The Baldwin Library
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BLANCHE'S ONE FAULT;
OT IEIE TA LS.
BY ANNA MAARIA SAR GEANT.
FRONTISPIECE IN CHROMO LITHOGRAPHY.
DEAN & SON, 160A, FLEET STREET, E.C.
PUBLISHERS AND PRINTERS.
BLANCHE'S ONE FAULT.
ONE beautiful evening at the latter end of June,
Mrs. Somerville, a widow lady, was sitting in her
drawing-room near an open window, apparently
very deep in serious thoughts. Her only daughter,
Blanche, was seated by her on a low ottoman,
watching the setting sun. After a long silence,
Blanche, looking up in her mamma's face, said, I
wonder what my Uncle Charles is like. You very
seldom talk to me about him, and yet you know,
dearest mamma, we are going to stay at his houe
this summer. Have you fixed the time for our
Mrs. Somerville, kissing her daughter and smiling,
replied, that in six weeks' time she should commence
the intended visit; and then added, "That will be
sufficiently long for you to cure yourself of the habit
you have of procrastinating; your uncle is one of
the most punctual persons I know, and likes that
every one about him should be as particular in this
respect as himself."
This was not s, vcry pleasant announcement to
Blanche, and it caused her to be again silent. She
had just attained her twelfth year; she was amiable,
gentle, and obliging. No one could know her
without loving her; but the fault of which her
mother had just spoken, was daily gaining ground,
and threatening to render all her good qualities of
littic or no utility to her fellow creatures. Mrs.
Somerville had lost her husband about six years;
since thzt time her daughter had been her only
companion; she had likewise been hitherto her
child's sole instructress. It is true she had observed
and endeavoured to correct in Blanche the propen-
sity to postpone everything that ought to be done at
a certain time; but, perhaps from not perceiving
what rapid progress the error had made during the
last two years, she did not think so seriously of it
as she was afterwards led to do.
During the rest of the evening, mother and
daughter seemed much occupied with their own
thoughts; the former could not help fearing that
her brother would feel annoyed at her daughter's
fault ; and the latter was picturing to herself all her
new cousins, her aunt, and her uncle; and, lastly,
she made a resolve to break off her sad habit, in
order that she might not pain her own dear mother
during the much wished-for visit.
The following morning Blanche and her mamma
v'ore going to take along walk; the latter, as usual,
was waiting in the hall for her daughter, who called
trom upstairs, I will not keep you long, dear
mamma, I have only mislaid my parasol." The
servants were helping to search for the parasol,
int nowhere could it be found; at last, Blanche
suddenly exclaimed, Oh I recollect;" and down
stairs she ran into the library. There was the
missing article, placed in a corner of the room, just
where the little girl had put it. On the preceding
day, when she came in from the garden, she was
going up stairs to put it in her room, where it was
usually kept, but, seeing the library door open, she
thought she might as well leave it there till some
other time, when she might be more positively
obliged to go into her room. After this she thought
no more about it. This is a specimen of what
was constantly occurring. It is true the servants
did not always feel best pleased at being called
away from their work so very often, to search for
things that if they had been put in their places at
the proper time would not have been thought lost.
But then Miss Blanche was so kind and gentle,
they used to say that they soon forgot the trouble she
had given them. And her mamma did not think
it any great hardship to wait a few minutes each
day for her darling child. Thus the fault was
silently making rapid advances, whilst neither
mother nor daughter had the remotest idea that it
would one day prove a source of real sorrow. Six
weeks were not sufficiently long to eradicate a weed
of six years' growth, and our heroine had made no
real amendment during that time, notwithstanding
all her resolves.
0 __ _____ _
At a short distance from Mrs. Somerville's house
there stood a small neat cottage. Its inhabitants
were very poor, and consisted of a laboring man, his
wife, and one sick child. Willy Burton had been
an invalid for five years, and he was now ten years
old. The poor little fellow had been quite confined
to his bed for two years. He was very patient, al-
though so young and- a very great sufferer. Blanche
used to visit the sick child daily and read the Bible
to him, and also to take him fresh flowers, gathered
from her own little garden. Poor Willy used to
think much of these visits and flowers; and I
must say Blanche never did neglect her little
We will now pass over six weeks, and come to
the last evening at home before the visit. Blanche
went to see Willy for the last time; it made the
poor little fellow very sorrowful to say "Good bye."
And then who would read to him; for his father
was from home all day, hard at work, and his
mother could not read. Blanche soothed all his
sorrows by telling him she would send some one to
read to him, and he should also have a good supply
of flowers during her absence. This quite rejoiced
the hearts of the mother and her boy, and softened
in a measure the pain of parting. There was re-
siding in Mrs. Somerville's family an orphan girl,
who was engaged to do needlework, &c. She was
an obliging good girl, and it was to her Blanche
intended to give the task of visiting her charge,
knowing well she would have her mamma's consent,
provided the girl promised to undertake it. She
was walking up the garden, meaning to go instantly
to the girl, whose name was Mary, when the
gardener seeing her requested her to go with him
to the greenhouse to look at a new plant he had
just put there. She was about to say," I must go
into the house now, but I will return in a few minutes
to look at the plant ;" then again she thought, Oh
no, I may as well look at it first, I can easily speak
to Mary afterwards." So she went to the green-
house, where she staid a short time and then
returned to the house. As she passed the room
where her books were kept, she went in, and then
thought she might as well.remain and arrange her
bookshelves, as they were rather untidy, and she did
not wish to leave them so. She therefore determined
to speak to Mary when she went to bed. When
she got into her room she found it was her bedtime;
and the housemaid came to ask her for the key of
one of her mamma's trunks.
What key?" said Blanche, and away she went
to her mamma, to ask for an explanation.
"Do you not recollect, my dear child," said Mrs.
Somerville, that I gave you a key this afternoon
to take into my room and put upon my dressing-
Oh! yes, mamma," replied Blanche, "I do re-
member now; but I forget what I did with the key.
I put it down somewhere, intending to take it with
me the next time I went up stairs."
A full hour was every one employed in searching
for this key; it was found at last, and then Blanche,
very tired, went to bed.
The next morning, as is usually the case when
the head of a house leaves home for any length of
time, every one was very busy. It was not till the
carriage was half way on its road to the railway
station, that Blanche recollected anything about
Willy Burton. Then suddenly starting, she ex-
claimed, Oh, mamma, what shall I do! poor Willy
will think me so unkind." She then explained to
her mother all that had taken place, and entreated
her to devise some plan of letting Mary know what
she wished. Mrs. Somerville at length proposed
sending a few lines to her by the foot-boy, who was to
return with the carriage. Pencil and paper were
soon found, and a note being written to Mary, it
was given to the boy with strict injunctions to
deliver it as soon as he got home. Our travellers
were shortly after this seated in a railway carriage;
and by eight o'clock in the evening, Blanche had
become quite friendly with her new cousins in
Gloucestershire. Mr. Allerton had not seen his
sister since the death of her husband. As I said
before, Blanche was then but six years old: her
uncle could scarcely recognize her now, she was so
much grown and altered. Things went on tolerably
well with our little friend for some days. The first
time her delay gave any annoyance to her uncle
was on Sunday morning. The whole party with
one exception were ready for church, and had as-
sembled in the parlor previous to starting.
""Now then," said Mr. Allerton," we are all ready,
I think; we shall be just in good time."
The children hesitated. At last one of them said,
Blanche is not here, papa."
Call her, then, directly, for we have no time to
lose," said Mr. Allerton.
Jane Allerton ran up stairs to her cousin, whom
she found in great trouble searching for her gloves.
Perhaps you have left them down stairs," said
Jane. Come and look in our school-room."'
True enough, there they found them, in a work-
box. And how came they there? I will tell you.
On the day previous, Blanche had proposed sitting
down to mend them at a certain time; the time
came and Blanche thought-No, I will not mend
the gloves now, I will amuse myself with a book;
there will be plenty of time in the evening for
sewing. But it did not prove so. Her uncle took
her with her cousins into his library during the
whole evening, to show them something which was
both entertaining and instructive. Thus the gloves
were totally forgotten till wanted to put on, Sunday
morning. When found they could not be worn, for
there were one or two large holes in them. By
this time the state of affairs became known in the
parlor, and Mrs. Somerville begged her brother to
proceed to church with his family, and she would
1otlow with her daughter. Punctual in everything,
j iMr. Ai(erton was more especially so in his attend-
ance at ]Jivme worship. He was always seated in
his pew witn his family in good time. He would
not permit any stragglers ; all went together. You
may easily imagine, then, how much he felt annoyed
this morning. However, there was no remedy for
it; so leaving his eldest son behind to walk with
his aunt and cousin, he, with his wife. and the rest
of his children, went forward as quickly as they
could, and arrived in church immediately after the
service had commenced. This being so unusual an
occurrence, there were not a few of ihe congregation
who looked up from their books, and wondered
what could make the Allertons so late. We will
now return to the party at home. The first thing
to be done was to get a pair of gloves for Blanche;
this Mrs. Somerville soon did, and they three
started, not more than five minutes after the first
party. They walked very fast, and got into church
much heated, the day being extremely warm. This
first disturbance was by no means relished by Mr.
Allerton. There was the stir of opening and shutting
the pew door, and the passing of books. At length
all was settled and quiet. But, alas! it was not
doomed to remain so long. Mrs. Somerville, whose
constitution was but delicate, had walked so fast
that it made her feel quite ill, and, in the end, she
was obliged to leave the church, Mrs. Allerton
That Sunday at Marsden House was not like the
Sunday in general. No one could fail seeing that
its master had been much ruffled that morning, and
when he met his family at dinner the marks of an-
noyance had not disappeared. Mrs. Allerton, too,
I i )
felt distressed because her husband was vexed. The
children, knowing so well their papa's love of order
and punctuality, looked very serious; and poor Mrs.
Somerville felt positively -iil .' .'.., knowing so
well the cause of all this mischief. And the guilty
little culprit-what did she think about it ? Perhaps
less than anybody else; not from any indifference
to the feelings of others, or from want of amiability ;
but solely from not knowing the extent of annoy-
ance she had caused to others. There was no child
more glad of an opportunity of rendering a kindness
to another, or more averse to willingly inflicting an
injury; and yet she was continually annoying and
vexing some one by an error of which she did not
yet know one quarter the extent. The day passed
over, and Blanche got on better the next week with
the most vigilant care on the part of her mother.
There was to be a cricket-match in the neighbour-
hood, and Mr. Allerton's family were to be spectators
of it. The day had been unusually warm, and, as the
party had some distance to walk, it was agreed they
should start rather early. Blanche deferred getting
dressed, so that she was not ready to go with the
others. Mr. Allerton would not hear of her mamma
waiting behind for her, but deputed Edward to do
so; and told him to follow with his cousin and join
them in a field which he named, and from which
they would have a good view of the game. Edward
was particularly fond of seeing a cricket match, and
had looked forward to this one with great pleasure.
He therefore did not feel much pleased when he
found his cousin rather longer than he expected.
He walked very quickly, so that Blanche could
scarcely keep up with him. When he joined the
others, what with quick walking and anxiety, he
was extremely heated. However he was in time to
see all the sport. The whole party was much
pleased, and returned home in good spirits.
The next morning poor Edward was a sufferer
from having stood in rather a damp part of the field
at a time when he was violently heated; and before
the end of the day he was in bed with a most severe
attack of cold. Blanche did blame herself for this,
and very sorry she felt; she could scarcely be per-
suaded to leave her cousin. His illness was not
dangerous. But the mischief was not yet at an end.
Mr. Allerton had promised a friend that he would
take his son Edward to his house on a fixed day.
Now it was Edward that this gentleman wished
particularly to see on some account. The day came,
but Edward was too ill to leave his room, and his
father was obliged to go without him. This proved
afterwards of some consequence.
Mr. Allerton, after having attentively watched his
niece's conduct for a month without saying much
about it, at last ventured to speak seriously with his
sister on the subject, who, he saw, did not consider
the matter to be of great consequence. My readers
must not suppose that Mrs. Somerville was indif-
ferent about her daughter's improvement in good-
ness, very far from it; this lady used to look forward
to the time when her beloved child should have
become a good, amiable, and useful woman. But
she unfortunately made a mistake that many good
meaning people do. She regarded the faults of her
daughter as merely incidental to childhood; and
that as she grew older her reason would teach her
better things. In her conversation with her brother
she said, She is but young."
Truly," said Mr. Allerton, and, for that very
reason, now is the time to lead her in a right or a
wrong path. You may cure her of her fault now,
though you may be some little time in doing it. A
few years hence, if suffered still to go on unchecked,
there will be little or no hope of its ever being
"But, my dear brother," said Mrs. Somerville,
" you surely do not think that I never check this
error in Blanche. I frequently point out to her how
wrong she has acted, and, I assure you, the dear
child makes many resolves of amendment."
This shews you, my dear sister, how difficult
the fault is to cure. My advice to you is to have
some sensible judicious person to act as governess
to Blanche; one who will take interest in the
child, and one who, without harshness, will use
active reasonable measures."
Mrs. Somerville promised her brother that she
would take this plan into consideration, and thus
the conversation ended.
Perhaps my young friends would like to hear
how Willy Burton is going on. Well, do you
remember that Blanche gave a note to the footboy
to take back home with him, and that he received
strict injunctions to give it to Mary ? Now, John
forgot all about it; he was a giddy lad, and when
he returned home he went no farther than the
coach-house with the carriage. He was going out
for a day's pleasure, as his mistress was from home,
and kept the note in his waistcoat pocket till he
might chance to see Mary. There it staid for a
fortnight. One day at the end of that period he
was standing in the kitchen, and feeling for some-
thing in his pocket he pulled out the note.
"What is this?" said he. Why, Mary, it is
directed to you." Suddenly the truth flashed across
his mind, and he confessed he ought to have given
it to her the day his mistress left home. "But,"
added he, I dare say it is nothing very par-
ticular, some trifling order or other."
As soon as Mary had read the note she hastened
to the garden, gathered some flowers, and went as
quickly as she could to Burton's cottage. She tapped
at the door, a low mournful voice told her to enter.
There sat poor Mrs. Burton weeping bitterly; and
there lay the remains of her child. Willy had died
that morning. And what had been the poor boy's
feelings at the apparent neglect of his young friend ?
He did not blame her-he did not think her unkind.
Oh, no he was too good, too gentle, too patient for
that. He used to think she had promised him
some one should come to see him, and he looked
every day for that person, and when he saw his
flowers were dead, he used to say to his mother, I
dare say they will bring me some more to-morrow. I
am sure dear MissBlanche has not forgotten me."And
thus he talked and thought every day until his little
spirit took its flight from earth to dwell with God.
Mrs. Burton thought Miss Somerville had acted
unkindly towards her child. She used to think,
why did she promise him if she did not mean to
perform? She had not yet learned that patience her
sweet child possessed in so great a degree. Some-
times she was wont to say to herself, I dare say it
is the neglect of the servants; they are well off
themselves and they don't care to trouble themselves
about such a poor creature as me." Poor woman,
we must compassionate her. It was for her only
child that she felt all this; and she had received no
religious instruction in her youth, and could not
read her bible. The time came when she felt and
thought differently. Mary did all she could to com-
fort her; she did not fail going to see her daily,
and doing all that she knew her mistress would
When Mrs. Somerville's visit to her brother was
drawing to a close, she promised him that her first
care after she was settled at home should be to seek
a suitable governess for Blanche. She had seen her
child's fault in a different light, now that she had
an opportunity of comparing her with other chil-
dren, and particularly those who had been remark-
ably well brought up, and trained to order and
Both mother and daughter were well pleased to
be in their quiet little home again. Not that I mean
to say they had not enjoyed themselves at Marsden
House, on the contrary they had had much pleasure;
but their visit had been long enough; and there
certainly were little drawbacks, to Blanche especially.
For she could not help seeing her uncle was dis-
pleased with her when through her procrastination
she kept everybody waiting for her. She could also
perceive that her cousins were sometimes annoyed,
notwithstanding their kindness and politeness in
endeavouring to hide it. Her feelings may be more
easily imagined than described when she learned all
concerning Willy Burton. She did all in her power
to compensate in some degree for her neglect, and
to soothe Mrs. Burton's somewhat irritable feelings
towards her for having disappointed her child.
About a month after Mrs.Somerville's return home,
she told Blanche that she had found a governess
for her, an she hoped she would profit by all her
instructions, for she had been given to understand
that Miss Wilmot was a most estimable person. Of
course Blanche wondered (like all other girls) many
things about her new governess. But she found
nothing very remarkable in Miss Wilmot's appear-
ance. She was a sensible-looking woman, with a
kind lady-like manner, very firm, and very judicious
in the management of her young pupil, who soon
became much attached to her. She nevertheless
found extreme punctuality very tiresome sometimes.
But Miss Wilmot would never hear of a thing being
done presently that ought to be attended to imme-
diately. Thus our little heroine was making some
improvement, though slowly. She had not yet
learned to relish despatch, although she frequently
owned there was pleasure attending it. Things
went on thus till Blanche had attained her fourteenth
year. One morning a servant brought a letter to
the school-room. which was for Miss Wilmot. That
lady not being in the room at the time, Blanche took
the letter, and went in search of her. As she passed
by her own bed-room, the door of which was
standing open, she caught a glimpse of a new
frock lying on the bed, which she had not
before seen. She went into the room, and there
staid full five minutes examining the dress; and
then, suddenly recollecting the letter, continued
her search for Miss Wilmot. A servant she met on
the staircase told her that she had seen her gover-
ness, about two minutes before, leave the house with
her bonnet on. Away went Blanche to the garden,
wishing that she had not stopped to look at her new
frock, for then she would have found Miss Wilmot.
She spent ten minutes in walking about the garden,
but saw no one there; she then ventured outside
the gate. It was useless for her to go far, for, there
being three or four different roads, she, of course,
could not tell which her governess had taken. She
therefore returned to the house, hoping there was
nothing in the letter which could be affected by the
delay. Mrs. Somerville told her daughter she was
aware Miss Wilmot was going to see some poor
family in the neighbourhood, but which she could
not tell. She thought it better to discontinue the
search, and wait the lady's arrival at home, which
took place in a couple of hours from the time the
letter was delivered. Blanche was present when it
was opened, and seeing Miss Wilmot turn very pale,
she felt assured there must be bad news in it. And so
it was. Miss Wilmot had but one sister : this letter
was to inform her that after a very short illness, from
which no danger was at first apprehended, she was
then lying on her death-bed, and was anxious to see
her sister before she breathed her last-doubly so,
because she had something of importance to com-
municate to her, which she would tell to no other
person. Miss Wilmot hastened to prepare for her
journey (as she lived at some distance), and Mrs.
Somerville rang the bell to summon a servant, to
give orders to the coachman for preparing the car-
riage to go to the railway station; but felt disap-
pointed when told by the servant that the last train
had been gone half-an-hour, and there would not be
another for three hours. What must Blanche have
felt at hearing this ? Had she not spent five minutes
in looking at her dress, her governess would by that
time have been on her road to her dying sister. And,
on, suppose she should die before she arrived there!
I hat day and the two following were, indeed, days
of suspense to our young heroine. On the third,
Mrs. Somerville received a letter from Miss
N ilmot, with its deep black border. Blanche was
in tie room; with a beating heart she watched her
mother's countenance, as she perused the few
hurried lines. As Mrs. Somerville folded up the
letter, looking most sad at the same time, Blanche
held out her hand to take it; but it was some
minutes before she had courage to open it. At last
she did, and on reading that Miss Wilmot's sister
had died one hour before her arrival at home, she
threw herself on her mother's neck, weeping bitterly,
and exclaiming, Oh, mamma, then it is my
Yes, my little readers, it was Blanche's fault that
Miss Wilmot did not see her sister alive. The five
minutes she had lost in trifling would indeed have
been invaluable had she not procrastinated. Her
self-reproach was very great, and it seemed much in-
creased when her governess returned to her. She
fancied that lady could not love her so well as she
used to do, now that she had caused her so mu-i
sorrow, but in this she was mistaken. It is true,
Miss Wilmot was doubly diligent in endeavouring
to cure her pupil of her fault, but that was the only
notice she ever took of what had happened. It was
some time before Blanche recovered her usual
spirits, for she was a feeling girl and could
not reflect on what had passed without real
We will now pass over a twelvemonth. It was
the eve of Blanche's sixteenth birthday, and she
was in expectation of much pleasure, for her cousins
from Marsden House were coming to send a6 fort-
night with her, and she had many little preparations
to make. On the landing of the principal staircase
of Mrs. Somerville's house there was a window, in
which stood some plants; these were entirely under
Blanche's care. On this evening she had taken her
little watering-pot up stairs to water these plants.
After having done so, she was about to go down
with the watering-pot in her hand, but, as if recol-
lecting something, she turned back, saying, I may
as well save myself a journey, and leave this here
till I return;" thus she put the watering-pot upon
the landing, and went up the passage into her room.
There she remained about ten minutes, searching for
something. Not finding what she wanted, she was
quitting the room, and as she was closing the door
after her, her mother, who was in the opposite room,
called to her to show her something, after which she
gave her a message to take to Miss Wilmot, who
was up a higher flight of stairs. She went to that
lady, and after giving her message remained talking
a few minutes with her. Then turning towards the
door, she said, Now I must go, for I have left my
watering-pot upon the landing, and, as it is getting
dusk, I fear some one may fall over it."
She had scarcely finished these words when a
shriek resounded through the house. In a minute
all were on the spot whence the sound came; and
there at the bottom of the staircase lay Mrs. Somer-
ville. Blanche's words were verified; her mother,
not perceiving the watering-pot, had stumbled
over it, and was precipitated from the top to the
bottom of the stairs. She was raised from the ground
"q. .... ri, lifeless. A medical man was instantly
sent for. By the time he arrived, the poor lady had
somewhat recovered her senses, for her fall had
completely stunned her. She was much shaken,
and her arm was broken. I have said before that
Mrs. Somerville was of a very delicate constitution,
it was therefore feared that this fall might prove of
most serious consequences. On the following day,
when the expected party arrived, anticipating much
mirth and pleasure, you may imagine how distressed
they must have felt. There was poor Mrs. Somer-
ville in bed; Blanche by her side, in the deepest
sorrow; and Miss Wilmot, with her usual kindness
and activity, tending the invalid, and endeavouring
to administer comfort to the sorrowing daughter.
Most sincerely did she hope, too, that this would be
our young friend's last act of procrastination. She
saw there was no need of reproof: Blanche's suf-
fering was a sufficient lesson to her. She never
quitted her mother's room during her illness, there-
fore she had ample time for reflection. The meeting
with her uncle, who brought her cousins, was very
painful; she knew how seriously he had ever
thought of her fault.
Of course the Allertons did not remain. Mrs.
- ...i, ili:'s fall had injured her so much, that her
doctor feared for some days that it might prove
fatal. Mr. Allerton staid at his sister's house till
she was out of actual danger.
Blanche's sixteenth birthday, though at the time
a most sorrowful one, proved in the end a truly
happy one. She was never afterwards guilty of
procrastinating. But think, my readers, what a
severe lesson it was. For six weeks the unhappy
girl sat by the sick bed of her mother, and each
time that her beloved and indulgent parent moaned
what keen sorrow she felt! What a blessing it
was to her to have her kind friend and governess
near her. Miss Wilmot was her constant companion,
and assisted her in nursing her mother, comforting
her in her affliction, and pointing out the best
method by which she might wholly conquer her sad
habit. This lady remained with her for a long
time, and did not quit her till after she had given
a proof of real amendment.
About a twelvemonth after Mrs. Somerville's ac-
cident, there came to reside in the neighbourhood a
large family, the eldest daughter of which was the
same age as Blanche. A friendship was commenced
between the two young people, and continued
increasing for some time. Mr. Shoreton's eldest
son was nearly of age, and a fortnight before he was
one-and-twenty great preparations were making for
rejoicings on his birthday. It being summer time,
there were two large tents to be erected on the
green; one was to be arranged for a dance, the
other for a very elegant supper. For a week before
the eventful day Blanche went daily to Mr. Shore-
ton's to assist her friend Jane in planning and
executing many little tasteful arrangements.
The entertainment was to take place on a Wed-
nesday; the Tuesday afternoon previous, as Blanche
and Jane were making a wreath of artificial flowers
for some ornamental purpose, a servant came to the
former and told her her mamma wished to see her
as soon as she could. Blanche instantly arose, and
hastened home, where she found a letter had just
arrived from her uncle Allerton. It was addressed
to Mrs. Somerville ; its contents were merely re-
questing that lady to come to Marsden House with
her daughter as soon as she could. No particular
day was mentioned, nor any reason assigned for
the desired visit. Blanche looked rather serious
when she read this letter; she had never been at
any great entertainment, and she could not avoid
feeling disappointment at being thus suddenly de-
prived of her expected pleasure at the Shoretons'.
She did not, however, hesitate for one moment as to
what was to be done, and turned to her mother,
saying, "I will instantly run to the Shoretons, and
tell them what has occurred, and then return, dear
mother, to assist you in making preparations for
to-morrow; for I suppose you will start by the first
train;" and away she ran.
When she informed her friends that she should
not be one of the party on the morrow, and of the
reason, they all tried to overrule her determination.
"William Shoreton proposed that he and his sister
Jane should immediately go to Mrs. Somerville, and
entreat her to defer the journey till Thursday.
" For, surely," said he, one day cannot make much
difference; your uncle cannot wish you to go so
particularly on Wednesday, as he has not named
that day; and, besides, he has not said it is upon
Blanche would listen to none of their expostu-
lations; she well knew her uncle's character, and
would not risk incurring his ill-opinion, by preferring
pleasure to attention to his wishes. He had specified
in his letter that she and her mother should repair
to his house as soon as they could. It might be
something of consequence he wished to see them
about, and, by delaying their journey four-and-
twenty hours serious consequences might result.
She therefore said Good bye to her companions,
wished them a pleasant party, and hastened home.
'On entering the drawing-room, where her mamma
and Miss Wilmot were sitting, the former turned to
her and said, My dear child, I have been thinking
that after all there may be no need of this haste;
had anything serious been the matter, I am sure my
brother would have said so. Suppose I go to-mor-
row, you remain to enjoy the party, and follow me,
under the care of Miss Wilmot, the next morning."
This might have been a great temptation to many
young people, but not to Blanche; she had suffered
too much even to think of procrastinating, and she
unhesitatingly answered, Since you give me my
choice, dearest mamma, I prefer doing as my uncle
Miss Wilmot had not spoken a word during this
conversation, but appeared engaged in reading a
book. She had, however, been attentively listening
to what was passing, and determined not to bias her
pupil one way or the other by look or word, being
desirous that should she do what was right the
merit should be entirely her own. She was not a
little pleased, then, to see her so promptly choose
the better way. It was a remuneration to her for
all the pains she had taken with her. It at once
assured her that her advice had not been uselessly
The travellers started the next morning at an
early hour. Mr. Allerton seemed much pleased that
his sister should have attended to his request so
speedily. You may be sure Mrs. Somerville told
him of Blanche's conduct, which raised that young
lady not a little in his estimation; and he did think
that she was now really cured of her fault.
I must now explain the reason of Mr. Allerton's
letter. There was residing a few miles from Marsden
House a whimsical old gentleman, who was a
distant relation to the Allerton family; he was very
rich, and people used to wonder (as they sometimes
will do) to whom he would leave all his property.
Now this old gentleman had not made his will, and,
being near his end, he thought of doing so; but
determined upon seeing all his relatives assembled
in his house first. Fortunately, there were not
many, or there might have been some difficulty in
collecting them together. especially had they been
separated by great distances. He sent word to Mr.
Allerton of his determination. The messenger
arrived at Marsden House a very short time before
the post went out. This accounted for the ab-
rupt epistle Mrs. Somerville received from her
It was too late that evening to repair to the
gentleman's house; besides, Blanche and her mamma
were much fatigued with their hurried journey.
But early the next morning the whole party went.
The will was made, and at twelve o'clock that
night the gentleman expired. Was not Blanche
delighted to think she had attended so promptly
to the summons, particularly when she heard the
whole affair talked over by her uncle? He was
glad of the money, for he had ten children, and
the bringing them up was very expensive. Then
there was another branch of the family, and he
was poor; the money was indeed most valuable
to him, he could now give his children a good
education, which he could not have done before.
And what would have been the consequence if
Blanche had put off her journey till Thursday?
No will would have been made, and the property
would all have gone to one person, an ungenerous
Now, my readers, I dare say you think that all
these things I have been writing are but trifles.
I think I hear you say, what can it signify just
leaving a parasol in the corner of a room for a few
minutes, or putting off the mending of a pair of
gloves? These little things will not be of im-
portance when we are women. I will tell you why
these small things are of consequence. I have
already shown you that they can annoy others,
and, though trifling in themselves, can lead to
serious ends. Another thing is, that all qualities,
good or bad, are strengthened by habit. If little
children are in the habit of procrastinating in
their small matters, they will continue to do so as
older girls; then, if not checked, this fault will be
growing stronger and stronger till they become
women; and, oh! I could not tell you half the
mischief that arises from it then.
There is yet a still more serious consideration
about it. Time is given us to prepare for eternity !
If we are in the constant habit of deferring the
things of the present, we shall be sure to do so with
those of the future.
Our bible very frequently warns us of procras-
tination. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,
do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor
device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave,
whither thou goest."-Eccles. ix, 10. Be ye also
ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son
of Man cometh."-Matthew xxiv, 44. Also the
parable of the ten virgins in Matthew the twenty-
EL F ISHNESS.
Oi, mamma, I am so sorry that it is Uncle James
Swho is coming to see us. I wish it were Uncle
This was the speech of a little girl between eight
and nine years old; her name was Fanny Young.
She was sitting by the side of her mamma, who
was working, and who replied to her,
What is the reason you do not like Uncle
James? I am sure he is very kind to you. He
always brings you presents, and takes notice of
Yes, mamma," said Fanny, he does, and I am
much obliged to him for that; but then he is
always talking of himself, and that is very tiresome.
"When Uncle George comes, he tells me such en-
tertaining tales about the curious things he has
seen in other countries, and he has such a pleasant
way of correcting me of my faults; but Uncle
James is continually saying, when I do anything
wrong, When I was a little boy I used not to do
such a thing,' and 'I do this thing' and 'the
other thing.' It is very wearisome, mamma; I get
so tired of hearing him talk."
Mrs. Young. And so you find it wearisome,
Fanny, to hear a person always talking of himself.
I quite agree with you. But do you think Uncle
James is the only person who does so ?
Fanny. Indeed, mamma, I do not know: I do
not recollect that I have ever heard any one else.
Mrs. Y. Well, I do know some one very much
like your uncle in this particular; and, indeed, it is
a near relation of his.
Fanny. Really, mamma, who can it be ?
Mrs. Y. I will tell you; it is a little girl called
Fanny. Oh, mamma! Then I must be very dis-
agreeable; for I have heard people say that Uncle
James is disagreeable, because he is always thinking
more about himself than any one else.
Mrs. Y. It is this fault in you, my dear child,
which has grieved me very much. Now that you
see it in others, I hope you will try to correct
Fanny. That I will, mamma, if you tell me how
to begin. But then I did not know I had this
Mrs. Y. I shall not have any particular engage-
ment to-morrow, therefore I will spend the whole
day with you. In the evening I will write down
what has passed, and on the following morning you
shall read it aloud to me.
Fanny readily agreed to this plan, and when she
went to bed at night she made a great many resolves
that she would watch over herself the next day and
be very careful in all she said and did, that her
mamma might not have naughty things to write
about her. Whether she forgot these resolves or
not, I cannot tell; but I will leave my little readers
to think for themselves when they have read the
When the eventful day was passed and the next
morning come, Mrs. Young called Fanny into her
dressing room after breakfast, and giving her a
paper, told her to read what was written on it.
Fanny then began :-
"When nurse called Fanny to get up this morn-
ing, she said, 'I am so very tired that I wish to
stay in bed a little longer.' Nurse said, 'Pray,
Miss Fanny, do get up; it is rather later than
usual, and I have a great deal to do this morning.
You know your little sister is not well, and I do
not like to leave her longer than I can possibly help.'
' Well but, nurse, I am so very sleepy,' said Fanny.
Nurse then replied, Very well, I cannot stay any
more time with you,' and so she went away, and
Fanny composed herself very comfortably to sleep
again, quite careless of who she annoyed and dis-
arranged so that she had what pleased herself.
She did not hear how much her little sister was
crying because her nurse staid away so long from
her. When she was called again in about half an
hour she did get up and allowherself to be dressed,
arriving in the breakfast room just in time to have
a nice warm breakfast, while poor nurse had her
tea cold, and the order of her duties disarranged.
And this happened because a little girl thought
more of herself than anybody else. Breakfast
being finished, Fanny and her brother William took
their books and began to study their lessons. The
little boy turned to his sister and said, 'Dear
Fanny, I wish you would just read my lesson over
to me, I cannot pronounce some of the words.'
Fanny replied, You must wait, William, till I
know my own lesson, and then I will attend to
you.' The consequence of this was, William, who
was younger than his sister, felt much discomposed,
and being a little out of temper, he was unable to
learn his lessons perfectly, and when his mamma
came to hear them he could not say them.' Fanny
said hers and then went out to play. She felt
sorry that her brother was to stay till he had
finished his duties, but this was all; she never
considered she might have saved him from trouble.
In about a quarter of an hour she returned into the
room and said, Mamma, has William almost
finished ? I find it so tiresome to play alone.' In
the afternoon two little girls came to play with her.
'Now then,' said she, 'we will play at ball.'
After a while she exclaimed, 'I am very tired of
this game now; I will call William, and we will
have a game at Puss in the corner.' In a short
time she grew tired of that, and proposed something
else that she thought she should like better, never
once asking her little friends what was agreeable to
them. Bed-time came, and nurse tapped at the
parlour door, and inquired if the children were
ready to go to bed. Oh, do let us stay a little
longer, pray, mamma,' said William; 'I am so
amused with looking at this book.' Oh no, Wil-
liam,' said Fanny, 'do come, for I am so very
weary.' So away went the two to bed, for William
always gave up to his sister."
When the little girl had finished reading this
account of herself, she felt quite ashamed, and
going up to her mamma, with tears in her eyes, she
begged her to help her in curing herself of so
much selfishness. Mrs. Young promised her that
she would give her all the assistance she could, but
told her at the same time that the chief exertion
must be on her own part. Fanny promised that, for
the future, she would try to think of what others
would like more than she thought of pleasing herself.
A few days after this, a lady of the name of Mid-
dleton, who lived at a very pretty place called
Woodlands, and was an intimate friend of Mrs.
Young, sent an invitation for Fanny to spend a fort-
night with her at Midsummer. This was winter,
and Mrs. Young promised her little girl that she
should go if she had learned by that time to be less
selfish; but if not, the visit must be deferred. I
am very glad to tell you that our little friend
pleased her mamma so much by her conduct, that
at the fixed period she went to Woodlands. Mrs.
Middleton's family consisted of five daughters and
two sons, so that it was likely there would be a
-erry party. The first evening of her arrival, of
course, our visitor felt a little shy among so many
new acquaintances, but they soon all became very
J1 .n.ll.. The next day being fine, Charles and
Edward Middleton asked their mamma's permission
to take the young ladies in their boat. There was
no danger in this boat on the small piece of water
in the grounds at Woodlands, and Mr. Middleton
being present, the boys gained full permission foi
what they desired. Now came a great struggle for
poor Fanny. She was very timid of going on the
water; and yet she knew that if she only thought
of her own fears, she should spoil the pleasure of
all her companions; for if she refused to go, Jane
Middleton, who was very fond of her, would insist
upon staying with her, more especially as she was a
guest; and Jane being a favourite with them all, no
party of pleasure was considered complete without
her, so that there would be sad disappointment.
Fanny thought of her mamma, which strengthened
her in her resolve: .she gave up her own wishes
and stepped into the boat. It is true she would
have preferred remaining on land, but she felt
so much pleasure in seeing others happy that she
positively enjoyed herself. How thankful she went
to bed that night, that she had been able to think
more of others than herself.
Among Mrs. Middleton's daughters there was
one named Mary, who was very selfish, so that our
heroine had an opportunity of seeing how odious
the fault is in one about her own age.
One afternoon the party went on the grass p'at
to have a game at which it was requisite to have
eight persons. When the children were all assem-
bled, Mary declined playing, as she said she preferred
making her doll's clothes; therefore, as there were
but seven, that game was obliged to be given up
and another chosen. When Mary saw them playing
at one of her favorite games, she jumped up from
her work and ran hastily into the garden to join
them. Just as she got lip to them her foot slipped,
and down she fell; she cried out very much as
though she had been greatly hurt. The game was
discontinued, and Jane and Fanny helped her into
the house. Upon examination it was found that
her knee was slightly bruised.
Mrs. Middleton had promised a kind farmer in
the neighbourhood that the children should go to
his house this very evening to have some little treat
he had prepared for them, in compliment to the
owner of Woodlands. When the time came to get
ready, Mary said she could not possibly go, her
knee was so very painful. Now this was not quite
the case; her knee certainly pained her a little, but
not so much as to prevent her going to the farmer's.
As she said she positively could not go, Jane deter-
mined upon staying at home with her. Fanny
would have liked to have remained with Jane, but
as Mrs. Middleton wished her to go with the others,
she gave up her own will; but none of them enjoyed
themselves. Jane and Fanny were parted, and they
liked to be together. All the children loved Jane,
and wished her to be with them; and they knew
also that their guest did not enjoy herself so much
without her. All this happened because one little
girl studied her own gratification, independent of
that of others.
Early one morning a carriage drove up to the
door at Woodlands; Fanny was coming down stairs
at the time. When she got into the hall, there
she found all her young friends looking as happy
as could be; but nothing could she hear except
repeated exclamations of, "Aunt Emily is come;
oh, I am so glad!" Of course Fanny wished very
much to see this Aunt Emily, which she soon did,
but perceived nothing remarkable. She listened
attentively to every thing that passed. First, Charles
and Edward said, "We have been wishing for you
so much, aunt, to teach us a new Chinese game we
have had given us." Then Jane said, "Now you
are come, dear Aunt Emily, you will assist me in
studying botany." Some one else wanted her to
correct a drawing. Little Annie, just five years
old, asked her aunt to tell her some pretty tales as
she used to do; thus the whole family went on. At
last Mrs. Middleton turned to her sister and said,
" Indeed, Emily, I have been most desirous to see
you; for besides the pleasure of your company, I
have wanted you to help me amuse my little folks,
for it is their holiday time." Oh," thought Fanny
to herself, I am quite sure this lady is not in the
least selfish, and that is the reason every one seems
to love her so much."
Oui little friend was quite right; Emily Ward
was one of those persons who never think of them-
selves, thus they are always content and happy;
they make others so, and that is their chief wish.
Many a time Fanny thought things must have been
disagreeable to Miss Ward, but she never appeared
to think so; even Mary seemed more amiable while
her aunt was with them.
Miss Ward was particularly fond of flowers; and
a flower-show was an extreme gratification to her.
While she was staying with her sister, she received
a note from a friend, begging her to join her on the
following day, and she would take her to see some
very beautiful and rare flowers. It was on this
very day that the children at Woodlands were going
to perform a little play, written for them by their
papa. They had all learned their parts perfectly,
and were looking forward to the pleasure they
should have. The announcement of the sudden
departure of Aunt Emily caused a great disappoint-
ment; it was to her they looked for dressing them,
and arranging all little matters; but no one said a
word, they all loved her so dearly that they were
determined not to deprive her of any gratification.
When the time came for her to prepare for her
departure, Fanny went up stairs with her to assist
her put on her bonnet and shawl. The room in
which they were was only divided from the next
by a very thin partition. This was the children's
play room; they were in it at this time; and Fanny
overheard the following conversation:-
Mary. I shall tell Aunt Emily what a great dis-
appointment it is to us that she is going away.
Cltarles. If you do you will be a very naughty
little girl; you know how she always gives up
everything for the sake of other people. There is
nothing she likes so much as a flower-show, and
we ought not to deprive her of such a pleasure.
Mary. But then we shall not have half so much
pleasure ourselves if she goes away.
LEdward. You little selfish thing, Mary; if you
do not promise not to say a word to her, I will
lock you up in the closet. I know very well we
shall not enjoy ourselves half so much without her;
but of course she will have more pleasure in look-
ing at the flowers than in staying with a set of
All of a sudden Miss Ward quietly took off her
bonnet and shawl, and turning to her little com-
panion, said, "I have altered my mind, my dear, I
shall not go." Fanny thought within herself, "If
I could hear what was said in the next room, of
course Miss Ward could, and that is the reason she
will not go. How good she is; I wish I were like
her !" It was true Miss Ward had overheard the
children's conversation, and this made her give up
her intended pleasure; nevertheless it was her
intention that no one should know the reason,
because it would have caused regret to the whole
party, with the exception of Mary. When she
returned to the parlor, without her bonnet on, Mrs.
Middleton expressed her surprise; but she quietly
said that she had changed her mind; and that as
it looked very cloudy, there might perhaps be rain.
You may imagine great was the joy among the
children when the news spread that Aunt Emily
was going to stay; and as they did not know the
reason, they had no drawback to their joy. Fanny
was too wise and too amiable to say a word; but
the incident was a lasting lesson to her. The play
was acted, and all was good humour and cheerful-
ness, Miss Ward being at the head of everything,
and arranging everything for everybody; and very
tired must she have been, although she did not
The next day Fanny was to return home. She
had so much to tell her mamma, that she thought
she should be a whole month doing nothing but
All Mrs. Young's visitors remarked to each other
how much her daughter was altered; she was so
obliging, took so much pains in amusing her little
friends, when they came to see her. The nurse,
too, said how much she gave up to her little brother
and sister; and the servants took notice to each
other how careful she was not to give trouble.
Fanny, too, felt a great change in herself; she was
more happy than she used to be. She one day
asked her mamma what she thought was the reason
3Mrs. Young. Because you are so much less sel-
fish, my dear.
Fanny. Do you know, mamma, I wonder Miss
Ward did not tell her nieces and nephews the reason
she did not go to the flower-show.
Mrs. Y. Because her wish was to give others
pleasure; and she very well knew that if she had
told the reason of her remaining, the children would
not have enjoyed themselves, as they would have
considered they were the cause of disappointment
to her; and Mrs. Middleton would have been
vexed. So that you see she acted a really unselfish
part-she did not wish any one to praise her for it.
Fanny. I wish I were like her.
lMrs. Y. You must try to be so; although it
will be a long time before you are such a lovely
character as she is.
Fanny. Then you know her, mamma?
Mlirs. Y. Yes, indeed, I do; and I am very proud
of her acquaintance.
Fanny. Do you think Uncle James will ever be
Mrs. Y. It is not for me to say, nry dear; but it
certainly is far more difficult for a grown-up person
to be corrected of selfishness than a young one;
and that is why I was so anxious about you. But
you must not think that because you have made a
little progress that you are quite cured. Even if
you live to be an old woman you will have to watch
over self, and be very careful that you are not seek-
ing to please yourself instead of others.
Fanny. Do you think Mary Middleton will ever
be cured of this fault; I hope she will, for she will
oe so much happier than she is now.
JMrs. Y. I hope she will, my dear; she is very
young, and her mamma is quite aware of the evil.
But remember, my dear little girl, it is not the
faults of others you are to look for, but your own;
and ever bear in mind how the Great Giver of all
good dispenses happiness around; and if ever we
hope to dwell with Him we must imitate Him, as
far as we poor mortals can, and this wil) no* be
by giving way to SELISIINESS.
^-- ----* -
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CORNER'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND AND WALES, with marginal
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