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 The story of an apple






Title: The story of an apple
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00003519/00001
 Material Information
Title: The story of an apple
Physical Description: 134 p., 4 leaves of plates : ill. ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Campbell, Pamela
Gilbert, John, 1817-1897 ( Illustrator )
B. Bradley & Co ( Binder )
Ticknor, Reed, and Fields ( Publisher )
Thurston, Torry, and Emerson ( Printer )
Baker, Smith & Andrew ( Engraver )
Publisher: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields
Place of Publication: Boston
Manufacturer: Thurston, Torry, and Emerson
Publication Date: 1853
 Subjects
Subject: Apples -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Generosity -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Poverty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Nature -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1853   ( rbbin )
B. Bradley & Co -- Binders' tickets (Binding) -- 1853   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1853
Genre: Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Binders' tickets (Binding)   ( rbbin )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
 Notes
General Note: Attributed to Lady Pamela Campbell in NUC pre-1956, v. 92, p. 277.
General Note: Bound in red rib cloth; stamped in blind and gold.
General Note: Illustrations engraved by Baker, Smith & Andrew.
General Note: "Illustrated by John Gilbert."
Funding: Brittle Books Program
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00003519
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002223651
oclc - 15581088
notis - ALG3902
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    The story of an apple
        Page 5
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Full Text








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THE


STORY OF AN APPLE.


ILLUSTRI.'ED BY


J~O:E1:


GILBERT.


BOSTON:


TICKNOR, REED, AND


FIELDS.


M DCCC LIII.


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THURSTOS, TORIRY, AND M IRRSON, PRINTERS.










THE


STORY OF AN APPLE.



IN one of the loveliest parts of Sussex, a
gentleman had planted extensive orchards.
It was in one of these, pleasantly situated
on the outskirts of the beautiful beech-
woods of St. Leohard's Forest, sloping
towards the South Downs, that I first saw
the light and sipped the dew upon my
parent tree, sheltered by the tall hedge
that enclosed his grounds. This tree was
one of the oldest in the neighborhood, and
from the excellence of its fruit, had,
probably, originally suggested to my mas-
ter the idea of enlarging his orchards. A
light, good soil, a southern aspect, and a
1







THE STORY OF


pure air, had certainly contributed to this
peculiar excellence; but if a little honest
pride may be allowed me, I may add, that
our family has been well known in most
parts of England, our tree being one of
the true old Ribstone Pippins, first natu-
ralized in Yorkshire, having come over,
like many other fine old families, at the
time of the Conquest, introduced by
William the Conqueror from Normandy,
and by same of his people planted near
one of the old abbeys which he had be-
stowed on his grasping followers. Perhaps
such benefits ai innocent endowments
of trees, plants, flowers, and even arts, are
among the extenuations of war; wars
which appear to me to execute among
men just such mischief and ravage as
hurricanes and storms cause among our
vegetable tribes. Many a winged seedc
and useful berry have been drifted into
bare and desdiate places by these painful
providence, and have grown up pleasant
to the eye and good for food. Ours was








AN APPLE.


an old family, and though I well know we
are not so far-famed as the ancient Eve
Apple, the nearly extinct Golden Pippins,
besides other noble stocks, I may be par-
doned if I remember that we rank in that
middle state of society, where, perhaps,
most respectability, usefulness, moderation,
and true happiness may be found.
I have heard wise men quote a wise
prayer, -
Give me neither poverty nor. riches.'

and I have assented to if truth, when I
have looked upon the miserable acidity
of the poor crab that grew in the hedge
that enclosed our rich orchard, and then
again upon the sickly delicacy and over-
weening pride of a golden pippin, within
a few trees of us on the other side, ahd
also on a peach that required a wall for
its support, in the adjoining garden, being
a stranger, and accustomed to warmer1
skies. This peach, indeed, had some ex-
cuse for its delicacy, whilst the golden


r







THE STORY OF


pippin could allege no such apology; it is
an apple which our good master, in my
opinion, ever thought too much of. Con-
sidering the pains he took with this tree,
' the last of his race,' as he would term it,
a poor return he had for his trouble;
small, puny, and few, were the apples; but
I was surprised to find that scarcity, or
what is called rarity, does very much en-
hance the value men set upon such things
as they possess.
There are few things more delightful
among the marny pleasant objects that
surroufid men in this fair world, than an
orchard in the spring, when the sweet -air
is laden with the breath of its blossoms,
passing the odors of Eden. My attention
was first drawn to this upon a bright
April morning, as I listened to the conver-
sation of Reginald, my master's eldest son,
a sea-faring boy, as he lay beneath our old
gnarled tree, then bowing its brown and
rugged branches, wreathed with delicate
pink and white blossoms; his sister Alice








AN APPLE.


sat with his head on her lap, and as they
talked, a light breeze blew a snowy shower
of the tender petals all over the two chil-
dren's faces. He was telling the girl
wonders of the- marvellous sights he had
seen in.the far seas.
'The sweetness of these blossoms, Al-
ice, puts me so in mind of the Spice
Islands. We began to smell them in the
ship just at dawn, and then we knew we
must be near land; and I thought of
home at the sound of Land; and this
very grass bank; this very orchard some-
how came into my mind.'
The boy had, perhaps, never noticed the
fragrance of these common flowers floating
around him, and far had he sailed before
he found out how many simple pleasures
are about us every day, and every hour,
and how little we notice them because they
are so easily attained.
My master had five children, and it was
amongst them as they played about in the







THE STORY OF


orchard that I made most of my, observa-
tions upon men and manners.
It diverted me to watch their delight in
the early days when primroses and daisies
were scarce, and only just beginning to
peep out here and there, among the fresh
green blades of grass. They would al-
most quarrel for them; three or four of
the children would run to get first, till
they were fit to die for want of breath,
tumbling over each other, snatching at the
flowers, and nearly crushing them, in their
eagerness for the first violet, or the first
crocus! Presently, when the sun brought
out his sweet family' of flowers in abun-
dance, the grass being set with primroses
like stars in the heavens for multitude,
and I expected the children would be ten-
fold more delighted, I saw these strange
creatures walk over them almost without
-notice, or if they did pick a whole lapful of
them in their busy idleness, suddenly they
wearied of them, cast them about, and left
them to wither, without a thought. I felt


10







AN APPLE.


quite sorry, and a regretful fellow-feeling
would come over me at the sight;- not
but what I had sense enough to know,
flowers must needs fade like everything
else, but it seemed sad they should be
thrown away without any use being made
of them.
My master's family consisted of his
wife, the kind and gentle mother of these
children, and the friend ofevery one. The
eldest boy had been made a sailor, rather
against his father's wish; but by reason
of his being a great favorite with his un-
cle, my master's only brother, who was an
Admiral, and had no children of his own,
it was thought an advantage to the lad,
and I heard the people say, it went very
hard with my mistress to part with her
son; but as he was called Reginald after
his uncle, there was no more to be said
against it ; moreover, the boy himself
seemed inclined to the sea. He was my
favorite amongst them, which is curious
enough, that I, being so stationary in my


11







THE STORY OF


-7
habits naturally, should most love a crea-
ture, who had seen so much, and sailed so
far. I believe it does fall out so some-
times, that affection goes by contrast; but
indeed he was of a joyous and kindly
nature, besides being such a traveller.
Alice and Margaret, his sisters, were good
and pleasant girls twins, very like each
other inpern, but differently disposed in
their inclinations ; Alice had great steadi-
ness, Margaret had livelier spirits. The
next in age was Frank, the little farmer,
as they called him; he was only six years
old, so strong, and hearty, and indepen-
dent, you would have fancied him older, as
he trudged about in his Holland smock-
frock all day long, out in the orchard, or
the fields, now driving the geese to the
stubbles, now seeing the cattle foddered,
or the horses taken to water, swinging on
the high five-barred gates, riding the
plough-horses as they came from the fur-
rows, with the loosened traces dragging
after them; and it was Alice alone who


12







AN APPLE.


could coax and lure him in to his book
and slate: many a good hour's play, she
gave up to entice him to his duty, but no
one else had so much patience with Frank.
Bertha, the youngest of the five, was a
fair-haired little girl, who was the delight
of them all. The rest of the family con-
sisted of-old Nurse Hinton, Stephen the
boy, and the cross cook -, ut for the
scolding of this cook, o0s would have
been a very quiet family. The orchard
being close to the garden on one side, and
the road to the farm-yard running directly
through it, I saw a great deal of them all.
Nurse Hinton and the children spent most
of the day among us; they had an arbor
in the corner which my master had made
for them, and furnished it with benches
and a table; we had bee-hives on the op-
posite side, sheltered from the bleak north.
I suppose I have seen as much of real
country life as any apple going. I cannot
help owning, however, that even in the
days of my bloom, the gairish day was


13








THE STORY OF


often too much for me; first there came
the loud voice of the cook as she
called up the cow-boy at sunrise, and
then the routing the poor cows out, then
her working at the pump as if she
would work its handle out of its socket,
then her loud calling to the poultry till she
set them all in a cackle, then her driving
the dogs o and her lecturing Stephen
all the time LWh such asperity as made
me shake on my bough; and though my
mistress said this was the cleverest cook
she ever had, I often wished her further,
for indeed she was most noisy.
The bees next began their humming,
and work, and buzzing very stirring,
restless insects; and after those, the birds
commenced their everlasting perching, and
hopping, and pecking: they often made
me wonder at their ceaseless fluttering, and
what pleasure they could find in it I can-
not conceive. TVhen they began to build
their nests, however, I found great delight
in watching them. On the highest branch,


14








AN A-PPLE.


-just above my head, a pair of chaffinches
laid the first. twig of a nest, which, for
compactness, neatness, warmth, and beauty,
when it was completed, few birds could
have excelled; and they so cunningly in-
terlaced the wool and hair with moss, and
grey lichens, and liverworts, which in
their subtlety they had pinched off our
own tree, that it was hard* iscern the
nest, so nearly did it resem1 the weather-
stained bark. It was well for them that
nature had taught them thus to conceal
themselves, for I am sorry to say, the
chief pastime in which Stephen, the
groom-boy, and cow-herd delighted, was
the stealing of birds' nests, and their ex-
ample set both Reginald and Frank to do
the like; though these boys, being better
taught by their mother, contented them-
selves with discovering and looking at the
poor frightened birds, overmuch for their
comfort, indeed, as I knew by the terror
my friends the chaffinches expressed when
Reginald helped master Frank to climb up


15







THE STORY OF


our tree to have a peep at the brood, who,
foolish birds gaped for food, little knowing
their danger; for it was a hard matter to
prevent Frank from squeezing and finger-
ing the unfledged panting creatures, the
poor old birds all the while flying and
wheeling overhead, screaming piteously.
At last the boy came down, and the pa-
rents pacifi he brood with a worm or
two, and all still in that'quarter.
I could not but reflect on this occasion
that my condition had some advantages,
though deprived of lively pleasures -
pleasures of the will, and of change of
place. I am sure I have been quite
shocked to see dogs hunt a cat in a most
painful manner, till as the animal had
darted up the tree, I actually felt her
tremble and thrill with terror at her ene-
my, who yelped and barked after her at
the foot of the tree; then again I have
seen this very cat (Nurse Hinton's cat,
that the children called Miss Ribs among
themselves), this soft, grey, sleek, well-


16







AN APPLE.


fed cat, I have seen her hunt a helpless,
harmless field-mouse that lived in our
hedge-bank, in a very cruel manner, and
worse still, I beheld her tear a blackbird
to pieces, with peculiar ferocity, and gnaw
and mumble it as she devoured it, in a way
that made me quiver to my core.
Birds, too, have some propensities to de-
struction; robins, particulc, pick up
their worms, and deliberate y devour them ;
I turned quite sick to see the reptiles twirl-
ing and writhing round their bills. I was
thankful my nature was not carnivorous,
though I made allowance for these instincts
when I saw fowls feeding upon the cater-
pillars, so noxious to our own leaves, and
to the cabbages that grew hard by, in regu-
lar and goodly rows. I took the liberty of
thus suggesting to my friends, the Early
Yorks, the superior advantages of our pla-
cid destinies, for it pained me to hear them
murmuring at the monotony and tameness
of this existence; planted in good soil, well
trenched, carefully earthed up, what had


17








THE STORY OF


they to complain of in this unthankful
strain? I found discontent to be the source
of so many. evils, that I began to reflect
upon it as the one besetting evil, which ap-
peared in a hundred different forms. Not
far from this pampered cabbage, I found
the crab-tree full of bitterness, because he
was not attended to, left to grow as he list-
ed in the h.dge, no spade loosening the
ground at his feet, though his glowing
blossom was full of beauty and abundance.
It would have ill become me to hint to him
the true reason of this neglect, and that
his sour unprofitable fruit was the cause of
it, as such a remark might increase his bit-
terness. I strove to cultivate peace among
them all, and chiefly in myself the spirit
of contentment. We have all our uses,
and I remarked to the crab-tree, it was no
mean use to delight the eye, to add to the
beauty of this goodly world, to shelter the
fowls of heaven ; nay, does not his fruit,
harsh and crude as it appears, furnish as
much nourishment and satisfaction in its


18








AN APPLE.


season to the merry squirrel of the forest,
to the sleek mice, and such 'small deer,'
as the far-famed pines afford to the rich ?
This is a long digression, for which my
friends must excuse me; my sedentary
habits incline me to meditation; though
the body is fixed to. the branch, the ima-
gination will ramble. I have not describ-
ed half the noises which disturbed my
peace. Nurse Hinton's singing nonsense
to Miss Bertha was tiresome enough. It
seems a custom, but what pleasure it
could afford the child, is hard to tell.
When cook had finished her evening clat-
ter of milking, pumping water, feeding
poultry, and scolding Stephen, I felt to re-
vive, for by that time the cool dews began
to fall, and my happiest hours approached;
I no longer felt the languor brought on me
by the heat of the sun, and the clamor of
life and labor. Nurse Hinton took her
children home, cook retired to her supper
and kitchen, the boys whistled on their
way home, the cocks and hens leisurely


.. 19-








THE STORY OF


disposed themselves to roost, hopping one
by one to their perches, and, not without
jostling and altercation, settled to rest; the
cow in her stall gave a quiet low, as she
turned to the calf she had been absent
from all day, and I could hear the hoof of
the tired plough-horse, as he turned lazily
round, and struck the manger in his stable.
These few peaceful sounds enhanced the
growing stillness of the night, and inclined
me to repose. The daisies and the clover
were closed. It seemed to me, as the round
moon rose, as if men left their world to our
peculiar enjoyment; all the sweet odors
of the fir and pine-trees, plants and flow-
ers, came forth in greater richness, and,
sweetest of the sweet, the kindly well-
named May-blossom content to cheer the
cottage and ornament the park. These
were very happy days of youthful joy among
all our tribes; the pale-flowered cherry,
the fairer pear, and broad medlar, all drop-
ped their petals in the moonlight, when
the air was so still you might hear the light


20








AN APPLE.


leaf fall, or the sleepy twitter of the chaf-
finches as they overlaid each other in their
nest. On such nights as these, my master
and mistress, with the elder children, would
walk among us, and scarcely break the
silence I loved so well; tired with the la-
bor or the sports of the day, and sobered
by the hour, they lingered long, watching
the stars, and talking of a heaven beyond
those far stars, another world, where
those that left this world might go, and
where they all hoped to meet.
I thought as they sauntered home, they
seemed wiser, and better, and holier, for
pondering on that far world, than I had
ever seen them in the broad noon-day:
when left to myself, I reflected on what I
had heard them talk about; and as the
moon shone mildly round, casting black
flickering shadows round us, and the dews
dropt softly from their leaves, I did wonder
how men could fancy a world lovelier than
ours! These quiet hours were both pleas-
ant and profitable to me: in the night sea-
2


21







22 THE STORY OF

son there seemed nothing to prevent our
looking up to the starry heavens, receiving
the cool dew-drops upon our leaves, and
being thankful and content.
I experienced on the whole a most favor-
able season. TVe had a few rainy days,
and some morning frosts, which were sharp
enough to nip us more than was pleas-
ant, and caused several of us to drop off
before the time, and then the hail showers
knocked us about a good deal; I was
sorry to observe the golden pippins suffer
cruelly in that rough hour, whilst we kept
our boughs in good condition. Few events
marked the summer, our growth was so
gradual. The family were away on a visit
to the Admiral; his wife, Lady Jemima,
having no children, found the country dull,
except when she had my master and mis-
tress staying with her the best part of the
time.
At last they all returned, as it is a busy
time in orchards, when autumn comes, and
my master had to look after us as well as








AN APPLE.


the rest of his family; and I was so glad
to have the children basking amongst us
again. Our old tree was actually weighed
down with glowing fruit, and though the
weather was lovely, with misty pleasant
mornings, and bright sunny days after
them, and bracing exhilarating breezes, that
invited to exercise ; yet at times my heart
felt sad as I looked down on the multitude
of us hanging on frail boughs, and thought
of our probable fate. My hour must soon
come, when I should be torn from our
parent tree, and meet the common destiny
of the Apples of this. earth. I felt this
deeply, notwithstanding the ruddy color
on my smooth cheek; yet might not that
treacherous beauty tempt the hand of man,
and hasten the fatal hour I so much
dreaded?
It was on a fine clear night, while the
hunter's moon shone in its greatest splendor,
and as I hung pondering upon the future,
I heard a stealthy step, and then some
whispering voices outside the hedge, and


23








THE STORY OF


presently an ill-looking man, accompanied
by two boys, forced their way through a
thin part of the hedge. They brought a
sack and a ladder: conceive my horror
when I saw them hastily proceed to strip
the neighboring trees and fill their sack
with apples One of the savages actually
made me shudder as I heard him munch-
ing an apple with his broad white teeth,
shining in the moonlight, the greedy
monster, with the greatest coolness !
They next stripped my master's golden
pippin tree; every apple fell before them.
Now comes our turn, thought I, as I saw
their thievish eyes glaring upon our noble
clusters, and the detestable hand of the rob-
ber was actually upon the trunk of our old
tree, when I heard the voice of Reginald
hallooing the dogs, and gallantly com-
ing to the rescue : we were saved The
man seized his sack, and, followed by the
boys, dashed through the gap, leaving the
ladder behind them; my master fired some
shots; there was a good deal of excitement


24








AlF APPLE. 25

altogether. They soon perceived that all
my master's favorite golden pippins were
gone. Sorry enough he was, more so than
was quite reasonable, considering we had
been spared to him. But it is ever thus;
he thought more of what was gone than
he prized what was left. Stephen was left
to -pace round the orchard, and keep watch,
and when peace was restored, and the dogs
had snuffed about the traces of the thieves,
and yelped, and returned to their- kennel, I
heard the measured footsteps of our guard
crunching in the crisp frozen grass till day-
light relieved him from his watch. This
even hastened the apple-gathering.
The orchard for the next few days pre-
sented a scene of great bustle; men, wo-
men and children with baskets were hard
at work. Tree after tree was stripped of
its fair load. Reginald and Frank, with
faces as red as my own, were foremost in
the business; the former, used to climbing
masts, was always first at the top of the
tree, and I saw on that day the goodness








THE STORY OF


of his heart. There was a poor woman
among the pickers that had a child badly
burned, and I saw him give her his golden
half-guinea, which the Admiral had sent
him, and he and Alice prevailed on their
mother to set her up with a stall and bas-
ket, to sell apples in the street.
Still, amidst this tale of woe, anxiety
about my own fortunes would intrude. I
felt the crisis of my fate approach; soon,
too soon, they drew near; the dear children
were the busiest among the busy. Regi-
nald was soon reclining himself in triumph
on our topmost bough which was safe
enough for one of his sea-faring habits.
They actively stripped our honored parent-
tree, and though I felt the agitation of such
a moment, and the impending separation,
yet I considered how much better I had
fared, thus gently plucked from the bough
by the accustomed hands of those I loved,
and laid in the basket with my own kin-
dred to fulfil the future duties reserved for
me by fate, instead of being rudely torn in


26








AN APPLE.


the dead of night from my branch by the
ruthless hand of rapine, and ignominiously
thrust into the wallet of pickpockets and
pilfering knaves, like the wretched golden
pippins. These reflections, and indeed all
selfish considerations, were suddenly inter-
rupted by a loud scream.
Alas poor Frank, with his usual rash-
ness, had, unobserved by any one, climbed
upon a high and unsafe branch whilst his
sisters were filling the panniers; he had
spied the deserted nest of my old friends
the chaffinches, and overreaching himself
in his attempt to seize it, missed his hold,
and fell upon his head, cutting his fore-
head upon the ladder that lay beneath.
My poor mistress had seen his fall, and in
an instant was at the spot. I never shall
forget the pain I saw pass over her face, as
she lifted the stunned child up, his yellow
hair dabbled in blood, his eyes closed, his
arm hanging helplessly down : but she was
very quiet and composed, and making an
effort, she sent Stephen for my master,


27








THE STORY OF


and desiring the terrified little girls to re-
main where they were and not to make a
noise, she, Reginald, and Nurse Hinton,
gently carried poor Frank into-the house.
Mary, after staying awhile, could bear the
suspense no longer, and ran crying home
after the rest; the apple gatherers went
into the yard; how was all changed around !
Presently I noticed, lying on the grass,
with her face- buried in her hands, poor
little Alice, sobbing as if her heart would
break: her mother's desire had fixed her
to the spot. When her straining eyes saw
the door close behind the sad procession,
and she could see her dear Frank no more,
she lay moaning on the ground -' He's
killed, he will die, why did I lose sight of
him ? W~hy did I let go his hand ? Oh!
Frank, dear little Frank,' cried she, as
she saw his straw hat, which had dropped
in his fall, it is all my fault what shall
I do ? it is my fault! what will become of
me '
I scarcely know how long she remained


28







AN APPLE.


in this condition, brt it was nearly dark
when I heard a quick step : it was Reginald
seeking poor Alice. He brought the joy-
ful tidings that Frank was not dangerous-
ly hurt. He was shocked when he found
Alice so overcome with misery, pale, and
her face stained with tears; she had been
forgotten in the confusion, and had thus
remained under the tree for fear of vexing
her mother. But, dear Alice, why did
you stay perishing here ? you are half dead
with cold; I have been looking for you
everywhere this hour past. Come, cheer
up, Alice, he is all right now.' 'Reginald,
do you know I felt as if I had killed Frank ?
I could not stir, I was afraid of hearing he
was worse, afraid to hear he was dead;
and when the Doctor's horse trotted by so
fast up the lane, I feared he would do
something dreadful to him, and actually
stopped my ears lest I should hear him
scream. How thankful I am! tell me all
about it ; never mind my shivering and cry-
ing, I cannot stop myself.' Well, come


29







THE STORY OFo


along home, Alice,' said Reginald, 'the
Doctor says the cut on his head is nothing
to signify; but, Alice,' added he gravely,
' poor Frank's arm is broken.' As he
uttered this he leant against the tree and
burst out crying.
It was Alice's turn now to be the com-
forter. It was too true the poor boy's arm
was broken. He had borne the setting
well, and was quiet; time must do the
rest. It was a great trial to the little fel-
low. I could not help seeing how in an
affectionate family, if one is hurt, all suffer.
The nursery shutters were closed, Nurse
Hinton did not sing Miss Bertha to sleep
this night; all wore anxious faces, the
scolding cook even was quiet and went
softly, unless for the noise she made hush-
ing every one else. The dogs hung their
ears, and seemed to seek Frank, for we were
all fond of him, in spite of his pranks:
he was good-hearted and kind, would give
away the thing he liked best, if he thought
it would please, and could never bear to


30







AN APPLE. 31

see any one in trouble. I have seen him
take worms and beetles off the path, for
fear any one should tread on them, which
good feeling he very much owed to his
mother, and to Nurse Hinton's common
saying, It is easy to take away life, a baby
may do it; but who can give life 1 '
It was the most miserable night I ever
spent. When I saw Reginald and Alice
slowly return home, and darkness close
round me, torn from my first home, my
own bough, my heart felt sad and chill,
and my spirits sank ; but with the morn-
ing came more cheerful thoughts, and just
as the rose-colored blush of the dawn ush-
ered in the golden sun, the cook and Ste-
phen came out, and I was cheered by hear-
ing them say, dear Frank was doing well,
had slept, and was not in pain. They soon
lifted the basket I lay in, and carried me
into the house, that house whose walls
I had seen ever since I had hung on my
branch. Strange and wonderful did every-
thing appear to me. I was carried to the






THE STORY OF


store-room, taken carefully out, and put
upon a neat shelf, with a number of my
companions, and I considered myself for-
tunate in having plenty of light and air.
The store-room was in the most central
situation, very near the parlor, the lesson-
room, and the kitchen, and not far from
the nursery; which gave me opportunities
few apples have enjoyed, of making obser-
vations on the ways and customs of men.
Having arranged us in great order and
regularity, the cook, whom I now almost
loved because she had brought me into civ-
ilized society, shut the door, double-locked
it, and left me to recover the hurry of the
last few days. On looking round me, after
a short interval of repose, I found myself
extremely well pleased, in a neat, well-
arranged store-room.
I could trace the orderly hand of my
good mistress, who was noted for regulari-
ty. Rows of jars, and rows of jam-
pots, and confections, furnished the snowy
shelves, besides endless varieties of other


32






AN APPLE.


articles, such as rice, cocoa, tea, white cones
of sparkling sugar, and quantities of things
I cannot describe, and which the children
of men seem to deem necessary for their
nourishment and well-being. Here, again,
I could not but consider how dearly nature
has made mankind pay for the privileges
of activity and motion, by attaching such
troublesome conditions to their existence,
as eating their .bread by the sweat of their
brow;' while us plants, her more favored
children, she nourishes with her own
hands, by cooling dews, and kindly show-
ers. It was only when taken into the inti-
macy of this good family, that I became
fully aware of the trouble incident to their
condition. I have seen even my mistress
enter, her placid countenance loaded with
care and forethought, giving orders for the
provisions and proper preparations of food
for the day, and for the week her hus-
band's dinner, breakfast for the children,
servants' suppers, and food for distribution
among the poor, whom she never over-


33






THE STORY OF


looked; and as to the pickling, and scald-
ing, and boiling, and roasting, and clean-
ing of dishes, and washing of plates, and
scouring of pots, that went on in the kitch-
en near us, it was endless, it showed me
the rashness of my judgment, when I blam-
ed the scolding cook for her unbecoming
violence of temper. I considered myself a
very patient apple, but I own I could not
have borne one half of her trials, and the
heat of the fire, and her many responsi-
bilities, without some irritation.
Our store-room had appropriate furni-
ture, such* as scales and weights, sugar-
scoops, an instrument called a sugar-nip-
per, but which seemed more likely to nip
the fingers severely, than the sugar; pestle
and mortar, coffee-mill, wooden ladles, balls
of twine, vinegar, oil, and sauces. In one
corner there was a medicine-chest, contain-
ing simple remedies, such as my mistress
found useful among the poor sick people
about us, when sickness came among them.
Three deep drawers were full of warm


34







AN APPLE.


clothing for the poor, made up by the la-
dies in their evening leisure. These were
entrusted to my little friends, Mary and
Alice, since they had come to an age that
could be depended on. My mistress had
found that the wish to clothe the poor had
made the little girls work extremely neat-
ly, and it was a pretty pride, to my mind,
with which I saw Mary display the baby-
linen she had completed in the long win-
ter's evenings, and with what satisfaction
she would get Nurse to wash some squalid
infant, and array it in her handy-work.
The mother was scarcely more proud of the
child than Mary was of her work!
Here is another penalty in man's estate
- the clothing of their bodies ; and it is
one of the most complicated of their trou-
bles, for the minds of women and children,
nay, of men, at times, run into such unac-
countable and fantastic notions upon rai-
ment. I have been inclined to laugh some-
times, as I sat on my shelf, to hear Nurse
come to state to my mistress the things she


35






36 THE STORY OF

thought necessary for the 'proper appear-
ance of the young ladies.' Poor Nurse
being but an ignorant woman, though a
good soul, her mind ran very much on tri-
fles and follies, particularly upon caps,
bows of ribbon, and artificial flowers -
poor, mean, gaudy, stiff-looking things,
made of colored rags, paper, wire, and gum,
as nearly as I could make out: I could
scarcely forbear laughing at hearing them
called flowers at all. I think my mistress
was a good deal of my mind, and discour-
aged Nurse Hinton; but I found poor
nurse had one feeling deeper than mere love
of dress; the truth was, she was jealous
of the superior style of dress of the Admi-
ral's wife's maid.
- As she indulged in the vanity of fine
clothes considerably, she anxiously wished
her mistress to dress as well as Lady Jemi-
ma, and she herself, like Mrs. Parsons. I
was at one time very angry with Nurse, as
I thought this a mean feeling of jealousy;
but I have since learned more self-knowl-






AN APPLE.


edge : swinging giddily on a tree, I had no
time for self-examination; but now quiet-
ly laid on this shelf, and undisturbed by
the pride of youthful bloom, I can see
more rationally things as they are. I
dared not blame, though I could lament
to see, nurse looking Zaown on cook, and
thinking herself quite above her, and then
again looking up to Mrs. Parsons, the
proud housekeeper, with envy. Alas had
I not done the same by the poor crab-tree
in the hedge; I had despised it, and envied
my neighbor, the golden pippin. Nay, had
not my black heart rejoiced at the wicked
thief's taking them! --
In the deep selfishness of our nature, all
have golden pippins above them, and their
crab-tree below. Self is the evil. I was
humbled, and from that day I became a
wiser and a better apple. My retreat was
so central, I could see and hear almost all
that went on about me. I had the pleas-
ure of watching the recovery of my little
friend Frank, and I also witnessed the un-


37T







THE STORY OF


ceasing patience of Alice's love towards
him, how she bore with him, striving to
please when the weariness of pain made
it most difficult. Mary amused him when
he was better; Alice he preferred when
he was at his worst. She could 'explore
the thought, explain the asking eye,' as
I heard my mistress read out of some
book to the children. He was much
changed.
It was wonderful to see the child, who
never sat still willingly before, now stretch-
ed upon a sofa, motionless, his little face
pale but sweet, his arm bandaged and use-
less by his side, casting wistful glances at
the window when a robin or stray bird
would dash at the casement, reminding
him of that out-door world he had loved
so much. And who could feel for him
more than I did, I who had lived on the
branch ? not but what I thought, 'you,
dear child, will return to those fair woods,
you will again feel the breeze parting the
locks on that young brow, under the broad


38







AN APPLE. 39

and glorious skies, but not to me will such
blest hours return.'
I did not murmur, however, but strove
to be contented; my feelings were well ex-
pressed in some lines of poetry Alice re-
peated to her mother : -
Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day or the sweet approach of eve or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer rose,
Orflocks, or herds, or human face divine!'
Talking of poetry, another piece of a
more joyous character came strangely home
to my bosom by its truth; as little Mary
read it, I thought it quite remarkable that
men could so exactly embody what I ex-
perienced: -
'Where the bee sucks, there lurk I,
In a cowslip's bell I lie,
There I couch while owls do cry !
On the bat's back I would fly,
After summer, merrily ;
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.'
I linger over this happy time, to which
I owe the improvement of my heart and







THE STORY OF


understanding, thus living in this good
and simple family; they found such hap-
piness in living for others, in thinking of
others, in loving others more and better
than themselves, that with them I learned
the one great lesson that self is our great
enemy, and usefulness one of the chief
purposes of our existence. But I must
proceed. A friend of Reginald's, the
Widow Jones, came to our house shortly
before that period which men call Christ-
mas; she was very destitute, having three
children, one of whom was lame and
helpless. Our children brought her to
the store-room, to furnish her with such
things as she most needed.
I remember the whole scene as if it
was but yesterday it had passed; especi-
ally as, in the bustle, when Reginald came
up in high spirits and full of fun, I got a
severe blow on the side of my head, from
a heavy bunch of keys which Mary in her
confusion dashed on the dresser among
us; and a great hunt she had for these


40







AN APPLE.


same keys, my mistress asking for them
in a hurry, though there they lay just
before her, as I knew to my cost; but her
head was so full of Christmas and the
Widow Jones, that she could think of
nothing else. Reginald brought in two
baskets which I plainly saw were to be
well filled. There stood Nurse Hinton
with poor Frank in her arms; he had
begged very hard to be allowed to put
something into the widow's basket, par-
ticularly when he heard she had a lame
sick boy at home. Bertha also trotted
into the store-room after Nurse, not
understanding much of what was going
on, and contented herself with picking up
busily such little dried currants, and
raisins, and crumbs of sugar and rice, as
had dropped on the floor.
Reginald was full of jokes, and said
such amusing things as almost made me
roll off the shelf with laughing. As Alice
was all for business, and gravely employed
herself in taking out the clothes with


41







THE STORY OF


much decorum, to dole them out to the
widow, what should Reginald do, but
snatch the night-cap, full of frills, and put
it on his young head, tie a check apron
round his waist, and keep dropping
curtsies just like the widow herself, who
stood by doing the very same thing, and
wiping the tears of gratitude from her
eyes, and partly laughing too at his
tricks: then he mimicked the cook scold-
ing, and indeed in his frilled cap he had
a look of her. Frank laughed and
shouted, and the packing went on all this
while. Tea, sugar, cocoa, rice, soap, and
candles, were all neatly put into one of
the baskets, and Frank was allowed to
put a pot of jam in for the sick boy;
little Bertha added a packet of biscuits,
not without some trouble; for some time
she held the paper bag fast, intending to
carry off her prize to the nursery: after
some persuasion, such as, Will you not
give poor Widow J6nes some biscuits? '
to which she stoutly answered No! I


42






AN APPLE.


had rather keep them for myself,' Alice
had to manage the matter by giving her
one in her- hand, and one for Frank, and
a bit for puss, and so disengaged the mass
of biscuits from the clutch of her fat little
hand.
The bundle of clothes was next made
up; Reginald took off his cap and apron
and added them to the store, all the time
eating jam, and painting moustaches of
black-currant jelly upon Mary and him-
self. My foolish head was giddy with fun
and drollery. Alas! alas! how often in
the midst of such hilarity does a heavy
blow fall on us, to remind us that we are
but apples! that all is but vanity and
vexation of spirit! Another basket stood
by, ready to receive its freight: I tremble
while I relate it, Reginald, my own be-
loved Reginald, he whom I doted upon,
began filling this fatal basket, not with
insensible tea, and passive coffee, or insipid
rice, but with apples! Row after row was
taken from the shelf and stowed away; I


43







THE STORY OF


awaited my fate in breathless anxiety;
how empty and cruel now appeared his
jokes, when I saw too clearly that I must
leave this scene of peace and happiness, to
try an unknown world!
I had learnt the duty of acquiescence
and patience from my dear mistress, and
as she appeared at the door for a moment,
her placid look was not lost upon me; I
recovered my composure, for I had been
sadly ruffled, and resolved to submit with
meekness to my fate. I took, as I thought,
my last look at her gentle face, as she put
some money in the widow's hand; I look-
ed at Frank, Mary, Alice, good Nurse
Hinton. I pressed against the beloved
hand of Reginald, who little knew my
feelings as he consignedme to straw and
darkness in the basket The top was
closed upon me, and I really think for some
moments I lost all consciousness of my
sorrow in insensibility, so sudden was
the blow that had changed my joy into
mourning. The first thing that roused


44







AN APPLE.


me was feeling the basket I lay in, rudely
set upon the kitchen table, and the un-
mistakeable voice of cook advising Mrs.
Jones to take me and my companions up
to the Admiral's, where she understood
there were to be great doings at Christmas,
and where it was likely she would get a
good price for us, as apple-tarts and apple-
puddings would be wanted by the dozens.
I could not restrain the natural shud-
der that shook my frame at these ominous
words spoken so lightly; I felt my very
peel creep! yet cook was not a bad-
hearted woman on the whole; she gave
the widow a jug of soup and a large lump
of dripping for her family; so that it was
just want of thought, and a disregard of
the feelings of others, that had led her to
speak of those tarts. The widow's two
girls were warming themselves, and wait-
ing by the great kitchen-fire; they took
their share of the load my generous friends
had bestowed upon their mother with
great joy, and we sat forth towards my
4


45







THE STORY OF


future home. I bore it quietly, though
it was painful indeed to leave such a home
as this had been to me: I was even sorry
to think I should see the scolding cook
and Stephen no more.
Jane and Susan were the names of
Widow Jones's. little girls, and her boy
Johnny was a cripple. She herself was
a sickly woman, looking as if she were
half-clothed and half-starved. I began
to perceive more of the suffering, physical
suffering of the children of men, than I
had imagined could exist in this beautiful
world. Mrs. Jones was what is termed
above her situation in life, she had re-
ceived education sufficient to preserve her
from many of the vices that often attend
utter destitution. Susan, who carried
me, was a small delicate looking girl; her
attenuated little arms and thin form ap-
peared shrunken in faded, threadbare
clothes that were too short for her; her
pale face and sunken eyes told of poor, bad
food, and little of it: chilled, and nipped,


46







AN APPLE.


as if the cold blew through her; yet she
was an interesting looking child, there was
such an appearance of meek endurance
about her.
It was impossible exactly to tell the age
of these children, for suffering and priva-
tion give a painful precocity to the features
and countenance of children, while it
stunts their growth and they appear small
and yet old. Jane was a stouter, fresher
looking girl, far better able to travel
the rough road of life than her sister;
yet she too looked cold and ill-clad and
ill-fed, limping with chilblains, trying to
keep her poor swelled and purple hands
warm by tucking them under her patched
pinafore; she had an honest, open, con-
tented face, and had a deal to talk about,
and expatiated on all the good things they
were taking home. The widow stopped
to buy fuel on the road, and I could not
help comparing the scanty bag of small
coal, and the little faggot she bought and
paid so much for, to the round coal and


47






48 THE STORY OF

heavy billet that filled my late master's
grate. She next stopped at a basket-
maker's to see a blind girl of the name of
Rachel, who was her cousin, and to tell
her that she would send Jane to fetch her
up to supper this very night.
At last we arrived at a poor-looking
place; a dark and ricketty stair-case
opened upon a- narrow landing-place, and
we entered into a low-room in a dingy,
ill-repaired tenement, in which Widow
Jones lived. The windows had been
blown in, during the late high winds, and
were patched with brown paper and old
copies in various places; a curtain, as a
sort of partition, divided the room; a
small grate, bearing some proportion to
their fuel, occupied one side, but had evi-
dently been without fire on this day. In
one corner was-a press-bed, in the other
the bare cupboard; then there were a
chair or two, and a few cups; little
enough of anything but poverty, and
cold and want, stared upon me all round;







AN APPLE.


yet all was clean and orderly; cleanest of
all was a little straw pallet on which lay
poor lame Johnny.
'In bed, my boy?' anxiously inquired
the widow; 'I hope you are not in
pain? '
'No, mother, no pain, no particular
pain, only hungry and very cold; it was
the cold made me lie down when it grew
dark, and I could not see to read; but
you have been so long away. Did you
get the rent ? do say so; the woman was
here asking for the money so loud, I grew
quite afraid of her.'
Don't be afraid, my little man, it is all
right. Johnny, now will you -hear all the
good news ? I have brought home money
enough for rent, and for fire, and for food,
and you need not go to bed yet for the
cold. Thank your Father, which is in
heaven; oh! how can we thank him
enough ? said the widow.
By this time Susan had brought a light,
and Jane had set about making a fire;


49







THE STORY OF


the widow filled the kettle, drew the cur-
tain across the room, to keep the wind
from the ill-shutting door off; closed the
clumsy shutter, and then displayed the
treasures of clothes and food, fuel and
money.
Poor Johnny gazed as if it was too good
to be true, his eyes filled with tears; and
then fairly overcome, and weak from want,
he sobbed aloud: his mother laid him
gently back, but he kept hold of her with
his arm round her neck.
Mother, mother, I had prayed so hard
for some relief, for some help; was it
wrong ? was it complaining 1 it was more
for you than for us, for to-day I felt as if
you could bear no more misery; and you
were so long away, and the woman was so
angry, she frightened me; I did feel as if
it would be better if we were all dead and
in another world.'
'Do not talk any more, Johnny, till you
are stronger and better.'
By this time Susan had heated some of


50







AN APPLE.


cook's good soup; the loaf was cut, and
the widow gave Johnny some food. She
could scarcely speak: as her eyes rested
on that worn face, she felt what a hard
long day it had. been for the boy to bear
since she had closed the door upon him,
leaving him all she had to leave, a few
cold potatoes, and not much hope of any
relief.
I began now dimly to perceive why the
children of men cling so to that other
world, of which I so often heard them
talk. My mistress would strive to im-
press the reality of the other world on the
minds of her children when they were in
the full tide of enjoyment, to prevent
their being too fond of this beautiful
world, and I thought it very wise; but
when I saw this miserable cripple clinging
to this same hope, it seemed not only wise
but necessary: indeed it was the only so-
lution of what I found so hard to under-
stand, how the poor, so sorely afflicted,
could bear life at all with any patience.


51







52 THE STORY OF

Strange to say, it was in this pernicious
habitation, under its dark and smoky
rafters, where first ,I saw sickness, want
and misery, that I first envied human be-
ings. Here I first understood how glorious
was the hope of immortality, that hope
which brightened these naked walls with
divine radiance, raising the lone widow
and her stricken boy above such evils. I
felt that they were immortal, and I the
poor perishable creature of an hour.
Revived by warmth and nourishment,
they commenced arranging their plans.
Susan was sent down with the quarter's
rent to the landlady, and as I saw them
gravely count over the shillings, the few
shillings, as if it were a heavy sum, I was
quite puzzled. I had often seen Nurse
Hinton and Cook, when they were chaf-
fering with a pedlar, in the old orchard,
examine gowns and shawls, and count the
cost of pounds and shillings, and the
pedlar would declare it was as cheap as
dirt, and that he gave them the gowns and





























































- -


" Nurm't Hinton '11 Coo<> l* tlii itlh n 1-Ail1 ."


__
r
;


/ ~~~-


I:,IlrI II~1!
,. 1.


"~ 18T~






~






AN APPLE.


shawls for nothing; and yet these things
cost far more than the rent Widow Jones
was counting out so carefully. I saw the
widow fold and put aside her shawl, and
then allow the children to put on their
new frocks to see if they fitted; and nice
and comfortable they looked.
The tea-table was then prepared, the
kettle sang merrily on the fire, and away
ran Jane to fetch Cousin Rachel, the blind
girl. Johnny was lifted into his chair, and
Susan presented him with Frank's pot of
jam, and some books my mistress had sent
him, upon his promising that he would
not read till he had finished his supper.
Johnny in his trepidation of delight prom-
ised anything she pleased; but when once
he got hold of these books, these treasures,
promises and all his cares were forgotten,
and he was buried in this new world of
the mind.
All this time the widow was rustling
and fussing about, dividing a portion of all
she had received.
5


53






THE STORY OF


Jane now returned with Cousin Rachel,
a woman about twenty, who had become
blind after the small-pox; she lived next
door to the basket-maker's with whom she
worked. Rachel was wonderfully cheerful
and contented, yet she could not see the
light of day, or the beauty of nature, or
the faces of those. she loved so well.
This evening, as usual, she brought her
work; she could knit as fast as possible,
and besides she brought some withies for
her basket-work. I never met with a hap-
pier human being. When supper was
over, the widow sat down to work; Susan
cleared away the ill-matched cups, and
the glazed black-earthen tea-pot. Jane
was learning to make baskets, and it was
lucky her teacher Rachel was blind, and
could not see Jane's clumsy failures, and
awkward way of handling the willow;
she was indeed but a beginner. Johnny
read aloud to them the moving story of a
shipwreck, called the Loss of the Kent,
but the Widpw Jones was too careful of her


54







AN APPLE.


candle to allow more than a couple of hours
of such indulgence; she ingeniously stuck
a pin in the candle, just in the middle, which
was the allowance of light for the night,
and the signal when. to stop a sort of
silent curfew. Johnny looked from time
to time at the decreasing space, and when
the pin dropped out of the melting light,
he sighed, but closed the book. The
widow then bestowed a portion of the
things she had been so busy putting to-
gether, to Cousin Rachel, and prepared to
lead her home.
The poor widow now felt something of
the happiness my good mistress experi-
enced that very morning; perhaps, indeed,
in a higher degree still, for my mistress of
her abundance had given to others; the
widow gave of her poverty. But the
chain of kindness has many links; I found
that the greatest luxury of the rich was
not denied to the poor the power of do-
ing good Johnny's bed was prepared,
the press-bed was also let down, in which


55







THE STORY OF


the widow slept with her two girls, and it
nearly filled the room. When the widow
returned, I saw them kneel down and pray
to their Maker. I watched their tearful
gratitude, as they looked up to Heaven,
by the flickering light .of the fire, and I
thought how different must have been the
piercing earnestness and fervor of their
prayers and petitions the night before,
when bread had failed, and hope was well-
nigh gone: however when hope is low,
prayer is strongest.
Johnny was laid in his bed, his darling
books by his side, that he might at least
feel them the first thing in the morning;
the little girls nestled up to their mother,
and soon slept warmly under the thick
blanket Nurse Hinton had provided. It
was long before the widow could close her
eyes; she lay pondering, most likely, upon
the blessings of this day, this 8th of De-
cember, as she heard the strong winter
wind moaning, howling, and rattling at the
window, as an enemy shaking the poor


56







AN APPLE.


frail house. The children were fed, they
were warm and covered; wolfish hunger,
cold and wind, those fierce foes, could not
reach them this night. How fervently
she blessed my dear mistress, and thanked
her Maker! At last she fell asleep, and
all was still.
I now began to look about me, and be-
came aware of the extraordinary difference
there seemed to be among the habitations
of men. I remembered the sunny house
of my master, the bright windows, and
gay papers, shining grates, and thick warm
curtains of better materials than that
which covered the very bodies of these
poor shivering people;- the carpets they
walked on softer than the beds which
these lay upon, and I began to fear I had
myself even been somewhat spoiled by the
luxuries I had partaken of.
I felt chilled in the damp atmosphere
around me, as I watched the sticky green-
ish stains that seemed to creep along the
mouldy walls: the regular dropping of


57







THE STORY OF


wet that broke the silence, drop after
drop, proved how ill the damaged roof
kept out the weather; the ill-joined and
uneven floor did not appear sound enough
to sustain tb.e crazy furniture. Man here
' seemed born to sorrow,' and to nothing
else. I could not help looking with in-
terest upon Johnny sleeping so soundly,
his little bird hanging near the head of
his bed in its shabby cage, close to his
shelf of books. Susan's rose-tree and a
dusty geranium seemed well prized: one
wan blossom hung on the girl's china-
rose; how different from the ruddy clus-
ters round my mistress's casement! Yet I
was glad to think that anything could
blow in such a place, and that these poor
children had their pleasures. I felt grati-
fied that one of my fellow plants could so
far contribute its humble mite to cheer
their poverty.
This rose had blossomed to a holy pur-
pose; it had not been without its use, it
had perhaps helped to keep hope alive in


58







AN APPLE.


their hearts. Dwelling on this, I soon felt
ashamed of my impatience under my own
trials. The tardy morn ushered in a cheer-
less light, but labor knocks early at the
poor man's door, and anticipates the dawn.
It is remarkable that those who do no
work have most rest in this ill-divided
world.
The Widow Jones rose betimes, cleaned
her room; the girls soon dressed, washed
some clothes, and prepared the oatmeal
gruel for their breakfast, long before
Johnny awoke. He was tenderly and
carefully dressed, and established in his
chair. Having eaten their hasty breakfast,
they all began work; the widow drew out
her table, which was soon covered with
working materials to which the girls ap-
plied themselves; I discovered they were
making frocks for my old acquaintances,
Mary and Alice, and a fine dress for the
Admiral's wife, the Lady Jemima. I now
felt somewhat more indulgence for Nurse
Hinton's love of dress and ribbons, as it


59







THE STORY OF


gave employment to the widow and her
orphans.
Johnny had been taught to make straw
baskets and chairs, and had also learned
to carve in wood and ivory, so he had no
lack of employment: they all had much
to do before Christmas-eve.
At two o'clock, Jane was sent out for a
loaf and some milk, by way of dinner; it
caused little interruption, they must work
ofi while light lasted work, work, work
- Susan stitched till she was languid;
Jane sewed till she was dogged working
on till I began to think they grew upon
the wooden forms, scarcely allowing them-
selves time to swallow the bread they
needed. I declare, when on my bough in
the orchard, I was not so immovable,
eight hours at a time, as these poor workers
who sat there until the daylight flagged.
Jane once or twice looked wearily round to
watch if darkness would not come to their
relief; and yet they were short December
days.


60






.AN APPLE. 6 61

Slat i v ,ds, ro
asd du a; a
.. .-- .. ... .-. .
i s e f ncessit the dande
w s li ted ca dle fr n t pret
o m T. o y ap so r a
t wS i o ; e i0
hed es ekt is edentary
B ve h ap actic.1 ,9s eOto "f
a re a s
a ati c ce n a asket
str sad broug fro Bigton -
a ee- e ast ;I hi tad 1 4 11
tha mais nres pYromised to dispose off
do WO' sith eiQoouragemeit he1
wvred ha t1 g4 the1deA e ; 'a
sid e wi edto inakeM'two of a n water
kind, for my friends Alice and Mary, as
a Christmas-box. For my part, I grew
heartily weary of this monotonous work-
room, with no sound but the sewing, and
clicking of the scissors, anq rustling of
the straws. I blessed my fl.te that had
formed me a quiet apple, thlt could do
nothing.







THE STORY OF


Man is surely his own enemy; he will
not follow nature's law. She would
kindly suspend labor when night brings
rest; but man must needs invent twenty
different kinds of artificial lights, to enable
him to prolong his own toil and torment.
I had lost all patience, and supper-time
relieved me as much as it did the poor
-girls, when the Widow Jones took down
the frying-pan, and the fire burning
clearly, she sliced some potatoes and an
onion, adding some of the dripping cook
had given her. Such frying, and hissing,
and turning went on, and such a smell
came forth, as made them all hungry: the
creatures seemed wonderfully happy and
merry over this piece of cookery, served in
a dish that the tinker had mended, and
sewed with strong stitches of brass wire
- a mess and dish that I question wheth-
er the Admiral would have set before his
spaniel.
I had noticed at my master's, that the
Admiral was occasionally rather annoyed


62







AN APPLE.


if the dinner was not quite to his mind, or
the game over-roasted ; he would sit and
look vexed, and Zoe, the spaniel, would
look as if she sympathized; and my gentle
mistress, who always took such pains to
have the food abundant and good, ap-
peared fretted and annoyed, and got red in
the face, if she thought she had failed to
please the Admiral. I found all this hard
to understand, I, who had drank so
carelessly of the dews of heaven, and been
nourished with its rains, I wondered at the
anxiety of men about food. I have seen
the good Admiral pace up and down the
old orchard long enough to tire fat Zoe
the spaniel, and make her lie down pant-
ing, looking piteously up at her master
who, watch in hand, fretted and fumed
because dinner was not ready as soon as he
expected; these passages of by-gone days
were vividly recalled to my mind, by the
thankfulness and satisfaction with which
these over-worked people sat down to their
coarse roots cooked with the refuse of the


63







THE STORY OF


rich man's table; there was gratitude in-
deed in the prayer of grace they uttered;
for they had felt hunger, and but yester-
day, stood on the brink of starvation.
The petition for daily bread has a fearful
earnestness in the mouth of the poor, who,
perhaps, know not where to look for that
bread on the morrow. My humble friends
were not without the courtesies of good
manners; they pressed their mother to
eat, and helped her to the best; the brown
and mealy potato were put upon her plate,
and no one would take the last bit, declar-
ing they were quite satisfied; so that was
given to Johnny for the sparrows he
never forgot the birds. I was sorry to see
there was more work coming; it was Sat-
urday night, and besides the daily tasks,
the preparation for Sunday was added on;
clothes had to be set in order, and every-
thing and place cleaned; no peace for
dust anywhere. The very bird-cage was
scraped and sanded till the scared bird
wondered what was going to happen, and


64







AN -APPLE.


took some time to compose himself upon
his perch with any satisfaction.
They did denominate this bird a gold-
finch, but I could hardly believe it; he
looked so different from the finches I had
known in the orchard. I do not think
this dingy creature had ever seen a tree, or
would have known how to roost on it
when he did see it. It was this which
gave me a low opinion of the intellect of
birds, that could content themselves hop-
ping up and down in a cage six inches
square, scratching and scraping their bills,
and crying sweet' for twelve hours to-
gether.
The children were then thoroughly
washed, as the Widow Jones termed it;
and I dare say it was very wholesome; but
it was a severe operation. By the time
they had been well dried with a rough
towel, and a good deal of soap had got
into their eyes, their faces shone pretty
much like my own, as they stood round
the little fire in the steam of warm water






THE STORY OF


and soap-suds, whilst the widow repeated
her homely saying, that' cleanliness was
next to godliness.' I slept better this
night, for I had been wearied by the never-
ceasing work which made up these peo-
ple's day.
Sunday was great rest to me, as well as
to the Widow Jones and her children.
There was little to be done on this morn-
ing, everything having been set in order
the night before; the girls looked neat
and decent; their mother gave them a
piece of bread, and sent them to Mr. Ne-
ville's Sunday school; she then sat by
Johnny whilst he read to her, and they
talked of things, solemn things, far beyond
my poor comprehension, of a world where
the 'weary are at rest.' These poor toil-
ing souls might well sigh for such a
world!
The widow having settled Johnny by
the fire, and put the bird near him for
company, prepared to go to church, tell-
ing him that, as she was going up to the


66






- AN APPLE.


Squire's, she should not be back for some
time. I sighed to think she would see the
abode of my dear friends, the beloved or-
chard, scenes so dear to me, and she left
the room, striving to close the crazy door
after her.' I blush to say I felt deep emo-
tions of discontent angry and rebellious
feelings, that would have disgraced the
bosom of the wickedest crab, and should
never have arisen in an apple that had en-
joyed no mean advantages in planting and
nurture, not to mention the gentle school-
ing I had received from my mistress in
the example of every virtue. I, who had
preached contentment I, who had warn-
ed others: what had become of my proud
philosophy ? In my blindness, I ques-
tioned the purposes of my existence, pre-
sumptuously questioned why I- was torn
from my fair home, the sweet free orchard,
to pine and linger in a dark close basket ?
Pride was rankling within me. I scarcely
know how long I was possessed by these
bad thoughts, when I was roused by the


67






THE STORY OF


scratching of the bird, as he cleaned his
bill, and hearing the oft repeated call of
'sweet,' as he hopped upon his one small
perch. I was almost provoked by the
senseless hilarity of this poor goldfinch.
In my peevishness, I think it made me
more cross to see how little it was in
unison with the winter of my discontent,'
as I heard Reginald once call it; but when
I looked again through the wicker-bars of
my prison upon the picture before me, I
stood reproved. A struggling sunbeam
streamed in at the patched window, and
shining through the leaves of the girl's
china rose-tree, brightened even the pale
bleached rose that hung on it. Poor
Johnny, whiter than the flower, basked in
the beam, watching the motes that played in
the slanting ray, now and then feeding his
bird with a grain of hemp-seed, which the
merry little fowl took tamely from his
thin, attenuated, pale fingers, ever and
anon acknowledging his master's bounty
with his chirping. Lame, helpless, full of


68























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2--_ .....


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'I -


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I i'


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*' V *'.', ,'.


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*I roul l; i c 0i-.1I .ol vi y l:uil 1 owni t.lw iII'1ort.ic< of l i l. i

his patireice tniglit inc."


''







AN APPLE.


pain, at the very age when activity and
motion seem the law of a child's existence,
what might not that boy be' then feeling ?
Does he envy the restlessness of that
wretched bird ? No, all was cheerful
peace and holy calm in his countenance.
I felt rebuked, and while he read his
book, I spent no unprofitable time in self-
examination. I trust no murinur will ever
again arise in my mind; I will no longer
doubt but that I was made for some wise
use, and I will be content to fill my hum-
ble destiny with cheerfulness: the free
bear their sufferings willingly; it is the
slave who merely endures the pain he can-
not avoid sullenly; he does not bear it. I
could have wished Johnny had known
the importance of the lesson his patience
taught me; those who are much tried
should be much cheered by this pleasant
thought, that their patient example
teaches far better than any preacher; it
is one of the uses of adversity.
In the course of the day Mr. Neville


S.69







THE STORY OF


came in, and I found it was he who had
so well instructed Johnny where to seek
resignation; he had led him to raise his
mind above the things of this world: there
is no better sign of your mind being set
above the things of this world, than bear-
ing well with things in this world. Mr.
Neville inquired into his occupations, ap-
proved of his baskets, and particularly en-
couraged him to go on with the wood
carving, promising to bring him some of
the proper tools necessary in this art; also
to bring him rare woods, such as cedar
and sandal-wood, to carve into paper-
knives, frames, and various things of the
sort, for which they could find d ready
sale.
I saw a flush pass over the boy's face -
a look of hope.
Then, sir, you think I can do some-
thing ?' exclaimed he; you do think I
shall not hang on idle, no help to my
mother, rather indeed a sorrowful, useless
encumbrance upon her hands ?'


70






AN APPLE.


'Do not say useless, Johnny; nothing
created is useless, nothing created has not
a holy purpose, if we will but look and
see it is so, and do our part. "Those also
serve who only stand and wait; such
seems the service your Master requires of
you; see that you do it with cheerfulness,
my little man.'
After these wcrds Mr. Neville went
away, and I began to think there was no
place so low, into which some sunbeam
could not come to gladden it, such as had
brightened this poor place this day.
Evening came on, the widow and her
daughters returned, bringing Rachel; still
and quiet were their enjoyments; to those
who work hard six days, rest is in itself a
pleasure, which can scarcely be appreci-
ated by those who have never felt fatigue,
or the bondage of labor.
Cousin Rachel had the faculty, remark-
able in the blind, of remembering what she
had once heard with singular accuracy.
She repeated to Johnny almost word for


71






THE STORY OF


word what she had heard at church: the
precious seed of holy words dropped into
good hearts. He, in return, read to her,
and furnished her with thoughts for the
ensuing week, to employ her mind while
she wove baskets and knitted the homely
grey hose, which she sold: she earned
seven or eight. shillings a week, and often
remarked with honest pride what a thing
it was for a blind woman to be so inde-
pendent. Poor blind Rachel! indepen-
dence was her boast, and she the most
dependent of human creatures. Tea was
the treat of this day--tea, brought out
only on high days.
I was now getting quite reconciled to
this humble life, when, on Wednesday
night I am pretty sure it was on a
Wednesday I was dreadfully startled
by hearing the Joneses talk of carrying
the basket of apples to be sold! I turned
quite sick. What,' thought I, 'is it
always thus in this life ? No sooner have
we become accustomed to the evils of one


72






AN APPLE.


condition or of one age, no sooner have we
mastered its trials and its temptations, but
we find ourselves hurried on to other
scenes, again to suffer new trials, and
to withstand unknown temptations.' I
checked myself, however, for I had not
spent a week near Johnny's pallet without
learning some degree of resignation.
That very day a friendly voice struck
my ears; who should it be but dear old
Nurse Hinton, and better still, Reginald!
I quite felt my heart beat to see his brown
face again; he came clattering in to see
Johnny, whom Mr. Neville had mentioned
to him. It was a pleasant sight-to see two
such boys, both so good in their different
ways. Reginald brought him, as a Christ-
mas-box, a little piece of yellow money-
a trifling thing as I considered it, till I
saw the pleasure it gave Johnny. It was
ten shillings in gold, just the price of the
carving tools he wanted, and which I had
heard him sighing for as quite unattaina-
ble, many a time, on his weary couch, in


73-







THE STORY OF


the restless hours of his dreamy nights.
Johnny then offered Reginald his cedar-
wood paper-knife, upon the handle of
which he had carved a ship and anchor,
Reginald being a sailor, and hoped he ap-
proved of it. Johnny had also his two
baskets for the young ladies, which Mrs.
Hinton took charge of, and a cradle for
little Bertha's doll.
The two boys were very friend-y to-
gether, whilst Mrs. Jones gave up her
work to Nurse Hinton, who, after examin-
ing the frocks very minutely, pronounced
the work good; and that was saying a
great deal, for I seldom saw her approve
of any stitching and sewing that was
brought for her inspection. Nurse prom-
ised more work, shirts for Master iRegi-
nald who was going to sea again. She
also desired Lady Jemima's dress to be
taken home to the Admiral's: and you
may as well take the apples my mistress
gave you,' added she; I have spoken a
good word for you to Mrs. Parsons, her


74






'AN APPLE. 75

ladyship's housekeeper, and she will give
you a good price for them; indeed, it is
not everywhere she can get such apples.
I never saw better the real Ribstone;
she wants them for dessert on Christmas-
day; and mind you go early, for there is
always a bustle at the Admiral's: for my
part, I prefer our quiet home to any of
their fine places, although the house-
keepers wear silks of a morning.'
After this oration, and with a very
doubtful expression of contentment in the
preference of calico and humble home-
spun, she took up her bundle and departed.
Reginald soon followed. Another chance,
another change, I soon saw, hung over me,
and soon, too soon, alas it came upon me.
Breakfast over the next day, the girls
settled to work; Johnny with his new
tools, carved away. The widow took us
off the shelf, rubbed us all with a clean
cloth, to make us look well, replaced us
in' the basket, shut down the lid, made
herself neat, took Lady Jemima's fine dress







THE STORY OF


in a cloth on one arm, the basket on the
other. I sighed when I found'I was
leaving this peaceful roof, and above all,
patient Johnny, who was a superior crea-
ture, ripened by no common sufferings;
however, I had the, comfort of seeing in
the reviving looks of:4he little girls, that
my mistress's bounty was bringing health
and strength into this dwelling. Well did
I know the road,, as we jogged away; we
passed the church, and the neat school: I
caught a glimpse of the orchard, leafless
indeed, but still beloved. I saw the clus-
ters of china-roses still blooming in the
shelter of my mistress's casement, and
memory recalled all the dear familiar forms
- my good master in his loose coat, and
long waistcoat, and gaiters over his thick
clouted shoes; my gentle mistress, the
boys, the girls, the grey prowling tabby
cat; where were ye all, when I passed
the well-known gate ? where were ye all,
when the remorseless lid of the market-
basket closed on the head of your poor
apples, which had ripened among you all ?


76







AN APPLE.


These may appear idle fancies and feel-
ings, but I certainly had picked up a good
many scraps of poetry among the children
of men. I thought, for a moment, I heard
cook's voice rating Stephen soundly at a
distance; but that too may have been the
work of my heated imagination.
We soon reached the lodge of the Ad-
miral's house; I could feel poor Widow
Jones tremble so much that the basket
shook, as she timidly inquired if she
might be allowed to go up to the house
with the apples.
A rough reply of, 'No apples wanted;
you need not take your apples up there,
good woman.'
There was a tone of contempt and im-
pertinence towards apples in the answer
that I could not but feel, though I make
it a rule not to let the insolence of the
ignorant chafe me; I owe it to my name
and family to be quite above such a
speech, yet I might have resented it had
I been a free agent. Poor Widow Jones
4


77







THE STORY OF


knew the world better; she did not press
the apples upon the gate-keeper, or turn
away in a huff, as I was inclined to do,
but mentioning she had brought a dress
for Lady Jemima, we were forthwith ad-
mitted. Upon our entrance I could not
help thinking of the fairy tales I had
heard Reginald and Alice read, how Giant
Castles were watched; for no sooner had
we got clear of the dragon that guarded
the gate, than we encountered the Ad-
miral's monster of a huge dog; he barked
loud and deep, showed a sullen hostility
toward us, and withal a troublesome curi-
osity, snuffling and smelling at the widow,
in a way that frightened her considerably.
Having satisfied himself, I conclude, as to
her garments, and found treason upon her
person, he next applied his nose inquisi-
tively to the basket that carried me and my
fortunes. I actually felt his hot breath
blowing upon me most unpleasantly. It
was a relief to find apples were not in his
line, so we escaped. Next came my Lady


78











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-T, i2d


'x/j


iZR


1. I


r;ii




;i lij~
Ir


.' *







AN APPLE. 79

Jemima's dog, a German' spitz, and he at-
tacked the widow's heels sharply; in the
rear followed the fat spaniel Zoe, who
snarled and barked huskily; but she be-
ing both asthmatic and corpulent, soon
gave in. The widow -was going up the
hall-door steps, glad to escape the dogs,
when a tall footman, who was lounging
about the hall reading a newspaper, inter-
rupted himself in the middle of his para-
graph to inquire her business, and with
some importance motioned us away.
'To the back door- go to the back
door, can't you, mistress? Such as you
have no business here, I tell.you. Find
your way as fast as you can round to the
kitchen door; this is no place for tramp-
ers.'
What do you mean, sir, by sending
honest folks away from my door in .this
manner ?'- exclaimed a voice of thunder,
which I soon recognized.as the Admiral's;
he had come unawares into the hall. I
rather think I keep you to show people







THE STORY OF


in, and not to dive them out. Mistress
indeed And if you did consider her
business lay with the cook, you might
have shown her the way round with some
civility. I wish I had you on board of
ship, I do not doubt I could show you
your business with a vengeance. Well
ma'am,' added the hot old Amiral, 'never
you mind that puppy ; I will show you
the way myself, yes, yes, I understand,
Lady Jemima's dress, all right, recom-
mended by my brother Charles; I know
all about it, you have a lame boy. I will
buy the apples, at least Mrs. Parsons will
buy them, and I will pay you for them,'
said he, fumbling in the large liberal
pockets of his ample waistcoat; and in
the meantime here is something to help
you to keep Christmas; and as to you,
sirrah, never you dare drive decent people
from this door, do you hear ?'
Sirrah was a term of endearment, or re-
proach, very much used by the Admiral;
I never could make out what it meant.


80






SAN APPLE.


Having taken the widow round to the
other door, and flourishing his thick
walking-stick, and whistling up all his
dogs, he proceeded to take his walk before
the widow could find time to thank him.
Mr. James, the tall footman, did not seem
to mind the rating he had received; he
evidently made allowances for the warmth
of an eccentric old gentleman, who knew
so little of the usages of life, and nothing
at all of the footman's department; but
he so far complied with the Admiral's
wishes, as complacently to show the widow
along the longest stone passage that I ever
saw, till he ushered us into the house-
keeper's room, Mrs. Parsons' state-office;
after which, I have no doubt, he returned
to his Morning Post, in the hall.
The good Admiral, who was much dis-
tinguished in his profession, (he had led a
ship at the battle of the Nile, and at Tra-
falgar,) had married late in life. His wife,
Lady Jemima, was suitable to him in point
of age, being no longer very young; of a







THE STORY OF


very good family, she had not much un-
derstanding, but was kind-hearted and
extremely- well-bred; indeed I have heard
it remarked that without a kind heart it
is very difficult to be really well-bred.
They had no children, and Lady Jemima
not having much to do, fell into delicate
health. She found that nursing herself
was better than no occupation at all, -
it filled up the time when the Admiral
was at sea, it took her occasionally to
Bath, or the sea-side, it enabled her to
dispense with doing anything she did not
like, nor did it materially interfere to
prevent her sharing in any amusement
that came in her way; she thus gave
herself a good deal up to the indulgence
of delicate health. Being rather indolent,
and now a confirmed invalid, she relin-
quished the entire management of her
house, her dress, and family, to Mrs. Par-
sons, the housekeeper, and lady's-maid,
and purse-bearer; like Hecate, of ancient
fable, she bore threefold office, and ruled,


82






AN APPLE 83

and knew she ruled, and showed she
ruled, and had not her humor most,'--
had not her humor at all, when she
obeyed. It was in the awful presence of
this great power, that poor Widow Jones
now stood in some trepidation. Mrs.
Parsons ruled all but the Admiral; his
occasional voyages broke her sway; she
had to begin it all over again when he
returned from sea.
She was a high woman, no doubt, and
had her faults; but she was a woman of
principle as far as I could know. Widow
Jones told her errand, and was conde-
scendingly told she might wait. I could
not help .peeping through the basket to
look at Mrs. Parsons, housekeeper,
lady's-maid, plenipotentiary, her of the
silk gown. Her voice sounded strange
and loud, so different from my mistress's,
and from the plaintive subdued tone of
Mrs. Jones, who seemed afraid of offend-
ing the very air she breathed by speaking
before this great woman; yet, again, her






84 THE STORY OF

voice was not so shrill as old cross cook's,
nor so thin and busy as Nurse Hinton's.
It was a voice of pomp and power; it
bespoke the housekeeper and lady's-maid
in full; it was such as might be expected
to issue from her spreading jaw and ample
form. She was doling out damask nap-
kins to one maid, dusters to another,
tea and coffee to her of the still-room;
bunches of keys lay about, numerous as
the drawers and presses that lined the
apartment. Her dress was rich, and who
shall describe her cap ? The ornaments
were of complicated intricacy ; hard,
crisp, stiff curls of black hair were
ranged round her highly colored face;
her eyes had the appearance of black
beads ; and she had a fine large nose
besides.
After half an hour of expectation,
which gave me time thus narrowly to
scan her, Mrs. Parsons at last turned to
the widow, approved of her work so
much that she gave her more, and a set






- AN AiPPLE.


of. chair-covers to make, which was work
the children could easily accomplish; and
also agreed to buy the apples. Before I
knew where I was, we all found ourselves
rolled out upon the dresser, with very
little ceremony, and being counted over
in a business-like manner by the dozen,
which was mortifying enough; some were
consigned to airless drawers, others piled
on green china dishes. Mrs. Parsons
seemed struck by the rosy hue of my
cheek, took me up in her large hand,
looked hard at me, a gulf yawned beneath
me she dropped me into her pocket,
and all was night! Ah! fatal bloom,'
I exclaimed, fatal bloom that tempted
Mrs. Parsons' bloom of which in my
vanity and folly I had boasted so often:
how little had I dreamed it would have
brought me into such straits!
Such was the confusion of my mind at
this appalling crisis, that I lost all recol-
lection for a time. Alas insensibility
was a boon I could not long enjoy;


85






THE STORY OF


recalled to consciousness by the startling
jingle of an impatient bell, Mrs. Parsons
rose to obey the summons of her mistress,
dismissed the Widow Jones, and my re-
turning senses became painfully alive to
the miseries and trials of this my new
position. A stifling sensation of suffoca-
tion oppressed me; heat and want of air
pervaded the housekeeper's pocket. I
now, also, felt the separation from all
other apples, my own compeers, more
than I could have fancied it possible.
Those apples whose friendship I had not
half cultivated, how should I now have
prized their society! I, who had looked
down upon them as mere apples ; so
puffed up, and so engrossed had I been
with concerns of mankind, with things
far above me, the knowledge of good and
evil. Ah! what would I not now have
given for the companionship of one golden
pippin, with all its faults; nay, for the
very refuse of the uncultivated hedge -
the poor crab-apple so longed I for a


86







AN -APPLE. 87

kindred spirit who would have had some
sympathy with me, more affinity than I
could feel towards my present compan-
ions.
My reader may wish to know who were
the tenants of the pocket in which we
were fellow-prisoners. A silver thimble,
a good deal dented in, useful no doubt,
but in this instance it was an individual
of limited capacity, merely used occasion-
ally by Mrs. Parsons when she had to sew
a button on the Admiral's clothes, and a
string on my lady's slipper. A purse came
next, which I reckon, from the distension
of its sides, had a good deal in it; but it
was fast and close, so. that it lent itself
little to the interchange of words or
thoughts. A paper of needles, sharp
neighbors ; a pair of scissors, curiously
fashioned like a stork. I always remark
how mankind strive to imitate the forms
of nature in their ornaments, toys, and
devices; and clumsily enough they copy
her handiwork. I heard my mistress ob-






88 THE STORY OF

serve, the more closely you look into
nature's work, the more exquisite you find
the perfection and finish of its minutest
parts; whilst the closer you examine the
work of man, you perceive its numerous
flaws and coarse imperfection.
It required all my philosophy to bear
my present condition with patience, the
points of these odious scissors occasionally
sticking in my sides. Farther yet, there
was a piece of sealing-wax, which, how-
ever, I perceived suffered more even than
I did from the heat of Mrs. Parsons'
pocket, as I perceived it grow sensibly
flatter from the high temperature. "We
had also among us a glass seal, set in
brass, the gift of the absent Mr. Parsons,
who was coxswain on board the Admiral's
ship.
I got on pretty well with this medley,
and could have found amusement among
them, but for a paper of cloves pungent
cloves that Mrs. Parsons carried in her
pocket as a remedy for toothache; the






AN APPLE. 8


smell of this spice really depressed my
spirits, and filled me with melancholy
thoughts, for cloves are emblems of death,
among us apples. I tried to cast off these
dark thoughts, and to remember that men
die as well as apples, and that I had no
right to repine. I was altogether sad and
strange. Mrs. Parsons went up and down
stairs twenty times, settling and managing
everything and everybody from morning
till night. As she was dressing Lady
Jemima the next day, the Admiral came
in to announce that he had arranged the
party for Christmas ; and I was con-
siderably revived by hearing the names of
my good friends.
I hope you feel pretty well, my dear,
for I have asked Charles and his wife, and
all the children, and good Nurse Hinton,
to come and spend Christmas here. Par-
sons, you must see to making them all
comfortable: give poor little Frank the
south room. I have only asked the
Thompsons and all their children, and the


89






TH.E STORY. OF


Nevilles, to dine here Christmas-eve qui-
etly ; but I suppose with Charles's four
young ones, and the three Thompson
boys, and three Nevilles, we shall be able
to make it out pretty well. We must
have snap-dragon, and supper, and any
fun they like,' said the Admiral, rubbing
his hands in anticipation of a good noisy
party.
Lady Jemima, very nervous and ailing
all the morning, got almost well at the
sound of all these 'doings, and remarked
it was charmingly arranged; Mrs. Charles
would take all the trouble of the children
off her hands, she knew so well how to
manage them ; Parsons could see after
everything else. She really thought she
should not mind the fatigue of the sort
of thing, she dared say she should
enjoy it. She could rest herself and take
her nervous medicine, and nurse up all
the day before, and, with care, she might
be equal to the exertion ; and the Ad-
miral, quite satisfied, left her to finish
dressing.


90.






A- N ALE.. 91

Mrs. Parsons never rested ; the -extent
of this large substantial country-house
added to her .labor, and confused me
sadly. I never knew exactly where I
was; the number of bed-rooms, drawing-
rooms, parlors, dressing-rooms, bath-rooms,
and offices, which four housemaids were
perpetually kept to clean, astonished me:
and all for two people to live in! I re-
membered the Widow Jones in her one
room, nine feet by twelve, where four
souls besides myself and the goldfinch
lived, paying nearly four shillings a-week
for the same; and I know blind Rachel
lived in one room with a family that reck-
oned eleven in number, and I often heard
her say they managed to get on very well,
except when four of the children took the
measles. It did indeed at times appear
to me as if things were rather too un-
evenly divided in this world, particularly
houses.
Christmas-eve came at last; and a busy
woman was Mrs. Parsons that day as.






THE- STORY OF


busy as any Field-Marshal on the day of
battle among her mince pies, puddings,
jellies, creams, and cakes.-
My heart beat when I heard the wheels
of the carriage drive up, and the Admiral
stumping out to meet his brother Charles,
and my dear mistress, the children, and
Nurse Hinton, who was still obliged to
carry Frank ; his arm was in a sling.
The Admiral took him from her, for who
so gentle and tender to children, and to
the weak and sick, as the rough old Ad-
miral.? for a young child or a sick child
what would he not do ?
He had for some time been stealing
plums and cakes from his own dessert,
against this auspicious day, and stowing
them away in his huge pockets for the
children; and now having got possession
of Frank, he carried him off to show him
the stables, horses, and kennels, and dogs,
and puppies, followed by Reginald, whilst
my master found his way about the farm
and gardens.


92






AN APPLE.


Mrs. Parsons and I waited on my mis-
tress and the young ladies, and showed
them to their rooms, as Lady Jemima was
saving herself for the evening. I could
not but feel gratified at seeing Nurse
Hinton rustling about in a very good
gown; if not silk it came very near it,
so she was in a placid state of mind,
though quite determined not to evince
any surprise or approbation of the luxu-
ries in the Admiral's house before Mrs.
Parsons, lest she might fancy her unac-
customed to such profusion of wax can-
dles, and mirrors, and toilettes, things
which I knew my mistress never had in
her comfortable cottage, for she always
regulated her house with great simplicity
and moderation, according to her present
income, and not to her future expectation.
My master being a younger son, with a
numerous family, it certainly was supposed
that the Admiral, having no children,
would leave his fortune to IReginald, be-
sides handsomely providing for the rest of
8


93







THE STORY OF


them. Nurse Hinton's private opinion
upon these matters was, that her master
and his children were extremely ill-used
by these arrangements of primogeniture,
and that the Admiral somewhat unjustly
kept them out of their own, as she termed
it; and that they had a stronger claim to
his property in fact than he could urge
in his own favor: the Admiral's kindness
and affection for his brother and the chil-
dren, she reluctantly accepted as a sort of
apology for such an injury, which showed,
she fancied, some consciousness of the
fact.
Reginald returned from the stables and
began scampering all over the house,
diving into all Mrs. Parsons' drawers and
stores, helping her, he called it, but he
certainly helped himself largely to every-
thing. I wonder how she put up with
it, for on company days, the thimble told
me he had observed she had a good deal
of the bereaved tigress about her; even
on common occasions she was none of the


94







AN APPLE.


most patient: however, she loved Regi-
nald, and considered he had a lawful right
to be troublesome in his uncle's house;
he had, besides, when he returned from
his first voyage, remembered her and
brought her a gaudy Moorish scarf from
Malta, which had firmly established him
in her favor.
This day he tried her severely; twice
he mislaid her keys, and another act of
turpitude came to light. After dressing
Lady Jemima, who was quite a helpless
person, and could or would do nothing
for herself, Mrs. Parsons proceeded to
dress the dishes for dessert. The best
china was displayed; and oranges, grapes,
pears, nuts, walnuts, sweetmeats of every
description how can I tell the varieties
that lay before her ? Great was the
matching of dishes, and sorting of sizes.
I heard her, after arranging the pears, call
for the golden pippins, my old acquaint-
ances, and then she asked for the RIibstone
apples to "correspond." Alas, alas! was


95







THE STORY OF


I alone to be pent up in a frowsy pocket?
was I alone to be excluded from the
joys and honors of this social day? My
bosom swelled with disappointment, the
lifeless companions I had with me in this
detestable pocket aggravated my sufferings
by their utter insensibility. 'T is true I
was but the perishable apple of a season,
but I felt superior to them, iron, steel,
ivory, they might indeed outlast me, but
they would not outlive me, they lived not
at all, happily for them in this instance,
they could not feel as I did my anguish
showed me how greatly inferior they were
to me in their still life; and in my pas-
sionate grief I spurned them, when I
heard the sound of sharp altercation; the
very pocket I was in shook with Mrs.
Parsons' motion : Reginald had been
among the Ribstones, and had so griev-
ously thinned their ranks, that Mrs. Par-
sons despaired of forming a decent dish
out of their scattered remains!
My Ribstones my best Ribstones


96







AN APPLE.


gone, gone I do declare I have -not
twenty, nay, scarcely a dozen,' cried-Mrs.
Parsons, 'to form a pyramid Master
Reginald, master Reginald, how could
you serve me so ?'
Oh, for a voice! thought .I, 'a voice,
that I might reply to this pathetic com-
plaint, this touching appeal, and offer
myself and my poor services, and throw
myself into the breach upon this trying
occasion.'
Fortune stood my friend; as luck would
have it, Mrs. Parsons dived with her fat
hand into her pocket in search of the key
of the apple drawer. As she routed in
the dismal recesses of my dungeon, I
heard her exclaim, 'Upon my word, I
do believe here is another apple !' What
was her joy, compared to mine Let no
one, sunk in the depths of the greatest
misery, after this, despair ; the darkest
hour is ever before the dawn: what was
her joy to mine when I revisited the day!
Dazzled with the sudden blaze, and


97






THE STORY OF


bewildered with the change of fortune, I
must have fainted, had not the air revived
me. I was now put upon the very top
of the pyramid, gently laid upon bright
laurel leaves,-- fresh gathered, such leaves
as had not gladdened my poor heart since
I left the parent tree. These cool and
natural leaves saved me from pride: was
I not in danger, thus translated from the
pocket of captivity -to the- pinnacle of
happiness ? but the green leaves brought
the orchard, and the short hours of past
youth, too vividly before me, and all the
vicissitudes of the life I had experienced.
Sweet and bitter thoughts kept me hum-
ble, and grateful for my release; not im-
properly excited or giddy at this sudden
and unlooked-for elevation.
Humility spared me some subsequent
mortifications, that appeared severely felt
by the golden pippins. Poor little crea-
tures they had not had the severe but
wholesome schooling, that made me what
I am; for I observed they were much


98




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