• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Little Arthur's round table; or,...
 The widow's family; or, the new...
 The young Scotchman
 Sandanee's dream






Title: Peter Parley's tales about the widow's family
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00003539/00001
 Material Information
Title: Peter Parley's tales about the widow's family including Little Arthur's round table, The young Scotchman, &c. &c
Physical Description: 188 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. ; 13 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Goodrich, Samuel G ( Samuel Griswold ), 1793-1860
Bowyer, Richard T ( Publisher )
Sears, William John ( Printer )
Greatbach, William, b. 1802 ( Engraver )
Howard, H ( Illustrator )
Publisher: Richard T. Bowyer
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: W.J. Sears
Publication Date: [1848?]
 Subjects
Subject: Christian life -- juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Birthdays -- juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Twins -- juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Widows -- juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Kindness -- juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1848   ( local )
Bldn -- 1848
Genre: Family stories   ( local )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
 Notes
General Note: Date from holographic inscription on endpaper.
General Note: Frontispiece painted by H. Howard, and engraved by W. Greatbach.
General Note: Baldwin Library copy 3 bound with Peter Parley's tales for the chimney corner. London : Richard T. Bowyer.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00003539
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002235621
oclc - 45964682
notis - ALH6084
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
    Half Title
        Half Title
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Little Arthur's round table; or, the birth-day banquet
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
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        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
    The widow's family; or, the new village
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
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    The young Scotchman
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
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    Sandanee's dream
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
Full Text















THE


WIDOW'S


FAMILY,


lie* &IcO






































































-byW.


'xXMt3 W'Wt-c3LAc3Ms


--I I








PETER PARLEY'S TALES

ABOUT


THE


WIDOW'S


FAMILY.


INCLUDING

LITTLE ARTHUR'S ROUND TABLE,
THE YOUNG SCOTCHMAN,
&c. &c.


U rL I 8H D wb Y RICHARD T. BOwY R;
AND SOLJD AL.L OONKSKLI.KtS.




























Sftsss, irrnter, S & 4 ltvI Lane.








LITTLE ARTHUR'S ROUND TABLE;

OR, THE BIRTH-DAY BANQUET.

IT is seldom we find children so near each others
age, without either two of them being twins, as the
little family of which we are going to give some brief
account. The oldest is a hearty and rather heavy boy
who has not quite reached his seventh year: the second
is a good humoured, frank, and faithful girl of six:
the third is also a girl, but of a somewhat different cast
of mind, given to artifice and trickery, and one year
younger: and the fourth is a beautiful little boy of four
years old, too conscious, from the admiration he
receives, that he is growing up with attractions a little
above and beyond those which his sisters and brother
possess.
The day on which the incidents of our tale took
place, was the fourth anniversary of this little fellow's
B








LITTLE ARTHUR'S


birth. His fond parents had promised him that this
day should be kept as a day of mirth and festivity--
not for their family only, but for all the few families of
the little village where they resided in the chief house.
They had every convenience around the house as well
as within it for a sportive and rural celebration of the
happy season; for it was encompassed by several acres
of fine new mown grass, which the villagers called a
park, but which they rather chose to call a lawn or
pleasureground. The birth of little Arthur had taken
place on the third day of June; his birth day therefore
returned at the loveliest and liveliest period of the
whole year, when the finest foliage and flowers appeared
in every direction-when the time of the singing of
birds was come, and the voice of the turtle was heard
in the land."
As though little Arthur was to be gratified to the
full, this first of June was a much finer day than
either of the three former ones of his short life had been.
The evening preceding it was marked by a sun-set of
the most fiery red that had ever been seen, at least by
these children; and the morning was even more fine








ROUND TABLE.


than this promising evening had led them to anticipate.
They rose almost as early and quite as cheerful and
joyous as the lark. Their first proceeding was to run
half dressed into the bed room of their dear mamma,
to receive her blessing, and listen to the recital of a
hymn and prayer which she had composed for the
birth morning of her little Arthur. Thisexercise being
over she opened a box that had stood concealed under
her toilet, and took from it a new birth day hat, sent
by her brother from London for his favourite nephew;
but received too late for the child to see it or know of
it on the preceding evening.
This only surviving uncle of these children was
remarkably generous and affectionate; but not quite so
discreet as their more prudent parents could have wish-
ed. They as well as their little ones had reason to thank
him for numerous proofs of kindness and liberality:
but they often regretted that he chose for their children
gay and gaudy presents, in preference to such as would
have been much more useful as well as more modest.
Not that he ever thought of doing the slightest injury
to the morals or manners of his young favourites-of








LITTLE ARTHUR'S


making them vain rather than virtuous; but he was
not a man of taste-he had certain strange notions of
beauty, which rendered him as indifferent to what was
simple and natural as to what was fashionable. ie
was, moreover, somewhat of a recluse, fond of reading,
and remembering, and reciting ancient tales, and of
reviving ancient customs-at least of grafting ancient
upon modern ones.
His birth day present to little Arthur arose from
this whimsical propensity. At first it was thought
that he had sent his beloved nephew a large circular
hat, to preserve his little lovely face from being scorched
by the summer sun; but on this supposition it appeared
rather strange that it was not larger, and made to wear
sufficiently low for such a considerate purpose. The
mystery was explained by two documents found in the
crown of the hat, and which Arthur's mamma had not
discovered till they fell out on its being placed on the
little fellow's head. The first was the bill of the hat,
put in no doubt by the maker without the uncle's
knowledge, and which described the article as


" LITTLE ARTIIUK'S ROUND TABL--. 5s '








ROUND TABLI.


The other was a short letter from the uncle to Arthur
himself, and which his brother picked up and read by
his mamma's desire as follows-

My sweet little four years-
Which you will be by the time you receive this;
when the round table now sent for your pretty head
will be tried on, and your lively little heart will dance
for joy, because the great king Arthur was obliged to
place his ugly table on the ground to feast his knights
upon, and you are able to wear yours aloft in the air,
with a fine feather at the top of it waved by every
breath of your birth-day wind !
I should like to see you to-morrow acting as a little
king amidst your subjects, with a table instead of a
crown on your head; but I cannot leave London just
before Midsummer. When I am down in August we
can keep your birth-day over again.

Think of your affectionate uncle,
And remember to your dear papa
And mamma and the rest-
London, M.ay 31. CALEB ARTHUR KONINGSMARK."








LITTLE ARTHUR'S


Nothing but Mr. Koningsmark, not even the hatter
himself, would have thought of giving the hat this
ancient and fanciful name; but, as he had done so,
there was no appealing from his authority: as be had
ordered it to be thus described in the bill, and thus
named by all who should speak or write about it, the
odd appellation was retained so long as Arthur was
able to wear the hat. The present was even preserved
as a piece of antiquity much longer than any ordinary
hat would have been. Years after the little fellow could
get it on his head, it was hung up in a closet in his
room for the inspection of the curious, and never was
known by any other name, than that which the uncle
had first given to it-Little Arthur's round table.
The children bore off the table hat in triumph from
their mamma's chamber to a little room, opening on
the garden, which was generally used to shelter them
from sudden rain when playing on the lawn, and now
was set apart for a special purpose, and called the birth-
day dressing room. Thither a large looking-glass had
been placed for the children's use, and there they now
resorted to see Arthur try the round table on his pretty








ROUND TABLE.


head. Some of the playful remarks of the rest on this
occasion may amuse children of a larger growth.
The younger and more cunning sister, who had stolen
a feather from the hat and placed it in her own cap,
looked with her usual archness in Arthur's face and
called him the table bearer-telling him to hold himself
and his burden up right, and not toss his little head
so much to the left in the pride of his new office and
advancing age J
His other sister fell on her knees in a perfect enthuo
siasm of admiration, as though she would worship the
little idol of the family, rendered doubly sweet," she
said, under the nice new canopy that uncle had sent
to screen him from both sunshine and showers."
Their brother joined in the delight and wonder thus
expressed by the sisters. I could look at the little
prince smiling beneath his new and beautiful table,"
he said, all day long, and desire for myself no greater
pleasure; but I am anxious for others' sake that he
should get his robes as well as crown upon him, and
go forth as soon as possible at the head of his knights,
and make them smile with the sweetness which is so
delightful to us."








LITTLE ARTHUR'S


At that moment the first bell rang for breakfast, and
intimated that all must assemble in the arbour in a
quarter of an hour. A servant now came and completed
little Arthur's dress, while Edwin ran to the garden
to see that all things were ready, and his sisters
returned to their mamma's room to offer their affectionate
services in getting her ready for the first meal of this
gladsome day. It was spread on a round table, in the
centre of an arbour of uncommon freshness and beauty;
and thither little Arthur was soon conducted by his
sisters and their mamma. On the happy prince taking
his seat at what he called his second round table, he
looked about and asked why his dear papa was not
there, and where he was gone ?
I am returning in time both to hear and answer
your questions, my beloved boy," said his papa, from
behind the harbour. Then appearing in front and
taking the seat reserved for him, he told his children
that respect for their kind uncle had induced him to
order the long table fixing under the meadow oak, on
which the poor children of the village were to dine at
noon, to be formed into another round one, to encircle








ROUND TABLE.


the tree at a proper distance from the trunk, so as to
bring all the guests under the shade of its spreading
branches. I wonder at you, dear papa," said his
youngest daughter, and I should be glad to know the
reason why we are to breakfast, as well as the poor
children to dine, on a round table above all things ?"
And so do I wonder," said her elder brother, at
papa's wishing to have more round tables, because
he smiled when he first saw the one that uncle had
sent, and I know he thought the name a very odd
one."
Well, and I too wonder," said the other sister,
" that papa should have an old round table for us to
breakfast on, and then order a new one of the same
form for the poor children to dine on, when I know
he did not like the fancy of my uncle in sending
Arthur such a hat, and calling it by such a name !"
Papa allowed his children to wonder at this mystery,
without attempting to solve it. In their wonder, in
fact, he partly obtained his end-which he kept secret
through the day; but which was to divert their atten-
tion as much as possible from the new hat, and occasion








LITTLE ARTHUR'S


a little interesting perplexity as to which of the objects
was meant when any one spoke of.Arthur's round table.
Breakfast being finished, the children were allowed
to begin their sports, and to continue them till the
next sound of the bell should call them into thearbour
to take a little of the early fruit of the season. Some
fine strawberries, from a bed which had yielded its first
ripe productions four years ago, on the very day of
little Arthur's birth, were gathered and brought into
the arbour by his papa, who on that account had
taken the bed under his special care. As he entered,
with his welcome gathering in a new birth day basket,
he found his other children endeavouring to per-
suade Arthur to let his hat be laid aside, at least while
he was eating the fruit. They all saw that it was
rather too large, if not too heavy, to be worn through
half the day with ease. They even feared that he was
already beginning to feel it a restraint on his naturally
active movements, and to suffer some conflict between
his wish to be more at liberty, and his pride in the new
and beautiful covering.
While the fruit was eating he was persuaded to allow


10








ROUND TABLE.


the hat again to occupy the place it had occupied during
breakfast-on one of the branches of an adjoining
tree; but when the strawberries were consumed, and
the little party returned to their sports, he resolved
again to endure all the inconvenience of wearing the
new round table. His mamma promised that if he
would part with it till twelve o'clock he should have it
on again when he went to see the poor children dine.
His papa proposed that it should hang on a beautiful
rose tree, before which the little fellow had sat to
breakfast and to take his strawberries. But he was
evidently reluctant to comply with their wishes, and
the more so when he found his brothers and sisters
disposed to support him, by pleading for his continuing
to wear it as long as he could with any comfort endure
the beautiful burden. The point was about to be
settled, perhaps in that manner, when a strange occur-
rence at once relieved him from it for the whole of the
day.
A strong mother bird from an adjoining rookery
had been noticed for some time hovering at no great
distance over the children's heads, and apparently in








LITTLE ARTHUR'S


search of materials for her nest: but they little thought
that the feathers of the hat formed the chief attraction
to the bird, and therefore they took little notice either
of her motions or her noise. At last, while Arthur was
standing at some distance from the rest, wearied with
the exertion of his sport, the rook came near enough
to take the topmost feather in her beak ; and then the
feather being fastened to the hat, she lifted that also
from his head, and bore it in triumph to the top of the
tree in which she had built her nest!
It is difficult to say whether Arthur was more
grieved at the loss of his round table, than delighted
to see it rising like another balloon high above him in
the air, and in a minute or two suspended on oneofthe
topmost branches of the loftiest tree in the rookery.
However, there was no difficulty in soothing the little
grief he felt at his loss, and not much in convincing
him that he had better be without his hat altogether
than disturb and perhaps destroy the rookery by at.
tempting to get it down. The romantic accident was
one of those apparent evils, which discreet parents and
well tempered children can easily turn to a good


12








ROUND TABLE.


account. Several advantages were immediately derived
from it to Arthur himself. It relieved his little head,
just beginning to ache, from a weight which might
soon have severely pained it for the dAy, and spoiled
all the pleasure on which he and the rest of the family
had reckoned. It furnished a new object of attention,
and opened a fresh source of amusement, altogether
unexampled as well as unexpected. Mr. and Mrs.
Fairbrace were inwardly pleased, though it was not
right that either the children or the uncle should
know of their pleasure, that a present they never liked
should be thus suddenly and strangely disposed of,
without any one but the rook being to blame. Ag for
the poor bird, as they told Arthur when he passed a
severe sentence upon her, she was not so much to blame
as appearances would indicate-for she took the hat by
accident, and only intended to borrow a single feather
to make the nest of her little ones handsome and
warm.
All seemed to look as though each would ask the
rest-what was to be done? Was Arthur to pass his
birth day without his birth day hat? or were the sports


13








LITTLE ARTIUR'S


of the day to be suspended, and the rookery to be en-
dangered that he might wear it again, in perhaps a
damaged state, and in all probability to produce a
head ache worse than he already felt. A council to
determine these questions was quickly summoned in the
arbour, and the owner of the departed hat was seated
in the president's chair. The little fellow was evidently
pleased with the alacrity with which the whole family,
and two or three other friends who had just arrived,
surrounded and sympathised with him on this occa-
sion; and when they agreed that something better
would no doubt soon arrive, he began to look up with
cheerfulness to the rookery, and at length said with
a hearty laugh that the old rook might have the hat
for the whole day, and he could play much better with-
out it.
Just then one of the young friends looked around
and said-" Where is our sweet Emmeline, and why
did she not come into the arbour as well as the garden ?
0! she is now coming up the path, I declare, and
she has something in her hand that she is very careful
of !"


14








ROUND TABLE.


I will run and meet her," said Arthur's brother,
" and scold her for walking so slow, and being so much
behind her time."
The delay of her arrival and the slowness of her
approach arose first from her wish to pluck some
beautiful rose-buds which grew in her papa's, or rather
her own garden, adjoining that of Mr. Fairbrace.
Just as she had done so, and was preparing to bring
them to her little favourite, she saw from the distance
the theft of the old rook, and stood for a minute with
angry amazement while the bird placed the hat feathers
and all upon the top of the tree. What," she said
to herself, will little Arthur now do ? and what can
I do to comfort him after this strange accident ?" She
instantly thought of supplying the place of the hat by
something more light for Arthur to wear, and more
beautiful for others to look at: and what could be so
likely to accomplish her wishes as a garland of roses.
Her own garden yielded plenty of beautiful flowers for
her purpose, and she would not be long in taking the
thorns from the stalks, and forming a wreath large
enough for little Arthur's head. This was the afTec-


15








L6 ITTLE ARTIIUR'S


tionate task which had delayed her arrival in the
arbour, and it was a wreath or, as she called it, acroon
of rose buds and carnations, thus quickly but carefully
made, that she was carrying in her hand when the rest
began complaining of her absence and slowness.
Why, Emmeline," said Arthur's brother, when she
entered the arbour, you have brought your head
dress in your hand, I suppose to prevent the rooks
taking it off your head as you came across the lawn."
It is not my head dress, as you call it," said
Emmeline, "but Prince Arthur's crown"-and as she
said this she placed it upon him, while all the company
rejoiced that their prediction, of something better than
the hat soon arriving, became fulfilled even sooner
than they expected. The little fellow looked more
charming than ever, and Emmeline was universally
praised and thanked for her quick and considerate
kindness.
Before they left the arbour, Mrs. Fairbraceinquired
why one little girl of the neighbourhood, whom she
herse"C had invited, had not been able or willing to
accept the invitation? She was the daughter of a


16








ROUND TABLE.


little farmer about half a mile off, and was a child of
great eccentricity and independence. On this account
she had never been much beloved by the other chil.
dren of these parts, and the little Fairbrace's had
scarcely ever seen her. Their mamma, however, bad
been constrained to notice her with growing affection,
from several little voluntary services which she lad
accidentally and modestly rendered the family. This
was one reason of her present inquiry after her:
another was a suspicion, which had been privately
rumoured, that she knew something about several
little articles of value recently missing from Fairbrace
lodge. One was a silver waist buckle, a former
present to Arthur from his uncle: another was a
trinket of greater value belonging to his elder sister:
a third was a favourite brooch of their mamma's.
These, with a few other things of much less worth,
bad all been missing from the two chief bed rooms of
the lodge within the last five or six weeks.
Of course inquiries had been made after them, and
the servants, in their eagerness to free themselves from
suspicion, had gone into every neighboring part to
C


17








LITTLE ARTHUR'S


obtain if possible a clue to the way in which they had
been removed. The houses as well as the boxes of
two travelling Jews were searched, and the men con-
vinced Mr. and Mrs. Fairbrace of their innocence of
having ever purchased the trinkets of others, as well
as ever having themselves stolen them. One of these
men, however, inadvertently became the cause of
suspicion falling upon the young farmer's daughter.
" She spoke in such a strange manner," he said,
"< when I inquired if she had heard any thing about
them, that if I did not know her to be an honest girl I
should fear she knew something of where they are
gone." When this was spoken by the Jew at the
gate, a week before Arthur's birth day, one of the
servants who heard it said, that Sarah Stubble had
been twice in the bed rooms before the things were
lost,
The moment the girl heard of the suspicion thus
formed against her, she went to Mrs. Fairbrace and
not only protested but proved her innocence of the
theft, and her total ignorance of the things altogether.
Having convinced her patroness, as she called the


18








ROUND TABLE.


lady, the girl was perfectly indifferent to the opinions
of others: at the same time, finding those opinions to
be unfavorable, she declined even the invitation of
Mrs. Fairbrace to join a party some of whom cruelly
chose to consider her a thief. She had certainly
been in the bed rooms just before the things were
stolen; but it was to render the family the very
services for which Mrs. Fairbrace had learnt to esteem
her. It was, in fact, to destroy a number of insects
which had strangely settled about the bed furniture,
and which she had acquired from one of the Jews a
secret for destroying too valuable to be entrusted even
to Mrs. Fairbrace herself.
In this state was the mysterious affair at the time
of the birth day, and when inquiry was made after the
reason of her absence. Some remarks were made by
the children in answer, that induced Mrs. Fairbrace
to be silent, and to request them to be silent, on the
subject till the next day. Then," she said, I am
determined for Sarah's sake to have the whole affair
well examined." The reason of a sudden stop being
thus put to the conversation will appear when wecome


IO








LITTLE ARTHUR 8


to the fulfilment of this promise of Mrs. Fairbrace ;
at present we must proceed with the children from the
arbour to the round table under the oak, where they
were now summoned to see the poor boys and girls of
the district enjoy a better dinner than perhaps they
had ever eaten before. There was a very large pie
placed on the table just where the gardener's wife, who
was to cut up the food, had seated herself for that
purpose.
** How came that pie there V" Mrs. Fairbrace asked
the woman as she took her seat : I gave no order to
the cook for any such thing. Yet I am glad," she
added, that it is here, for 1 find, as you cut it, that
it is what they call in my country a goose pie." This
was a sufficient hint for the hungry and curious guests:
each begged in turn that he might have a .little bit of
the goose pie, and, though it was large, it was nearly
gone by the time the guests were all supplied. As the
dinner drew to a close, the poor children began talking
freely and cheerfully about what they had eaten,
especially the goose pie, and the strange circumstance
of its having come- upon the table so suddenly, and








ROUND TABLE


without scarcely any one knowing whence or how it
came! At last a lad who worked in Farmer Stubble's
yard said that he thought it was made and baked in
the kitchen of the farm. When asked to explain
himself, he answered that all he knew was that he had
been called to help lift just such a pie into the oven
the day before yesterday.
The farmer himself was now coming across the
meadow, and Mrs. Fairbrace, who was in the secret,
told the company to be silent a few minutes, while she
requested him to explain if be could the mystery of
the goose pie. In compliance with the request the
farmer took from his pocket a paper which he said he
would read to the company, and he hoped this would
give them all satisfaction. The paper contained, and
the farmer read, the following memorandum from
Sarah Stubble-
I have been unjustly suspected of taking the
articles lost from the chambers of Fairbrace lodge,
and some of the young people who dine under the oak
to-day have I hear been very eager and active in
spreading this evil report against me. I have there-


21








LITTLE ARTHUR'S


fore resolved to reward them by making and sending
the goose pie. The different sorts of food it contains
were purchased by our good and kind friend Mrs.
Fairbrace, and I feel much obliged to her for allow-
ing me to make this addition to the oth-i things which
her bounty provides for you on this joyful occasion.
While I am cruelly and falsely suspected by any of
you of robbing such a friend, I think the pie stands a
much better chance of being received with a hearty
welcome than I should be. Sarah Stubble."
Most of the children present understood what the
farmer read, and the elder little Fairbrace went round
and explained it to them that could not understand
it. The first who broke the minute's silence it occa-
sioned was an angry malicious boy, who said that he
did not think a bit the better of the farmer's daughter
for all this talk about herself and her pie. A girl who
sat near him also sneered at the farmer's reading
about his daughter, and said-though not loud enough
for him to hear-'" I still think she had the things,
and that she has sent this strange pie to stop our
mouths that she may escape I" Others of the children


22








4OUND TABLE.


were, however, of a different mind. "I like," said
one of them, to find a girl or a boy return good for
evil: my teacher at the Sunday school always tells me
to love my enemies, to bless them that curse me, and
do good to them that would do me an injury." "'I
shall be glad," said another, "when Sarah Stubble
comes abroad again, for she was always a kind friend
to us, and them that are kind to poor children
certainly never will find in their hearts to rob a rich
lady."
All this is very well," said the senior boy, who
was accounted president of the feast: but I am for
nothing more being said at present about this matter.
I would rather Sarah should have a fair trial, and I
propose that she be tried this very evening, and that
our Prince Arthur with his new round table hat on,
be the judge of the court." Every one approved of
this proposal, and Arthur, hearing himself spoken of
and the speech so much applauded, asked what it was
about ? The little fellow at this moment sat on the
farmer's shoulders, with his chaplet of roses on his
head, and his feet resting on the dinner table. The


23








LITTLE ARTHUR'S


whole company admired him; while the carving woman
looked in his face, and asked, whether he would be the
judge of Sarah Stubble on her trial in the evening ?
What is she to be tried for ?" the little fellow
eagerly asked: and when he was told that some persons
suspected that she had taken his new silver waist
buckle, and his mamma's old golden broach, he said,
angrily--" But I don't think she stole them, and I
won't be her judge if you don't let me make her
innocent and set her at liberty !"
O, we have no fear of your doing that, my little
Prince," said the president of the feast, especially if
you wear, as I said, your new bat on the judgment
seat. With your papa's permission we will have the
trial on this very spot and under this ancient oak."
*' My papa's permission," said Arthur's brother,
must be obtained for something else before all this
takes place. Little Arthur can't wear his new hat till
some one gets its down from the tree yonder* and I am
afraid papa wont let any one go up for fear the rookery
should be destroyed." This was the first that the
boy had heard of the accident, which occurred two


24








ROUND TABLU.


hours before the feast, and was now almost forgotten.
He stepped out of his place to look in the direction he
was pointed to, and there he saw the hat evidently
uninjured, hanging on one of the uppermost branches,
and its fine feathers floating in the afternoon breeze.
Never fear, sir," said he to Mr Fairbrace, as he
returned to his presidents seat--" never fear, sir, for
the hat or for the rookery. Trust me for climbing up
the tree three or four hours hence without the rooks
caring or perhaps knowing any thing about the matter,
I'll engage, before the time of the trial arrives, to get
the hat down safe and ready for the judge, and there
shall not be one nest or one rook the less for it."
Mr. Fairbrace rather reluctantly consented that the
boy should climb the tree for this, as he thought,
hazardous purpose. It was to be deferred, however,
till seven o'clock, and immediately after the trial was
to commence--Mrs. Fairbrace engaging that Sarah
should be present. This prudent lady also resolved
that her little Arthur should have two or three hours
quiet slumber after dinner, that he might be refreshed
and strengthened to preside on the trial at a rather


25








LITTLE ARTRUR'S


later hour than he usually sat up. The sports of the
lawn were now resumed, and, after joining in them for
an hour, the family with their select visitors retired
into the house to dine. Relieved of his rather heavy
hat through the warmth and weariness of the day, and
carried about, now on the shoulders of his papa and
then on the broader back of farmer Stubble, little
Arthur was able to take his place with appetite and
comfort at the dinner table, and enjoy the repast as
much as he would on an ordinary day of no exertion
or exercise. His mamma took special care that what
he ate was welcome and wholesome, and the other
young persons, influenced by his example, took no
more than was consistent with vigour and comfort the
long remainder of the day.
The considerate and sprightly little girl, who had
manufactured the chaplet of roses in the morning, was
intent upon doing something unusual to promote little
Arthur's comfort in the afternoon. At dinner she
heard Mrs: Fairbrace say that he should lie down for
an hour's slumber to recruit his strength for the trial
in the evening: what then did Emmeline do but


26








ROUND TABLB.


privately ask for that lady's guitar, on which she
could play very well, and came before the open window
playing and singing a song on his birth day, and after
that a few humorous lines on the rook taking his hat.
These being over, the skilful girl touched the instru-
ment in some plaintive tones, which began soothing
little Arthur into a gentle slumber. He was now on
the sofa, and the company, at a sign from Mrs. Fair-
brace, quietly left the room, while Arthur, under the
influence of the music, fell into a most comfortable
sleep for more than three hours. Thus prudently and
kindly did his parents and friends study to render his
birth day one of real enjoyment, instead of allowing
him to exert himself to weariness, and make more
than half the day a season of repining and distress.
Sarah Stubble arrived just in time to take her
station by the sleeping Arthur's side, which allowed
Mrs. Fairbrace and every one else either to join or to
witness the afternoon sports. Sarah was much
attached to the little Prince, and it may be supposed
that, when she heard of his determination to make her
Innocent, and set her at liberty, her attachment to


27








LITTLE ARTHUR'S


him was not less than before. I will not, however."
she jocosely said to his mamma, on her leaving him
to her care-" I will not stay by him a moment
longer than he is asleep, lest my enemies should
suspect me of having bribed my judge to be partial in
my case. When the time comes to awaken him, or he
gives signs of awaking himself, I will request Miss
Emmeline to take my place."
We pass over all that occurred between dinner and
tea-that is, during the sleep of the idol of the day
-because, except in his dreams, he was not a witness
or a partaker of the sports. Just before six Mrs.
Fairbrace requested Emmeline to relieve Sarah from
her guardianship of Arthur, and try gently to awaken
the little slumberer for the important affairs of the
evening. Emmeline was glad of the office, and on
reaching the room began touching the tenderest
strings of the guitar. Then for the first time the
little slumbering angel moved. When she gave the
instrument a stronger touch and a louder sound, he
opened his sweet eyes, and as he saw her smiling and
playing by his side he gently rose and asked to kiss


28








ROUND TABLE.


her. 0 what charming sport I have had !" he said.
Then, rubbing his eyes and casting them round the
room, he added---" But it must have been a dream !
was it not, dear Emmneline? It was charming sport,
however! I have seen such sights, and had such
games, with my new table hat on, and Sarah wearing
my crown of roses, and you playing and dancing all
the while." It is sufficient to remark that the purpose
of Mr. and Mrs. Fairbrace, in their prudent discipline
of little Arthur through this day, was completely
answered. Three fourths of the day were gone, and
he was now perhaps more refreshed, and more capable
of enjoyment, than when he rose in the morning.
Many an indulged child of his age, on such a day, and
in the hand of inconsiderate parents, would hours be-
fore this have been heated to a fever, crammed to
suffocation, sick of every thing it had seen, or heard
or tasted, and fit only to be forced to bed under the
terror of the rod, or the weight of its own fatigue.
The chaplet of flowers adorned again the pretty
little fellow's head during tea time. It was more
beautiful than ever, for while Sarah was watching his


29








LITTTT. ARTHUR'S


slumbers, Emmeline was recruiting it with some
newly gathered rose buds. But the time approached
for this chaplet to he exchanged for the round table
hat. Before Arthur awoke the poor boys and girls
bad been regaled with tea and buns-the latter baked
by Sarah Stubble, and even made with materials which
she herself had purchased, in further recompense of
the slander that had been cast upon her. And while
Arthur was at tea in the arbour, the president boy
prepared to climb the lofty tree, on which the hat was
still seen uninjured, with its waving feathers appearing
to keep up the signal for its being rescued from so
perilous a situation. The moment the lodge clock
struck the first sound of seven the boy sprang like
lightning to the lower branches of the tree. Having
gained them, he proceeded higher with more quietude
and slowness. However, he was not many minutes
before he appeared within reach of his hat; and then
he was observed paying considerable attention to a
neglected half-built nest, so that, had Arthur been
able to see what he was about, or had the little fellow
been told that he was near the hat and yet did not seem


30








ROUND TABL1.


anxious to take hold of it, he might for the first time
on this day been offended.
Mr. Fairbrace and the farmer distinctly saw the boy
take something more than once or twice from the nest,
and put into his pocket; but rieither of them suspected
any thing extraordinary, and said nothing about it to
those around them. At last all beheld with joy the
hat taken from the topmost branch, and then thrown
down on an extended sheet prepared and held at the
four corners to receive it. It came down in a slow and
safe manner like another parachute, and fell on the
sheet so as to preserve the feathers from being in the
least discomposed. Little Arthur was again on the
broad and strong shoulders of the farmer, while his
papa was at hand to take possession of his round table,
and prepare it, should it require preparation, to be
worn on the approaching trial.
The company now assembled under the oak, and
little Arthur was placed in a seat prepared for the
judge, with his mamma sitting immediately under him,
and the farmer and his papa standing on either side.
It was observed that the boy went quickly from the


31








LITTLE ARTHUR'S


tree to the lodge, and held a moment's communication
with Sarah before she came up to trial. On her
reaching the place Mrs. Fairbrace requested her to sit
down opposite to her little judge; but she respectfully
declined sitting till her innocence was proved to the
satisfaction of the whole assembly. Her accusers were
first called on to state what evidence they had to allege
against her. 1 can only say," muttered the malig-
nant boy before alluded to, that nobody is so likely
to have stolen the things as she who was so much in
the rooms at the time they were lost." The envious
girl before mentioned followed the boy, as she had then
done, with a surmise against Sarah about as worthy of
belief as his had been.
I was killing to come forward at this time,"
exclaimed one of the travelling Jews at the extremity
of the crowd, before scarcely any one knew that he was
in the neighbourhood. I vas resolute to reach here
at the trial," he said, as the spectators made way f^
him to get nearer the seat, because people have said
that I bought de things of de girl at de farm ; but I did
not. She did buy some things of me at de time; but


32








ROUND TABLE.


they vas things, she said, to put into de goose pie, to
make it spicy and nice to eat."
This sudden speech of the Jew's seemed to prevent
any further accusation of Sarah and even to destroy
all suspicion against her. But the company were
astonished beyond measure at what now took place.
Taking the lost trinkets from her pocket, she said-
" Though I am innocent of the theft, I am in posses-
sion of the articles stolen, and am willing to give them
up to their proper owners, on condition, that they will
admit me as evidence against the actual robber." The
conscious innocence and quiet courage with which this
was said convinced all but her determined enemies-
and perhaps even them too-of its perfect truth.
Mrs. Fairbrace, generally in the confidence and secrets
of Sarah, was now almost overwhelmed with astonish-
ment at what she saw and heard. My good girl,"
she asked, why did you not entrust me, your friend,
with the fact of your having the things in your posses-
sion r9
And so, madam, I certainly should," answered
Sarah, only that I obtained possession of them, and


33








LITTLE ARTH UR'


became acquainted with the thief, after you had taken
your seat by the sweet and sagacious judge there.
Had it been five minutes before, you should not have
had reason to reproach me for withholding anything
from you."
And where did you obtain the things from ?" asked
Mr. Fairbrace, whose astonishment had appeared to
strike him dumb.
They have passed though the hands of only one
person between the thief and myself, Sir," answered
Sarah, "and that one person is present to answer on
his own account." As she said this she looked
significantly at the boy president, who also returned
the smile she gave him, and quietly waited to be
questioned in his turn.
And where, young man," said the farmer, who had
betrayed a countenance of great anxiety from the
moment he beheld the trinkets in his daughter's posses-
sion-" where did you obtain these presents to my
daughter-they are not the first you have given her of
late ?"
"Mr. Stubble," answered the young man, calmly,


84








ROUND TABLE.


" you seem to forget what your daughter has just
remarked-that she received the trinkets but a few
minutes ago: I could not therefore have given them to
her with any other view than for her immediately to
produce them on her trial, and restore them to their
owners."
But where, young man, did you obtain them ?"
asked Mr. Fairbrace: '* that is the most important
question."
To answer that question, Sir," answered the lad,
" I must involve the actual thief, who is not far off, in
the charge of having stolen them from the bed
chambers. And before I do this, I must engage your
mercy, and especially the mercy of our beloved judge,
towards the criminal. I mean, should you be able to
take her, for though she is not far off, as I said, she
may give us a good deal of trouble before she is arrested.
To be plain, Sir, I found these trinkets in the half
built nest yonder, and the rogue that stole them was
the old rook, that afterwards stoll LITTLE ARTHUR'S
ROUND TABLE!"


35













THE WIDOW'S FAMILY;

OR, THE NEW VILLAGE.

THERE were two female children, remarkable for the
simplicity of their manners, and the gentleness and
softness of their dispositions. They.were very much
alike in person and countenance, and their clothing
must have been different for them easily to be distin-
guished from each other, by any persons but those
who were almost daily living with them. They were
remarkable, too, for their mutual attachment, their
fondness for each other's company, and their resolution
as far as possible to keep together, and to attend one
another in every one of the few excursions that either
of them was obliged to make from home. Their chief
comfort seemed to be derived from constant union and
intercourse, a&d an equal mutual share of whatever
recreation of body or mind they had an opportunity of
enjoying.








THE WIDOW'S FAMILY.


At the time we became acquainted with them, they
were about six years old, and had a look of great
thoughtfulness-relieved by a faint and sensible smile
sufficient to shew that they were contented in their
situation, and especially happy in each others society.
It was in the hottest part of the summer, when their
clothing was slight and their pretty form and features
were seen to the best advantage. We were travelling
in the northern part of Lincolnshire, where they were
born, and where they lived with their widowed mother
and one elder and intelligent sister. We went several
miles out of our intended road on purpose to see the
family: not that a report of any wonders concerning
them led us to their remote and rural abode; but we
had time to go where we pleased-the country all round
was very beautiful, and we had seen a simple and
engaging account of the little girls, under the first
title we have taken for our story, in a lady's album,
left by accident in a room at the inn at Louth where we
had slept two or three nights.
The reader may be interested in the lady's manu.


37








THE WIDOW 8


script statement as we found and copied it, and as we
afterwards obtained her permission to print it.
In the wolds of Lincolnshire I found a retired and
humble, but very interesting family, consisting of a
widow and three daughters, living on a slender income,
left by the husband and father, whom death had re-
moved from them about ten months before. The
cottage of their residence first caught my eye, and I
placed myself in as good a situation as I could for
sketching it; when the elder daughter came out to me,
and said she was sent by her mother to know if I would
step in and refresh myself after I had finished my task ?
There was something so pleasing and even politein the
manners of the girl-her behaviour was so much above
and beyond what I could have expected from her abode
--that I felt delighted in telling her I would accept her
mother's kind invitation, if she would promise that no
preparation beyond their ordinary family arrangements
should be made for me. I left the meadow for the
cottage rather sooner than I intended, and before my
sketch was finished, on account of a sudden and brisk
but very refreshing shower.


38








FAMILY.


The first drop from the threatening cloud had scarcely
fallen before two younger children, very much alike,
were near me, one with an umbrella and the other with
a cloak. I closed my portfolio, and one of them re-
quested permission to run with it to the cottage, as she
had brought a clean covering to throw over it. I al-
lowed her to follow her inclination, and held the
umbrella over the other child and myself while we
hastened to the same peaceful shelter. I told the
widow, who was standing just within the door to re-
ceive me, that I had already made servants of her
sweet children; when she answered, with equal sweet-
ness, that her tender hearted twins, provided they
could keep together, never minded what service they
performed for others. I was struck with the manner
of the widow-with the name she gave to her children,
and the disposition she ascribed to them-and I
inwardly resolved to remain the whole day at the
cottage, and recompense the family for whatever re-
freshment and attention I should receive.
I told the children that, if they wished to look over
the portfolio for their amusement, I would step with


39








THE WIDOW'S


their mamma into the next room, the door of which
was opening by the widow for that purpose. They
carefully opened the lids concealing about fifty sketches,
while I attended their mother, and took my seat in the
neatest little parlour I ever saw. I asked the widow
how long she had been in that condition; but a flood
of tears were the only answer I received to the inquiry:
and, when they ceased, she went to another subject,
and said that perhaps she might be able to tell me
about the girls without weeping, if I would not again
refer to their fatherless state: 1 promised, and she
proceeded as follows-
You see that the younger ones are twins and you
heard me call them tender-hearted. They are remark-
ably so. I often say that their sister, who went out
first to invite > ou, is all mind, and that they are all
heart. I do.not mean that she has no feeling, or that
they have no intelligence; but that intelligence is most
prevalent in her, and emotion in them. With such
children even a widow may be comfortable, and my
widow's tears are often checked by the force of a mother's
gratitude."


40








FAMILY.


Her widow's tears, however, would not yield even to
this force at the present moment: but she soon
recovered herself, and went on to describe the course
that her children, especially the twins, had generally
taken.
It was well," she said, my children were dis-
posed to teach each other, for there is no school
sufficiently near for them to attend; and, had there
been one, my slender income of sixty pounds a year
would scarcely have allowed of my sending either of
them. One of the twins might be received into a
charity school at Lincoln, and perhaps the other into a
similar institution at Louth; but, if I could have sepa-
rated them from me, they would not be separated from
each other. When the offers were first made, I pro-
posed selling the cottage and residing near Lincoln; but
the dear girls burst into tears, and said that I could
not reside near Lincoln and Louth too. I had not the
power of wounding their feelings by another hint at a
separation; and therefore here they remain, under the
tuition of their sister, who had no other teachers than
myself and -''


41








TIrE WIDOW'S


The widow's tears again flowed, and prevented her
proceeding until I had soothed her grief by a few
remarks on what I considered the goodness of her elder
daughter's education, and the fair prospect she had of
her succeeding to perfect satisfaction with the two
younger. The dear girl has one difficulty," the
widow remarked, that she has created for herself,
and that she is quite l-ent upon overcoming-it is to
preserve either of her sisters front surpassing the other,
or, rather, to prevent one appearing to a disadvantage
in the other's presence. She says that, as nature has
formed their persons so nearly alike that they can
scarcely be distinguished, so she will endeavour to form
their minds to as close a resemblance as possible. I
often tell her to let things take their course in this
respect; but it is so favourite a purpose with her that
I cannot find it in my heart to throw any serious
obstacles in her way. Her plans, though sometimes
romantic, always succeed."
One of the twins now gave a slight tap at the parlour
door, and I begged she might be permitted to enter.
It was to ask her mamma what provision was to be


42








FAMILY.


made for dinner ? as Anna, her elder sister, was quite
ready to go and fetch whatever was necessary. I
prevented the widow's answering by a wish that Anna
might be allowed to receive her orders from me. She
came in, and I reminded her of our agreement-that
nothing was to be done for my accommodation beyond
the usual family arrangement. The widow's counte-
nance suddenly brightened to an expression of glad-
ness and gratitude that surprised as well as charmed
me. 0 madam," she said, how thankful I am for
this proof that you are willing to remain some little
time with us! Anna, you shall comply with the wish
of our new friend, and not risk her sudden departure
by even appearing to violate the agreement. But
where are your sisters gone ? I see them flitting across
the meadow, like two sweet doves with their faces as
close to each other as possible."
The mystery was soon explained. A neighboring
farmer had promised them one of half a dozen fine
young rabbits that he was obliged to kill, and, before
either their mamma or I could prevent them, they
were on their way to the farm to request the fulfilment


43








44


THE WIDOW'S


of the promise. On their return they said, with a
modest firmness--" We had nothing to do with the
agreement, and were not bound to observe it, and
therefore mamma will at least have one dainty dish to
set before her new friend." They then curtesied pre-
cisely together, and ran out into the garden to gather the
particular herb and vegetable that the farmer had told
them were best with a young rabbit. It was the sweet
manner of their doing all this that so delighted me,
and I took the widow's hand to intimate that I wished
her to go with me into the garden after them.
I am thankful," I said, for the opportunity of
adding to the happiness of your dear daughters."
" You greatly add to my happiness as well as theirs,"
the widow answered. I am often consoled in
witnessing their sweet affectionate mirth; but my
consolation rises much higher in having a friend of my
own age -and experience like yourself to partake of it-
to partake of it by being a joint witness of the mirth
that produces it. I often think, had nature joined
them together like the boys from Siam, which once
created such wonder in London, they could scarcely








iAM ILY.


have been more with each other, or more interested in
each other's welfare."
They now skipped by us hand in hand, while the
other hand of each held what they had gathered for
dinner. I attempted to stop them, when they said-
" The cook is waiting for us, and charged us not to
delay. Dear Anna is governess in the morning, and
cook at noon, and housemaid all the day; and we do
what we can to assist her." They spoke as they skip-
ped along, and were in a moment out of sight.
The widow again wept; but I could perceive that
now she shed tears of joy as well as sorrow. "' I little
thought," I observed, that I should be able to impart
so much comfort where I must be so little known ; nor
could I expect from strangers in this remote spot so
much to console and refresh my own spirit."
Don't leave us to day," said the widow, pressing
her arm in mine, and giving me a look which seemed
to intimate that to-morrow we might be still more
happy together.
My time is my own," I answered; and you are


45








THE WIDOW'S


able, if you are but willing to detain me a week; but
this is the only condition-this must be yours before
I can consent to stay even a night." I held out a
bank note, and the widow accepted it-in a manner,
however, which convinced me, on the one hand, that
she was perfectly free from avarice, and on the other
hand that the money was as perfectly acceptable.
" Heaven knows," she said, as she received it, that
it is accepted in the proper spirit in which I believe it
to be offered : the manner in which it will be spent,
you shall know to-morrow, perhaps to-night."
Dinner was soon ready; but I was surprised that
Anna, whose care had provided the most delicious
repast I ever partook of, was not at the table. I
expressed both surprise and sorrow, and was answered
that she had an engagement about a mile off, but
would return to tea; and, as the evening was likely to
be fine, all might take a walk to the neighboring and
beautiful village where she was gone. We shall not
walk with you, said one of the twins, for we shall
be there perhaps before you set out. We promised the


46








FAMILY.


bones of the rabbit to make a poor sick woman a little
broth. She lives on the way, and we shall be as quick
as we can, and help her to make it."
The sweet girls were just leaving the poor woman's
hut, as the widow and I arrived within sight of it.
They gave one glance back at their pursuers, and then
frisked on towards the village. When we reached it,
I expressed my surprise that, though it contained but
one open scattered street, not a single spot of which
could escape the eye, I could not behold a trace of one
of the twins!
If you could discover one," their mother answered,
"both would certainly be seen. At home they are
scarcely ever apart, and abroad never. You will find
them, I expect very soon, and in a place which you
have rendered peculiarly interesting to them. They
are in a house where they always had access; but for
months they have not been willing to enter it: and
now they have entered it only because your kindness
has furnished it for them." As she spoke, she opened
the church yard gate, and before another word could
be uttered we were in the church, and I saw the tWrins,


47








THRE WIDOW'S


with Anna, kneeling before a new and beautiful monu.
ment of their father, recently finished, and fixed up
within the last three hours. The widow had resolved
that it should not appear in the church till she could
pay for it, and my bank note had enabled her to do
so."
Here the manuscript in the Album ends, and we
deeply regretted that the lady had not an opportunity
of recording any further particulars of her interesting
visit. Having transcribed what we read, we left a
frank confession, in writing of what we had done, with
an intimation that we should not leave the county
without finding out the engaging objects of her kind
and grateful attention. As we have hinted, we went
several miles, out of our direct road for this purpose;
but we were more than rewarded by the gratification
of seeing them. Our first sight of the twins was rather
sudden: they were on a bank, a short distance from
home, playing with a favourite squirrel which someone
of their occasional visitors had given them for their
amusement.
The one sitting highest on the bank, close behind


48








FAMILY.


49


the other, first caught sight of us as our chaise approach.
ed the spot; while the other seemed too intent upon
the antics of the squirrel, in striving to possess itself
of a nut she held in her hand, to notice our approach.
We knew that we could not be far from the widow's
cottage, and we observed in these children a perfect
likeness to each other: we, therefore, assured ourselves
that we were in the presence of the TwiNs, and began
addressing them in as kind a manner as we could.
You reside near this spot, my little dears ?" I
said, as the chaise stopped opposite the bank, with
only a low hedge between it and the road.
We never wander far from home, madam," said
the one who bad first observed us. We were only
giving our little squire an evening's recreation abroad,
madam," said the other, who now turned her attention
from the squirrel to us.
And why," asked my husband, do you call
your little squirrel an esquire "To answer that
question, Sir," she said, with a faint blush and smile,
" would be to confess a blunder of my own. My
French teacher would tell you perhaps if you met with








THE WIDOW'S


her ; but I am ashamed."' Where," I asked,
" shall we find your French teacher."
"* 0, we have two French teachers," answered the
other, and they live at the cottage yonder: we some-
times call them mamma and sister Anna. If you
wish to see them we will run across the meadow and
call them out to meet you."
My husband drove down the lane, while the chil-
dren and their esquire ran towards the cottage along
a nearer path. At a turn of the road, the widow
appeared at the gate. She was an enlarged and
matured, but still delicate, image of the children;
while Anna, who soon joined her, appeared an inter-
mediate link, uniting together the widow and her
twins, and exactly resembling the whole. After the
few end hesitating remarks that strangers might be
expected to make on such an occasion, the widow ex-
pressed her wonder that so many persons of respecta-
bility had lately condescended to honour her cottage,
or her children, or herself-she scarcely knew which
-with longer or shorter visits!
It would not appear to us that you, or your chil.








FAMILY.


dren, or your cottage, madam," I said, can be much
adapted for long or frequent visits. At the same time,
the most respectable persons who know you must feel
an interest in the sight of all the objects you men-
tion."
The widow might have been gratified with the
compliment paid to her cottage, and especially to her
children; but she evidently regretted the inadvertence
with which she had connected herself with them. She
therefore strove to turn the conversation, and would
have led our attention altogether to another subject,
had we not insisted on confining her longer to this.
6% We shall consider your reluctance," I said, to go
on with the subject of your being often visited as a
proof that our visit is unwelcome, and that we must
not think of prolonging it."
Then indeed," she said with a smile, I must
undeceive you at once. I have no other visitor at my
house to-day, and nmay not have for many days to
come; I shall, therefore, hope you will stay as long as
you can."
On condition," my husband said, that you will


51








THR WIDOW'S


allow us to remunerate you as we please, we will
consent to stay at least one week in the delightful
retreat."
"' I shall rejoice in your staying with m,," answered
the widow, and the more so, as we have just fitted up
an apartment for visitors, which you may be the first
to occupy." Remembering that the lady of the
Album had given the widow a five pound note, I
considered that two of us, especially occupying a neW
apartment, should double that sum. Putting a ten
pound note, therefore, in her band, I observed that
we should expect the week to be provided for, in the
matter of food, in the same frugal and wholesome
manner in which she was no doubt accustomed to
prepare for her own family. I saw a tear of gratitude
start in her eye, as she glanced at the amount of the
note, and as she said to Anna, to whom she shewed it,
" what can all this mean ?"
I was now in the neat little parlour with the widow
and Anna, while my husband was gone in search of
some near place where our horse and chaise could be
taken care of. He soon returned, and asked the name


52








FAMILY.


and character of a neighboring farmer, whose son baa
met him, and requested permission to take charge of
them while we stayed. "The young man," he said,
" at the same time, gave me this couple of fowls to
bring to our good hostess, lest she should not be
sufficiently provided for our first dinner." The widow
now whispered to Anna, and gave her some money,
evidently to send in payment of what she was un-
willing to receive as a present: but my husband told
her that the debt was already discharged. He had
given the young man the price of the fowls, and
charged him to send whatever else the farm could
spare every morning for a week to come. Where
are the twins?" I said, looking round in doors and
out, and missing them. Their mother heard the
question from the kitchen, where she had gone with
the fowls to Anna, and instantly went to the back door
to see if her children were in the garden. They
were not there, and could no where be seen. "Anna,
my dear," the widow said, step out a little way, and
try if you can see them: they are gone to 6nd onu
something that will be likely to increase the comfort








THR WIDOnW'S


of our friends.'" My husband accompanied Anna in
the search, while I felt a pleasure in relieving the
widow from a little of her labour in the kitchen. For
sometime no trace of the dear children could be seen.
At last Anna looked up, and thought she saw the
squirrel at the top of a large tree in a distant hedge.
As they drew nearer they saw it was a crab tree, which
such creatures always avoid. Then they noticed that
the squirrel was near the point of one of its slenderest
branches, a situation of danger which they never
venture to occupy on any tree. The little creature
at first seemed in a state of considerable uneasiness;
but this they ascribed to its fear of falling, until on a
sudden, on beholding them, it became as merry as it
had before been uncomfortable. Just then a sound
came from the bottom of the tree which Anna knew to
be the voice of one of her sisters, when my husband
sprung forward, and saw the one that spoke holding
up the other that was evidently hurt. All was now
explained. The kind little girls had thought that
their visitors would like a few of the crabs, and in
attempting to gather them th one that was hurt had


64








FAMILY.


fallen down, and so sprained her ancle as to be unable
to walk or stand. They were not far from the farm,
though it was concealed from them by a small inter-
vening wood; and after the little sufferer was lifted
out of the ditch, and my husband, who possesses
superior skill as a surgeon, had bathed the ancle with
an excellent liquid he is scarcely ever without, he ran
to fetch the chaise, and returned the sooner as the
harness was not yet taken from the horse. In less
than a quarter of an hour from the time of their
leaving the house, the widow and I had the delight of
seeing the twins driven within sight of the cottage as
though they were taking a little cheerful recreation;
while Anna returned at her own request on foot, and
at my husband's request preserving the accident
an entire secret. With such ease may incidents, often
magnified into calamities, not only be kept from crea-
ting alarm, but be smoothed into occasions of fresh
and increased pleasure. By the time an hour's ride
was over, all painful effects of the accident had
ceased, and we have no reason to believe that the
widow knows to this day of its having occurred-


55








TI1 WIDOW'S


unless perchance a printed copy of this narrative
should fall into her hands.
A quantity of the finest crabs, which the children
had gathered, and now brought home in the chaise,
explained to her satisfaction the cause of their absence.
They had been trained by Anna to the habit of
diverting their mamma s attention from whatever was
painful, and we soon found that there was little danger
of their betraying the secret with which I alone had
been entrusted. On one painful subject only their
sister both permitted and encouraged them to speak at
proper opportunities-this was their dear departed
father.
No visitor came to the cottage without being soon
conducted to the church and directed to his monu-
ment: but we had chosen to reverse this order of
things, and so we had been first to the church, to the
monument, and also to the grave of the lamented man,
before we visited his cottage, or saw his family. We
had done more than this. I speak not of our
conduct throughh ostentation; but because it led to
incidents which the reader may be pleased to know.


56








FAMILY.


The lady's album made no mention of a tomb stone,
and we suspected that no visit was made by the widow,
if by her children, to the grave, because the sight of it
without this memorial to distinguish and defend it,
might have bad too melancholy an effect upon her
feelings. The remarks of the sexton convinced us
that we were not mistaken.
Being satisfied on this point, we resolved on ordering
a t6mb-stone to be prepared and fixed without delay.
The mason's yard contained several ready for engraving,
and we staid a night at the village inn near his house,
that an inscription which we gave him, a little altered
from that on the monument, with the addition of a
short epitaph, might be engraved, and the whole affair
completed by the afternoon of this day. I confess I
was impatient to introduce the family to this new
object, yet consented at my husband's request to wait
till the cool of the evening. Soon after dinner, and
while I was eating a crab, and giving the esquire a
nut, the twin who had met *ith the accident whispered
that we must all go to church this evening. On
condition," I said, that you and your dear mamma


57








THE WIDOW'S


ride with Mr. Morant, while your sisters and I walk
across the meadows. I proposed this to prevent the
dear creature's pain returning by an early walk, and I
gently insisted on this condition being fulfilled. It
was the first time the twins had ever gone from home
apart; but the sister knew the reason of my proposal,
and instantly consented.
Suppose," I said to the widow, when we joined at
the church-yard gate, we take one walk among the
tombs before we enter the church ?"
I have never done so at any one's request before,"
sheanswered; but at your's I will." She placed her arm
trembling in mine, and I led her a circuitous path to
the spot. As we came near it, she said, Forgive my
declining to proceed farther in this direction, lest my
eye should fall on the melancholy undefended grave of
my---"
She could say no more; but as she paused in her
steps as well as speech, I promised that she should not
be led to such an affecting object, and she consented
to proceed, with her eyes suffused in tears, and fixed
on the ground. At last, on raising them a little, she


58









FAMILY.


saw, to her astonishment, her three children standing
and weeping before a new tomb!
Children," she said, '" these tears would become
you better in the church, before the memorial of your
dear father's virtues, than at the grave and tomb of a
stranger !"
"' Not altogether a stranger, my dear widow," I said:
upon which she raised her eyes till they reached the
following epitaph-

*Why flows the muse's mournful tear?
For thee cut down in manhood's primes
Why sighs for thee the widow dear ?
Cropt by the scythe of hoary time !

Lo this my friend's the common lot-
To me thy memory entrust:
When all that's dear shall be forgot,
I'll guard thy venerated dust."

"Whose dust is thus guarded, and who has been so
generous as to guard it?" said the widow, suspecting
for the first time that she was before a new tomb of


59








THu WIDOW'S


her husband. Then, reading the inscription above
the epitaph, she faintly said--" Why did I so hastily
send the dear children away ?"
We are not away, dear mother," answered Anna,
"' we are all here-we are close behind you."
They were suffered to give full vent to their tears of
melancholy delight; and then I requested, as we had
conducted them to the tomb-stone, they would con-
duct us to the monument. The church was open in
expectation of a funeral, and the clergyman, a vener-
able looking man, was waiting to perform the solemn
service. He was devoted to the dues and duties of
his church, and few could manage these things with
greater talent and effect; but he was a sour recluse,
and paid little or no attention to his parishioners in
other places. Once, and only once, he had been at
the cottage, when the twins were christened, and
sometime before their father died. On the widow
approaching him, he inquired if she was well, and
then particularly asked about them, and why she
suffered them to go to the meeting instead of bringing
them to church ?


60








FAMILY.


"They are before you, sir," she mnaoly answered,
and are old enough to answer for themselvess"
The priest was struck with surpria vt their rapid
growth, and could hardly believe that children so tall
were infants when last he saw them. They will be
old enough for confirmation when the bishop comes
this way next spring," he said; but I must first
examine them. I fear that, as hey do not come
often to church, I shall find them deficient in the
necessary qualifications. You know they must at
least be able to repeat the creed, the Lord's prayer,
and the ten commandments."
Indeed, Sir?" answered the widow; "and you
imagine that I and their elder sister have allowed them
to grow up to these years and this stature, ignorant of
the first principles o0 tneir duty to God and man!"
The priest was silent and offended, and the widow
requested permission to follow my husband and me
towards the monument. I will not detain you,
madam," he answered, from the only object of wor-
ship you seem to have in this church; but I must
request a word or two with you before you leave the


61








TU WIDOW'S


place: there are some small matters to settle between
us." The widow knew what he meant, and promised
to see him again before she returned home.
As she joined us in another part of the church, the
clerk was taking very polite leave of my husband, and
suddenly meeting her, asked if he might undertake the
cleaning of the monument on the usual terms. Her
feelings, as she approached the spot, were too acute to
allow of her answering him, and he passed on to meet
the funeral which was just then advancing to the
church-door. We all retired to a vacant pew, and
joined in the devotions of the solemn occasion. It
was the funeral of a youth of seventeen, who had been
travelling with his parents in search of health, and
who bad requested, as he walked through this church-
yard about three weeks before, to be buried there,
should he die on the journey, or sufficiently near the
spot.
As the chief mourner-the father of the youth-
retired from the church to the grave, the widow whis-
pered to me-" Surely I have seen that gentleman
before I He was a visitor at the cottage early in the


62








FAMLY 6


summer, and the youth he is going to bury was with
him-then almost a corpse." My husband offered
to lead her to the grave; but this she declined-her
spirit was not equal to the trial. lie, however, pro-
ceeded with her children to the melancholy spot, not
far from their father's tomb, and they there became
convinced thatitheir mother was not mistaken. Dear
mamma," they said, when they returned to us, it is
indeed the same-the very same! He and the youth
were at our house only a quarter of an hour; but it is
the husband, and must have been the son, of the lady
whom we found sketching the cottage, and who after-
wards spent a week with us while they rode about the
country. Poor lady poor gentleman poor youth!
how we all feel for them !"
Anna was interrupted in her simple lamentations by the
very different voice and manner of the priest, who,in hie
surplice, again accosted the widow, and reminded her
that certain fees were due for placing the marble in the
church and the stone in the church yard. Without the
slighest hesitation she took from a small pocket book
that had been her husband's the ten pound note, and


63








TIB2 WIDOW'S


requested the priest to pay himself whatever the charge
might be. We did not hear the request; but we saw the
offer of the note, and I stepped forward to prevent
its being taken. There must be some mistake here,"
I said. None whatever," answered the priest,
"' except that a stranger has improperly inter-
fered between me and my parishioner. What right,
madam, have you to check the due course of
ecclesiastical business, and prevent the church from
receiving her dues ?"
None whatever, Sir," said my husband: "only I
must request that you will let this part of ecclesiastical
business be done by the proper person. Your clerk, I
presume, can much more consistently receive the dues
of the church, while you retire to take off your
surplice."
Finding the dues perfectly safe the priest consented,
only observing, that the clerk might not have change
for the note, which he had. "' This Sir," my husband
said, "' will be unnecessary-I will settle with the clerk
to the utmost farthing of your demand."
Yes, yes, your reverence," said the clerk, coming









FAMILY.


up at the moment, and indistinctly hearing what was
said, the good gentleman has settled all with me,
and I placed the money in the vestry cupboard, that
when your reverence goes there you may be sure to
see it."
The pampered priest was now disconcerted and angry;
but he knew not upon which object his anger was to be
vented. The widow had not hesitated to pay his dues
on the first demand. I knew that they were already
paid, and therefore gently interfered to prevent her. My
husband had even asked the clerk their amount, and
discharged it in a moment. And the clerk had care-
fully placed the money where he was certain his
master would find it. Who then was to blame ? Not
even the priest himself-at least he thought so, as he
soon after said to my husband--" You perceive, Sir,
that I was under an entire mistake, and if you have
as good an understanding as you have a heart you
will fully account for it."
"4 Sir,"' my husband said, in a firm reproving tone,
Sif you had as good a heart as you have an understaud-
ing, you would not, at this time of life, with a noble


65








TIER WIDOW'S


fortune, and not a child to leave it to, exact of the poor
widow, and fatherless, three pounds, their living for
three whole weeks, for these memorials of her depart-
ed husband."
I perceive, Sir," answered the priest," that you
are disposed to join in the popular clamour against
the church. You would rob it of its dues, and strip
it of its best ornaments. Here, Sir, is a pamphlet I
have just written in its defence. Accept it, and.read
it, Sir, and it may do you good."
My husband looked at the title, and saw it was a
tirade against dissenters. He politely returned it, and
said-" Sir, I must ever consider such clergymen as
yourself the very worst enemies of the church. Your
rapacity creates the dissent you deplore and reprobate.
As a proof of this, the present exaction will, I am
persuaded, add very much to the number of dissenters
in your parish. Your clerk hinted to me that the dues
might have been less, had not the widow sometimes
gone with her family to the dissenting chapel; and now
I doubt not she will go there entirely, and never enter
your church except to view the memorials of her


66








FAMILY.


departed husband. I blame her not. I am no dis-
senter myself, nor am I likely ever to become one.
I am yet convinced that the views and feelings which
your conduct has given to the widow against your
church, will, without the slightest taint of revenge,
iraduce her henceforth to take her family entirely to
he chapel, where they will at least be trained up to
hbe conviction of what a Christian church really is,
and what your church and every church ought to be."
Thus we parted never to meet again. The priest
retired to his vestry, while we gathered together on a
retired spot of the church yard to confer on the ex-
pediency of seeking an interview with the bereaved
father. This, at present, turned out to be impossible.
He left the village immediately after the funeral, no
doubt to join the bereaved mother in some retirement
of the neighbourhood. We had sent our chaise to the
farm, and proposed all to walk back to the cottage
together.
As we proceeded, one of the twins took advantage
of a minute of silence, and said with her usual anima-
tion--" Mamma, what could the minister mean when


67








THIE WIDOW'S


he said he should find sister and me deficient ?" On
her mamma explaining his meaning, the other twin
smiled and said-" If he had condescended to call at
our house, and examined us, we should have court
vinced him that we could repeat and I hope understand
all that the bishop wants to confirm us, and much
more too."
But why, Sir," said Anna, addressing my husband
"are we required to learn and repeat the creed as
much as the Lord's prayer and ten commandments?
They are parts of the bible; but that is only in the
prayer book. It is caled the apostle's creed; but none
of the apostles say any thing about it."
The apostles certainly teach us the very same facts
and doctrines as are taught in that creed," I answered ;
" though as a creed, in the form in which it is placed
before us, the apostles did not and could not write it,
because it was unknown till two or three hundred years
after the apostles lived."
And yet," said the widow, it is printed over all
our church communion tables by the side of the
Lord's prayer and ten commandments, as though it
were of the same divine authority as them *I"


68








FAM ILY. 6


We had now reached the top of a short lane, along
which we had to pass to another meadow. The twins
were over the style in a moment, and in another mo-
ment we had lost sightof them. I had become fearful
of missing them, and their mother discerned my
anxiety. We shall soon reach their humble and
favourite retreat, she said. They are beneath
yonder thatch, and they have endeavoured to elude
us for a few moments for a favourite purpose, which
you may understand by peeping through a crevice
of the door." This was unnecessary : the door was
open, and one of the twins was preparing a nice
little supper for the poor cottager, while the other was
reading to her a chapter of the New Testament.
This good old woman," the widow said, is the
only pensioner we have hitherto been able to support,
and we were charged upon his death bed, whose words
will never go from us, on no account to suffer her to
want. She was his nurse in infancy, and would have
been so in his last illness had she been able; and now
my daughters are nurses to her. Every day, and
sometimes twice and thrice a day. they are with her.


69








THE WIDOW'S


She calls them her cooks, her doctors, her chaplains--
her guardian angels. They often cause her poor
widowed heart to sing for joy."
I went first into the cottage, and desired the dear
children to continue their kind offices; while my
husband added to the slender meal by a few biscuits
and a little fruit that he had purchased in the village.
" And so," I said, "while the lordly and luxurious
priest exacts three weeks of your living for some of
the best ornaments of his church and church yard,
you are able to afford a living to this aged woman,
who should be kept in comfort, with ten thousand
others like her, from the overflowing wealth of the
church !"
She receives," the widow answered, 'a shilling a
week from the slender rates of the parish; though I
am sorry to say this is a fund to which the parish
priest never contributes. Hle declares himself exempt
from all rates for the poor, and insists upon the farm-
ers keeping them and the church too."
As we were preparing to leave the hut, an elderly
good-luoking man was riding a donkey at a very slew


70








FAMILY.


pace along the lane. I think he could not be urging
on the creature at the rate of more than two miles an
hour; though he was evidently wishing to proceed at
a quicker pace, and striving mildly to bring the
donkey to his mind. When he came opposite the hut,
the creature stopped, and no effort would make him
proceed. He is past feeling," said the man to my
husband, who advised him to use his stick; and, if he
was not, I should prefer being mild with the creature
rather than severe." Then getting off and looking
in at the hut, as we left it, he asked the good old
woman if he might buy of her a bunch of the carrots
that hung at the door ?
We soon found that she had consented, by looking
back and seeing the bunch of carrots at the top of
the man's stick, and he overtaking us on his donkey
at a rather brisk rate. We did not then understand
the trick that he was playing off upon his dull beast.
" I suppose, Sir," said one of the twins to my husband,
who had taken one in each hand to lead them down the
lane- I suppose that old man bought the carrots for
his supper, and will eat them without dressing,
perhaps as he rides home ?"


71








THa WIDOW'S


I imagine," my husband answered, that the man
is not riding home, but from home ; otherwise his ass
would proceed at a quicker pace. However slow that
animal is on a journey from home, it is sure to trot
fast enough the moment its head is turned to go back
again."
My husband had scarcely finished the sentence
before the ass trotted by us at the rate of six or seven
miles an hour But we soon saw a good reason for
the change- the man was holding the bunch of car-
rots a few inches before its head, and it was in pursuit
of this delicious meal, and not with any regard to its
master's convenience or authority, that it had thus
quickened its dull and stupid pace. The young folks
were full of mirth at this scene, and the older, not
excepting the widow herself, were inclined to a hearty
laugh, as the man trotted before them with his carrots
attracting the ass, and yet the creature not able to
reach one of them. Proud of his triumph, the man
looked back two or three times, and joined us in the
laugh. The last turn of his head, however, was
almost fatal to his hopes of quickly reaching the end


72








FAMILY.


of his journey He drew the carrots too near the
mouth of the ass, when the creature seized the bunch,
and it fell at once from the stick and its mouth upon
the ground. Now was the test of the creature's mo-
tive for quickening its pace! Now was the tug of war
between it and its master! I verily believe, had not
my husband run to his assistance, that the creature
would have devoured enough of the carrots to satisfy
its appetite, and return to its old slow pace. But the
bunch was rescued just as the ass had tasted its
sweetness, and the delicate bit had provoked its appe-
tite. My husband assisted the man to remount, then
tied his bunch more fast to a longer stick, and we
laughed again to see the ass trot off at a quicker pace
than before.
With the widow on my right and Anna on my left, I
walked near enough behind my husband to hear his
conversation with the twins; whom be had again
taken, one in each hand. He began maktug some
remark on what they had beheld, when one of them
said significantly-"' I always thought the ass was a
remarkably kind and patient creature, given to much








TIHE WIDOW'S


self-denial for the convenience and comfort of its
master; but this a little changes my mind about it."
" And mine, too, sister," said the other twin, with still
more significance. The creature now appears a
mere slave, working only as it is compelled, and
bent on nothing but gratifying its own low appetite."
My husband was silent for a few minutes to let the
dear children go on, delighted with the thoughtful-
ness they manifested, and the clear good sense and
strength of their remarks. But they too were silent,
in hope of an answer from him. Perceiving this, he
said-" I admire the view you take of this matter, not
for the sake of the ass, but for your own sake, and for
the sake of truth. While some creatures have been
censured for evil tempers which they do not possess,
that creature has been praised for virtues which I fear
seldom or never fell to its lot. Its assumed patience
is sheer obstinacy. Its pretended self-denial is a
sullen submission to labour, and sometimes, though
not often, to hardship, which it cannot avoid.
While the incident we have just witnessed proves
that it can be induced to exert itself with considerable


74








FA MI LY.


activity; but only by the prospect of its own speedy
gratification."
S" HIow different," I observed,' "is this to the dispo.
sition of the horse Our active and animated steed is
a remarkable example. I do think it would go on at
the quickest pace, if it thought our convenience and
comfort required it, for a whole day without a morsel
of food! And then, when food is brought for it,
instead of instantly siezing it like the ass, it will look
at its master, and express its gratitude for sometime
before the food is touched. Then, having eaten a
little, it looks up as though it would ask whether we
wish to proceed? and say that it was ready to sacrifice
its food, and go on with all its hunger and weariness,
if it could but convey us to our journey's end !"
Anna now spoke on another subject arising out of
what we had beheld. I have received," she said,
a lesson from this incident that will be of service to
me as long as I live. As you have spoken of the ass
perhaps I may he allowed to speak of its rider. He
has set us all-at least he has set me and my sisters-
an example of the best method of dealing with idle


75








TIrB WIDOW'S


and obstinate creatures. I shall teach my pupils
as well as learn myself, to attract the stubborn chil-
dren of the sunday school we expect to have under our
care, by a view of their own interest, rather than urge
them by a fear of their own injury. I shall hang
a bunch of carrots before them to draw them forward,
rather than use any severe methods to drive them."
The twins were delighted beyond expression with
sister Anna's remarks, especially as she seemed to
assure them of a prospect, which they had hitherto
contemplated with uncertainty-the prospect of becom-
ing teachers in a sunday school. Hitherto the widow
had hesitated to allow her daughters to accept the
kind invitation often given them to assist in the chapel
school near her cottage; but the behaviour of the
priest to-day had removed all remaining objection
from her mind, and she had just told Anna that the
next time they were requested to lend their aid, she
at least should comply with the request-even at therisk
of being reproached as dissenters from the church.
The party were now at the cottage gate, and were
surprised to find the rider and owner of the ass wait.


76








PAILT.


ing to see them. He was now on foot, standing near
the gate, and had lost all the cheerfulness of coun-
tenance with which he had parted with them in the lane.
Taking off his hat to my husband, whom he consider-
ed the master of the cottage, he begged pardon for
having put his ass in the hovel.
What, you have ridden the creature too fast, and
completely tired it out, I suppose ?" said my husband.
No, Sir," answered the man, but I am afraid
the carrots have killed it! I could not bear to tanta-
lize the poor beast any longer, and so, as soon as I got
upon this green, I jumped off its back, and let it take
the carrots; but it has eaten them so fast that it i4
quite ill, and I fear I shall never ride on it again."
My husband again found the advantage of his medi-
cal skill, and of carrying about with him certain pillq
which he jocosely called-Good physicfor man and
beast. One pill was sufficient to conquer the over feed-
ing of a man, and three were necessary for that of a
horse; he, therefore, thought that two would be suf.
ficient to cure the ass of the consequence of its gluttony.
He reduced them to powder, mixed the powder


77








THE WIDOW'S


with a little milk, drenched the long eared invalid, and
in a quarter of an hour had the pleasure of seeing it
quite recovered.
In the joy of its owner, he was eager to mount and
continue his journey; but we advised him, as he had
four miles to go and it was getting dark, to stop all
night where he was, and give himself and his beast
the advantage of several hours rest. You can start
again," said Anna, by four o'clock in the morning,
and I will see that a bunch of turnips shall be ready to
attract the creature to your destination."
The man thanked the kind young lady, and consented.
"" Perhaps," he said, I may be permitted to take the
poor sick beast into that nice little paddock behind the
house? the evening air and the delicious grass may
quite recover it to health."
My husband looked at the widow for her consent,
and then told the man that he had better let the ass
remain out all night. Overjoyed at the offer, he said
to the widow, whom he now found to be the owner of
the cottage and meadow, I shall indeed be glad of
this opportunity of refreshing the poor creature, and


78








PAMEI .1


when I have secured it in the paddock, I will get my-
self some refreshment and rest at the public house."
As he was going, we all expressed a wish that so
worthy and creditable a man might have his refresh-
ment at the cottage, and then seek his rest at the little
ale-house. The widow proposed the plan, and the
man was requested to comply with it. I will thank
you," he said, when I return." This was not long
delayed. The fences and gates of the meadow were
all as secure as he wished, except a slight breach in
the hedge, against which he put a hurdle; and he
returned thankfully to avail himself of the offer to sup
with the family and their visitors.
I have been," he said, as he sat down, "paying a
heavier demand than before of tythe to the fat parson
yonder; and, instead of going home contented, as my
donkey and the parson wished me to do, I resolved to
go to the town and consult a gentleman of the law,
who has got several of my neighbour's tythes lessened
lately. Now, if I had been ever so much pressed, I
could not have got my ass into the parson's large
meadow for even five minutes; but you kind strangers








THE WIDOW'S


-and you kind widow, especially-have granted my
beast the favour for a whole night's feed in a wonderful
better pasture than his!"
One of the twins at this moment smiled and spoke
to the other, who was immediately and visibly interested
in what her sister said. The man perceived that he
had excited some mirth between them, and requested
to know what it was that so delighted the sweet little
ladies ? I have but a plain understanding," he said;
" but I have credit at home for having a large and a
warm heart; tell me what you are merry about, and
if it is about me, I'll forgive you." The twins looked
at Anna as though they would ask her permission to
comply with the worthy man's request. Their sister
consented, and one of them said-
We did not smile and speak about you, Sir; but
about the parson's grass and the penitent ass. It is a
fable that sister has given us to translate into French.
We laughed when we read it, and perhaps you wil
lhugh when you hear it.
4' There was a distemper among the beasts, and they
assembled in the lion's den to inquire about the cause


80








FAMILY


of it. They first resolved that the beast which had
committed the greatest sin should be put to death, to
pacify the wrath of heaven, and remove the plague
from the earth. The lion confessed, first, that he had
committed many murders, and had recently slain and
eaten a man. The tiger acknowledged that he had
devoured three or four children in about as many
months. The wolf allowed that he had committed
much destruction among the neighboring flocks, and
the fox that he had done the same among the numerous
roosts around him. All the other beasts confessed
their several crimes of deeper or fainter dye. At last
it came to the turn of the ass, and with great humility
he admitted that be had trespassed once into the
parson's paddock; but was driven out soon after he
had begun cropping the delicious grass, and hoped
that the severe beating he had received would be con-
sidered punishment enough for the sin.
The beasts were exceedingly restless during the con-
fession of the ass, and the instant it was over they all
rose with indignation, no longer wondering what it was
that occasioned the distemper among them. The lion


81








THE WIDOW'S


then spoke-" What! eat the parson's grass! 0,
sacrilege! This, brethren, is the flagrant unpardon-
able crime that has brought down the wrath of heaven
upon our heads; and the vile offender must instantly
be sacrificed to appease that wrath, and remove the
dreadful malady it has inflicted upon us !"
And did they kill the poor ass ?" the man asked,
as seriously and earnestly as though it were fact instead
of fable.
0 yes, they killed it, Sir," answered Anna; and
your ass would as certainly have been killed had it
entered the parson's meadow without leave.'
Other entertaining subjects of conversation arose,
and rendered the evening a remarkably pleasant one,
especially for the twins, who had been permitted at
their request to sit up an hour or two later than usual.
After they were gone to bed, a subject was started by
the owner of the ass, which surprised the rest who
heard it, and led to the most unexpected and profitable
results. The man had gone to take one more look at
his ass in the meadow, by the light of a moon, bright
almost as a mid-day sun ; and he staid much longer








FAMILY


than his friends expected. We feared something
had happened to you or to your poor beast," said my
husband, as the man returned smiling into the room.
" Nothing has happened to either of us," answered the
man; but I stopped to look at the meadow you have
there. What, ma'am, do you pay rent for this place,
meadow and all, if it be a fair question '"
This little estate is the lady's freehold," said I,
"and a favourite freehold it is, for a reason which
regard to her feelings will not allow me to explain."
I understand you-I understand you"ans were I
the man. "The lady values the estate out of regard
to the gentleman who bought it more than to what it
is worth in money. All that is very good. But does
she know the value of it in money ? I ask her pardon
that I have made her weep: it is in my nature to
lessen the distress of others, but not to increase it."
The widow strove to repress her tears, and cast a
look of some surprise and solicitude upon the man.
"Every spot is of inestimable value to me, for the
reason to which my friends have alluded; but I don't
know the real value in money, as you say, of an


83








'Trl. WIDOW'S


particular part of the estate, and least of all of the mea-
dow part."
'" But I do, ma'am," answered the man : "and
plain as I appear, with only an ass to carry me about,
I can afford to give you sixty pounds a year for the
meadow only, for as long a lease as you may please to
grant me."
The widow was not, as some would have been, thrown
into an extacy of wonder and joy. She had been told
before that her meadow was worth more than would
appear at first sight, and she concluded, if this were
the case, some offer would be made by those who
understood its value: still she was not prepared for so
sudden nor so large an offer as this. What, Sir,"
she asked, *' is the peculiar quality of the meadow?"
There is no difficulty in discovering this fact,
and answering this question," replied the man. I
have discovered it by moonlight, and I tell you at
once that the meadow contains some of the finest brick
earth I ever felt-for I can tell by the touch better
than the sight, and I never touched better in my
life."


84








FAMILY* 85


The moon then has had nothing to do in the
discovery, Sir?" said Anna., since you would have
been able to feel the earth in perfect darkness."
"" Well, let that pass, my young lady," answered
the man : it is a good joke in more senses than one.
The moon has had nothing to do in the discovery with
regard to my brain, any more than my touch-I mean
I am no lunatir--as my boy read in the New Testament
last Sunday, I speak forth the words of truth and
soberness."
Now you mention the New Testament and intimate
the regard you have for its authority, I am the more
inclined to listen to what you have to say about the
meadow," said the widow: there appears something
Providential in your stopping here to make the disco-
very of its value."
Why, as to that," the man answered, I believe
the donkey must have the credit of the discovery.
You have already found it to be a most voracious
beast, and it has betrayed its gluttony, as one of you
called it, with the grass as well as the carlts. Just
as I went into the meadow, it was tugging hard at a


85








THE WIDOW'S


huge bunch of sweet grass, and just as I reached it, up
came the bunch by the roots, and a big lot of
earth with them. This won't do, I said, and so I took
the huge turf to put it into its place again, and in
handling it for this purpose I found it to be the rich
earth I have described. This is the plain history of
the matter, and without any more to do, I am willing
to give you the rent I have offered."
Without the view, of course," my husband said,
"of turning it into a brickfield ? This will injure the
beauty of the estate, a little, and especially annoy the
dwellers in the cottage."
But, Sir," answered the man, it will do quite as
much good in another way-it will defend the other
parts of the property. Thegarden and cottage will be
much more secure by having a high wall to protect
them, and an encampment of brick makers behind that.
I will engage that the men shall all be honest ones, and
do the widow's property no harm-nay, that they shall
be its protectors."
I have often wished," she said, for a high wall
between the garden and the meadow; but I could not
afford to build it."


80








FAMILY.


Well, ma'am," answered the man, but if you
can't afford it I can. Come, now, in addition to the
sixty pounds a year, and all expenses of the lease, I
will engage to build a wall eight feet high with the
first bricks that are made; and besides this 1 will
cover the garden side of it with some of the choicest
fruit trees you ever saw."
I look upon the offer as a liberal one, and as an
interposition of Providence in my behalf," said the
widow dropping a tear; I shall therefore think
favourably upon it, and if these friends advise me I
shall accept it."
My husband had been writing these last few minutes,
on a sheet of paper that Anna had brought at his
request. lie finished what he intended just as the
widow finished speaking, and then placed it before the
man requesting him to say if he approved of it I"
" How can I disapprove of it ?" he said, since it
declares exactly what I have offered? My word has
always been my bond; but here is my name in my own
hand writing to confirm it."
The name was written with some obscurity, so that


87









THU WIDOW'S


the widow, on looking at it with great attention, could
not understand it. But Anna knew it, and knew, as
she afterwards remarked to me, that her sisters would
know it as soon as they saw it. My husband, too,
remembered something of the name the moment he
beheld it, and on recollection was fully aware of the
singular and eccentric character with whom they had
been conversing. No explanation, however, passed
that evening; but after a few more indifferent matters
on both sides, the man took his leave; and the next
morning, when the family and their visitors arose,
both he and his ass had disappeared from the village.
The keeper of the ale house, where the man had
slept, came early to the cottage and asked if he could
speak to Mrs. Bland ? Anna received the message,
and wished to know if she could communicate it, and
her mamma's answer to itP My dear mother," said
Anna, is rather poorly this morning, and wishes to
lie a little longer than usual: something very unex-
pected occurred last evening, which has created
considerable anxiety."
"Well then, miss," answered the man. "perhaps


88








PAM ILY


this will relieve the good lady. The old gentleman,
who supped with you and slept at. my house, charged
me to deliver this to her as early as possible. He said
he ought to have left it himself to bind the bargain."
It was a fifty pound note, and the landlord had nothing
more to do than to be a witness that it was accepted.
Anna ran up stairs, and came as quickly down again;
telling the publican that her mamma was greatly
obliged to him, and wished him to call again in two
hours.
This conversation was communicated to me by
Anna soon after it occurred, and just before we sat
down to breakfast. This was later than usual, owing
to Mrs. Bland's indisposition, and our determination
to wait till she could come down. As we were
finishing breakfast, I said to the widow-"4 You have
now bound yourself to the agreement past retreating"
-and appealed to my husband, who confirmed my
opinion of the widow being obliged to let her meadow
to the brickmaker, now she had accepted the earnest of
fifty pounds.
Well, my dear friends," she said, I am upon the


as








TB 8 WIDOW'S


whole glad that I have done it before I intended to do
it. I might have hesitated, and he might have with-
drawn the offer. But is it not time to ask about this
new and strange visitor, who is about to occupy part
of our ground, and perhaps become our near and con.
stant neighbour? Who knows any thing about
him "*
My husband repeated the question of the widow,
and that with greater earnestness, because he saw in
the countenances of the twins what he considered to
be an indication that they knew him. Looking at
them affectionately, he said again-" Who knows any
thing of this worthy man ?" I do, Sir," said one of
the twins. I do, Sir," said the other, precisely in
the same tone and manner, so that if two speakers had
not been within his view, and he had not seen the lips
of both to move, he would have considered the answer
an iteration or an echo of the self-same mild and
melodious voice.
"' Did you then, my sweet dears," said 1, "' know
him yesterday evening on his donkey in the lane, or
at the supper table in the next room ?9








FAMILY.


"We did not remember him, and we had no idea it
could be the same person," they said.
What same person? Where did you see him
before ? How came you to know him at first ?" asked
their mamma in a tone of rising anxiety. The twins
clasped each other with the most endearing tenderness,
and cast a look on their sister, as though they wished
her to answer their mamma's inquiries. In the
Album from which I first quoted, it in said that Anna
was considered all mind, and her sisters all heart;
but that they were not without intelligence, nor she
destitute of feeling. The latter fact was now disco-
vered. Anna was in a moment, on her sister's look,
dissolved in tears. She would have left the room had
she been able; but, on rising from her chair, she
would have sunk on the floor had I not supported her.
I gently entreated silence till her strong emotion
abated, and then I did not doubt she would explain
the entire mystery.
Her mamma was but partially acquainted with the
cause of her emotion, yet she knew enough to render
her a partaker of it. She, too, requested the dear girl to


91








TI1E WIDOW'S


compose herself till she could explain ; while it was
evident from the very request that she longed for the
explanation to be given. At length, when Anna had
recovered composure, her mamma said--" There must,
my dearest girl, be some mysterious connection between
this worthy man and what your dear father told us on
his dying bed. Tell me is it not so ? I can bear to
hear it all."
Dearest mamma," said Anna, he told me much
more than you heard--or than you could then have
Ts| to hear. I fear you have not strength yet to
Iear of it. I have locked it up in my own breast, and
in the more tender bosoms of my dear sisters, intend-
ing, when you had recovered the shock of our dear
father's departure, to reveal the secret; but now cir-
cumstances appear to require that it should be a secret
no longer."
They both wept in each other's embrace; but the
widow's anxiety to know all the truth would not allow
her to substitute tears for words a moment longer than
was necessary. Tell me, dearAnna," she said, all
votr know. I can now bear it-I now will bear it."


92








FAMILY.


But Anna was not yet sufficiently recovered for the
task. I supported the dear girl, or she would have
fallen on the floor. I soothed her till her agopy of
grief had a little subsided. I encouraged her by the
assurance that she herself would ,e relieved by mak-
ing the communication. I stimulated her by the
consideration that her dear mother might suffer more
by anxiety than by acquaintance with the fact. At
length she strove to perform in a proper manner what
she was now convinced to be a sacred duty.
Dear mamma," she said, embracing and kissing
her, you well remember the words of the dying saint,
--Take special care of the twins, for they are brands
plucked out of the burning !"
Well indeed," said Mrs. Bland, I remember,
them, and the look-the look-with which they were
uttered His countenance shone while he spoke with
the brightness of an angel They were, I believe, the
last words I was privileged to hear from his expiring
but enraptured tongue !*'
Yes, dearest mother, they were," said Anna: ".you
were conveyed from the room in a state of insensibility
and so continued till he could speak no more.'








THE WIDOW'S


And we sat one on each side of your bed, mamma,
till you could speak again," said the twins, in the sweet
and simultaneous manner in which they generally
spoke.
'" But what did he say to you, Anna, after I was
removed," asked her mother, in a tremor of speech
that shewed her half afraid of having the question
answered.
He said, dear mamma," answered Anna, "that my
little sisters were strictly as he described them-
that they had recently been plucked out of the
burning /"
O, tell me how ? and when? and where?" ex-
claimed her mamma, clasping the twins one in each
arm.
I will, dearest mother,"said Anna, if you consent
to compose yourself. My dear father took my little
sisters, while you were at Lincoln, as far as the second
village beyond our own, where it seems this worthy
man resides and has a very large brick manufactory.
They were much pleased in seeing the men and women
make bricks, and place them in rows to dry ; and my


94




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