their gratitude, and high approbation of their old friend De Grey; but the numbers were in fa­vour of the new friend. And as no metaphy­sical distinctions relative to the idea of a ma­jority had ever entered their thoughts, the most numerous party considered themselves as now beyond dispute in the right. They drew off on [Page 163]one side in triumph, and their leader, who knew the consequence of a name in party mat­ters, immediately distinguished his partisans by the gallant name of Archers, stigmatising the friends of De Grey by the odious epithet of Greybeards.

Amongst the Archers was a class, not very remarkable for their mental qualifications; but who, by their bodily activity, and by the peculiar advantages annexed to their way of life, render­ed themselves of the highest consequence, espe­cially to the rich and enterprising. The judi­cious reader will apprehend that I allude to the persons called day-scholars. Amongst these, Fisher was distinguished by his knowledge of all the streets and shops in the adjacent town; and, though a dull scholar, he had such reputation as a man of business, that whoever had commis­sions to execute at the confectioner's were sure to apply to him. Some of the youngest of his employers had, it is true, at times complained, that he made mistakes of halfpence and pence in their accounts; but as these affairs could never be brought to a public trial, Fisher's cha­racter and consequence were undiminished, till the fatal day when his aunt Barbara forbad his [Page 164]visits to the confectioner — or rather, till she requested the confectioner, who had his private reasons for obeying her, not to receive her ne­phew's visits, as he had made himself sick at his house, and Mrs. Barbara's fears for his health were incessant.

Though his visits to the confectioner's were thus at an end, there were many other shops open to him; and, with officious zeal, he offer­ed his services to the new Manager, to purchase whatever might be wanting for the theatre.

Since his father's death, Fisher had become a boarder at Dr. Middleton's; but his frequent visits to his aunt Barbara afforded him oppor­tunities of going into the town. The carpen­ter, De Grey's friend, was discarded by Archer, for having said "lack-a-daisy!" when he saw that the old theatre was pulled down. A new carpenter and paper-hanger, recommended by Fisher, were appointed to attend, with their tools, for orders at two o'clock. Archer, im­patient to shew his ingenuity and his generosity, gave his plan and his orders in a few minutes, in a most decided manner. — "These things," he observed, "should be done with some spirit."

[Page 165] To which the carpenter readily assented, and added, that "Gentlemen of spirit never looked to the expence, but always to the effect." Upon this pri [...]ciple Mr. Chip set to work with all possible alacrity. In a few hours time he pro­mised to produce a grand effect. High expec­tations were formed — nothing was talked of but the new play-house; and so intent upon it was every head, that no lessons could be got. Ar­cher was obliged, in the midst of his various oc­cupations, to perform the part of grammar and dictionary for twenty different people.

"Oh, ye Athenians!" he exclaimed, "how hard do I work to obtain your praise!"

Impatient to return to the theatre, the mo­ment the hours destined for instruction, or, as they are termed by school-boys, school hours, were over, each prisoner started up with a shout of joy.

"Stop one moment, gentlemen, if you please," said Dr. Middleton, in an aweful voice. "Mr. Archer, return to your place. — Are you all here?" — The names of all the boys were called over, and when each had answered to his name, Dr. Middleton said,

[Page 166] "Gentlemen, I am sorry to interrupt your amu [...]ements; but, till you have contrary orders from me, no one, on pain of my serious displea­sure, must go into that building," (pointing to the place where the theatre was erecting)— "Mr. Archer, your carpenter is at the door, you will be so good as to dismiss him.—I do not think proper to give my reasons for these orders; but you who know me," said the doctor, and his eye turned towards De Grey, "will not suspect me of caprice—I depend, gentle­men, upon your obedience."

To the dead silence, with which these orders were received, succeeded in a few minutes an universal groan—"So!" said Townsend, "all our diversion is over."—"So," whispered Fisher in the Manager's ear, "This is some trick of the Greybeards, did you not observe how he looked at De Grey?"—Fired by this idea, which had never entered his mind before, Archer started from his reverie, and striking his hand upon the table, swore, that he would not be outwitted by any Greybeard in Europe —No, nor by all of them put together. The A chefs were surely a match for them—he would stand by them, if they would stand by [Page 167]him," he declared with a loud voice, "against the whole world, and Dr. Middleton himself, with "little Premium" at his right hand."

Every body admired Archer's spirit, but were a little appalled at the sound of standing against Dr. Middleton.

"Why not?" resumed the indignant Mana­ger, "Dr. Middleton, nor no doctor upon earth shall treat me with injustice. This, you see, is a stroke at me and my party, and I won't bear it."

"Oh, you are mistaken!" said De Grey, who was the only one who dared to oppose rea­son to the angry orator—"It cannot be a stroke aimed at "you and your party," for he does not know that you have a party."

"I'll make him know it, and I'll make you know it too," said Archer; "before I came here you reigned alone, now your reign is over, Mr. De Grey. Remember my majority this morning, and your theatre last night."—"He has remembered it," said Fisher, "you see, the moment he was not to be our Manager, we were to have no theatre—no playhouse—no plays. We must all sit down with our hands before us [Page 168]—all for "good reasons" of Dr. Middleton's, which he does not vouchsafe to tell us."

"I won't be governed by any man's reasons that he won't tell me," cried Archer; "he can­not have good reasons, or why not tell them."

"Nonsense! we shall not suspect him of ca­price!"

"Why not?"

"Because we who know him," said De Grey, "have never known him capricious."

"Perhaps not, I know nothing about him," said Archer.

"No," said De Grey, "for that very reason I speak, who do know him.—Don't be in a passion, Archer."

"I will be in a passion—I won't submit to tyranny—I won't be made a fool of by a few soft words.—You don't know me, De Grey— I'll go through with what I've begun—I am Manager, and I will be Manager, and you shall see my theatre finished in spite of you, and my party triumphant."

"Party," repeated De Grey.—"I cannot imagine what is in the word "party" that seems to drive you mad. We never heard of parties till you came amongst us."

[Page 169] "No; before I came, I say, nobody dared oppose you, but I dare; and I tell you to your face,—take care of me—a warm friend and a bitter enemy is my motto."

"I am not your enemy!—I believe you are out of your senses, Archer!" said he laughing.

"Out of my senses!—No—you are my ene­my!—Are not you my rival?—Did not you win the premium?—Did not you want to be Manager?—Answer me, are not you, in one word, a Greybeard?"

"You called me a Greybeard, but my name is De Grey," said he, still laughing.

"Laugh on!" cried the other furiously. Come Archers, sollow me!—we shall laugh by and by, I promise you."

At the door Archer was stopped by Mr. Chip—"Oh, Mr. Chip, I am ordered to dis­charge you."

"Yes, Sir; and here is a little bill—

"Bill! Mr. Chip—why, you have not been at work for two hours!"

"Not much over, Sir; but if you'll please to look into it, you'll see it's for a few things you ordered. The stuff is all laid out and de­livered. The paper, and the festoon-bordering [Page 170]for the drawing-room scene is cut out, and left yander, within."

"Yander, within!—I wish you had not been in such a confounded hurry—six-and-twenty shillings!" cried he, "but I can't stay to talk about it now. — I'll tell you, Mr. Chip," said Archer, lowering his voice, "what you must do for me, my good fellow." — Then drawing Mr. Chip aside, he begged him to pull down some of the wood-work which had been put up, and to cut it into a certain number of wooden bars, of which he gave him the dimensions, with orders to place them all, when ready, under a hay-stack, which he pointed out. Mr. Chip scrupled and hesitated, and began to talk of "the doctor." Archer immediately began to talk of the bill, and throwing down a guinea and a half, the conscientious carpenter pocketed the money di­rectly, and made his bow.

"Well, Master Archer," said he, "there's no refusing you nothing. — You have such a way of talking one out of it — you manage me just like a child."

"Aye, aye!" said Archer, knowing that he had been cheated, and yet proud of managing a carpenter — "Aye, aye, I know the way to ma­nage [Page 171]every body—let the things be ready in an hour's time—and hark'e! leave your tools by mistake behind you, and a thousand of twenty-penny nails. — Ask no questions, and keep your own counsel, like a wise man—off with you, and take care of "the doctor."

"Archers! Archers! — To the Archer's tree follow your leader," cried he, sounding his well known whistle as a signal.—His followers ga­thered round him, and he raising himself upon the mount, at the foot of the tree, counted his numbers, and then, in a voice lower than usual, addressed them thus:

"My friends, is there a Greyberad amongst us? If there is, let him walk off now — he has my free leave."

No one stirred. — "Then we are all Archers, and we will stand by one another—join hands my friends."

They all joined hands.

"Promise me not to betray me, and I will go on — I ask no security but your honour."

They all gave their honour to be secret and faithful, as he called it, and he went on —

"Did you ever hear of such a thing as a Bar­ring out, my friends?"

[Page 172] They had heard of such a thing; but they had only heard of it.

Archer gave the history of a Barring out, in which he had been concerned at his school; in which the boys stood out two days against the master, and gained their point at last, which was a week's more holidays at Easter.

"But if we should not succeed," said they, "Dr. Middleton is so steady, he never goes back from what he has said."

"Did you ever try to push him back? — Let us be steady, and he'll tremble — tyrants always tremble when —

"Oh!" interrupted a number of voices, "but he is not a tyrant, is he?"

"All school-masters are tyrants, are not they?" replied Archer, "and is not he a school-master?"

To this logic there was no answer; but, still reluctant, they asked "What they should get by a Barring out?"

"Get! — Every thing! — What we want! — which is every thing to lads of spirit — victory and liberty! — Bar him out till he repeals his tyrannical law — till he lets us in to our own [Page 173]theatre again, or till he tells us his "good rea­sons" against it.

"But perhaps he has reasons for not telling us."

"Impossible!". cried Archer, "that's the way we are always to be governed by a man in a wig, who says he has good reasons, and can't tell them.—Are you fools? — Go—go back to De Grey—I see you are all Greybeards — Go —who goes first?"

Nobody would go first.

"I will have nothing to do with ye, if ye are resolved to be slaves!"

"We won't be slaves!" they all exclaimed at once.

"Then," said Archer, "stand out in the right and be free."

"The right." — It would have taken up too much time to examine what "the right" was. Archer was always sure, that "the right" was what his party chofe to do—that is, what he chose to do himself; and such is the influence of numbers upon each other in conquering the feelings of shame, and in confusing the powers of reasoning, that in a few minutes "the right" was forgotten, and each said to himself,


"To be sure, Archer is a very clever boy, and he can't be mistaken;"—or, "To be sure Townsend thinks so, and he would not do any thing to get us into a scrape:"—or, "To be sure every body will agree to this but myself, and I can't stand out alone, to be pointed at as a Greybeard and a slave. Every body thinks it is right, and every body can't be wrong."

By some of these arguments, which passed rapidly through the mind, without his being conscious of them, each boy decided, and de­ceived himself—what none would have done alone, none scrupled to do as a party.

It was determined then, that there should be a Barring out. The arrangement of the affair was left to their new Manager, to whom they all pledged implicit obedience.

Obedience, it seems, is necessary, even from rebels to their ringleaders—not reasonable, but implicit obedience.

Scarcely had the assembly adjourned to the Ball-alley, when Fisher, with an important length of face, came up to the Manager, and de­sired to speak one word to him—

"My advice to you, Archer, is, to do no­thing in this till we have consulted you know who about whether it's right or wrong."

[Page 175] "You know who!—Who do you mean? —Make haste, and don't make so many faces, for I'm in a hurry.—Who is "You know who?"

"The old woman," said Fisher gravely; "the Gypsey."

"You may consult the old woman," said Archer, bursting out a laughing, "about what's right and wrong, if you please; but no old wo­man shall decide for me."

"No; but you don't take me," said Fisher, "You don't take me. By right and wrong, I mean lucky and unlucky."

"Whatever I do will be lucky," replied Archer. "My Gypsey told you that already."

"I know, I know," said Fisher, "and what she said about your friends being lucky—that went a great way with many," added he, with a sagacious nod of his head, "I can tell you that—more than you think.—Do you know," said he, laying hold of Archer's button, "I'm in the secret. There are nine of us have crook­ed our little fingers upon it, not to stir a step till we get her advice; and she has appointed me to meet her about particular business of my [Page 176]own at eight. So I'm to consult her and to bring her answer."

Archer knew too well how to govern fools to attempt to reason with them; and, instead of laughing any longer at Fisher's ridiculous su­perstition, he was determined to take advantage of it. He affected to be persuaded of the wis­dom of the measure—looked at his watch, urged him to be exact to a moment, conjured him to remember exactly the words of the oracle, and, above all things, to demand the lucky hour and minute when the Barring out should begin.

With these instructions, Archer put his watch into the solemn dupe's hand, and left him to count the seconds, till the moment of his ap­pointment, whilst he ran off himself to prepare the oracle. At a little gate which locked into a lane, through which he guessed that the Gypsey must pass, he stationed himself, saw her, gave her half a crown and her instructions, made his escape, and got back unsuspected to Fisher, whom he found in the attitude in which he had left him, watching the motion of the minute­hand.

Proud of his secret commission, Fisher slouch­ed his hat, he knew not why, over his face, and [Page 177]proceeded towards the appointed spot. To keep, as he had been charged to do by Archer, within the letter of the law, he stood behind the forbidden building and waited some minutes. Through a gap in the hedge the old woman at length made her appearance, muffled up and looking cautiously about her.

"There's nobody near us!" said Fisher, and he began to be a little afraid.—"What answer," said he, recollecting himself, "about my Livy?"

"Lost!—Lost!—Lost!" said the Gypsey, lifting up her hands, "never, never, never to be found!—But no matter for that now—that is not your errand to-night—no tricks with me —speak to me of what is next your heart."

Fisher, astonished, put his hand upon his heart, told her all that she knew before, and re­ceived the answers, which Archer had dictated —"That the Archers should be lucky as long as they stuck to their Manager and to one ano­ther; that the Barring out should end in woe, if not begun precisely as the clock should strike nine on Wednesday night; but if begun in that lucky moment, and all obedient to their lucky leader, all should end well."

[Page 178] A thought, a provident thought now struck Fisher; for even he had some foresight, where his favourite passion was concerned.—"Pray, in our Barring out, shall we be starved?"

"No," said the Gypsey, "not if you trust to me for food, and if you give me money enough—silver won't do for so many, gold is what must cross my hand."

"I have no gold," said Fisher, "and I don't know what you mean by "so many,"—I'm only talking of number one, you know—I must take care of that first."

So, as Fisher thought that it was possible that Archer, clever as he was, might be disap­pointed in his supplies, he determined to take secret measures for himself. His aunt Barbara's interdiction had shut him out of the confec­tioner's shop, but he flattered himself that he could out-wit his aunt; he therefore begged the Gypsey to procure him twelve buns by Thursday morning, and bring them secretly to one of the windows of the school-room.

As Fisher did not produce any money when he made this proposal, it was at first absolutely rejected; but a bribe at length conquered his difficulties; and the bribe which Fisher found [Page 179]himself obliged to give—for he had no pocket money left of his own, he being as much restrict­ed in that article as Archer was indulged—the bribe that he found himself obliged to give to quiet the Gypsey was half a crown, which Archer had entrusted to him to buy candles for the theatre.—"Oh," thought he to himself, "Archer's so careless about money, he will never think of asking me for the half crown again; and now he'll want no candles for the theatre—or at any rate it will be some time first; and may be aunt Barbara may be got to give me that much at Christmas—then, if the worst comes to the worst, one can pay Archer. —My mouth waters for the buns, and have 'em I must now."

So, for the hope of twelve buns, he sacrificed the money which had been entrusted to him.— The meanest motives, in mean minds, often prompt to the commission of those great faults, to which, one should think, nothing but some violent passion could have tempted.

The ambassador having thus, in his opinion, concluded his own and the public business, re­turned well satisfied with the result, after re­ceiving the Gypsey's reiterated promise to tap [Page 180] three times at the window on Thursday morn­ing.

The day appointed for the Barring out at length arrived, and Archer, assembling the con­federates, informed them, that all was prepared for carrying their design into execution; that he now depended for success upon their punctu­ality and courage. He had, within the last two hours, got all the bars ready to fasten the doors and window shutters of the school-room; he had, with the assistance of two of the day-scho­lars who were of the party, sent into the town for provisions, at his own expence, which would make a handsome supper for that night; he had also negociated with some cousins of his, who lived in the town, for a constant supply in future.

"Bless me," exclaimed Archer, suddenly stopping in this narration of his services, "there's one thing, after all, I've forgot, we shall be undone without it—Fisher, pray did you ever buy the candles for the play-house."

"No, to be sure," replied Fisher, extremely frightened, "you know you don't want candles for the play-house now."

[Page 181] "Not for the play-house, but for the Barring-out—we shall be in the dark, man—you must run this minute, run."

"For candles?" said Fisher confused, "how many? — what sort?"

"Stupidity!" exclaimed Archer, "you are a pretty fellow at a dead list!—Lend me a pen­cil and a bit of paper, do; I'll write down what I want myself!—Well, what are you fumbling for?"

"For money!" said Fisher, colouring.

"Money, man! Didn't I give you half a crown the other day?"

"Yes," replied Fisher, stammering; "but I wasn't sure that that might be enough."

"Enough! yes, to be sure it will—I don't know what you are at."

"Nothing, nothing," said Fisher, "here, write upon this then," said Fisher, putting a piece of paper into Archer's hand, upon which Archer wrote his orders.—"Away, away!" cried he.

And away went Fisher.—He returned; but not until a considerable time afterwards.

They were at supper when he returned— "Fisher always comes in at supper-time," ob­served one of the Greybeards, carelessly.

[Page 182] "Well, and would you have him come in after supper-time," said Townsend, who always supplied his party with ready wit.

"I've got the candles," whispered Fisher, as he passed by Archer to his place—"And the tinder-box?" said Archer.

"Yes; I got back from my aunt Barbara under pretence, that I must study for repetition-day an hour later to-night—So I got leave. — Was not that clever?"

A dunce always thinks it clever to cheat even by sober lies.

How Mr. Fisher procured the candles and the tinder-box without money, and without credit, for he had no credit, we shall discover in future.

Archer and his associates had agreed to stay the last in the school-room, and as soon as the Greybeards were gone out to bed, he as the signal was to shut and lock one door, Town­send the other; a third conspirator was to strike a light, in case they should not be able to secure a candle; a fourth was to take charge of the candle as soon as lighted; and all the rest were to run to their bars, which were secreted in the room; then to fix them to the common fasten­ing [Page 183]bars of the window, in the manner in which they had been previously instructed by the Ma­nager. Thus each had his part assigned, and each was warned, that the success of the whole depended upon their order and punctuality.

Order and punctuality it appears are neces­sary even in a Barring out, and even rebellion must have its laws.

The long expected moment at length ar­rived. De Grey and his friends, unconscious of what was going forward, walked out of the school-room as usual at bed time. The clock began to strike nine. There was one Grey­beard left in the room, who was packing up some of his books, which had been left about by accident. It is impossible to describe the impatience with which he was watched, espe­cially by Fisher, and the nine who depended upon the Gypsey oracle.

When he bad got all his books together un­der his arm, he let one of them fall; and whilst he stooped to pick it up Archer gave the signal. The doors were shut, locked, and double-locked in an instant. A light was struck, and each ran to his post. The bars were all in the same moment put up to the windows, and Ar­cher, [Page 184]when he had tried them all, and seen that they were secure, gave a loud "Huzza!"—in which he was joined by all the party most man­fully—by all but the poor Greybeard, who, the picture of astonishment, stood stock still in the midst of them with his books under his arm; at which spectacle Townsend, who enjoyed the srolic of the fray more than any thing else, burst into an immoderate fit of laughter.—"So, my little Greybeard," said he, holding a candle full in his eyes, "what think you of all this?— How came you amongst the wicked ones?"

"I don't know indeed," said the little boy very gravely, "you shut me up amongst you— won't you let me out?"

"Let you out! No, no, my little Grey­beard," said Archer, catching hold of him, and dragging him to the window bars—"Look ye here—Touch these — Put your hand to them — pull, push, kick — Put a little spirit into it, man — Kick like an Archer, if ye can — away with ye. It's a pity that the King of the Greybeards is not here to admire me — I should like to shew him our fortifications. But come, my merry-men all, now to the feast. — Out with [Page 185]the table into the middle of the room — Good cheer, my jolly Archers! — I'm your Manager?"

Townsend, delighted with the bustle, rubbed his hands, and capered about the room, whilst the preparations for the feast were hurried for­ward.

"Four candles! — Four candles on the ta­ble. Let's have things in style when we are about it, Mr. Manager," cried Townsend. "Places! — Places! There's nothing like a fair scramble, my boys — Let every one take care of himself — Halloo! Grey-beard, I've knocked Greybeard down here in the scuffle — Get up again, my lad, and see a little of life."

"No, no," cried Pisher, "he shan't sup with us."

"No, no," cried the Manager, "he shan't live with us; a Greybeard is not sit company for Archers."

"No, no," cried Townsend, "evil com­munication corrupts good manners."

So with one unanimous hiss they hunted the poor little gentle boy into a corner; and having pent him up with benches, Fisher opened his books for him, which he thought the greatest mortification, and set up a candle beside him — [Page 186]"There, now he looks like a Greybeard as he is!" cried they.

"Tell me what's the Latin for cold roast beef?" said Fisher, exulting, and they returned to their feast.

Long and loud they revelled. They had a few bottles of cyder. "Give me the cork­screw, the cyder shan't be kept till it's sour," cried Townsend, in answer to the Manager, who, when he beheld the provisions vanishing with surprising rapidity, began to fear for the morrow.

"Hang to-morrow!" cried Townsend, "let Greybeards think of to-morrow; Mr. Manager, here's your good health."

The Archers all stood up as their cup [...] were filled to drink the health of their chief with an universal cheer.

But at the moment that the cups were at their lips, and as Archer bowed to thank the company, a sudden shower from above asto­nished the whole assembly. They looked up and beheld the rose of a watering engine, whose long neck appeared through a trap-door in the ceiling.

[Page 187] "Your good health, Mr. Manager!" said a voice, which was known to be the gardener's, and in the midst of their surprise and dismay the candles were suddenly extinguished — the trap­door shut down, and they were left in utter darkness.

"The Devil!" said Archer —

"Don't swear, Mr. Manager," said the same voice from the ceiling, "I hear every word you say."

"Mercy upon us!" exclaimed Fisher. "The clock," added he, whispering, "must have been wrong, for it had not done striking when we began. — Only you remember, Ar­cher; it had just done before you had done locking your door."

"Hold your tongue, blockhead!" said Ar­cher. —"Well, boys! were ye never in the dark before? You are not afraid of a shower of rain, I hope — Is any body drowned?"

"No," said they with a faint laugh, "but what shall we do here in the dark all night long, and all day to-morrow? — we can't unbar the shu [...]ters." "It's a wonder nobody ever thought of that trap-door!" said Townsend.

[Page 188] The trap-door had indeed escaped the Ma­nager's observation; as the house was new to him, and the ceiling being newly white-washed, the opening was scarcely perceptible. Vexed to be out-generalled, and still more vexed to have it remarked, Archer poured forth a volley of incoherent exclamations, and reproaches against those, who were thus so soon discouraged by a trifle: and groping for the tinder box, he asked if any thing could be easier than to strike a light again.

The light appeared. But at the moment that it made the tinder-box visible, another shower from above aimed, and aimed exactly at the tinder-box, drenched it with water, and rendered it totally unfit for further service.

Archer in a fury dashed it to the ground. And now for the first time he f [...]lt what it was to be the unsuccessful head of a party. He heard in his turn the murmurs of the discon­tented, changeable populace; and recollecting all his bars and bolts, and ingenious contri­vances, he was more provoked at their blaming him for this one only oversight, than he was grieved at the disaster itself.

[Page 189] "Oh, my hair is all wet!" cried one dole­fully.

"Wring it then," said Archer.

"My hand's cut with your broken glass," cried another.

"Glass!" cried a third, "mercy! is there broken glass? and it's all about, I suppose, amongst the supper — and I [...]d but one bit of bread all the time.

"Bread!" cried Archer —" Eat, if you want it — Here's a piece here, and no glass near it."

"It's all wet — And I don't like dry bread by itself — That's no feast."

"Heigh-day!—What, nothing but moan­ing and grumbling! — If these are the joys of a Barring out," cried Townsend, "I'd rather be snug in my bed. I expected that we should have sat up till twelve o'clock, talking and laughing and singing."

"So you may still, what hinders you?" said Archer— "Sing and we'll join you, and I should be glad those fellows over-head heard us sing­ing. Begin, Townsend—

"Come now all ye social Powers,
"Spread your influence o [...]er us"—

[Page 190]or else —

"Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!
"Britons never will be slaves."

Nothing can be more melancholy than forced merriment. In vain they roared in chorus. In vain they tried to appear gay — It would not do. The voices died away, and dropped off one by one. They had each provided himself with a great coat to sleep upon, but now in the dark there was a peevish scrambling contest for the coats, and half the company, in very bad hu­mour, stretched themselves upon the benches for the night.

There is great pleasure in bearing any thing that has the appearance of hardship, as long as there is any glory to be acquired by it; but when people feel themselves foiled, there is no further pleasure in endurance: and if in their misfortune there is any mixture of the ridicu­lous, the motives for heroism are immediately destroyed. Dr. Middleton had probably con­sidered this in the choice he made of his first attack.

Archer, who had spent the night as a man, who had the cares of government upon his shoulders, rose early in the morning, whilst [Page 191]every body else was fast asleep. In the night he had revolved the affair of the trap-door, and a new danger had alarmed him. It was possi­ble that the enemy might descend▪ upon them through the trap-door. The room had been built high to admit a free circulation of air. It was twenty feet high; to that it was in vain to think of reaching to the trap-door. As soon as the day-light appeared Archer rose softly, that he might reconnoitre, and devise some method of guarding against this new danger. Luckily there were round holes in the top of the win­dow shutters, which admitted sufficient light for him to work by. The remains of the soaked feast, wet candles, and broken glass spread over the table in the middle of the room, looked rather dismal this morning.

"A pretty set of fellows I have to manage!" said Archer, contemplating the groupe of sleep­ers before him. — "It is well they have some­body to think for them. Now if I wanted — which, thank goodness, I don't — but if I did want to call a call cabinet-council to my assist­ance, who could I pitch upon? — Not this stu­pid snorer, who is dreaming of Gypseys, if he [Page 192]is dreaming of any thing," continued Archer, as he looked into Fisher's open mouth.

"This next chap is quick enough; but then he is so fond of having every thing his own way.

"And this curl-pated monkey, who is grin­ning in his sleep, is all tongue, and no brains.

"Here are brains, though nobody would think it, in this lump," said he, looking at a fat, rolled up, heavy-breathing sleeper; "but what signify brains to such a lazy dog; I might kick him for my foot-ball this half-hour before I should get him awake.

"This lank-jawed Harlequin beside him is a handy fellow, to be sure; but then if he has hands he has no head—and he'd be afraid of his own shadow too, by this light, he is such a coward!

"And Townsend, why he has puns in plenty; but when there's any work to be done, he's the worst fellow to be near one in the world— he can do nothing but laught at his own puns.

"This poor little fellow, that we hunted into the corner, has more sense than all of them put together; but then he is a Greybeard."

[Page 193] Thus speculated the chief of a party upon his sleeping friends.—And how did it happen, that he should be so ambitious to please and govern this set, when, for each individual of which it was composed, he felt such supreme contempt? —He had formed them into a party, had given them a name, and he was at their head.—If these be not good reasons, none better can be assigned for Archer's conduct.

"I wish ye could all sleep on," said he, "but I must waken ye, though you will be only in my way. The sound of my hammering must waken them—so I may as well do the thing handsomely, and flatter some of them by pre­tending to ask their advice."

Accordingly he pulled two or three to waken them.—"Come, Townsend, waken, my boy! —Here's some diversion for you—up! up!"

"Diversion!" cried Townsend, "I'm your man!—I'm up—up to any thing."

So, under the name of diversion, Archer set Townsend to work at four o'clock in the morn­ing. They had nails, a few tools, and several spars, still left from the wreck of the play-house. These, by Archer's directions, they sharpened at one end, and nailed them to the ends of se­veral [Page 194]forms. All hands were now called to clear away the supper things, and to erect these forms perpendicularly under the trap-door; and, with the assistance of a few braces a che­vaux-de-frise was formed, upon which nobody could venture to descend. At the farthest end of the room they likewise formed a penthouse of the tables, under which they proposed to breakfast, secure from the pelting storm, if it should again assail them through the trap-door. They crouded under the penthouse as soon as it was ready, and their admiration of its ingenuity paid the workmen for the job.

"Lord! I shall like to see the gardener's phiz through the trap-door, when he beholds the spikes under him!" cried Townsend.— "Now for breakfast!"

"Aye, now for breakfast," said Archer, look­ing at his watch; "past eight o'clock, and my town boys not come!—I don't understand this!"

Archer had expected a constant supply of pro­visions from two boys who lived in the town, who were cousins of his, and who had promised to come every day, and put food in at a certain hole in the wall, in which a ventilator usually turned. [Page 195]This ventilator Archer had taken down, and had contrived it so, that it could be easily re­moved and replaced at pleasure; but, upon ex­amination, it was now perceived that the hole had been newly stopped up by an iron back, which it was impossible to penetrate or re­move.

"It never came into my head that any body would ever have thought of the ventilator but myself!" exclaimed Archer, in great perplexity. —He listened and waited for his cousins, but no cousins came; and, at a late hour, the company were obliged to breakfast upon the scattered fragments of the last night's feast. That feast had been spread with such imprudent profusion, that little now remained to satisfy the hungry guests. Archer, who well knew the effect which the apprehension of a scarcity would have upon his associates, did every thing that could be done by a bold countenance and reiterated assertions to persuade them, that his cousins would certainly come at last, and that the sup­plies were only delayed.—The delay, however, was alarming.

Fisher alone heard the Manager's calculations, and saw the public fears unmoved. Secretly [Page 196]rejoicing in his own wisdom, he walked from window to window, slily listening for the Gyp­sey's signal.—"There it is!" cried he, with more joy sparkling in his eyes than had ever enlightened them before; "Come this way, Archer—but don't tell any body—hark! do ye hear those three taps at the window!—This is the old woman with twelve buns for me!—I'll give you one whole one for yourself, if you will unbar the window for me."

"Unbar the window!" interrupted Archer; "no, that I won't, for you or the Gypsey ei­ther; but I have head enough to get your buns without that. But stay; there is something of more consequence than your twelve buns—I must think for ye all, I see, regularly."

So he summoned a council and proposed, that every one should subscribe, and trust the subscription to the Gypsey, to purchase a fresh supply of provisions. Archer laid down a guinea of his own money for his subscription; at which sight all the company clapped their hands, and is popularity ro [...]e to a high pitch with their renewed hopes of plenty. Now, having made a list of their wants, they folded the money in the paper, put it into a bag, which [Page 197]Archer tied to a long string, and, having broken the pane of glass behind the round hole in the window shutter, he let down the bag to the Gypsey. She promised to be punctual, and having filled the bag with Fisher's twelve buns, they were drawn up in triumph, and every body anticipated the pleasure with which they should see the same bag drawn up at dinner-time. The buns were a little squeezed in being drawn through the hole in the window shutter; but Archer immediately sawed out a piece of the shutter, and broke the corresponding panes in each of the other windows, to prevent suspicion, and to make it appear that they had all been broken to admit air.

What a pity that so much ingenuity should have been employed to no purpose. It may have surprised the intelligent reader, that the Gypsey was so punctual to her promise to Fisher; but we must recollect, that her appa­rent integrity was only cunning; she was punc­tual that she might be employed again—that she might be entrusted with the contribution which, she foresaw, must be raised amongst the famishing garrison. No sooner had she receiv­ed the money than her end was gained.

[Page 198] Dinner-time came—it struck three, four, five, six. They listened with hungry ears, but no signal was heard. The morning had been very long, and Archer had in vain tried to dis­suade them from devouring the remainder of the provisions before they were sure of a fresh supply. And now, those who had been the most confident were the most impatient of their disappointment.

Archer, in the division of the food, had at­tempted, by the most scrupulous exactness, to content the public, and he was both astonished and provoked to perceive that his impartiality was impeached. So differently do people judge in different situations!—He was the first per­son to accuse his master of injustice, and the least capable of bearing such an imputation upon himself from others. He now experienced some of the joys of power, and the delight of managing unreasonable numbers.

"Have not I done every thing I could to please ye?—Have not I spent my money to buy ye food?—Have not I divided the last morsel with ye?—I have not tasted one mouthful to­day!—Did not I set to work for ye at sun-rise? Did not I lie awake all night for ye?—Have not I had all the labour, all the anxiety?— [Page 199]Look round and see my contrivances, my work, my generosity!—And after all, you think me a tyrant, because I want you to have common sense.—Is not this bun which I hold in my hand my own?—Did not I earn it by my own ingenuity from that selfish dunce (pointing to Fisher) who could never have gotten one of his twelve buns, if I had not shewn him how; eleven of them he has eaten since morning for his own share, without offering any mortal a morsel; but I scorn to eat even what is justly my own, when I see so many hungry creatures longing for it. I was not going to touch this last morsel myself; I only begged you to keep it till supper time, when perhaps you'll want it more, and Townsend, who can't bear the slight­est thing that crosses his own whims, and who thinks there's nothing in this world to be minded but his own diversion, calls me a tyrant. —You all of you promised to obey me—the first thing I ask you to do for your own good, and when, if you had common sense, you must know I can want nothing but your good, you rebel against me.—Traitors!—Fools!—Ungrateful fools!"

Archer walked up and down unable to com­mand his emotion, whilst, for the moment, the discontented multitude was silenced.

[Page 200] "Here," said he, striking his hand upon the little boy's shoulder, "Here's the only one amongst ye, who has not uttered one word of reproach or complaint, and he has had but one bit of bread—a bit that I gave him myself this day.—Here" said he, snatching the bun, which nobody had dared to touch—"Take it—it's mine—I give it to you, though you are a Grey­beard — you deserve it — eat it, and be an Archer.—You shall be my captain—will you?" said he, listing him up in his arms above the rest.

"I like you now," said the little boy cou­rageously; "but I love De Grey better; he has always been my friend, and he advised me never to call myself any of those names, Archer or Grey beard, so I won't—though I am shut in here, I have nothing to do with it—I love Dr. Middleton; he was never unjust to me; and, I dare say that he has very good reasons, as De Grey said, for forbidding us to go into that house—besides, it's his own.

Instead of admiring the good sense and steadi­ness of this little lad, Archer suffered Townsend to snatch the untasted bun out of his hands. He flung it at the hole in the window, but it [Page 201]fell back. The Archers scrambled for it, and Fisher eat it.

Archer saw this, and was sensible that he had not done handsomely in suffering it. A few moments ago he had admired his own genero­sity, and though he had felt the injustice of others, he had not accused himself of any. He turned away from the little boy, and sitting down at one end of the table hid his face in his hands. He continued immoveable in this pos­ture for some time.

"Lord!" said Townsend, "it was an ex­cellent joke!"

"Pooh!" said Fisher, "what a fool, to think so much about a bun!"

"Never mind, Mr. Archer, if you are thinking about me," said the little boy, trying gently to pull his hands from his face.

Archer stooped down, and lifted him up upon the table; at which sight the enraged par­tisans set up a general hiss—"He has forsaken us!—He deserts his party!—He wants to be a Greybeard!—After he has got us all into this scrape he will leave us!"

"I am not going to leave you," cried Ar­cher— "No one shall ever accuse me of de­serting [Page 202]my party. I'll stick by the Archers, right or wrong, I tell you, to the last moment. But this little fellow—Take it as you please, mutiny if you will, and throw me out of the window—Call me traitor! coward! Greybeard! —This little fellow is worth you all put to­gether, and I'll stand by him against whoever dases to lay a finger upon him—And the next morsel of food that I see shall be his—Touch him who dares!"

The commanding air with which Archer spoke and looked; and the belief, that the little boy deserved his protection, silenced the crowd. But the storm was only hushed.

No sound of merriment was now to be heard, no battledore and shuttlecock—no ball—no marbles. Some sat in a corner, whispering their wishes that Archer would unbar the doors and give up. Others stretching their arms, and gaping as they sauntered up and down the room, wished for air, or food or water. Fisher and his nine, who had such firm dependence upon the Gypsey, now gave themselves up to utter despair. It was eight o'clock, growing darker and darker every minute, and no can­dles, no light could they have. The prospect [Page 203]of another long dark night made them still more discontented. Townsend at the head of the yawners, and Fisher at the head of the hungry malcontents, gathered round Archer and the few yet unconquered spirits, demanding "how long he meant to keep them in this dark dungeon? and whether he expected, that they should starve themselves to death for his sake?"

The idea of giving up was more intolerable to Archer than all the rest; he saw, that the majority, his own convincing argument, was against him. He was therefore obliged to con­descend to the arts of persuasion. He flattered some with hopes of food from the town-boys. Some he reminded of their promises. Others he praised for former prowess; and others he shamed by the repetition of their high vaunts in the beginning of the business.

It was at length resolved that at all events they would hold out. With this determination they stretched themselves again to sleep, for the second night, in weak and weary obstinacy.

Archer slept longer and more soundly than usual the next morning, and when he awoke— he found his hands tied behind him. Three or four boys had just got hold of his feet, which [Page 204]they pressed down, whilst the trembling hands of Fisher were fastening the cord round them. With all the force which rage could inspire, Archer struggled and roared to "his Archers!" —his friends—his party!—for help against the traitors.

But all kept aloof. Townsend in particular stood laughing, and looking on—"I beg your pardon, Archer, but really you look so droll! —All alive and kicking!—Don't be angry— I'm so weak, I cannot help laughing to day."

The packthread cracked—"His hands are free!—He's loose!" cried the least of the boys, and ran away, whilst Archer leaped up, and seizing hold of Fisher with a powerful grasp, sternly demanded "what he meant by this?"

"Ask my party"—said Fisher terrified— "they set me on—Ask my party."

"Your party!" cried Archer, with a look of ineffable contempt—"You reptile!—your party!—Can such a thing as you have a party?"

To be sure," said Fisher, settling his collar, which Archer in his surprise had let go—"To be sure—Why not?—Any man who chuses it may have a party as well as yourself, I suppose— I have my nine Fishermen"—

[Page 205] At these words, spoken with much sullen importance, Archer, in spite of his vexation, could not help laughing—"Fishermen!" cried he, "Fishermen!"— "And why not Fisher­men as well as Archers!" cried they—"One party is just as good as another; it is only a question, which can get the upper hand—and we had your hands tied just now."

"That's right, Townsend," said Archer, "laugh on, my boy!—Friend or foe, it's all the same to you. I know how to value your friendship now. You are a mighty good fel­low when the sun shines; but let a storm come, and how you slink away!"

At this instant Archer felt the difference be­tween a good companion, and a good friend; a difference which some people do not discover till late in life.

"Have I no friend?—no real friend amongst ye all? And could ye stand by and see my hands tied behind me like a thief's. What signifies such a party?—All mute?"

"We want something to eat," answered the Fishermen—"What signifies such a party in­deed? —and such a Manager, who can do no­thing for one?"

[Page 206] "And have I done nothing?"

"Don't let's hear any more prosing," said Fisher—"We are too many for you. I've ad­vised my party, if they've a mind not to be starved, to give you up for the ringleader as you were; and Dr. Middleton will let us all off, I dare say."

So depending upon the sullen silence of the assembly, he again approached Archer with a cord. A cry of "No!—no!—no! —Don't tie him" — was seebly raised.

Archer stood still — But the moment Fisher touched him he knocked him down to the ground, and turning to the rest with eyes spark­ling with indignation — "Archers!" cried he.

A voice at this instant was heard at the door —It was De Grey's voice—"I have got a large basket of provisions for your breakfast"

A general shout of joy was sent forth by the voracious public—"Breakfast! — Provisions!— a large basket—De Grey lor ever! —Huzza!"

De Grey promised upon his honour, that if they would unbar the door nobody should come in with him, and no advantage should be taken of them. This promise was enough even for Archer.

[Page 207] "I will let him in," said he, "myself, for I'm sure he'll never break his word."

He pulled away the bar—the door opened — and having bargained for the liberty of Mel­som, the little boy who had been shut in by mistake, De Grey pushed in his basket of pro­visions, and locked and barred the door in­stantly.

Joy and gratitude sparkled in every face, when he unpacked his basket, and spread the table with a plentiful breakfast. A hundred questions were asked him at once—"Eat first," said he, "and we will talk afterwards." This business was quickly dispatched by people, who had not tasted food for several hours. Their curiosity encreased as their hunger diminished. —"Who sent us breakfast?—Does Dr. Mid­dleton know?" — were questions reiterated from every mouth.

"He does know," answered De Grey, "and the first thing I have to tell you is, that I am your fellow prisoner. I am to stay here till you give up. This was the only condition on which Dr. Middleton would allow me to bring you [...]ood, and he will allow no more."

[Page 208] Every one looked at the empty basket. But Archer, in whom half-vanquished party-spirit revived with the strength he had got from his breakfast, broke into exclamations in praise of De Grey's magnanimity, as he now imagined that De Grey was become one of themselves.

"And you will join us, will you? — that's a noble fellow!"

"No," answered De Grey calmly, "but I hope to persuade, or rather to convince you that you ought to join me."

"You would have found it no hard task to have persuaded or convinced us, whichever you pleased," said Townsend, "if you had appealed to Archers fasting, but Archers feasting are quite other animals. Even Caesar himself after breakfast is quite another thing!" added he, pointing to Archer.

"You may speak for yourself, Mr. Town­send," replied the insulted hero, "but not for me, or for Archers in general if you please. We unbarred the door upon the faith of De Grey's promise—that was not giving up. And it would have been just as difficult, I promise you, to persuade or convince me either, that I [Page 209]should give up against my honour before break­fast as after."

This spirited speech was applauded by many, who had now forgotten the feelings of famine. Not so Fisher, whose memory was upon this oc­casion very distinct.

"What nonsense"—and the orator paused for a synonymous expression, but none was at hand. "What nonsense and—nonsense is here!— Why, don't you remember that dinner-time, and supper-time, and breakfast-time will come again? — So what signifies mouthing about per­suading and convincing. — We will not go through again what we did yesterday! — Honour me no honour, I don't understand it. — I'd ra­ther be flogged at once, as I have been many's the good time for a less thing — I say, we'd bet­ter all be flogged at once, which must be the end of it sooner or later, than wait here to be without dinner, breakfast, and supper, all only because Mr. Archer won't give up because of his honour, and nonsense!'

Many prud [...]nt faces amongst the Fishermen seemed to deliberate at the close of this oration, in which the arguments were brought to "home to each man's business and bosom."

[Page 210] "But," said De Grey, "when we yield, I hope it will not be merely to get our dinner, gen­tlemen. — When we yield, Archer —"

"Don't address yourself to me," interrupted Archer, struggling with his pride, "you have no farther occasion to try to win me—I have no power, no party, you see! —and now I find that I have no friends, I don't care what becomes of myself. — I suppose I'm to be given up as ring­leader.—Here's this Fisher, and a party of his Fishermen, were going to tie me hand and foot, if I had not knocked him down, just as you came to the door, De Grey; and now perhaps you will join Fisher's party against me."

De Grey was going to assure him, that he had no intention of joining any party, when a sudden change appeared in Archer's counte­nance.

"Silence!" cried Archer, in an imperious tone, and there was silence. Some one was heard to whistle the beginning of a tune, that was perfectly new to every body present, ex­cept to Archer, who immediately whistled the conclusion.

[Page 211] "There!" cried he, looking at De Grey, with triumph—"That's a method of holding secret correspondence, whilst a prisoner, which I learned from "Richard Coeur de Lion." I know how to make use of every thing.—Hol­la! Friend! are you there at last?" cried he, going to the ventilator.

"Yes, but we are barred out here."

"Round to the window then, and fill our bag; we'll let it down, my lad, in a trice, bar me out who can!"

Archer let down the bag with all the expedi­tion of joy, and it was filled with a [...]l the expedi­tion of fear. —" [...] ull away! —make h [...]ste, for Heaven's sake!" said the voice from without, the gardener will come from dinner else, and we shall be caught. He mounted g [...]rd all yester­day at the ventilator; and, though I watched, and watched, till it was darker than pitch, I could not get near you. —I don't know what has taken him out of the way now—make haste, pull away!"

The heavy bag was soon pulied up—"Have you any more?" said Archer.

"Yes, plenty—let down quick! I'v [...] got the Taylor's bag full, which is three times [...]s large [Page 212]as yours, and I've changed cloaths with the taylor's boy, so nobody took notice of me as I came down the street."

"There's my own cousin!" exclaimed Archer—"there's a noble fellow!—there's my own cousin, I acknowledge. — Fill the bag then."

Several times the bag descended and ascended; and at every unlading of the crane, fresh accla­mations were heard. — "I have no more!" at length, the boy with the taylor's bag cried.

"Off with you then; we've enough, and thank you."

A delightful review was now made of their treasure; busy hands arranged and sorted the heterogeneous mass. Archer, in the height of his glory, looked on, the acknowledged master of the whole. Townsend, who, in prosperity as in adversity, saw and enjoyed the comic foibles of his friends, pushed De Grey, who was looking on with a more good-natured and more thoughtful air. — "Friend," said he, "you look like a great philosopher, and Archer like a great hero."

"And you, Townsend," said Archer, "may look like a wit, if you will; but you will never be a hero."

[Page 213] "No, no," replied Townsend, "wits are never heroes, because they are wits—you are out of your wits, and therefore may set up for a hero."

"Laugh, and welcome. —I'm not a tyrant— I don't want to restrain any body's wit; but I cannot say I admire puns."

"Nor I neither," said the time-serving Fisher, sidling up to the Manager, and picking the ice off a piece of plumb-cake, "nor I nei­ther —I hate puns. I can never understand Townsend's puns; besides, any body can make puns; and one doesn't want wit either at all times; for instance, when one is going to settle about dinner, or business of consequence. — Bless us all, Archer!" continued he, with sud­den familiarity, "What a sight of good things are here! — I'm sure we are much obliged to you and your cousin — I never thought he'd have come. — Why, now we can hold out as long as you please. — Let us see," said he, dividing the provisions upon the table, "we can hold out to-day, and all to-morrow, and part of next day, may be. — Why, now, we may defy the doctor and the Greybeards — and the doctor will surely give up to us, for, you see, he knows nothing of [Page 214]all this, and he'll think we are starving all this while; and he'd be afraid, you see, to let us starve quite, in reality, for three whole days, be­cause of what would be said in the town. My aunt Barbara, for one, would be at him, long be­fore that time was out; and besides, you know, in that there case, he'd be hanged for murder, which is quite another thing, in law, from a Barring out, you know."

Archer had not given to this harangue all the attention which it deserved; for his eye was fixed upon De Grey.—"What is De Grey thinking of?" he asked impatiently.

"I am thinking," said De Grey, "that Dr. Middleton must believe that I have be­trayed his confidence in me. The gardener was ordered away from his watch-post for one half-hour when I was admitted. This half­hour the gardener has made nearly an hour. I never would have come amongst you if I had foreseen all this. Dr. Middleton trusted me, and now he will repent of his confidence in me."

"De Grey!" cried Archer, with energy, "he shall not repent of his confidence in you; nor shall you repent of coming amongst us; [Page 215]you shall find that we have some honour as well as yourself; and I will take care of your ho­nour as if it were my own!

"Hey-day!" interrupted Townsend, "are heroes allowed to change sides, pray? And does the chief of the Archers stand talking sen­timent to the chief of the Greybeards? —In the middle of his own party too!"

"Party!" repeated Archer, disdainfully, "I have done with parties! —I see what parties are have done with parties! —I see what parties are made of! —I have felt the want of a friend, and I am determined to make one if I can."

"That you may do," said De Grey, stretch­ing out his hand.

"Unbar the doors! —Unbar the windows! — Away with all these things! — I give up for De Grey's sake; he shall not lose his credit on my account."

"No," said De Grey, "you shall not give up for my sake."

"Well then, I'll give up to do what is ho­nourable," said Archer.

"Why not to do what is reasonable?" said De Grey.

"Reasonable! — Oh, the first thing that a man of spirit should think of is, what is honourable."

[Page 216] "But how will he find out what is honour­able, unless he can reason?"

"Oh," said Archer, "his own feelings al­ways tell him what is honourable."

"Have not your feelings changed within these few hours?"

"Yes, with circumstances; but right or wrong, as long as I think it honourable to do so and so, I'm satisfied."

"But you cannot think any thing honour­able, or the contrary, without reasoning; and as to what you call feeling, it's only a quick sort of reasoning."

"The quicker the better," said Archer.

"Perhaps not," said De Grey, "we are apt to reason best, when we are not in quite so great a burry."

"But," said Archer, "we have not always time enought to reason at first."

"You must, however, acknowledge," re­pli [...]d De Grey smiling, "that no man but a fool thinks it honourable to be in the wrong at last. Is it not therefore best to begin by rea­soning to find out the right at first?"

"To be sure."

[Page 217] "And did you reason with yourself at first? And did you find out that it was right to bar Dr. Middleton out of his own school-room, be­cause he desired you not to go into one of his own houses?"

"No; but I should never have thought of heading a Barring out, if he had not shewn partiality; and if you had flown into a passion with me openly, at once, for pulling down your scenery, which would have been quite natural, and not have gone slily and forbid us the house, out of revenge, there would have been none of this work."

"Why," said De Grey, "should you sus­pect me of such a mean action, when you have never seen or known me do any thing mean, and when in this instance you have no proofs."

"Will you give me your word and hon­our now, De Grey, before every body here, that you did not do what I suspected?"

"I do assure you, upon my honour, I never, directly or indirectly, spoke to Dr. Middleton about the play-house."

"Then," said Archer, "I'm as glad as if I had found a thousand pounds! — Now you are my friend indeed."

[Page 218] "And Dr. Middleton—why should you sus­pect him without reason, any more than me?"

"As to that," said Archer, "he is your friend, and you are right to defend him; and I won't say another word against him—will that satisfy you?"

"Not quite."

"Not quite! — Then, indeed, you are unrea­sonable!"

"No; for I don't wish you to yield out of friendship to me, any more than to honour. — If you yield to reason, you will be governed by reason another time."

"Well; but then don't triumph over me, because you have the best side of the argu­ment."

"Not I! — How can I?" said De Grey; "for now you are on the best side as well as my­self, are not you? So we may triumph to­gether."

"You are a good friend!" said Archer, and with great eagerness be pulled down the fortifi­cations, whilst every hand assisted. The room was restored to order in a few minutes; the shutters were thrown open, the cheerful light let in. The windows were thrown up, and the first feeling of the fresh air was delightful. The [Page 219]green play-ground appeared before them, and the hopes of exercise and liberty brightened the countenances of these voluntary prisoners.

But alas! they were not yet at liberty! The idea of Dr. Middleton, and the dread of his vengeance, smote their hearts! When the rebels had sent an ambassador with their surrender, they stood in pale and silent suspence, waiting for their doom. — "Ah!" said Fisher, looking up at the broken panes in the windows, "the doc­tor will think the most of that — he'll never for­give us for that."

"Hush! here he comes!" — His steady step was heard approaching nearer and nearer! — Archer threw open the door, and Dr. Middle­ton entered. — Fisher instantly fell on his knees.

"It is no delight to me to see people on their knees; stand up, Mr. Fisher. — I hope you are all conscious that you have done wrong?"

"Sir," said Archer, "they are conscious that they have done wrong, and so am I. I am the ringleader — punish me as you think proper — I submit. Your punishments — your venge­ance ought to fall on me alone!"

"Sir," said Dr. Middleton calmly, "I per­ceive, that whatever else you may have learned [Page 220]in the course of your education, you have not been taught the meaning of the word Punish­ment. Punishment and vengeance do not, with us, mean the same thing. Punishment is pain given, with the reasonable hope of prevent­ing those on whom it is inflicted from doing, in future, what will hurt themselves or others. Ve [...]g [...]ance never looks to the future; but is the ex [...]ion of anger for an injury that is past. I [...]e [...]i [...]n [...] anger—you have done me no injury."

Here many of the little boys looked timidly up to the windows.

"Yes; I s [...]e that you have broken my win­dows: that is a small evil."

"Oh Sir! How good! How merciful!" exclaimed those who had been most panic-s [...]ruck — "He forgives us!"

"Stay," resumed Dr. Middleton, "I cannot forgive you — I shall never reveng [...], but it is my duty to punish. — You have r [...]b [...]ned against the just authority, w [...]ien is necessary to con [...]uct and govern you, whilst you have not sufficient reason to govern and conduct yourselves. — Without obedience to your master, as children, you cannot be educate [...]. — [...] [...]out obedience to the laws," added he, turning to Archer, "as [Page 221]men, you cannot be suffered in society. — You, Sir, think yourself a man, I observe, and you think it the part of a man not to submit to the will of another. I have no pleasure in making others, whether men or children, submit to my will; but my reason and experience are superior to yours — your parents at least think so, or they would not have entrusted me with the care of your education. As long as they do entrust you to my care, and as long as I have any hop [...]s or ma [...]ing you wiser and better by punishment, I shall steadily inflict it, whenever I judge it to be [...]n cessary, and I judge it to be necessary now. This is a long sermon, Mr. Archer, not preach­ed to shew my own eloquence, but to convince your understanding. — Now, as to your punish­ment! —"

"Name it, Sir," said Archer, "whatever it is▪ I will cheerfully submit to it."

"Name it yourselt," said Dr. Middleton, "and shew me that you now understand the na­ture of punishment."

Archer, proud to be tre [...]ted like a reasonable creature, and sorry that he had behaved like a foolish school-boy, was silent for some time, but at length replied, "That he would rather [...]ot [Page 222]name his own punishment." He repeated, however, that he "trusted he should bear it well, whatever it might be."

"I shall then," said Dr. Middleton, "de­prive you, for two months, of pocket money, as you have had too much, and have made a bad use of it."

"Sir," said Archer, "I brought five gui­neas with me to school — this guinea is all that I have left."

Dr. Middleton received the guinea which Archer offered him, with a look of approbation; and told him that it should be applied to the re­pairs of the school-room. The rest of the boys waited in silence for the doctor's sentence a­gainst them; but not with those looks of abject fear, with which boys usually expect the sen­tence of a school-master.

"You shall return from the play-ground, all of you," said Dr. Middieton, "one quarter of an hour sooner, for two months to come, than the rest of your companions. A bell shall ring at the appointed time. I give you an opportu­nity of recovering my confidence by your punc­tuality."

[Page 223] "Oh, Sir, we will come the instant, the very instant the bell rings— you shall have confi­dence in us," cried they eagerly.

"I deserve your confidence, I hope," said Dr. Middleton, "for it is my first wish to make you all happy. — You do not know the pain that it has cost me to deprive you of food for so many hours."

Here the boys, with one accord, ran to the place where they had deposited their last sup­plies. — Archer delivered them up to the doctor, proud to shew, that they were not reduced to obedience merely by necessity.

"The reason," resumed Dr. Middleton, [...]ving now returned to the usual benignity of his manner, — "The reason why I desired, that [...]ne of you should go to that building," (point­ing out of the window), was this: I had been informed, that a gang of Gypsies had slept there the night before I spoke to you, one of whom was dangerously ill of a putrid sever. I did not chuse to mention my reason to you at that time, for fear of alarming you or your friends. I have had the place cleaned, and you may re­turn to it when you please. The Gypsies were yesterday removed from the town."

[Page 224] "De Grey you were in the right," whis­pered Archer, "and it was I that was unjust."

"The old woman," continued the doctor, "whom you employed to buy food, has escaped the fever, but she has not escaped a gaol, whi­ther she was sent yesterday, for having defraud­ed you of your money."

"Mr. Fisher," said Dr. Middleton, as to you, I shall not punish you!—I have no hope of making you either wiser or better. — Do you know this paper?"

The paper appeared to be a bill for candles and a tinder-box.

"I desired him to buy those things, Sir," said Archer, colouring.

"And did you desire him not to pay for them?"

"No," said Archer, "he had half a crown on purpose to pay for them."

"I know he had; but he chose to apply it to his own private use, and gave it to the Gypsey to buy twelve buns for his own eating. To obtain credit for the tinder-box and candles, he made use of this name," said he, turning to the other [...]de of the bill, and pointing to De Grey's [Page 225]name, which was written at the end of a copy of one of De Grey's exercises.

"I assure you, Sir," cried Archer —

"You need not assure me, Sir," said Dr. Middleton, "I cannot suspect a boy of your temper of having any part in so base an action. — When the people in the shop refused to let Mr. Fisher have the things without paying for them, he made use of De Grey's name, who was known there. Suspecting some mischief, however, from the purchase of the tinder-box, the shopkeeper informed me of the circum­stance. Nothing in this whole business gave me half so much pain as I felt for a moment, when I suspected that De Grey was concerned in it."

A loud cry, in which Archer's voice was heard most distinctly, declared De Grey's inno­cence. Dr. Middleton looked round at their eager, honest faces, with benevolent approba­tion.

"Archer," said he, taking him by the hand, "I am heartily glad to see that you have got the better of your party-spirit — I wish you may keep such a friend as you have now beside you. — One such friend is worth two such parties."

[Page 226] "As for you, Mr. Fisher — depart — you must never return hither again."

"In vain he solicited Archer and De Grey to intercede for him. Every body turned away with contempt, and he speaked out, whimpering in a doleful voice— "What shall I say to my aunt Barbara?"


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