The Baldwin Lbra
-'__ J ,
~' ^Ie S^ L-
As the freh Rose-bud need the slvery show,
The golden sunshine, and the pearly dew,
The joyous day wth all ts banes newr,
Ere I ea bloom into *he prfet dower;
o wrih the human ros-bud; from s air
Of heaven will rarant purity be caught,
And inuences benign of tender ought
If the soul, like angels, nawares.
j ,s L
Ehzabetti and Miss Henslowe in the Lane. 2. 96.
Short Storie, --Nobody Loves Me.
F.RED. W. B. BOUVERIE,
INoCUxBra or ST. PAUL'S, ABEIDBN;
A~WKLO O0 "LIIP AND ITS LXBSONS," "JOCROR T TAIBLR8s,"
(a Tale in mIenh), &o., o.
LONDON: JAMES HOGG & SONS.
v4n je. X
*r 4I )i ? /ta 'Zr
-- ~ :''J *v;j- ,% *
i Cr. *'i.
"As IF I CARED FOR A PRIZE," 7
"NEVER MIND," 25
"IP YOU DON'T, I'LL TELL," 45
"PLEASE, MAMMA, IT WASN'T MY FAULT,". 75
"NOBODY LOVES ME," 85
"I'X SURE I'M QUITE AS GOOD AS ANYBODY," 107
S'"AS IF I CARED FOR A PRIZE."
" As if I cared for a prize!"
S" Why, I'm sure you did care, Fletcher;
and so where's the use of saying that you
"I'm sure I didn't,-and I don't; and if
you go on at me in that way, I'll give you a
licking," answered Fletcher.
"I should like to see you at it," replied
Newell; "but that's always the way with
you,-always bragging of what you'll do,
and never doing it."
"Silence I silence I over there, my boys;
there's too much talking."
This was the voice of one of the masters
8 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
of the school,-Dr. Kearney's school for
boys, at Trotbury, in Kent,-and it was on
the 20th day of June, 18-, the day which
had been looked forward to with so much
delightful anticipation by so many, many
young hearts and minds, -the day on which
the annual distribution of prizes was to take
place, the breaking-up day,-the going home
day,-the first day of the mid-summer holi-
There was (and is now, I dare say), a large,
handsome, lofty hall, in the centre of the
building, in which the boys and masters used
to meet every morning and evening for
prayers, in which the yearly public exami-
nations used to be held, and wherein the dis-
tribution of prizes took place. Yes! come
along then, little boy or little girl,-which
is it, I wonder, who is reading this little
book, ay ? give me your hand; now
then, up the stone steps,-one, two, three:
walk on: two more steps: on again,
one step: here we are! Do you see the
SAS IP I CARED FOR A PRIZE. 9
platform there at the end, and a table
in the centre, covered with a beautiful
crimson cloth, and such heaps of books; and
S behind the table, one, two, three, four gentle-
men ? In the centre is Dr. Kearney, the head-
master, in his college gown and hood: isn't
be a nice-looking man, with his white hair
and bright black eyes, and kind benevolent
smile? On his right pand is another gen-
tleman; but he has large full white sleeves
to his gown, and he looks like-like ? yes,
a bishop: he is the Bishop of Trotbury, and,
as he has a great regard for Dr. Kearney,
has come to be present at the distribution of
the prizes, and to shake hands kindly with
each of the prize-men (or prize-boys, for
none of Dr. Kearney's scholars are above
sixteen, and many of them are as young as
ten. Fletcher, for instance, is thirteen, and
Newell is twelve), and he (the bishop) has
offered a prize to 'the best biblical scholar
amongst them all, whatever his age, or the
class he may be in.
10 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
"Whichever of your boys proves himself
best acquainted with the Bible shall have a
prize, value three guineas," said the Bishop,
last Christmas, to Dr. Kearney; and the
boys had been told of it, and had been
encouraged to read their Bible diligently,
that they might receive the prize to be given,
not only out of the Bishop's pocket, but with
his own hands.
I hope that prize had not been
given when we came in?" asks my little
Wait a little, and you shall see.
On Dr. Kearney's right hand there is an-
other gentleman, the Honourable Mr. Ham-
bleton, the member for Trotbury. Trotbury
is a borough town, and sends two members to
parliament. Mr. Hambleton is one of them;
he has a son at Dr. Kearney's school:
you shall see him presently. Then, there
are two other gentlemen up there on the
platform: one of them is Mr. Chilton, the
rector of the parish, quite a young man; and
AS IF I CARED FOR A PRIZE." 11
he other is Mr. Beale, the mayor. And
there, on each side of the hall, are lots of
ladies and gentlemen, most of them are the
parents and friends of the boys: there is the
bishop's daughter, Miss Gentle, over there
to your right, in a white bonnet and a blue
dress; and this lady down here, almost close
to us, is Mrs. Kearney, the head-master's
wife; and now, if you will turn round and look
behind you on your right-hand, and on your
left,-well, what do you see ? "The boys !"
Yes, the boys; one behind the other, on rows
of forms rising higher and higher-almost
forty boys on each side. Now then, listen
and we shall hear the names of the boys who
have got prizes called out, and we shall see
them come down from their places, and
walk up to the platform. They are just
going to begin. The head-master is stand-
ing up. He says he has great pleasure in
addressing the kind friends who are assem-
bled there; he looks back upon the past year
with much thankfulness: his school has pros-
12 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
pered in every way; and he hopes, by dili-
gent attention to the interests and happiness
of his scholars, both as regards their tem-
poral and their spiritual good, to see still
further progress, with God's blessing. He
is happy to have secured the presence of
their justly-respected Bishop, and to mention
that the offer of a Bible prize, made by his
lordship at Christmas, is now about to be
realized: he thanks the Honourable Mr.
Hambleton, the member, for honouring them
with his presence; and he is sure that it is
a source of gratification to all present, to see
their beloved rector, and much-esteemed
mayor coming forward to take an active and
conspicuous part in the day's proceedings.
Dr. Kearney concludes, by tendering.his
best thanks to his assistants, the under-
masters in the school, and, indeed, he must
add, to the boys themselves, for the readiness
which (speaking generally, and making an
allowance for the thoughtlessness and inex-
perience of their age) they have ever shown
".AS IF I CARED FOR A PRIZE." 13
to be guided by his advice. He will now
give a report of the past year, and call out
the names of those who have most distin-
We don't much care about the report,
do we ? "No."
Well, never mind attending to that:
while it is being read, we can look about us
a little, and admire the flowers.
Yes; don't you see those beautiful
wreaths of flowers and evergreens all round
the room, and the flags, and the banners,
and the mottoes ? I'm afraid, though, that
you won't understand the mottoes, and some
of them are so high up that I can't read
them. Here is one, however, close by, in
Latin, "Delectando, pariterque monendo:"
delighting and at the same time teaching,
which means to combine pleasure or amuse-
ment with instruction, which is, what I hope
we are doing now.
"And what does that one mean, please?"
14 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE*
Ex nihilo nihil fit: out of nothing no-
thing is made; which means, that if you
do nothing you must expect that nothing
will come out of it. I dare say many of the
idle boys will feel that to-day. They would
like the prizes very well, but they have done
nothing to deserve them, and they will find
that out of nothing they must not expect a
pile of handsome books. Well now, I think
the report is nearly finished, and we shall
hear the names called out.
Dr. Kearney says that he will begin by
distributing tickets, or certificates of merit
to those who,.though they have not been
entitled to prizes, because it has happened
that other boys have worked better than
they, still, having evidently given proof of a
disposition to do something, they shall at
least have a public acknowledgement of the
good-will and application which they have
shown. BIRCH, BIRD, and YOUNG, are the
"AS IP I CARED FOR A PRIZE." 15
first called up. They receive second-class
certificates of merit. Dr. Kearney looks so
kindly on them, and the bishop shakes hands
with them so encouragingly, that I fancy they
will try and get up there two or three times
next year-and oh, if they could only get
the Bible prize Do you see Young linger-
ing behind, and trying to read the name on
the slip of paper peeping out from amongst
the leaves of the prizes-especially from that
large pile of handsomely-bound books in the
centre?-THE BIBLE PRIZE I
"That will do, YouNG," says Dr.
Kearney, "you can go back, my boy;"
and Young, looking very confused, and
getting very red in the face, as he turns
round and perceives that the other two
boys, Birch and Bird, are gone, hurries
back to his form as awkwardly as possible,
and nearly tumbles down as he tries to run
up the steps. "Well, Paul Pry l" That's
his nick-name, they call him "Paul Pry"
because he is so curious and inquisitive-
16 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
" peeping Tom" he used to be called at the
first school he was at, a little boy's school,
kept by the two Misses Chilton, the rector's
aunts, or cousins, I forget which, there they are
over there, just behind Mrs. Kearney. BLIS-
SET, HAMBLETON, GIBSON, and HINCHLIFFE.
Such a scuffling and pushing, and such a
curious sound of something knocking on the
floor, like an umbrella or a walking-stick.
Poor boy, Hambleton is his name; he walks
with a crutch-such a pleasant face he has.
Dr. Kearney says that Hambleton met with
a serious accident at Christmas time; he fell
in the street, on a spot where a number of
thoughtless boys ha been sliding, and broke
his leg in three places, so that for fifteen
weeks he was wholly unfit for work. Dr.
Kearney thinks it his duty to. warn boys
against the dangerous practice of making
sliding-places in public thoroughfares-not
a word against sliding, which is a harmless
and very amusing sport, when you indulge in
it of your own free-will, but any thing but
AS IF I CARED FOR A PRIZE." 17
agreeable, in any point of view, when forced
upon you unawares, as in poor Hambleton's
How kindly every one seems to look at
poor Hambleton, as he struggles back to his
place; and how the boys do cheer him, to be
sure I Hambleton is a favourite, I should say.
And now such a string ofnames-BoxToN,
BYAM, CLOSE, DAYSELL, DEACLE, EVANS,
EVANSON, FRANKLIN, GOODE, and GOLIGHTLY
-all for first-class certificates of merit;
it seems funny that Golightly should move so
heavily along, and he such a big fat boy-
and funnier too that Goode isn't pleasing to
look at;-but names do not always denote
what people are.
"Now, Fletcher, you'll have your turn;
the certificates are out, now for the prizes.
What'll you bet that you don't get sixteen
prizes, and the bishop's to boot."
"This is Newell, you may be sure; he is
such a tease, that Newell"-
What do I care ?"-That's Fletcher,
18 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
but not quite in the same tone of voice as at
first, and he is- looking rather white and a
little anxious--not at all as if he didn't care.
"Poor Fletcher, I hoped he'd get one, and
its such a shame of that other boy to tease
him so, isn't it, sir ?"
Yes, certainly; but you see Fletcher says
he doesn't care.
Ah, but he doesn't mean it, sir, I don't
But then what a shame he should say what
he doesn't mean, I should be afraid it is a
very bad habit. Now for the prizes I Listen:
Greek-Three prizes: GooCH ma: and GoocH
mi: and HEYOBRTH-Gooch ma, and Gooch
mi, are brothers, such nice amiable, pleasant-
looking lads. The boys shout and clap, and
cheer--" Hurrah for the Goochs 1" But
when Heyworth gets his prize, there is no
clapping. As he comes back, there is a whis-
pering amongst the boys-"sneak," "cheat,"
and so on--and as he passes up by Fletcher,
Heyworth says to him-
"AS IF I CARED FOR A PRIZE." 19
Well, I thought you were sure of the
"Pooh !" answers Fletcher, "as if I cared
for a prize."
"Of course not," says Newell, you look
as if you didn't care."
Look at him, isn't he white; I hope he
won't faint; but he seems very ill. Latin--
Five prizes-you see there are -more boys
who learn Latin-only the elder boys learn
"Fletcher-Fletcher," cry the boys in a
loud whisper, "go up. You said you'd like
to see any body get the first Latin prize
Fletcher looks very pale.
-Dr. Kearney calls out: HENSMAN, 1st
prize; HOLLINGWORTH, 2d prize; BRIDESDALE,
8d prize; SPARLING, 4th; and SWIFT, 5th
prize-grand cheering from all the boys, and
cries of "Hallo I Fletcher," in a subdued
Fletcher is looking very red and excited,
20 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
and very angry, and when Ridesdale passes
by and says: Why, Fletcher, you look dis-
appointed !" poor Fletcher answers savagely:
"Disappointed indeed; who wants the
stupid books-as if Icared for a prize I'm
French comes next-then history, geo-
graphy, arithmetic; and such a long list of
names-but Fletcher's is not there. And
now, there is but one more prize to give-
the prize of the day, the Bible prize, and the
Bishop stands up to say a few words. He
says that he had offered a reward to that
scholar who should evidence the greatest
proficiency in biblical knowledge he wished
all the boys then present to feel that of all
studies the most profitable in the long run
was the study of God's Word-and that no
study was so universally and constantly
available in after life as that which had pro-
duced a 'deep and reverent knowledge of
God's Holy Book. In order to avoid the
possibility of any thing like favour being
t AS IF I CARED FOR A PRIZE." 21
shown, he had directed that the boys should
each have a copy of the same questions given
to them; that each boy should reply to
those questions in writing, and that the
papers should be sent to him in a sealed
envelope, on which he himself had written
the name of a flower; each boy there-
fore (of those who had become candidates for
the prize, and there had been twenty-three)
had had one of these envelopes given to him,
and had put his paper into it without giving
in his name.
Happily for us," the Bishop added, in
conclusion, I had no difficulty in deciding
the question; one of the papers is so im-
measurably superior to any other, that I am
both delighted and astonished at the deep
acquaintance with God's Word which it
displays. It is remarkable that the least
satisfactory paper chanced to be sent to me
in an envelope bearing a name almost iden-
tical with that which belonged to the envelope
containing the prize paper."
22 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
"Fletcher," says Newell, in a whisper,
"now for it; you had the 'Rose,' hadn't
you? It's to be hoped you haven't a thorn
with it though."
Fletcher doesn't condescend to reply; his
eyes dilate and sparkle, his cheeks are
pale, his lips quiver, he has just heard
the word Rose,' ring through the hall-he
has started to his feet, and is half-way up
to the platform, when there is a distant
sound of knocking, which we heard before,
and poor Hambletdn is seen gradually
Fletcher is on the platform already; he is
in front of the bishop.
"Fletcher is this boy's name, my lord,"
said Dr. Kearney.
"And had your envelope the word Rose.
bud on it, my boy ?" said the bishop.
"Rose-bud, sir! My lord, I thought it
was Rose. I-I--"
By this time Hambleton had reached the
platform, and the hall resounded with the
"cA IF I CARED FOR A PRIZE." 2
shouts, and clappings, and hurrahs of the
boys. Hurrah for Hambleton l"
Fletcher was taken very ill the same
evening, and lay ill for weeks, during nearly
the whole of the holidays. Fletcher's fail-
ing was the failing of many little boys and
girls; he was fond of boasting; he expected
something out of nothing; he was very vain
of his abilities, which were great, but which
he neglected to exercise; he had boasted
that he should get many prizes; he then
boasted that he did not care to get them; he
deceived himself doubly; but he was taugl t
a useful lesson; and the following year l e
was seen humbly thinking that he could not
possibly have deserved anything, when, to
his great surprise, he returned home to his
mother with an armful of books, and his
first words to her were :
"Oh, mother, I'll never again say that I
ddo't care for a prize."
THAT is my name, if you please, "NEVER
I am a little sparrow, if you please;' a
neat, trim, pretty, merry twittering little
sparrow, perched at this moment upon a
window-sill, and pecking at some bread-
crumbs which I find there every morning.
(Tweet, tweet). You can't expect me never
to talk in my own language-can you?.
Perhaps you are more surprised at my being
able to talk to you in yours-never mind.
If I can tell you a little story, and if my
little story can amuse you, you won't trouble
yourself to know how I happen to be able
to talk your language-will you? (Tweet,
28 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
It isn't my talking- that surprises you
most, you say, it's my writing. How could
I ever learn to write? you want to know
-never mind. You see I can write, and
have written. But where did I learn?-
never mind. Who taught me, and where
did I get pen, and ink, and paper, and a
publisher to publish what I had written-
never mind -never mind never mind.
When I say Tweet," I am mostly ad-
dressing my little wife up there in the ivy,
just above the window. What does Tweet"
mean ?-never mind. She knows, my little
wife does, up there in the nest-don't you,
dear? (Tweet, tweet, tweet). And whether
you know or not-never mind.
One very cold day last winter, no, this
winter, I suppose, you would call it-well,
in January, 1861, there,-the snow was on
the ground, on the trees, on the tops of the
houses, on the chimney-pots, on the wag-
gons, on the hay-stacks, everywhere. In
the country there was nothing but snow,
and I really thought I should have died of
hunger, for there was nothing for me to
eat anywhere; no seed of any kind, not a
single little bit of groundsel, not a sprig of
chickweed, not even a blade of the com-
monest grass. I was for days and got
nothing but an old cabbage-stump, which
I found in a kitchen-yard, and which I used
to pick at by the sly, when the old cat
wasn't looking; but it wasn't a pleasant
thing. It had been boiled, too. I don't
like, boiled things, I prefer them in their
natural condition, au naturel" as a French
sparrow of my acquaintance used to say, in
the French dialect of the sparrow language.
Well, one day in January (remember I
wasn't married then), I determined to take
a long, long flight towards some houses
which I had often seen in the distance, and
near which I had often observed several
little children, in brown cloaks and hats
with feathers in them (such nonsense, as if
30 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
any amount of feathers coul4 ever make
those little creatures pass for birds), and
bare legs (they'd much better have fastened
the feather round their little red, mottled
legs than have stuck them flying on their
hats). Well! well !-never mind. (Tweet,
tweet). So I thought I'd go to these
houses; not that I should care to have much
to do with the children. I don't like chil-
dren; that is to say, I didn't like children then,
and I don't like them all now,-only a few.
Ah, you want to know how it is that I
didn't like any children then, that I do like
some children now, but that I don't like
them all-never mind. You think I ought
to tell you. Why? Because you want to
know. Of course you do: You're a little
child, I'm sure. You little children are so
"Oh, but do tell, please, Mr. Sparrow."
That's another little child, I'll bet a feather
(I don't mind if I lose, I can spare a few
feathers now in April).
" NEVER MIND. M
Listen: when you get a sparrow to tell
you a story, you must just listen to what
he has to say, and be very still, and quiet,
and respectful, and you mustn't come run-
ning round me in that way, and jabber in
that unintelligible manner you know, call-
ing me a "pivetty ikkle birdie;" get along
with you, and don't talk nonsense, or if
you do-why I'll take to my wings, which
is more than any one of you could do; for
the best thing you could do if any body
teazed you, would be to take to your heels.
Heels indeed I always in the mud and the
dirt-pretty things to take to I Heels in-
deed. (Tweet, tweet),
Well, so I came (or went, whichever you
like) to the houses, and I at once thought
the best thing I could do, being a bird,
would be to fly at once to the house which
looked most like a bird's habitation. Trees,
and hedges, and flowers, and, above all, a
thatched roof made of straw, worked in and
out in a clumsy way to imitate our nests, I
82 SHORT STORES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
suppose, and with plenty of ivy, and clema-
tis, and jessamine, and roses, and all that
kind of thing, growing over it, to hide the
great, clumsy red bricks and stones.
Well, when I got to the house-I remem-
bered it well by the shape of the chimneys
-the roof was covered with snow, and the
snow lay as thick as possible on the ivy
boughs, and on the jessamine and rose-tree
branches; but still there was some green to
be seen, and, above all, there was an open
window. This very identical window-an
open window in the month of January, and
the frost and snow everywhere outside. On
and on I came, and at last I perched, timidly
enough, just above the window. Then I
flew down, and perched upon a bit of ivy
just below, and on my way down I had
peeped into the room, and, as far as I could
see, it was empty. So I flew up again, and
this time perched on a bough on one side,
and I could see pretty well. (There now,
you know, you are not to ask questions, and
yet you are crying out-" What did you
see ?") Never mind. It wasn't much.
So I hopped, and hopped, on my little
twig, till I got to the very top of it, and lost
my balance; but I didn't fall. Catch a
sparrow falling You-you awkward little
child-you would have tumbled down and
broken your crown, like "Jack and Gill,"
in that silly song of yours. Not a bit of it!
I took to my wings, and, after flying just a
little distance, round and round, back I
came again, and this time I perched right
upon the window-sill,'and hopped from side
to side, and said Tweet," just to try my
voice, and to find out if there was anybody
in the room; but there wasn't; and so I
hopped again on to the very ledge of the
window-frame, and, putting my head now
on one side, now on the other, I managed
to ascertain that the room was empty. So
I hopped in. It was a bed-room.
And I must say it was a pretty room.
There were two little beds in it, with pretty
34 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
curtains made of chintz, of*a pale light
gray colour, covered with rosebuds, and
lined with a rose-coloured lining. The win-
dows had curtains of the same, and the
chairs matched, too. The carpet was green,
several shades of green to imitate moss, and
that was very pretty too. And there was
an open door, just ajar (though why you call
an open door a jar, I can't tell; but there,
yours is such a silly language,-Tweet,
Well, you must remember that I was very
hungry, and not very strong, and that the
rose-coloured curtains, though very pretty
to the eye in their way, were not very com-
forting to my little stomach; and as I had
gone so far, I thought I would go on. Hop
-hop-hop-hop. Close to the door (or
the jar, whichever you like); peep in-peep
in, Such a sight. There now, you want to
know what I saw. Curious again!
"Oh, no, Mr. Sparrow, please."
Oh, no, ickkle birdie, peas."
c t -. ,., .: .. -. .: : :'.. .: -.. .. .* "
" NEVER MIND."
"Well, well, I suppose I must tell you-
(Tweet, tweet). I saw two little girls! There,
I hope you're satisfied. No? You want to
know what they were doing? Eating.
What they were like ? Like greedy, dirty
little things. What they were eating?
Black currant jam, with their fingers;
dipping them into a glass dish, and then
licking the jam off.
"And what did you do, Mr. Sparrow ? "
"Ess, pot tit oo doo, ickkle birdie ? "
"I Do why I took to my wings, and soon
found myself perched at one end of the
table, hopping about, and saying, in my own
way, Tweet, tweet. Such a scream as one of
these little girls set up, such a start as the
other one gave why I might have been a
cat, they seemed so scared-and then one of
them saw that in her fright she had dropped
a lot of the black currant jam which she had
at that moment been conveying to her
mouth, upon her pinafore, and what a nice
mess she had made it in!
36 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
"Oh, that nasty bird I frightening one so!
Why should they be frightened at me, I
wonder; were they doing anything wrong?
I suppose they were-for surely no child of
ten or twelve would be frightened at a
.sparrow, such a small, innocent, and peaceful
set of people'as sparrows are.
"Oh, Amelia, what will you do," said the
younger of the two; a plain looking girl-
(but I liked her) with her black hair and
large gray eyes-" your pinafore's in such a
mess, and Miss Crawford will be up in a
minute, and we shall be found out."
"Never mind," said Amelia-" I'll wash
it out before. she comes up."
"Oh, but she's sure to see it; it'll stain
ever so; oh dear, oh dear, I wish we'd never
touched the jam, we shall get such a scolding,
I'm sure we shall," continued Ellen, she of
the gray eyes.
"Never mind, who cares? I don't, I'm
sure; come along, Ellen,into thebedroom, and
help me to wash it out; Miss Orawford won't
be up for a quarter of an hour, she's with
papa in the conservatory, he's telling her all
about what's to be done while he's away."
"Look "at that sparrow," said Ellen, "I
never saw such a tame little thing, how it
goes hopping about upon the table; look at
him, he's actually perched upon the bread."
(Tame, indeed, not I-I was hungry)-And
they went into the other room, the little room
with the open window and the pink beds-
What they did in there I don't know, and I
don't care-presently in comes Ellen:
"Where are you going," cries Amelia,
from the pink bedroom.
"To fetch the kettle; I'm sure we can't
get the stain off without hot water," and so
saying, Ellen comes across to the fire and
lifts the kettle that is singing and steaming
away so furiously, and carries it off-" pretty
little bird," she says to me-" I wish I was
a sparrow I"
Of course you do," I say to myself.
38 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
Presently I hear a loud peal of laughter,
and Amelia exclaims: "Oh, Ellen, why
you're worse than I am; look at your
pinafore, you've grimed it all .over with
the tea kettle, you'll have to wash
Oh dear, oh dear, Amelia, what shall we
"Nonsense, my dear, never mind."
People laugh at us (sparrows) for saying
"tweet, tweet" all day long, and wonder
what we mean by it-here's a little girl
saying, "never mind," all day long; I wonder
what she means by that.
"Oh, Amelia," I hear Ellen say after a
short silence, during which I suppose both
the pinafores are being soaped over and
dipped into the washing basons. "Oh,
Amelia, we shall never get them clean; see
how it spreads; what shall we do ?"
Do ? oh anything, never mind."
But what can we say," urges Ellen.
"Say oh anything, never mind."
" NEVER MIND."
I think we'd better leave it, Amelia, and
just tell Miss Crawford all about it."
"Nonsense, I'm sure I shan't! Never
mind her; I don't like governesses."
I had made a very good breakfast, and
had hopped back into the bed-room by this
"Well, I'm sure, you needn't dislike Miss
Crawford, Amelia; and you know she's
often told us, if we would only confess the
truth, she would forgive us."
"Never mind about her forgiveness; you
tell her that it was very cold, and we were
going to wash our hands in warm water,
and so the kettle blacked our pinafores."
"But that's not the truth."
"Oh, never mind about the truth I Here's
that bird again, Ellen, let's catch him."
And she threw a towel at me, as I stood
perched upon a chair.
"Oh, Amelia, how can you? Poor little
thing, he doesn't like it; see how he's flut-
tering up there on the top of the pole."
40 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
Never mind what he-likes, a bothering
little thing; if he hadn't come in, it
wouldn't' have happened. I'd like to pay
"What is all this about, my dears; what
do I hear ?" And enters Miss Crawford,
the governess, a nice, kind, pleasant-looking
"Havn't you finished dressing, my dears ?
and what are you doing with the kettle in
here, and on the carpet too; why, how is
As no answer was given to Miss Craw-
ford's question, I thought I might say some-
thing, now that I had recovered myself a
little after the fright which the towel had
given me, and so I said, Tweet, tweet."
Miss Crawford turned round and looked
Tweet," I said again.
Tweet," said Miss Crawford-
Tweet," I replied. Such a nice face
Miss Crawford's I
" NEVER MIND."
Yes, Miss Crawford," said Amelia, com-
ing forward, "a sparrow, Miss Crawford,
came into the room, the other room, the
school-room, you know, and frightened us
so, you can't think; got on the table into
everything, black currant jam all over our
pinafores; and so Ellen got the kettle and
the black's come off, and we thought we'd
wash-it off, and, and---"
Now isn't it curious, that a little girl,
who said, Never mind," to everything just
now, should take the trouble to make up
such a round-about tale, mixing truth and
untruth together, and bringing me in, in
such a way, and her sister Ellen too, and
leaving herself blameless. What could she
mean by Never mind ?"
Amelia, my love," said Miss Crawford,
"you are not telling the truth, my dear
child. You must be very much afraid of
me, since you can, in drder to escape a
reproof or a punishment from your gover-
ness, condescend to such a mean, humiliating
42 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
and sinful step, as that which you are now
Let me tell, Amelia, dear; do, will you?
Shall I tell you, Miss Crawford ?"
"No, my dear; I hope your cousin will
tell me herself. Let us kneel down and
I, as a sparrow, could not kneel down and
pray; but then I knew that some great and
good Being had made me, and clothed me,
and that none of us can fall to the ground
unknown or uncared for by Him. So I
praised Him in my little sparrow language,
and gave Him my little sparrow song, such
as it was.
And when they had .knelt some time in
silence, they rose; and Miss Crawford went
up to Amelia, and took her two hands in
hers, and looked at her in the face very lov-
ingly and very sadly, and Amelia presently
burst into tears, and then told her-THE
And so Miss Crawford said, "and that
Feeding the Sparrow. P. 43.
Short Stories.-Never Mind.
F i -
poor little sparrow whom you were blaming
so much, was, after all, your best friend;
for had he not frightened you as he did, you
would have deceived me by your silence in
the matter of the jam, and might by that
have been encouraged to greater acts of
greediness, and of consequent deceitfulness."
After breakfast, I, who had in the mean-
time escaped by the open window, and also
had perched myself on a branch of a young
beech tree close by, saw the two little girls
come to the open window, and scatter quite
a saucer-ful of crumbs and soaked bread on
the window sill; and when the next morn-
ing they saw me there, and two or three
other sparrows too, I heard them say--
"I wish I knew if the same sparrow will
And Amelia said: "Oh, Never mind.'"
"Don't say, 'Never mind,' my dear/,
said Miss Crawford from the other room.
"No, don't," said Ellen, "it was 'Never
mind' that did all the mischief, you know." -
44 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
Well, that was the sparrow then," said
"Well, call him 'Never-Mind'-and so
they did, and do; and now that I am the
only one to come regularly every morning to
look for the crumbs, they are pretty certain
that I am the same sparrow, though I haven't
told them, but only tell you-and now you
know that I like some children, and you may
be sure which of the two I prefer. Just let
me give you a bit of sparrow advice. Never
say Never-Mind' to anything that happens.
If it be good, mind it so as to thank God for
it; if it be evil, mind it so as with God's
help to avoid it; and now, good bye.-
Tweet, tweet, tweet.-Your well-wisher,
"IF YOU DON'T, I'LL TELL.
"IF YOU DON'T, I'LL TELL."
I WAS once a boy, a little boy wearing
jackets and trousers, and turn-down collars,
just like you, or like any little boy you
know (for you may be a little girl); and I
am now a man. I hope that, as St. Paul
says, now that I am a man I have put away
childish things; but I have not forgotten
them, and you may like to hear about some
of these childish things now that you are
still a child, thinking, speaking, acting, as a
child. Do you remember in which of the
Epistles it is that St. Paul speaks about -
when he was a child? If you do not, ask
mamma or papa, or your elder brother or
48 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
sister, or your aunt, or your governess, or
your teacher, and I shouldn't be surprised if
one of these persons could tell you, and then
you might get your Bible and read the
chapter through. It is not a very long one,
and it is a very beautiful one.
Well now, about myself when I was a
When I was a child, I was much more
easily alarmed at various things than I am
now. One of the things that used to alarm
me most, and often set me 'crying, and
m'ke me very unhappy and very miserable,
was the threat which. forms the title of
this little tale: "If you don't, P'll tell !"
Sometimes it took another form; it was
then: If you do, I'll tell"-but it was
more commonly the former of the two.
Now, I daresay you would like to know
in what way these few words used to alarm
me so very greatly and generally; nay,
almost always, for a very,- very long time,
and used to make me either do what I should
cc IF YOU DON'T, I'LL TELL." 49
not have done, or leave undone what I
should have done. So that often and often
when I went to church on Sundays, and
heard the clergyman in his prayer, say in
the name of us all, that we had left undone
the things we should have done, and that we
had done the things which we should not
have done, and that there was no health in
us; I used to feel that somehow this applied
very much to me, though I did not quite
understand what was meant by there being
" no health in us." Neither, perhaps, do you;
but some one will tell you that, too, as well
as the Epistle in- which St. Paul speaks of
having been a child.
Well, notwithstanding that I knew I was
wrong, 'still I did not try to be right. The
thing that I did which was wrong was so
very pleasant, that I preferred going on in
the wrong way, and putting up with the
consequences, to altering my conduct, and
thus escaping the reproaches of my con-
science, and the misery and alarm which I
50 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
always experienced when any of the boys,
my school-fellows, used to say to me (as
they contrived to do very often, indeed,)
"Bayley" (my name is Bayley), "Bayley,
if you don't, 'll tell"-alid when I used to
appear (as I really was) very, very miserable,
and used to say: Oh, please, please Hadow,
or Staniforth, or Griffith, don't tell," they
used to laugh at me, and call me Miss Bay-
ley, the unfortunate Miss Bayley. (Perhaps
some grown-up person about you, will tell
you the story of the unfortunate Miss Bay-
ley,-I don't quite remember it myself,-and
then you will see how tormented I was).
Of course, as you have already guessed, my
little friend, there was something which I
was in the habit of doing, or, at any rate,
which I had at some time or other done,
which the boys knew about, and which, if
they told against me, would cause me to be
very severely scolded and punished. Just
so. But I did not fear the scolding and the
punishment nearly so much as I feared being
" IF YOU DON'T, I'LL TELL 5"
unable afterwards to do the same thing
again. In fact, the boys used to torment
me very much more by their threats and
taunts, and especially by calling me Miss
Bayley (which I, as a boy, considered a very
great insult), than the masters by any punish-
ment could possibly have done. A day
or two of disgrace, a few cuts of the cane on
my hands, and an imposition," which would
have led to my being kept in after school
hours,-and there would have been an end
of it. I shouldn't have minded it a bit;
the boys knew that well enough. I was
occasionally kept in for other offences, occa-
sionally caned, occasionally obliged to stand
upon a form, occasionally made to write out
one hundred, or five hundred lines of
"Ovid" or "Virgil," by way of imposi-
tion, and I didn't much care about any of
these things, for in a few days I very gene-
rally began again.
No. I tell you once more, what alarmed
me in the prospect of the boys' telling was,
52 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
that if I were once found out, I should never
again have the chance of indulging in the
I think I must tell you that I was not a
rich child; that is, that my mother, who was
a widow, had but a very, very small income,
and could not, without great economy and
self-denial, have kept me at school; for she
had several other children, and she was very
anxious to do every thing she could for each
and all of us. Now, it had happened, about
a year and a half before the time when If
you don't, Ill tell," began to have any ter-
rors for me, that there came to our school
a "new boy;" his name was Henderson,
Such a beautiful boy he was; so grandly
dressed, such a lovely gold watch, and a
ring, and a chain he had; such a crack
whip, with a silver top to it; such a box to
hold his books and things; such lots of
money in his pockets, we used .to think he
was a prince in disguise, or a young lord at
c IF YOU DON T, I'LL TELL.
least. I shall not easily forget the first
morning of Henderson's appearing in class.
The boys couldn't attend to their lessons,
for looking at him. Fancy ou0 surprise, to
find that Henderson, with all his fine clothes,
and fine looks, and fine jewels, and his lots
of money, could scarcely read fit to be heard.
It was a Monday morning, I remember, and
we had Bible reading and lessons always on
The boys' admiration for Henderson was
a little checked. As the day passed on, and
Henderson made his first appearance, now
in one class, now in another, he showed
himself as deficient in other things as in
reading.. His writing was little better than
fpot-hooks." In geography, I remember
he said that England was the capital of
France, that the Thames was in Scotland,
and that Dublin was an island in the Medi-
terranean. In arithmetic, he was equally
ignorant, and told Mr. Acworth, the usher,
that nine times seven made a hundred and
54 SHOT 8TOBIES POB SHORT o PEOPLE.
one, and that if you took six from nine you
had five left. Next day, all the admiration
which the boys had felt and shown for Hen-
derson was changed; and, although many
of us, and indeed most of us, were glad
enough to let Henderson stand treat at
Mrs. Doughy, the pie-woman's, still, I am
ashamed to say, we used to laugh at him
behind his. back, and make very ill-natured
remarks at him before his' face. But he
was very good-tempered, very generous, very
warm-hearted, very forgiving, and, before
long, became a general favourite. There
was one of the boys, and one only, whom
Henderson seemed to care very much for,
and that was myself, Bayley. I can't tell
how he happened to take a liking for me;
but he did so. It is true, we not unfre-
quently happened to stand or sit near one
another in class (for ours was almost a
private school; I mean, that there were very
few boys, never more-than fifteen, the teach-
ing was very general, and so we were not
SIF YOU DON, I'LL TELL.~
divided into very many classes, as is the case
in large schools); and so, as I say, Hen-
derson and I often stood or sat beside each
other, and I was enabled to? prompt him
now and then, when it was his turn to answer
a question, and by this little help he often
escaped being sent down to the bottom of
the class. Still, as it was not an uncommon
practice amongst us to help one another in
this way, I dare say other boys prompted
him too, when he chanced to be near them.
However, whatever may have bedh the cause
of it, Henderson liked me, and preferred me
to all the rest of his school-fellows. Thus,
as love begets or creates love, and as Hen-
derson was really a nice boy-what we used
to call a "jolly chap "-why, I got to be
fond of him in return. It happened one
day, that we were playing at cricket.
Henderson did not excel at cricket, any
more than he did at arithmetic or geography,
or indeed at anything that required atten-
tion and thought, and I may add, study; for
56 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
even in mere games, few persons can expect
to excel without application. Well, so Hen-.
derson was bowling, and through careless-
ness, or clumsiness, or accident, he managed
to throw the ball in such a manner that it
hit me on my left hand, and broke my little
finger. The pain I endured for a moment
was so excruciating, that I fell down in a
fainting fit, and when I was taken home
(for I was only a day boarder, and used to
go home to my mother every evening), the
doctor gave it as his opinion that I must
submit to amputation. My dear mother
was naturally very unwilling that her little
boy should lose even so unimportant a mem-
ber as a little finger, and entreated that an
attempt should be made to set the bone,
which was dreadfully shattered. However.
though the doctor yielded at the time, the
next morning he declared that the finger
must come off, or he could not be answerable
for the consequences. And so I lost the
little finger of my left hand, and I am
"1 IF YOU DON'T, I'LL TELL."
now so used to it, that I don't miss it
Now, I dare say you are wondering what
Henderson felt at what he had done. His
grief was intense. I do think he was more
disturbed about it than even my dear mother
was; and I am sure he was much more
unhappy than I was.
He got leave to run over and see me every
day, (he, you know, was a boarder at school,
his parents lived a great many miles away
from Jigglesworth) and he never came with-
out bringing me some little present-cakes,
fruit, pugar plums, books, drawings, every
thing which he could think of, to amuse me,
or to help me to spend the period of my
I was not very well at the time of the
accident, and that, together with a cold
which I took from standing on the damp
grass, whilst playing at. cricket, made me
really very ill, and I was for some time
obliged to keep my bed. One day Hender-
58 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
son brought me a beautiful box of paints,
such a magnificent thing, which his mother
had sent him to give to me-and you may
suppose how grateful I was; but in the
nidst of all this, I was distressed to find
from Henderson that he was frequently being
punished; that he never knew his lessons,
and was often kept in.
One day he said to me: Oh, Bayley, I
don't know what I shall do, Mr. Hewitt
(that was our master's name) says that if I
don't bring up my exercise better to-
morrow, he won't let me come and see you,
and I can't do it, I'm sure I can't; besides,
what's the use, I hate it all so, and Latin
The thought of my not seeing Henderson
the next day was quite an* unexpected blow
to me. I saw at once how much I loved
him, and so I said:
Bring me your exercise when you come
this evening, and I will do it for you."
And so he dic--and the exercise was done
j I fi
---- --- -- ~
Bailey dolin H!ezlerems Elxelcsll. P. 59.
Sheet Stories.-If you don't, I'Tl tell.
"IF YOU DON'T, I'LL TELL."
-it was not faultless, of course; but still it
was so much better than what Henderson
could have done, that Mr. Hewitt praised
him for it; but not, however, without saying :
"I expect some of the boys helped you last
night; but as all the boys said "No," it
passed off very well.
Every day.Henderson came to see me, and
every day I did his exercise for him, and
helped him to learn his lessons.
I don't think, at the time, that either of us
thought we were doing wrong. In fact, I
felt that I was only paying a debt of grati-
tude; fir although Henderson was the cause
of my illness and suffering in some sense,
still it was an accident, and all his kindness
and generosity to me since, was not acciden-
tally, but purposely and lovingly exercised in
my behalf. In a few weeks I was at school
The very first day of my return, Hender-
son couldn't say his lessons, and had not
done his exercise. I had spent the day
60 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
before in the country, and had not seen
him. In the evening, I of course was at
home, and Henderson was not allowed to
come and see me. Of course not, there was
Next day Henderson's exercise was in-
famously done, and he was kept in. This
was more than I could bear. I managed to
get kept in too; partly because as I was
thinking of some thing else, I did not say
my lessons well, and being angry and vexed
about Henderson (for we had planned a
walk together in the afternoon, being Wed-
nesday and a half holiday), I answered Mr.
Hewitt rather rudely, when he scolded me,
and so I got kept in too; at which I said:
"I don't care," and was condemned to the
same punishment for the following Satur-
day. The usher, or second-master (Mr.
Acworth), used to stay with the boys who
were kept in; but as he probably thought
the arrangement rather hard upon him, he
took very little notice of us, and provided we
"IF YOU DON'T, I'L TELL." 61
did not make much noise, so as.to interfere
with his reading, or wake him when he fell
asleep, which he often did, we might do any
thing we liked. So I managed to do Hen-
deron's exercise for him, and he wrote'it*
out in his own queer pot-hook hand of
writing, and we also contrived a plan by
which I could do this for him every day. I
must now tell you that I was not a favourite
with the boys. I was clever, and could learn
my lessons without much trouble, and in
little time. The master often spoke of me
as a pattern to the other boys. So that they
were jealous and envious, and disliked me on
that account. Then I was conceited and
self-willed, and ill-tempered, and always
wanted every thing my own way. And of
course the other boys did not like that. Then
I was poor, I very seldom had any pocket-
money. Most of the other boys were rich,
and when they were spending sixpences and
shillings at a time in sweets and things,
or were getting up subscriptions for foot-
62 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE,
ball or cricket-ball, and giving their money
freely, I was obliged to give but a threepenny'
piece-and not always that-and they dis-
liked me on that account, and called me a
sneak-and if I said I couldn't afford more,
they used to call me the unfortunate Miss
Bayley. Henderson, on the other hand,
never interfered with their vanity, for he was
never first in class, was never praised by
Mr. Hewitt, and certainly never held up as
an example to them.
He was, moreover, the most amiable boy
you can fancy, so good-tempered, so unsel-
fish, so obliging. He had always lots of
money, and was ready to subscribe to all
sorts of things (which he never claimed to
have any share, in), and would buy pounds
of sweets and bushels of apples and oranges,
and give them away. The boys were anxious
to spite me-they were quite as anxious to
favour Henderson. The affection between
him and myself did not annoy them, because
I had been disagreeable to them before, and
SIF YOU DON'T, I'LL TELL."
so it made no change in me; and as for
JIenderson, he treated us all alike in public,
and it was only in private that his love for
me showed itself.
At length our "commerce" in the matter
of Henderson's exercises was found out by
one of the boys-they all knew it. They
would have told readily enough if they could
have punished me only, but there was Hen-
derson, who would suffer too, and who would
resent it to them. The consequence was,
that I was made to help them all, to give
them construes" to write out their impo-
sitions, and correct their sums; and, what was
worse, to join them in very many other things
which I knew to be sinful; and all because this
threat was always held over me, "If you
don't, I'll tell."
"But the saddest thing remains to be told.
Henderson's papa was in India. When he
came home he sent for his son. He was so
vexed to find him so ignorant, and so sur-
prised that he had learnt so little in more
64 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
than two years, that he took Henderqpn
away from Mr. Hewitt, and sent him to ar
clergyman in Germany, where he was kept
very strictly, and where he had little time to
write to me, nor indeed much inclination, for
his idleness never forsook him. I don't know
where he is at this moment: but the remem-
brance of all this is very useful to me now. It
tells me that any friendship which is founded
upon the smallest departure from truth and
honesty, is an evil friendship, that must sooner
or later end in the confusion of all parties
concerned. Both Henderson and I were con-
stantly acting and telling untruths-our inti-
macy was based upon an untruth; and I am
quite sure that there must be something
very wrong indeed in the daily life of any
little boy or girl whom any other little boy
or girl'could frighten, by saying-" If you
don't, I'll tell."
'"PLEASE, MAMMA, IT WASN'T
"PLEASE, MAMMA, IT WASN'T
" PLEASE, mamma, it wasn't my fault, it.
"Anna, Anna," said Mrs. Carlton, hold-
ing up her finger, and looking earnestly but
sadly at her little girl, going to blame some
one else, my darling, as usual !"
"No, mamma, indeed I wasn't. I was
going to blame this thing round my neck, it
caught in the feather of my pen, and then
the ink went all over my copy-book and
aunt Nellie's work. I'm sure it wasn't my
fault, mamma; now was it; how could I
help it ?"
"I'm afraid my little girl has a bad
68 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
memory," said Anna's mamma, very
Me mamma! a bad memory ?"
Yes, my dear-you --"
And Mrs. -Carlton's eyes were turned very
fixedly on little Anna, generally, and on the
' thing she wore round her neck,' particularly.
Anna looked at her mamma. Aunt Nellie,
who had left the room just as the accident
had happened, that she might endeavour to
get the ink-stains out of the embroidery at
which she was working, came back and
quietly resumed her seat and her employ-
ment. She looked neither at her sister,
Mrs. Carlton, nor at her little niece. There
was a great silence in the little back draw-
ing-room at Elm Cottage.
So very, very, very still.
Before long, however, Anna, who was
looking down at her two hands, which were,
as usual, in a dreadful state of ink, re-
membered certain things which aunt Nellie
had often said to her about these same inky
"PLEASE, MAMMA, IT WASN'T MY FAULT." 69
fingers, and began rubbing them together,
in the very vain attempt to make them clean.
Whether it was owing to the fact that Anna
was holding her head down, or that the con-
trast to her white pinafore ltfecame more
striking as her face came nearer to it, can-
not perhaps be ascertained just now; but
one thing is quite certain, little Anna's face
grew to such a very, very bright red, that
the crimsom cloth on the table looked quite
dim beside it.
And all this time Anna did not say any-
thing; Mrs. Carlton did not say anything;
and aunt Nellie did not say anything. It
was winter-time, and evening-time, and the
fire was burning very brightly, and Myrtle,
the cat, lay on the hearth-rug, purring away
in a state of great happiness.
And Myrtle's purring vas the only sound
that broke the stillness, except, perhaps, the
regular gentle, buzz of aunt Nellie's needle,
as it went in and out, in and out, of aunt
Nellie's work. Presently, as little Anna re-
70 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
mained still with her head down, and her two
inky hands rubbing one another in her lap,
it seemed as though there were more likeli-
hood of her getting them clean, for first
one drop of water, and then another drop of
water fell down upon them, and still Anna
rubbed away silently, at her little inky
"Where do you think these little drops of
water came from?".
Anna was crying.
Still Mrs. Carlton looked at her, and did
not say anything. Still Anna continued
crying quietly, and her head bent lower and
lower. Presently she got down from her
chair and left the room. Shall we follow
Anna, or shall we stay in with Mrs. Carlton
and her sister, Miss Farquharson ?
Let us follow Anna. She is creeping
slowly up stairs; and on her way she meets
the housemaid, Margaret, and Anna thinks
she will turn round and go down again, for
she does not like Margaret to see her crying;
PLEASEB, MAMMA, IT WASN'T MY FAULT." 71
but she has not time to escape before Mar-
What's the matter, Miss Anna,-what
are you crying about ?"
"Nothing," replies Anna ," get away,
Margaret, and don't teaze me."
And Anna drew herself away pettishly
from the touch of Margaret's hand, which
had been laid very gently on the little girl's
"I'm sure I didn't want to teaze you,
Miss Anna,", said Margaret, and went
Anna continued her way up stairs. When
she got to the landing place she met the
uurse with her little brother Freddy, whom
she was taking down stairs to wish his
mamma and auntie good night.
"Nanna, Nanna," said little Freddy,
"dood night;" and he bent down from his
nurse's arms to kiss his sister; but Anna
turned away, and wouldn't look at her little
72 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
"Oh, for shame, Miss Anna," said the
nurse, "not to wish your little brother good
night;" and she put out her hand and took
Anna's arm gently to bring her back, but
Anna snatched herself away, and walked
sullenly into her own little room, and nurse
went down with little Freddy.
When Anna was alone, she sat down on a
little stool, and robbed aloud, and her face
grew redder than ever; and as she rubbed
her eyes with her dirty, inky fingers, you
may fancy what a strange state her cheeks
were in before very long; but still Anna
Now, we will leave her, and go down stairs
into the back drawing-room. Margaret, the
housemaid, has been putting fresh coals on
the fire, and sweeping the hearth, and
making every thing look bright and clean;
and the cat, who did not at all like being
disturbed, and who stretched her legs, and
her tail, and set up her back in a most curi-
ous manner, seems to have recovered herself,
'PLEASE, MAMMA, IT WASN'T MY FAULT." 73
and is now busy washing her face; and the
nurse and little Freddy are just leaving the
room; little Freddy has kissed his mamma
and Dauntie Nell, and wished them dood
night," and as the door is opened for them
to go upstairs again, there is a sound from
above as of some one sobbing aloud.
"Anna kying, mamma," said little Freddy;
and then nurse took him upstairs to bed, and
Mrs. Carlton and Miss Farquharson were
"I am so sorry about poor Anna," began
And so am I," said Anna's mamma.
-They were neither of them angry with
Anna, you see, they were both very sorry;
and yet Anna was often a very naughty girl,
a disobedient girl; she was passionate too,
and did not always tell the truth. Her
greatest failing wt her readiness to excuse
herself when she had done wrong. It never
occurred to her to look for the cause of any
accident which happened to her, of any
74 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
clumsiness of which she was guilty, in her-
self; she always believed itswas in some one
else. Anna did not look at home. $he was
naturally thoughtless, careless, and awkward.
These were failings which God had seen fit
to permit her to be born with. But when
these were pointed out to her, and experience
showed her that she had them, it became
her duty, her privilege, with the help of
God's grace, to struggle against these fail-
ings, to watch, and to pray; but Anna did
not watch, she seldom prayed, and, her
struggles were generally directed towards
ridding herself of the responsibility of her
own foolish acts, by throwing the blame
upon people, or things, which had really
nothing to do with them.
Two days before, Anna had had a present
of a very pretty little writing-desk, very
beautifully and completely fitted up with
paper, pens, inkstand, pen-knife, pencil, enve-
lopes, stamps, and, in 'fact, every thing that
could possibly belong to a writing-desk; of
PLEASE, MAMMA, IT WASN'T MY FAULT." 75
course, there was a lock and key to this
desk, and Anna had managed before the daX
was over to lose the key twice. Once, she
was sure that Freddy had taken it off the
table, and thrown it away; though it after-
wards appeared that Freddy had not been in
the room where it was, and the key was
found in her doll's pocket, where Anna her-
self had put it, when, in her delight at her
new possession, she had told that very pretty,
but inanimate creature, the doll, that she
should have a desk one day, and a key like
her own to keep in her pocket; and the
second time Anna knew that she must have
left it in the lock itself; but she. was sure
that Margaret had moved the desk, and the
key had dropped out, whereas she had carried
it up into her own little room herself, and
put it down on the washhand-stand, where
it was found when she went to bed. You
see what a careless little thing Anna was;
and I dare say, you see that it was not her
carelessness that she was so much to be
76 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
blamed for, but her readiness to make other
people responsible for her own stupidity.
Well, the day after the desk had been given
to her, and the key, as you know, had been
lost twice, Anna asked her mamma to let
her have a bit of ribbon to fasten her key
to, so that she might wear it round her
neck, and be less likely to lose it. And so
a nice piece of dark-blue narrow ribbon was
found in aunt Nellie's work-box-(you were
almost sure to find any thing and every thing
you wanted in aunt Nellie's work-box)-
and Anna felt so comfortable when she re-
flected that she couldn't lose her key now,
that she forgot that even the very means by
which she had secured the key would, with
her careless propensities, require a special
degree of watchfulness, lest it should be the
occasion of some fresh blunder. She had
scarcely had the key hanging securely from
her neck more than an hour, when, in
nursing one of the cat's little tabby kittens,
she amused herself with twisting the blue
"PLEASE, MAMMA, IT WASN'T MY FAULT." 77
ribbon round and round the poor little crea-
ture's neck, and then being suddenly called
away, she started up, and threw the kitten
from her, but instead of falling to the
ground, the poor little beast hung suspended
by the neck, and was nearly choked; while
Anna, in her clumsy-because angry and
impatient-efforts to shake the poor little
thing off, got severely scratched for her pains;
whereupon, she gave poor kitty a tremendous
slap, and called it 'a horrid little thing.'
Aunt Nellie, who saw the conclusion of this
tragedy, but not the beginning, was told that
"the kitten had got itself entangled in my
nice blue ribbon, and nearly broke it off my
neck." And so aunt Nellie advised the key
to be worn inside Anna's dress, and then
there would not be the risk of a repetition
of the same accident.
Anna said, "Yes, aunt;" but added, It
wasn't my fault.",
In the course of the afternoon, Anna
dropped her thimble, which rolled away
78 SORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
under the fender, and in stooping to take it
up, of course Anna had to get quite close
to the poker and tongs, and as she rose up,
there was a tremendous clatter; and the
poker, which had been hooked into the blue
ribbon, was lifted up, and being too heavy
for the strength of a thin and narrow piece
of silk, already weakened by the encounter
with the kitten, the ribbon broke; down
went the poker, with no little noise, on to
the tongs, and the key slipping off went
under the grate.
Anna, Anna! Mrs. Carlton had said,
"what are you about? You have disturbed
aunt Nellie, who was trying to get to sleep
because of her headache."
"It wasn't my fault, mamma," said
Anna; "how could I help the poker catch-
ing into my ribbon and breaking it ? Nasty,
great, clumsy, heavy thing !"
"Were you wearing your key inside your
frock, dear?" asked aunt Nellie, very
Little Annie's Excuse.
Short Stories.--Please, Mamma, it was'nt my fault.
PLEASE, MAMMA, IT WASN T MY FAULT."' 79
Anna did not answer, and there was no
more said. She looked sorry, and she was
sorry, for she was fond of her aunt Nellie,
and did not like the thought of having dis-
And Mrs. Carlton mended the ribbon,
and put it round Anna's neck, and the key
inside the frock. And all went on well
enough till the next evening, when Anna
had her lesson% to do, and, of course, got
out her desk, and began to write her exer-
"The key is outside again, Anna," said
After a time,-
"Yes, mamma," answered Anna; "but
I've just done my writing, and then I shall
put my things away, and put it back. It's
such a fuss pulling it out each time.".
And then a very few minutes after, and
Anna caught the feather end of 'her pen in
the blue ribbon; she gave it a sudden jerk,
and away flew the ink across the table, and
80 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
all over aunt Nellie's embroidery, as
you read at the beginning of this little
.Now, you understand what Mrs. Carlton
meant by saying, "I'm afraid my little girl
has a bad memory."
Perhaps you think that if Anna had a
bad memory she could not help that. Of
course not. But, then, if a little girl has a
bad memory, and finds that she forgets to
do things in a very little while after she has
been desired to do them, it seems to me that
she oughtfto do what she is told directly,
and then the bad memory would have
nothing to do with the matter. But Anna
had not a bad memory, for she remembered
perfectly when she began to cry, and to feel
How many-many-many-times she had
got herself into trouble by disobedience.
When she had disobeyed, and had seen the
evil of her disobedience, she was hurt, and
sorry, and angry; and yet that did not
"PLEASE, MAMMA, IT WASN'T MY FAULT." 81
always make matters better; in fact, it
often made them worse.
When Anna left the drawing-room she
was really sorry and ashamed; but as she
went up-stairs she grew angry, because she
met Margaret, and she was annoyed that
Margaret should see her in disgrace; and
then she grew still more angry when she
met nurse and little Freddy; and when,
later still, nurse came in to her and told
her she was a naughty girl, Anna lost her
temper completely, and, snatching the key
from her neck, threw it violently on the floor.
About a quarter of an hour after this,
Anna was sitting moodily on one end of her
bed, the door was open, and Mrs. Carlton
came gently in, and said:
"Anna, my dear, go down stairs and put
your desk and books away, and then come
back to me."
Anna went down. When she had put
everything into her desk she felt for the
key. It was not to be found.
82 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
"There!" she said, aunt Nellie, my
key is gone again."
And then suddenly she remembered her
burst of anger a.little while before; and
there upstairs was her mamma, and she
would find the key and the ribbon on the
floor; and now Anna was once again sub-
dued, and she went back to her mother.
There was MCs. Carlton with the blue ribbon
in her hand.
"Oh, mamma,' cried Anna, "I am so
very sorry. Do punish me, mamma. I'll
bear any punishment, indeed I will; take
my desk away from me, mamma, and forgive
Anna, my darling," said Mrs. Carlton,
"I can forgive you without punishing you
by depriving you of your desk. If you are
truly sorry for your misbehaviour, and ac-
knowledge it, I do forgive you. Remember
to, watch and pray that you may not give
way to the habit of saying when you do
wrong: 'It is not my fault.' God says:
PLEASE, MAMMA, IT WASN'T MY FAULT." 83
SIf we say that we have no sin, we deceive
ourselves, and the truth is not in us; but if
we confess our sins, He is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from
all unrighteousness.' I do not ask you to
make sacrifice of your little desk, I only
wish you to be obedient, for God says that
' obedience is better than sacrifice.' "
"NOBODY LOVES ME."
"NOBODY LOVES ME."
ELIZABsiT CARNEGIE was an only child. She
was a spoilt child. Her father and mother
had both died when their little daughter was
only three years old. She then was taken by
her grandmamma, and lived with her and
three maiden aunts, and an uncle and his
wife, all of whom dwelt together in a very
beautiful place, on the banks of the river
Severn, in Gloucestershire. Her uncle had
no children, and so Elizabeth became a source
of great interest, amusement, and affection
to the whole family living at Severnturn.
The place had been called Severnturn, be-
cause it was situate just at a point where the
88 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
river turns rather suddenly, not far from
Elizabeth was a pretty child, and an intel-
ligent, quick, clever child, and everybody
noticed her, and praised her, and admired
her; and thus it came about that Elizabeth
was a spoilt child; and therefore, not a
The Carnegies were very wealthy people,
and little Elizabeth was an heiress to a great
deal of money, and several houses, and
much landed property, which had been her
father's, besides the chance of inheriting
Severnturn, should her uncle die without
Elizabeth knew all this.. For although
her grandmamma and aunts did not speak
to her on the subject, the servants did, and
"Miss Elizabeth" was a very important 1
person with them. Elizabeth had a nurse
to attend upon her until she was seven years
of age, and then it was thought desirable to
have a governess for the little lady; and
" NOBODY LOVES ME."
accordingly, the family at Severnturn made
all possible inquiries, both personally and
by letter, with the object of securing the
services of a lady, in every way qualified.
A Miss Henslowe was the one selected out
S of seventeen, whose claims had been duly
considered; and I believe Miss Henslowe
deserved the preference which was given
Miss Henslowe came, and Elizabeth waa
duly introduced to her, and governess and
pupil were at first mutually pleased with one
another. The first floor of one of the wings
at Severnturn was duly fitted up for the
reception of Miss Henslowe, and her little
charge. A pretty room for the governess, a
pretty.room, rather smaller, for the little
girl; and a very large, comfortable, bright,
-cheerful school-room, with books, and maps,
and globes, and a beautiful piano, and every-
thing that could be considered likely to be
needed for the due education of a future
heiress. Bruce, the nurse was retained, as
90 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
school-room maid, and her duties were
limited to this part of the house, and to
attendance upon Miss Henslowe and Eliza-
Now it would seem natural, I imagine,
that the advent of a governess would be a
signal for the beginning of study; but truth
compels me to say that it was not so. Nor
was Miss Henslowe at all to blame for this.
Grandpaamma was kind and considerate
enough to suggest, that on the first day of
her arrival, Miss Henslowe should be left to
herself, and have time to rest, and to unpack
her boxes, and get all in "order." Then
the next day being Friday, it seemed scarcely
worth while, again pleaded grandmamma, to
begin work on a Friday. The aunts laughed
at this, and joked their mamma about being
superstitious (some foolish people think
Friday an unlucky day), but grandmamma
carried the point i and so an excursion round
the neighbourhood was agreed upon, and put
into execution; and Miss Ifenslowe thought
c NOBODY LOVES ME."
al the family most kind and amiable, which
they certainly were; and wrote home to her
mother, saying, that she thought she should
be very happy. Next day, Saturday, Miss
Henslowe suggested at breakfast, that they
should begin work in earnest; but here, the
uncle remarked, that Saturday had always
been a holiday in his younger days, and
ought to be a holiday now, or he should
begin to think he had outlived his time.
Miss Henslowe smiled; but, of course, as
every one else at table seemed to agree with
uncle, what could Miss Henslowe do but
smile ? Sunday, of course, was not a work-
ing-day; and one of the aunts told Miss
Henslowe privately, that she hoped she was
not fse of those who deemed it right to
ipake children learn Bible lessons and hymns
on Sunday. And when Miss Henslowe
replied, that she thought a child might be
brought to consider a lesson out of God's
own book a privilege, the aunt did not seem
to agree with her, and the matter dropped,
92 SHORT STORIES FOR SHORT PEOPLE.
Monday came, and there was no excuse for
setting aside the "beginning." In fact,
grandmamma was the first to suggest it at
breakfast time; and the three maiden aunts,
and the uncle, and his wife, all echoed the
suggestion. And immediately after break-
fast,Miss Henslowe said to Elizabeth: "Now,
my dear," and held out her hand to take
her little pupil with her into the school-
room. Imagine the governess's surprise,
when Elizabeth, instead of coming at once,
turned to her grandmamma, and said some-
thing about, "oh please, don't;" and then
finding that grandmamma didn't give her a
favourable hearing, she tried each of her
three maiden aunts in succession; and
then Mrs. Frank, her uncle's wife, and
then her uncle himself; but they were
all firm, in fact, stern with her. And
so Elizabeth set up a good cry, and went
out with Miss Henslowe, sobbing most
"Nobody loves me," she said, when she
"NOBODY LOVES ME.
could manage to speak: No-no-no-bod-
bod-body lo-o-o-o-ves me, no-bod-bod-
Miss Henslowe tried to comfort her, by
during her that it was all for her good;
that they all did love her very much, and
that it was just because of this love, that
they wished her to study, and to learn,
and to become, as she grew up, a clever
I don't want to learn anything," said
Elizabeth, in the same broken tone of voice:
"I don't want to be useful, Im an heiress."
Miss Henslowe tried a great many ways
to induce Elizabeth to compose herself; but
all in vain, and even when Miss Henslowe
went near her and offered to caress her, and
endeavoured to coax her and to persuade
her, Elizabeth only sobbed and cried the
more, and repeated that "No-no-no-bod-
bod-body" loved her. Miss Henslowe took
up her work and thought she would let Eli-
sabeth alohe, aud that when, the little girl
94 SHORT STORIES FOK SHORT PEOPLE.
had grown tired of crying, then she would
try again. In time, of course, Elizabeth did
stop, and then she sat moodily on a little
stool near one of the windows gazing vacantly
into the park. She also put her thumb into
her mouth and sucked it, like a baby. Miss
Henslowe thought she might try Elizabeth
again now; but this time the little girl would
not speak. Then Miss Henslowe rose and
went across to her, and tried her once more.
At first, Elizabeth seemed to yield, but when
Miss Henslowe took her by the hand and
wished to lead her across the room, Eliza.
beth showed symptoms of returning tears,
and Miss Henslowe was just going to give
the matter up again, when the door opened,
and grandmamma came in, saying that the
bailiff's little daughter, a child about the
same age as Elizabeth, had fallen down and
broken her arm; ard that as it was fine just
then, and might not be so later, Miss Hens.
lowe and Elizabeth had, perhaps, better take
a walk in the direction of the bailiff's house,
NOBODY LOVES ME."
And ask how little Fanny was. Elizabeth
:was out of temper, and accordingly, although
two hours ago she would have hailed the
plan with delight, as a means of escape from
going into the school-room, she now resented
it, -because it came from her grandmamma,
who had insisted upon her beginning to learn
something. Grandmamma asked Miss Hens-
lowe if Elizabeth had been good, and seemed
surprised to learn that she had done nothing
at .all, upon which she said to Miss Hens-
lowe: "You must make her." Elizabeth
:heard her grandmamma say this, and she
-said to herself: "Nobody loves me, I'm
sure; not even grandmamma." Miss Hens-
lowe rang for Bruce, and the thought of
b6ing dressed to go out, and wearing her
pretty new hat, with the feather on one side,
comforted her a little, and so she went,-on
down the avenue a good way, and Miss
Henslowe, who was a kind and very well-
informed young lady, thought she would
endeavour to turn the walk to some account,