• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I: Mary's home
 Chapter II: Mary's friends
 Chapter III: Mary's friends,...
 Chapter IV: Mary's friends,...
 Chapter V: From four to nine
 Chapter VI: Rural life
 Chapter VII: Mary the teacher
 Chapter VIII: Mary is again...
 Chapter IX: Mary at the fair
 Chapter X: Mary's Christmas visit...
 Chapter XI: Whitsuntide visit
 Chapter XII: Mary at Ellingham
 Chapter XIII: New experience
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: childhood of Mary Leeson
Title: The childhood of Mary Leeson
CITATION PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053020/00001
 Material Information
Title: The childhood of Mary Leeson
Alternate Title: Mary Leeson
Physical Description: 160 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Howitt, Mary Botham, 1799-1888
Gall & Inglis ( Publisher )
Publisher: Gall & Inglis
Place of Publication: Edinburgh (20 Bernard Terrace) ;
London
Publication Date: [1870?]
Edition: New and rev. ed.
 Subjects
Subject: Education -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Early childhood education -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Books and reading -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Thought and thinking -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Parent and child -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1870   ( local )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1870   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1870
Genre: Family stories   ( local )
Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Scotland -- Edinburgh
England -- London
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Mary Howitt.
General Note: Preface dated: August 15, 1870.
General Note: Chromolithographed frontispiece.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00053020
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002231816
notis - ALH2203
oclc - 10143910

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page i
    Frontispiece
        Plate
    Title Page
        Page ii
    Preface
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Chapter I: Mary's home
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Chapter II: Mary's friends
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Chapter III: Mary's friends, continued
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Chapter IV: Mary's friends, continued
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Chapter V: From four to nine
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Chapter VI: Rural life
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
    Chapter VII: Mary the teacher
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
    Chapter VIII: Mary is again a teacher
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
    Chapter IX: Mary at the fair
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
    Chapter X: Mary's Christmas visit at Wilton
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
    Chapter XI: Whitsuntide visit
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
    Chapter XII: Mary at Ellingham
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
    Chapter XIII: New experience
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text







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THE


CHILDHOOD


OF


MARY LEESON.




BY MARY HOWITT.















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PREFACE.




THE following little story, written many years
ago, has been, in degree, re-written by me.
As regards the two principles of education,
love and severity, my views remain unchanged.
I have endeavoured, in the sketch of two youth-
ful characters, to show the influence of the two
principles. If in that of Mary, the stimulus of
mind was too great for the delicate frame, the
tender, affectionate, but somewhat indiscreet
mother had to suffer long anxiety; in that of
Arthur, the want of love and sympathy well-nigh
destroyed a noble nature, and that was trans-
formed into the ugliness of sin, which the Creator
had made beautiful.
In the second part of this story, which I am
now preparing for the press, I have endeavoured








iv PREFACE.

to show that, when the balance is even, and love-
that love which is not easily provoked, which
thinketh no evil, and which casteth out all fear-.
becomes the guiding principle of education and of
life, the youthful character can develop itself into
true harmonious proportions, and the angel in the
human being be revealed even on earth.

August 15, 1870.
















CONTENTS.





CHAPTER I.
PAGE.
MARY'S HOME, 9


CHAPTER II.
MARY'S FRIENDS, 16


CHAPTER III.
MARY'S FRIENDS, CONTINUED, 24


CHAPTER IV.
MARY'S FRIENDS, CONTINUED, 34


CHAPTER V.
FROM FOUR TO NINE, 40


CHAPTER VI.
RURAL LIFE, 47


CHAPTER VII.
MARY THE TEACHER, .68









vi CONTENTS.


CHAPTER VIII.
PAGE
AARY IS AGAIN A TEACHER, 76


CHAPTER IX.
MARY AT THE FAIR, 86


CHAPTER X.
MARY'S CHRISTMAS VISIT AT WILTON, 98


CHAPTER XI.
WHITSUNTIDE VISIT, 115


CHAPTER XII.
MARY AT ELLINHAM, 120


CHAPTER XIII.
NEW EXPERIENCE, 134


















THE


CHILDHOOD OF MARY LEESON.

--4---

CHAPTER I

MARY'S HOME.

As I wish to make you perfectly acquainted with
Mary Leeson, I must first introduce you to her
when she was four years old.
At four years old Mary Leeson could read, I am
very sorry to say so; but as it is a fact, I must
tell you. She was an only child, and her mother,
who loved her intensely, and who was very proud
of her quickness and early ability to learn, and
who had little to do but to attend to her and to
teach her, had taught her to read by that time;
and as Mary loved books better than anything
else, and had been used to have them read to her
ever since she could remember anything, it is no
wonder that, when she could read herself, there
was hardly any getting her away from them. She
would sit poring over a great volume nearly as big
as herself for hours.








10 MARY LEESON.
Mary Leeson's home was in the middle of a
large old manufacturing town. The country round
this town was exceedingly pleasant, but from the
house where she lived nothing of it could be seen.'
Her home was a large old-fashioned house, with
wainscoted rooms, paintings on old panels in the
walls, carved wood-work, and handsome orna-
mented ceilings. It had formerly belonged to
one of the wealthy county families, and had been
their town house in those ancient times when
people did not regularly go up to London for
"the season," but satisfied themselves with the
county town and its quieter pleasures instead.
There were many such houses as these in the
town where Mary lived. Mary's little bedroom,
which was the dressing-room to her parents'
chamber, had one of those beautiful carved ceil-
ings of which I have spoken. Wreaths of fruit
and flowers encircled it, and from the four angles
formed by a large circle, which composed the
centre, looked down four cherubs with folded
wings and calmly smiling countenances, which
gave Mary the happy idea, when she was a very
little child, that she was watched over by angels.
The large old house was divided into two.
Mary's family lived in the larger portion of it,
and a draper, who had a shop adjoining, lived at
the back. A very curious man was this draper;
always very spruce, and neat, and smiling in his








MARY'S HOME. 11

shop, and always very cross in his house, where he
lived with an old fat housekeeper, a man-servant,
and a little dog named Tiger. In this part of the
old mansion there was a tapestried chamber.
Mary wished very much that it had been in their
portion of the house. On one landing of the
staircase was the blocked-up door which led into
it, and she could see its two windows as she went
up-stairs, and when they were open she strained
her eyes to peep in, but she could see nothing but
darkness, for the sun never shone into them, and
that made the room only the more mysterious.
At the back of the draper's house, and at the
end of a flagged court, a large and handsome iron
gate led, by a flight of steps, into a garden into
which the windows of the draper's parlour looked.
It was a small garden, consisting of a square
grass-plot, with a gravel-walk round it, outside of
which was a narrow flower-border, and all was
inclosed with a high brick wall, which was nearly
covered on one side of the garden by a flourish-
ing jasmine. At the further end of the garden
grew two elm-trees, and under these lay a quan-
tity of beams of wood and old joists, which had
been left, most likely, from the time when the
large house had been divided. The border, where
the wood lay, was the only one which was not
regularly dug and planted with flower roots once
a-year.








12 MARY LEESON.
Every thing in this garden was blackened with
smoke; the elm-trees, the walls, even the jasmine
twigs; still, for all this, the garden looked plea-
sant, especially when the white lilies, which
sprung up and blossomed in spite of the town air,
were in flower among the campanulas and the
sweet-williams, which bloomed for one season,
and then quietly dwindled away, to give place to
others the following year.
To Mary, who, as I have said, was an only
child, and whose only companions were books and
grown-up people, this garden was a perfect para-
dise. To her small experience it was beautiful,
fresh, verdant, all that a garden need be. The
never-failing white lilies, tall and stately, the
flourishing, fragrant jasmine, the sweet-williams,
the gillyflowers, and ribbon-grass, if they grew
finer elsewhere, she did not trouble herself about
the fact; they were flowers, real, lovely flowers, to
her, and that was enough.
It was, however, in the untrimmed, untidy bor-
der at the bottom of the garden, under the elm-
trees, and among the old lumbering beams and
joists, that her greatest delight lay. Now, do
not, my young readers, imagine that Mary loved
what was disorderly and unsightly, because it was
quite the contrary. But this was the only part
of the garden where she could do what she
pleased, and her childish imagination made this







MARY'S HOME. 13
a perfect paradise. She had all her life been
accustomed to see beautiful pictures, and to hear
beautiful poetry read; and nothing pleased her
more than to fancy how knights and ladies
lived in old halls, with terraced gardens, on
the steps of which stood vases of flowers. And
now here, among this piled-up, lumbering timber,
she fashioned terraces, shaded with noble trees,
and leading down into palace gardens; on the
steps of her terraces she placed her flower-pots,
filled with what in that part of the country is
called poor man's pepper, house-leek, and pedlar's
basket. Here, also, behind the timber, she was
permitted to do a little digging privately, and even
to make a small kitchen garden, in which she set
mustard and cress in spring, and into which she
transplanted daisies and cowslips later in the
year.
Nobody interfered with her here, not eien the
draper, though he now and then would begin a
half-scolding conversation with her out of his par-
lour window, which always set her heart in a
great flutter, but which never kept her from the
place; and, as she had no playfellows, her beau-
tiful, airy castles never were thrown down to give
place to those of others. Now and then, it is
true, her mother would walk down into the gar-
den to look after her, to take her a little woollen
shawl, perhaps, if a cold wind had begun to blow,







14 MARY LEESON.

or if it looked likely for rain; but then she always
seconded her little daughter's ideas, and would
even walk up the timber herself, as if it had been
the steps of a lordly terrace; and would admire
the poor man's pepper, and the house-leek, and the
pedlar's basket, as much as if they had been the
finest plants that ever came out of a hothouse.
Thus little Mary's pleasant illusions were never
destroyed.
In winter and bad weather, Mary used to play
by herself in a large garret, which had a network
of beams in its ceiling, a little window, in the
angle of the gable, looking out over the draper's
roof, and past all his chimneys, down into the gar-
den beyond, only that nothing could be seen of it
from there, excepting the upper branches of the
elm-trees. The walls of the garret were yellow,
and its door was heavy like a cottage door, turn-
ing on large hinges and with a wooden latch,
which opened from the outside with a string, and
fell with a loud sound. To anybody but the child
this was a large naked room; but to her, who had
peopled it with the beings of her imagination, and
who had already enjoyed much pleasure in it, it
was equal to any other room in the house.
In this garret, therefore, which was in the very
top of the house, Mary used to play by herself;
she contrived to divide it with imaginary boun-
daries into kitchen, and parlour, drawing-room,








MARY'S HOME. 15
and pleasure-ground; and here she had her play-
things and her rocking-horse, which afforded her
inconceivable delight. She had, as you know, a
romantic imagination; and as she had all kind of
beautiful fancies of lords and ladies, her rocking-
horse became a palfrey, with flowing mane and
tail. In fancy she rode out hawking, with a falcon
on her wrist, and with knights, and dames, and
pages in attendance.
In person Mary was slight and delicate; she
read too much, and lived too much in that plea-
sant dream-world to be a robust child. Her
parents often wished, for her sake, that they could
live altogether in the country, which they thought
would do her so much good; but, as they could
not, they did the best in their power, which we
will afterwards explain. In appearance Mary was
very like a half-opened blush-rose; she was very
fair, with the faintest tint on her cheeks, large
soft blue eyes, that had the expression of a turtle-
dove's, and light brown hair that curled upon her
shoulders.
I cannot tell you how dear Mary was to her
parents, nor yet how much she loved them; but
there were many others that loved Mary besides
her parents, and who these were I will tell you.







16 MARY LEESON.







CHAPTER II.

MARY'S FRIENDS.

MARY'S uncle Edward was a poet. He was un-
married and lived alone, and now and then used
to come to Mary's father's, where he stayed many
weeks together. As long as Mary could remem-
ber anything, she could remember this uncle's
love to her. She used to sit on his knee for hours
to hear him repeat his beautiful verses. He never
wrote down his poems, but kept them in his
memory; and, even when she was a very little
child, he had great pleasure in repeating them to
her, for he always believed that she would under-
stand them, and perhaps she could.
He was exceedingly fond of spending his Sun-
days in the country. He would often take his
young niece with him, and they two sitting,
perhaps on a stile, would listen to the ringing of
the bells in all the churches round before the
service began, she liking to fancy that the music
came down from the angels in heaven; then the
two would walk on to the village, and after







MARY'S FRIENDS. 17

they had watched the villagers enter, would
themselves enter also. Village church-going
always interested him, and he was sure to make
beautiful observations, which were so full of
truth and love, that like the Gospels, in which
Mary delighted, she could understand their spirit
if she could not always understand their full
meaning.
Mary, from her earliest childhood, had learned
to love the country, and to know a good deal about
it, not only from Uncle Edward, but from her father
and mother. They had in their youth been brought
up in the country, and had studied botany and
natural history of various kinds; and now, though
they lived in the very heart of a large town, they
passed as much time as they could in the open
air; and, in summer, took long walks, and even
made country excursions for whole days. Little
Mary often went with them, even when she was
too young to walk so far, and then her father
used to carry her on his back, and in this way she
travelled for many miles. As they went on thus
pleasantly, like pilgrims in some old story, they
would gather flowers, of which she always was
told the names, or they would listen to the songs
of the birds, all of which her father knew per-
fectly. And what a delight it was to her to sit
with her father and mother, in some pleasant
wood, a long, long way, as it seemed to her, from
B







18 MARY LEESON.
home, with everything so still around them, that
the very birds would come and sit on the boughs
above them, and begin singing, just as if they were
the only living things in the wood! In this way
she learned the form and appearance of a great
many birds; blackbirds, and thrushes, and linnets,
and the various kinds of the titmouse and little
wrens; and she would hear now and then a night-
ingale. Mary's parents would not let her have any
kind of birds, excepting canaries, in cages, because
it is so cruel to confine our little songsters that have
never been used to anything but perfect liberty.
The delight that she thus experienced in the coun.
try is inexpressible; and even when she was very
young, her knowledge of flowers, and birds, and
trees, seemed to everybody, who did not know how
she had gained it, really extraordinary.
In spring time Mary's father used to take her
into the fields, and lead her among the richly
springing flowers and grass under the hedges, to
peep among the boughs and budding leaves for
birds' nests, which he thought so beautiful, made
of delicate moss, and lichen, and hair, and dry
grass, in which lay the lovely blue and green and
delicately speckled eggs.
Often Uncle Edward would go with them, and
then Mary had a double pleasure, for he loved
birds and their nests as well as her father did.
She liked to listen to the pleasant talk between







MARY'S FRIENDS. 19
them, sometimes about the skylark that was sing-
ing, as it were, at the very gates of heaven, up
among the sunshine of the blue sky; or about the
freckled beauty of the snake that lay on the bank,
basking among springing leaves and budding
flowers, and which, at their approach, glided away
with a rapid yet stealthy movement; or about the
cowslips in the grass, the delicate scent of which
Mary's father often said brought back the days of
his boyhood, when he and his brothers sat outside
the garden door, in the sunshine of a spring day,
picking cowslips from their stems to make wine of.
But I began to tell you about Mary's friends,
and I have made a long digression. Besides
Uncle Edward, there was Mr Sunderland, who came
now and then to see her parents, and who had
loved Mary ever since she was a little baby in
arms.' And as year by year she grew older, and
of course gained an increase of knowledge and
experience, he loved her still more.
Mr Sunderland had rambled all over the world,
and had, therefore, seen a great deal, and could
not only describe all he had seen, but could act it
also. He could alter his countenance and voice,
and represent all sorts of people; old grave Indian
chiefs, such as he had seen in the forests of North
America; turbaned sultans, sitting cross-legged
and smoking long pipes; or twirling dervishes, or
old fakeers of Hindostan, who preached sermons








20 MARY LEESON.
in the queerest language that Mary had any idea
of. Besides having seen all this, and having been
shipwrecked, and having travelled over the Great
Desert, and been in South America on the Amazon
River, and high up among the snows of Chimbo-
razo, he had suffered in many ways, and had
experienced much sorrow, all of which was known
to Mary's parents. This suffering and this sor-
row had filled his heart with sympathy, and
love, and pity, not only for his fellow-creatures,
but for the meanest thing that lived. He could
not bear to see any thing ill-used, or in captivity,
or not as happy as he believed the Almighty in-
tended it to be. In this respect Mary and he
agreed wonderfully, for nothing made her more
miserable than to see anything suffer.
Besides the great love which Mr Sunderland
had for all living creatures, he was one of those
who see beauty in everything. A little variegated
feather out of a bird's wing, a tiny flower, a leaf,
a little branching piece of moss,-nay, even a very
pebble, was to him a thing of wonder and beauty.
With these in his hand, and little Mary on his
knee, he would make such a beautiful sermon, as,
while it sank deep into the child's heart, lifted her
soul to God, and expanded her sympathy as broadly
as his own. In order to make all the beauties and
wonders of these natural objects more familiar and
intelligible to the child, he carried a pocket micro-








MARY'S FRIENDS. 21
scope with him, so that she might be fully aware
how marvellous an artificer was God, whose works,
the more closely they are inspected, the more per-
fect they are found to be, which is just the opposite
to the works of man. Mr Sunderland made Mary
perceive this when he showed her a piece of gold
brocaded.silk, the most splendid of its kind which
the art of man could frame, and the wing of a pea-
cock-butterfly. Both were similar in colour; and
of the two, the silk brocade appeared the more
splendid; but when examined through the micro-
scope the one was as coarse and irregular as a
piece of sackcloth, while the other, in its minute
texture, was a fabric of the most wonderful kind,
-an exquisite frame-work of perfect symmetry,
overlaid with thousands of the most gorgeous
feathers, every one of which, again, was a miracle
of consummate beauty.
But you must not imagine that Mr Sunderland
was always gravely teaching her; on the contrary,
he was the most amusing man that came to Mary's
home. He could tell the funniest stories in the
world; and while he was telling them he made
himself look just like the people he was talking
about-old justices of the peace, beggars, fat
landladies, sailors, countrymen; it did not mat-
ter what. Then he had the power of a ventri-
loquist, and could make his voice seem to come
from all sorts of places-down the chimney or







22 MARY LEESON.
from under the floor, or as if it were somebody
talking a long way off. Besides all this, when
they went on an excursion into the country,
and came to a village or near a farm-yard, he
would crow so exactly like a cock, that all the
chanticleers in the neighbourhood would begin
crowing too; or he would bark for a dog, and
all the dogs, thinking that-a stranger was among
them, and perhaps understanding something very
odd in the dog-language, would come rushing out
to see where he was, and to offer him their friend-
ship or to pick a quarrel with him-one could not
tell which-and then Mr Sunderland and Mary
used to be so amused to see the astonishment of
the dogs when they could not find one any-
where.
And sometimes, too, he would repeat passages
from Shakspeare and other poets. It was from
him that Mary became first acquainted with the
characters of Hamlet, and Shylock, and Lady
Macbeth; and he it was who first pointed out to
her the lovely passages in "As You Like it," and
many other plays. As Mary and her father and
mother were sitting with Mr Sunderland one
summer's afternoon in the porch of an old village
church, he began to chant a beautiful anthem.
His voice was deep and fine, and no sooner had
he begun than it seemed as if an organ began to
accompany him. They were very much astonished.







MARY'S FRIENDS. 23

He stopped, and the organ stopped; again he
began, and the organ took up the air immediately,
and played the accompaniment. It was very
wonderful; but it was only an echo in the lofty
church porch which produced the effect. But
when Mary's mother and father tried their voices,
they could not awake it; none could do it but Mr
Sunderland, and this did not fail to produce a great
effect on Mary's mind.










-o~oo--







24 MARY LEESON.







CHAPTER TII.

MAR Y'S FRIENDS, CONTINUED.

MARY had many friends, you will think, as I have
not yet done with them, and so she had. Besides
those I have already mentioned was one named
Felton, an aged man, for he must have been
seventy, though still hale and active, full of intelli-
gence and good service, nothing pleasing him
better than to find himself useful to such persons
as he attached himself to. These were not many;
but in the course of our little narrative it will be
found that hebecame one of Mary's devoted friends.
He was a north-country man, and in his early
life had been a prosperous tradesman of some
kind in one of the now large and flourishing
towns of Lancashire. He was one of those people
who talk of the "good old times," and who seem
to think that nothing now is equal to what it was
in their youth. He had made money in those
days, and he thought he should now have been a
rich man, if things had only remained as they then
were.








MARY'S FRIENDS. 25
Mr Felton, although he had evidently fallen
from some higher condition in life, and now was
really a poor man, was yet contented and happy
in his humble way. He was well educated, and
possessed some scientific knowledge, principally
as regarded plants; hence he had become a col-
lector of medical herbs, which he dried and pre-
pared for the apothecaries and compounders of
medicines. This vocation made him a wanderer
over the country; and either from this cause, or
natural inclination, he had become very familiar
with the habits of wild animals and birds, of
which he was exceedingly fond. He had at his own
little home a great number of birds, and was full
of anecdotes of their cleverness and affection; for
he had a notion that these little creatures had
more intelligence, and were capable of a deeper
affection for their human friends, even than dogs.
Mary's father was an earnest student of various
branches of natural history; and as he frequently
made her the companion of his shorter botanical
rambles, she learned early the names and cha-
racteristics of many plants. It was during a
ramble of this kind in the spring, when in search
of some beautiful, rare plant which he believed
grew in the neighbourhood, that they first fell in
with Mr Felton, then also on one of his rounds
collecting herbs. He had a bundle of plants on
his back, and both his hands were full of others.








26 MARY LEESON.
He had been through a bog, and was muddy up
to his ankles, so that he did not present a very
elegant appearance. But no matter; Mary's
father had gone through many a bog in search
of a plant or an insect; and supposing that he had
here encountered a brother-botanist, immediately
began a conversation with him, and they walked
on together. The old man was full of informa-
tion; the plant which Mary's father was in search
of was not to be met with there, but he knew of
other places where it might be found. Accord-
ingly, he brought a few fine specimens about a
week afterwards, which he had collected at the
distance of many miles in an adjacent county.
This was the beginning of their acquaintance with
Mr Felton.
One day shortly afterwards, when Mary's grand-
father was there, the old herbalist brought some
other plants which her father wanted; and as they
were just then at tea, and he looked very weary,
he was asked to join them. Presently, the grand-
father, who was about his age, began to talk of
old times, of "the war times," now happily over
and gone, but of which they both knew so much.
This talk of the war naturally made them speak
of war-taxes," especially of "the window-tax,"
all new subjects of thought to Mary, but which
made a deep impression on her mind. They said
that houses then were like gloomy prisons, be-








MARY'S FRIENDS. 27
cause people shut up every window they could
spare to avoid paying tax for it, so that there
were dark passages, and dark rooms and closets
in every house; and wherever there were two
windows in a room, one of them was shut up,
which was not only dismal, but very ugly.
Mary wondered why Mr Felton always talked
of the good old times," when, according to his
own account, they did not seem so very pleasant,
especially when they went on to speak of good
men who thought all the war and the fighting of
those times were so wicked, that they went to
prison rather than go for soldiers; nay, Mr Fel-
ton confessed that even he himself was once com-
mitted to jail for refusing to pay war-taxes, as
was the case with many of the Friends in those
days, who thought it better to suffer for their
Christian principles, even to death, as some of
them did, rather than submit to what they believed
contrary to the divine teachings of Christ.
After this time Mary began to entertain a great
respect for the old herbalist, who, having suffered
for conscience' sake, she associated in her mind
with John Huss and Jerome of Prague, two
Christian heroes, about whose noble character and
sufferings her Uncle Edward had written a poem.
But poor old Mr Felton did not consider him-
self at all a hero, and sought, therefore, to please
the intelligent little girl by much simpler means.
/








28 MARY LEESON.
He had, as I have said, great knowledge of birds;
and as her canaries wanted then to sit, he under-
took the management of them for her, and made
them little nests out of an old hat, which he
cut up and sewed into shape, because the poor,
captive canary has very little notion of doing
these things for itself. He would set off, even in
bad weather, to some distant lane or meadow, to
fetch for her a primrose root, or to look how a
certain blackbird's nest went on, which she and
her father or her Uncle Edward had discovered
the week before. In the autumn he collected
plantain for her birds; and, as we proceed with
our story, we shall find various other services
which he was able to perform for her.
So much for Mr Felton. Now for the friends
farther from home. First of all, there were the
grandparents at Wilton, the elder Mr and Mrs
Leeson. Wilton was about ten miles from the
town where Mary lived, and her father used not
unfrequently to take her there. "Grandpapa
and grandmamma at Wilton" were his parents,
and this was the home of his boyhood. Now
and then, on fine, long, glorious summer or
spring days, he would start very early in the
morning, often before the dew was dried, to
walk to Wilton, and would take Mary with him.
Ten miles anybody would think was a very
long way for a little girl to walk at once, and so








MARY'S FRIENDS. 29
it would have been if she had walked, but when
she was tired her father carried her, or he would
stop and rest with her by the way for hours.
Sometimes she would drop asleep, and then, with
her head nestled on his knee, and the blue sky
and the quivering leaves above her, and the birds'
songs, and the gentle rippling of the brook in her
ears, the pleasantest dreams would float through
her fancy. When she awoke and opened her
sweet blue eyes, she felt as if she had passed only
from one pleasant dream into another; and thus
refreshed, and happy as the day, she walked on,
hand in hand with her father. In a while the
little village church of Wilton, standing on the
hill-top, rose up before them, shining splendidly
in the afternoon or evening sun.
By this time they had reached the boundaries
of grandpapa's fields, where every object was so
familiar to her father, and where he, as a boy,
had gone bird-nesting, and cowslip-gathering, of
which, and a hundred other things, he had so
many stories to tell her.
In these fields there would be sheep, and if it
were spring, young lambs, and perhaps a mare or
two and their foals, all looking happy and full of
life; the rooks would be cawing about the old
elm-trees, and blackbirds, and thrushes, and lin-
nets, and larks, singing with all their might. As
they approached the house, the fences of Mll the








30 MARY LEESON.
fields were cut like a garden hedge, and the gates
were painted white, looking as neat and trim as
it was possible. Broad-leaved arums and violets
by thousands grew under many of these hedges,
which Mary and her father often lingered to
gather, for Mary, who knew how her grandmother
loved violets, was always glad to take her a little
handful.
Mary's best-beloved friend at Wilton was this
dear grandmother. I only wish she could have
been your grandmother also. If she had, you
would have loved her dearly, for she was one
of those whose whole life is spent in making
people happy and in doing them good. Mary
loved her very much, and used to think her very
beautiful.
Whenever grandmamma at Wilton knew that
Mary and her father were coming, she would
walk down the fields to meet them, and some-
times she met them coming up the fields, some-
times just as they reached the gate out of the
road, and sometimes, I am sorry to say, the dear
old lady would await them at this gate a long
time. Often she waited till she was tired, and
then would walk slowly up the fields again, and
sometimes they overtook her before she reached
the house. When they saw her thus walking up
the hill, and looking disconsolate with expecting
them so long and being disappointed, they would







MARY'S FRIENDS. 31
hasten after her as fast and as silently as they
could, and then, all at once, give a start before
her, and then-was not she happy?-Oh, I wish
you could have seen her 1-There would be almost
tears of joy in her eyes; for she loved Mary's
father dearly, and, as I have told you, I think,
little Mary was her favourite grandchild.
There was a large and pleasant garden to go
through before they reached the house. In the
middle of the garden stood an arbour made out
of lime-trees, which were clipped round and their
branches woven together at the top, to form a
green roof. A broad gravel walk, very much
overgrown with moss, ran across the garden and
past the arbour, on each side of which were slop-
ing beds, or rather banks, of strawberries. At
the bottom of the garden, which lay on a pleasant
hill-side, ran another broad walk, which was a
bower, from one end to the other, of filbert-trees,
which bore clusters on every twig. A little gate
in the middle of the walk led into a rather hilly
old orchard which adjoined the garden, and which
was as large as a little field.
In this orchard grew tall pear-trees, and old
mossy apple-trees, many of them with crooked
stems bending down to the ground, and looking
just as if they had been fairly bowed down in
their youth with the weight of their fruit, and
now, in their old age, were reposing on the green








32 MARY LEESON.
soft turf of the orchard. There, too,. was the
cider-press, with its large stones and pole, which
reminded Mary of the wine-press of which she
had read in the Bible. At the bottom of the
orchard was a fence of damask roses; and in
another part of it a wonderfully fine hawthorn,
which in spring was as white as snow with blos-
soms, and which went by the name of "Grand-
papa's Pride," because he admired it so much.
Grandpapa at Wilton farmed his own land,
which was considerable; therefore a few days
spent there made a delightful contrast to Mary's
home in the heart of the town, with the little
smoke-dried draper's garden. It amused her to
see the cows milked and the pails of foaming milk
brought in; and the cheese made in the great
brass pans, which were scoured so bright, and
which always brought to her mind the brazen
vessels mentioned in the Bible, or those which
are represented in old Dutch paintings.
Grandpapa, who was stately and rather stern,
took Mary into the great corn-chamber, or to see
he men thrashing in the barn; he let her feed
the poultry out of the little measure of corn which
was allotted to them; he took her to see the
calves fed, and let her ride on the hay-waggon to
the field; but still it was not with her grand-
father that she was so happy at Wilton as with
her grandmother. They two, to use a common







MARY'S FRIENDS. 33

phrase, had many tastes in common; thus, for
instance, they were very fond of flowers, and, as
there was a nice flower-garden round the house,
in which her grandmother took great delight,
Mary helped her in it; and besides this, when
she went out, as she continually did, to see her
poor neighbours, Mary was most happy to go
with her. She was always much interested in
the long melancholy stories that the poor people
told, and she talked with her grandmother about
them afterwards, and was glad to help if any-
thing was to be made up for them. Mary and
her grandmammaa at Wilton" were, in fact,
very much alike, and that made them love one
another so much.






--000---









c








34 MARY LEESON.






CHAPTER IV.

MARY'S FRIENDS, CONTINUED.

BESIDES her grandmammaa at Wilton," Mary
had another grandmamma who lived at Elling-
ham, a little town which lay half-a-day's journey
by railway from Mary's home. This grandmamma,
as you may suppose, was the mother of Mary's
mamma, and with her lived the younger sister of
Mary's mother, sweet, dear Aunt Emmeline.
Aunt Emmeline came now and then to see
Mary's mother; and as long as Mary could re-
member anything, she could remember this be-
loved young aunt. Emmeline made sketches from
nature, and sang sweet songs, and was very
merry; she was always ready to take a walk in
the pleasant fields or woods, where she sang like a
bird; and when you heard her laugh it made you
feel quite happy, for you were sure she was good,
or she could not have laughed in that joyous way.
Grandmamma's house at Ellingham was very
unlike the house at Wilton: there was no cheese-
making nor churning there; no granary nor barn
where the men thrashed; no poultry, nor pigs,








MARY'S FRIENDS. 35

nor cows, nor sheep; there was no great orchard,
with old mossy apple-trees and a cider-press;
there was no lime-tree arbour, nor filbert walk,
nor nice fields with clipped hedges and white-
painted gates. There was nothing but a very
quiet house standing in the street of a quiet little
town, and at the back a pretty garden full of
little flower-beds in the shapes of hearts, and
stars, and diamonds, scattered about a smooth,
closely-shaven grass-plot on which grew standard
roses. The little heart, and star, and diamond-
shaped borders were full of flowers ; and below the
grass-plot was a little kitchen garden, in which
grew peas and asparagus enough for the little
dinners of grandmamma at Ellingham and sweet
Aunt Emmeline. In this little garden, it is true,
there was a bower, but it was a very simple one,
under an apple-tree ; a little trellis frame painted
green, and wreathed with honeysuckle, in which
was a little bench just big enough for two people
to sit on. If they were stout people they would
be obliged to sit very close together; but as Mary,
when she was there, sat in it with Aunt Emme-
line, there was plenty of room for them.
The house of grandmammaa at Ellingham," as
I have said, was small; still it was very pretty.
Indeed, I never sar a home more pervaded by
the spirit of harmony and peace. Simple and
unpretending though it might be, its elegance and








36 MARY LEESON.

completeness satisfied the most fastidious taste.
One of the rooms was panelled with dark old
oak, which was brown with age and bright with
care. The crimson and dark green furniture
might have added some little to its rather gloomy
character, had not other objects made it, as it were,
full of perpetual sunshine. Outside the window
lay the pleasant flower-garden, and within the
room sat grandmamma in her large crimson chair,
with her back to the light, because the glare of
the sunshine made her head ache. There she sat,
in her light silk shawl and spotlessly white cap
and handkerchief, beside the old-fashioned fire-
place, which was set round with Dutch tiles, and
above which, on the high mantelpiece, stood a
set of handsome China jars and a couple of curi-
ous Indian screens. And here and there and
everywhere, like a spirit of light and love and joy,
moved about sweet, young Aunt Emmeline, in her
white dress and blue or pink ribbons; nowwatering
her flowers, now engaged in some elegant female
work, or reading in a pleasant book to the old lady,
who, as she very rarelywent out, seemed to be always
sitting there, the image of contentment, knitting
or netting, or doing something of that kind.
So much for Aunt Emmeline and grandmamma
at Ellingham. We shall have, in the course of
our story, to return to them. We shall have
to sit with Mary and her aunt in the bower,







MARY'S FRIENDS. 37
small as it is; and with the grandmother in the
oak-wainscoted parlour. We shall have to sow
flower-seeds in the heart and star and diamond-
shaped borders; to tie up the carnations, and to
gather the falling rose leaves, and the spiked
lavender, and the sweet heliotrope, and the clove
pinks, and all other fragrant flowers for Aunt
Emmeline's pot pourri. We shall have to sit
down with her and the old lady, to eat some of
the green peas and asparagus, and some of the
delicious apples which hang, like russety gold,
above the little honeysuckle bower. All this we
shall have to do, and much more, but it will not
be just at this moment.
We must now introduce another group of
Mary's friends, and then we have done.
Grandmamma at Ellingham had a sister who
lived in Lancashire; she, of course, was Mary's
great aunt. Mary had often heard of her, but as
yet had never seenher; nay, even Mary's mother
had only seen her a few times. She was con-
sidered to be a very clever woman; grandmamma
at Ellingham spoke of her as a pattern of good
management; she used to say that she never knew
any one manage children so well as her sister
Willoughby. She had had only one child, a son,
who was now married, and with him and his wife
Aunt Willoughby lived. They had no children
of their own, but had adopted an orphan nephew








38 MARY LEESON.
of young Mrs Willoughby's, who was brought up
with them; and often when grandmamma at
Ellingham saw how indulgently Mary was treated,
she used to shake her head and say, "She hoped
it would not spoil her. But it was very different
to any of Aunt Willoughby's notions, and she was
the best manager of children that ever was known."
Mary's mother, who wished to do the very best
she could for her little daughter, and who had
read all kinds of books on education, that she
might perfectly understand the subject, often
wished that she could see Aunt Willoughby, and
know exactly what her plans were; and Aunt
Willoughby, who was very proud of her methods,
had written to Mary's mother, as soon as her
little daughter was born, a long letter of advice
and instruction, which was intended to be a per-
fect system of education. But some way, although
Mary's mother had such respect for her aunt, she
could not act upon it. She therefore slid into the
way that was the easiest and the most natural to
her, and when Mary was seven years old, grand-
mamma at Elliugham held up her hands and
shook her head, and wondered what her sister
Willoughby would say if she could see the way
in which Mary's mother spoiled her.
Aunt Willoughby, who heard from various re-
lations about little Mary and how clever she was
and how she could read when she was four years








MARY'S FRIENDS. 39

old, and how she drew very wonderful pictures at
six, and how she wrote letters, and could read and
understand the Bible and Shakspeare, felt a great
interest in her. At the same time, she heard other
things of which she highly disapproved; for in-
stance, that "Mary was allowed to see the com-
pany that came to the house, and constantly to be
with her mother; and to make such a slave of
her father, that he must be burdened with her
even when he walked to Wilton;" and many other
such things, for which she said the parents were
more to blame than the child.
In her zeal for "rightly bending the twig that
the tree might be well inclined," she wrote to in-
vite Mary and her mother to spend a few weeks
with her. The invitation was accepted, but the
visit was not paid, the journey being put off from
winter to summer, and so on from year to year. In
due course, however, it will fall upon me to give
the particulars of this visit when it did take place.
And now having made you, my dear reader,
acquainted, to a certain extent, with the grown-up
people who might be considered as Mary's especial
friends, we will return to her as we left her, either
playing alone among the old wood in the draper's
garden, or in her solitary yellow garret; or else
reading the Bible and other large books in the
parlour quietly with her mother.








40 MARY LEESON






CHAPTER V.

FBOM FOUR TO NINE.

I MADE you acquainted with Mary when she was
only four years old. Time, however, moves rapidly
on the pages of a book, for now Mary was nine.
At nine she cared neither for the imaginary ter-
races on the old timber, nor the orange-trees in
vases, which were represented by pots of poor-
man's-pepper, nor yet about the rocking-horse in
the yellow garret, where she had imagined herself
a princess in a fairy tale.
No; Mary had grown out of these things now.
But all the more did she read the Bible, and
Shakspeare, and the poets, and Sir Walter Scott,
and great books of history and travels; and of all
that she read, she conceived the idea, and often
sketched with her pencil groups of figures or single
heads, which greatly astonished her mother and
all who saw them. Mary, they said, was born to
be an artist; she had a powerful imagination, and
a knowledge of costume and character which was
astonishing in a child. Everybody thought she
was a genius.








FROM FOUR TO NINE. 41

An artist, from London, came down to the town
in which Mary's parents lived; and, as his family
was acquainted with hers, he came occasionally
to see them. To Mary he was an object of intense
interest. He painted real pictures, which were
exhibited in the Royal Academy; he had studied
under the first artists in London; and when she
heard him talking to her parents of the fine pictures
in the National Gallery and at Dulwich, Mary
knew all about them, for she had studied, long
before, the engravings of these galleries. This
gentleman soon took great interest in the intelli-
gent and very clever little girl that looked up with
such admiring eyes to him; he talked to her about
pictures, and allowed her to see him paint in the
temporary studio which he had fitted up at his
father's.
The effect on her mind was very great. The
peculiarly managed light of the room; the beauti-
ful casts that were placed about; a few of his own
pictures, which he had brought down, and an un-
finished one, then in progress on the easel, affected
her greatly. From that moment she resolved,
child as she was, to study art, and day by day the
knowledge she gained, and the designs for pictures
which she made, were remarkable for her age.
But the knowledge which she possessed was not
gained, I regret to say, without a great sacrifice.
The faint blush-rose that had tinted her cheek








42 MARY LEESON.
when she was four was now faded; she was so
thin and so extremely delicate, that no one believed
she could live. Her large blue eyes were in mo-
ments of excitement, full of light and fire; that gave
a spiritual beauty to their expression; and then
again they seemed to fade and grow dim as if the
soul that animated them were wearied out. Mary's
parents were very unhappy about her. Uncle
Edward, Mr Sunderland, and even poor Mr
Felton grieved no less: the child whom they
loved so much, and of whom they were so proud,
might probably fall a sacrifice to this early exer-
cise of the brain. No one could bear the thought
of it, and all were doubly anxious to make her
happy, and to show their affection to her.
Mary's mind had been too active for her body.
She had studied at the time in which she ought
to have played; she had lived too much among
books and grown-up people; she had not, in fact,
been enough of a child. This was a sad mistake.
Her mother had fallen into it, and now she thought
of Aunt Willoughby and all her advice, and
wondered whether it would have been better if
she had followed it. However, something must
now be done; Mary must put aside her books
and all her studies, and must become, if possible,
the lively and active child which she ought to
have been years before. This learning to read at
four had been worse than lost time; it had been








FROM FOUR TO NINE. 43

purchased dearly, at the expense of health.
Happily, however, the physician said that it was
by no means too late. Now, therefore, everybody
wished to make Mary, as much as might be, a
child.
The grandparents at Wilton begged that she
might go to them and be always in the fresh
air and drink new milk; grandmamma at Elling-
ham wished to have her there; and sweet Aunt
Emmeline undertook to nurse her, and to endea-
vour to make her as lively as she was herself.
The great-aunt in Lancashire offered to take charge
of her, as she understood the management of
children so well; and young Mrs Willoughby
added a postscript to say, that the methods which
had been used in the case of little Arthur, their
adopted son, had been very successful; that in al!
respects she had followed her mother-in-law's
advice, and therefore she recommended that Mary
should be sent to them.
Uncle Edward and Mr Sunderland, and poor
old Mr Felton, with tears in his eyes, begged of
Mary's parents that they would not send her from
home, nor entrust her to anybody's care, but let
her stay amongst them, and all would contribute
to the well-being and amusement of the child who
was so dear to them.
Mary's parents did not want urging to keep her
amongst them. As soon, therefore, as spring








44 MARY LEESON.

came, and the rooks were building, and the violets
budding under the hedges, they took a lodging in
a country village, where it was intended that Mary
should have free air and exercise, and begin in
fact to be the real child, and to enjoy all that
children must enjoy if they are to be healthy and
truly happy.
I should fill a whole page if I were now to tell
the recipes that were sent to Mary's mother, for
soups, and jellies, and condiments of all kinds, to
knit up the languid frame of the young invalid.
Bark and quinine, and sarsaparilla, and camomile
tea, port wine, and isinglass jelly, new laid eggs
and milk, and beef-tea, and hundreds of things
beside were recommended. Mary's mother was
willing enough to try any of these remedies,
turning, at the same time, to the great Health-
giver, with a cry of earnest faith for the restora-
tion of the child.
In one of the prettiest of country villages, about
three miles from her home, Mary was now to be
located; and if you, my dear readers, have any
taste for humble cottage life, the cottage in which
Mary and her mother may now be found would
delight you. This cottage stood on a village green.
In the middle of the green stood a gigantic old
elm-tree, round the roots of which a bench was
fixed, and here the old villagers sat in the evening,
and the children played all day long. At the








FROM FOUR TO NINE. 45

further end of the green was a picturesque old
school-house, and the great handsome gates, sur-
rounded with shrubbery and plantations, which
led to the squire's house. Cottages of the most
rustic and rural character, standing amid their
gardens and orchards, surrounded three sides of
this green; and on the fourth, at the distance of a
narrow meadow scattered with trees, ran one of
the noblest and most famous rivers of England.
Mary had often walked to the village with her
parents and her Uncle Edward, and had noticed a
cottage with the honeysuckle covering its front,
without expecting that it would some time be her
temporary home.
The people who lived here were basket-makers
There were besides themselves a son and a daugh-
ter; and having saved money, they had built, at
one end of the cottage, a pretty little parlour and
with two chambers over it. These were the
rooms which Mary and her mother occupied.
We will pass over the time of real anxiety about
Mary's health, when Aunt Emmeline came to help
to nurse her; and now. as the spring advances,
and the hawthorn buds expand into white clusters
of flowers, and the old crab-trees are garlanded
with pink-tinged blossoms, we may see Mary
riding on a pretty bay pony, called Fan, which
grandpapa at Wilton sent over for her use as long
as she needed it. That was, spite of the anxiety








46 MARY LEESON.
with which the year had begun, a very happy
summer. Long excursions were made, in which
Mary's parents, Aunt Emmeline, and sometimes
Uncle Edward and Mr Sunderland, accompanied
them. Mary was, as much as ever, their com-
panion; and seldom also was poor old Mr Felton
forgotten, for, during her illness, he had shown
his devotion to her, and every week, at least,
would walk over to the cottage to inquire after
her, or to accompany her in her rides, if no one
else were at liberty to do so.
Cheerful and regular exercise, fresh air, early
hours, and absence of study, restored the health
of the child, and, in course of time, visits were
talked of which were to ensure her that continued
change of air and scene which was so desirable
for her. But before we come to these we will give
one summer-day at this village home







RURAL LIFE. 47







CHAPTER VI.

RURAL LIFE.

THE old basket-maker rented five little islands,
which lay at about two miles' distance up the river.
Three of these islands were used as willow holts,
that is, for the growth of osiers for making baskets;
the other two were little green fields, the largest
of them about three or four acres in extent, the
grass of which was left to grow for hay. Nothing
could be much prettier than this island; the river
at this part Was very broad; on the one side lay
beautiful meadows; on the other, a hanging wood,
which was called Sedley Grove. This grove ex-
tended for several miles, and came down to the
very water's edge, along which ran a foot-road,
which was one of the pleasantest that could be
imagined.
One morning, in the middle of summer, Mary
woke early. The sun was shining into the little
chamber, the birds were singing, and the dusky-
coloured tree-spider was sitting in its web in the
apricot leaves that surrounded the window. Mary







48 MARY LEESON.

was impatient to be up; she said to herself, This
will be a happy day from morning till night!"
At that moment the church clock struck six; and
up she rose as brisk as a lark. She and Aunt
Emmeline were going this day, with the basket-
maker's family, to make hay in the island.
Like the rest of the party, they must have pro-
visions for the day; so the cold chicken, and the
gooseberry pasty, the bread and butter, the hard-
boiled eggs, and the cake were put into a basket.
These were their eatables; as for water, there was
plenty of that in the island. The basket-maker,
and his son and daughter, and the apprentice lad,
who always went by the name of Billy-boy, and a
village dame were the party. They were to go up
the river to the island in a boat.
As they went along in the yet early morning,
the sun shone bright and warm, and the dew was
dry; yet still there was that delicious freshness
and brightness in the air. which only belongs to
the morning. Here and there they saw haymakers
at their work-some working on in silence, others
laughing and chattering; then again, by the river
side, there were herds of cattle standing in the
water in beautiful groups-some lashing their
sides with their tails, some, as if asleep, with their
heads hanging down to the water. Mary and her
aunt noticed these pleasant objects as they went
along, and let nothing escape them. They noticed,








RURAL LIFE. 49
at every bend of the river, the change in the land-
scape; they saw the heron slowly rising from his
fishing station among the willows, and the fish
leap out of the water after the flies, turning over
their silvery bodies in the sunshine.
Whilst they were noticing these pleasant objects,
the boat reached the little island, and, after being
shoved into a willowy creek, they all landed. The
hay was nearly made, and was now lying in little
cocks on the light green grass. It was to be made
that day into a rick, to which was afterwards to
be added the hay of another small island which
lay higher in the river, and then the basket-maker's
hay-harvest would be ended.
Mary's first feeling was delight; she ran about
here and there; thought of Robinson Crusoe in
his island, and wished, above all things, that she
could have a little house and a little garden,
and a little boat, and live there. After she and
Aunt Emmeline had gone the circuit of the island,
and had admired the beautiful white convolvulus
which wreathed the willows and the wild roses,
and after they had gathered a handful of these
flowers, with which they garlanded Mary's broad
hat and Aunt Emmeline's little straw bonnet, they
began to search for a nest of young field mice.
Mary, who'was greatly interested by a tame
sparrow, which lived in the basket-maker's shed,
was now bent on rearing some young field mice,
D








50 MARY LEESON.
which she hoped she could teach to know and to
love her. The basket-maker had told her that
the mowers had found several nests with young
ones; but that he feared some of the hawks, which
came out of Sedley Grove, had carried them off
by that time to their young in the wood.
This search for field mice, which was all in
vain, lasted so long that Mary was quite tired
when it was over, and then sat down with Aunt
Emmeline under the shade of some trees to rest.
Mary thought it must be dinner time, but her
aunt, to her surprise, told her it was only eleven
o'clock; they therefore ate some of their cake, and
sat in the shade talking of the pleasant things
around them. Mary lay with her head on her
aunt's lap, listened to her pleasant voice, and be-
tween whiles heard the cooing of the wood-pigeons
in the grove, and two cuckoos, one afar off and the
other near, shouting as if to answer each other.
By this time Mary, who had been in a sort of
little doze, woke up, and then she and her aunt
amused themselves by watching little shining,
blue, and green, and copper-coloured beetles creep-
ing in the dry roots of the grass; and little yel-
low, green, and brown grasshoppers leaping about.
Butterflies white, and brown, and red; and little
moths, some black, and some dusky-coloured, came
flitting past them with a jumping sort of motion;
then they watched the dragon-flies, with their blue








RURAL LIFE. 51

and green bodies, and large gauze wings, in each
of which was a large purple spot, and saw now
and then a large yellow dragon-fly, which had a
savage fierce look. Just at the moment when
Mary was wondering why they were called dragon-
flies, she cast her eye on a bush beside her, and
saw one of them attacking a large, live, and
slender-bodied gnat. He held the gnat by what
seemed a pair of pincers, and was in the act of
sucking his head. Mary saw, or imagined that
she saw, why he had his name. She sent him off,
therefore, in a great hurry, sorry that even a gnat
should suffer on such a beautiful day.
Like the dragon-fly, Mary was now hungry,
and though Aunt Emmeline told her that it was
then only noon, yet she herself was quite willing
that their little dinner should be arranged on the
grass. Mary set all in order; the cake which she
had already eaten made her thirsty, and looking
about for a glass or mug, neither were to be found;
they had been forgotten; she therefore ran to the
haymaker's to borrow one of theirs, when, oddly
enough, they told her that "somehow or other
they had forgotten theirs, and that they, there-
fore, were obliged to drink out of a big pie-dish."
Mary and Aunt Emmeline could not drink out
of a big pie-dish," that was certain ; what then
was to be done ? Both Mary and her aunt hit on
the same expedient at the same moment, which








52 MARY LEESON.
caused them much laughter; they would drink
out of an eggshell! and so they did.
After dinner, they thought they would help the
haymakers, but it was so hot, that after they had
worked a little while they went again in search of
a shady corner, and on their way saw the basket-
maker fast asleep on a heap of hay in a charming
nook. His example was quite inspiring; Aunt
Emmeline insisted upon it that Mary should have
a bed likewise. She therefore carried some hay
into the shade, and, spreading a large shawl,
seated herself, and Mary, laying her head again on
her lap, soon fell asleep. Aunt Emmeline, I rather
suspect, did the same; for I know that, as she
looked up through the net-work of leaves above
her head into the clear blue sky, she saw the hawk
hovering again as he had done when the basket-
maker said he had eaten up the young field mice.
She watched how he poised himself in the air for
a moment, then made a circuit, and paused again;
then descended a little, and balancing himself on
his great wings, for half-a-minute or so, pounced
down to the earth like a heavy stone, and again,
darting upwards, was sailing off to the wood with
his prey. All this she saw, and thought about
it; but when the wood-pigeons began to coo, she
lost the consciousness of the wood, near which
she sat, and seemed, all at once, to be sitting in
the littlebower under the apple-treein her mother's







RURAL LIFE. 53
garden at Ellingham with Mary's uncle Edward
standing beside her, and talking to her in a low
voice. It must have been the cooing of that
wood-pigeon that put such a thought into her
head, for Uncle Edward had then never been at
Ellingham, and he knew nothing about the
bower under the apple-tree. I feel sure from
this, that Aunt Emmeline must have fallen asleep
and dreamed.
When Mary woke they again walked round the
island; and now the little flowers showed that the
hour of noon was considerably past, for the white
convolvulus was shut, and so was the yellow goat's-
beard, which had spread its broad golden petals
like a sun in the morning.
Another change had taken place; all the hay-
cocks were gathered from the meadow, and the
little rick had grown into very tolerable magni-
tude. The women were raking up the scattered
remains from the grass, and the basket-maker and
his son, and Billy-boy, were just about setting off
in the boat to bring down, from the yet smaller
island, the little crop of hay there, which lay ready
for their fetching, and which would thus, before
the evening had closed in, complete the hay-rick.
Mary and Aunt Emmeline, who had traversed
the island till they knew it by heart, determined
to go too and fetch the hay, which seemed quite
a pleasant Arcadian sort of excursion; but just







54 MARY LEESON.
as they were about to set off, they saw in the dis-
tance, advancing up the river, a gay little pleasure-
boat. It was not a very unusual thing to see a
pleasure-boat on this beautiful river, and the sight
alone would not have detained them, had not cer-
tain sounds caught their ear; these were the hoot-
ing of owls, which seemed to come directly from
Sedley Grove. The basket-maker, his son and
Billy-boy, stared in amazement; it was too earlyin
the day for owls But scarcely had their wonder
found words, when cocks began to crow, dogs to
bark, and sheep to bleat; and then a peal of merry
laughter succeeded. One mystery was cleared up,
but another began. The owls, the cocks, the dogs,
the sheep, were no other than Mr Sunderland.
But what had brought Mr Sunderland there ?
They did not know even that he was in the neigh-
bourhood; and now the boat was near enough for
them to see that it contained Mary's father and
mother, Mr Sunderland, Uncle Edward, and even
poor old Mr Felton. Mary's father and uncle
were rowing, Mr Sunderland sat at the helm, and
Mr Felton was busied with something in the
bottom of the boat. No sooner had the new
comers arrived than the basket-maker's large boat
set off on its business expedition, and Mary and
Aunt Emmeline, you may be sure, had plenty to
do in receiving this unexpected party and welcom-
ing the two strangers, Uncle Edward and Mr







RURAJI LIFE. 55
Sunderland, whom they had not seen for several
months.
The afternoon was so delightful, and the river
so attractive, that after the little party had gone
the round of the island and held a consultation as
to the best place for taking tea, conveniences and
material for which they had abundantly brought
with them in the boat, they determined to row
still higher up the river; to call at the little island
whence the hay was to be fetched; to land at the
gypsum rocks under Sedley Grove, about a mile
higher up, and to look for some curious botanical
specimens which were to be found there; and if
they did not meet with any more attractive situa-
tion for taking tea, then to return again to this
first island and enjoy it there.
No sooner was Mary seated than she saw her
old friend Mr Felton once more on his knees at
the bottom of the boat, busied over a mysterious
something, the like of which she had never seen.
The good old man, who was right glad to find her
interested in anything that belonged to him, told
her that it was a peripeurater, and had been lent
to him by an acquaintance, a poor shoemaker, who
had a great turn for mechanics and chemistry, and
that he had made it himself. It was a sort of
portable fire machine, and by the help of it the
kettle was to be boiled for tea. Mary, who had
pictured to herself their kettle boiling in gipsy







56 MARY LEESON.
fashion, suspended from a tripod of three poles
in the wood, was a little disappointed at first. It
was not long, however, before Mr Felton talked
her into an enthusiasm as great as his own about
his peripeurater. He confided to her that he
feared something was wrong about it; but that as
Mr Edward and Mr Sunderland made such fun
of it, and prophesied that it would not succeed,
he wished to give it a trial before they reached
land, and therefore he had fixed the kettle, as she
saw, and was now doing his utmost tq set it pro-
perly going.
The party in the boat were fortunately very
much occupied by themselves, and left the eldest
and the youngest to their anxious labours. Mr
Felton made the most persevering attempts to get
the machine properly regulated, but either he did
not understand it, or the thing was out of order,
for burn it either would not, or else it flared away
like a mad thing, and sent forth such quantities
of smoke as made Mr Felton's face as black as
that of a chimney-sweeper; while, at the same
time, he was so hot that he looked more like a
blacksmith at his forge than an old gentleman on
a pleasure tour. Spite of the heat and the pother
Mary sat patiently beside him; first suggesting
this, and then that, with marvellously little know-
ledge of the matter, as may be supposed, and run-
ning the risk of becoming nearly as black as Mr







RURAL LIFE. 57

Felton himself. Among her other suggestions was
that of asking counsel from Mr Sunderland or her
father, whom she knew from experience to be
equal to any difficulty; but Mr Felton confided
to her in a whisper, that these two gentlemen had
been laughing so mercilessly at the machine that
it was better to say nothing to them.
Up the river they went, past the little willowy
island where their friend the basket-maker and
his party were busy getting the hay into the boat,
and, without more than a passing greeting, still
rowed onward. Presently they came to that part
of the river which lay below Sedley Hall, and
which here made a beautiful sweep among woods
and plantations. To the right an artificial cut
branched off like a lesser river, and ran to a little
distance amongst woods and little green pasture
fields, to supply a line of fish-ponds. Nothing
could be more beautiful than this bit of river
scenery, which was quiet and picturesque, like
many a little scene in Bewick. Before them
towered up, above the now receding grove, the
handsome hall of Sedley, upon the windows of
which the declining sun cast a golden light.
Mary forgot the peripeurater in the pleasant
objects around her. The little artificial river was
covered with water-lilies-one complete mass of
them, like cups of silver set in emerald dishes, as
she said. The slanting sun shot its long golden








58 MARY LEESON.
beams amongst the scattered Spanish chestnut
and bay trees, the remains of a plantation of for-
mer days. The grass of the little pasture field
was as green as grass could be, and everybody
agreed that no pleasanter place than this could
be found for their tea. Here, however, one diffi-
culty was soon discovered. On the property of Sir
Edmund Sedley they might not set up a rustic
tripod to boil their kettle; and yet, where was
there so beautiful a spot for the purpose! They
must leave it, however, and return to the island
for tea, where the basket-maker, the "Lord of the
Isles," as Mary called him, would set up their
tripod for them, if need were, instead of oppos-
ing it.
All this time Mr Felton had the boat to him-
self, and having, as he said, plenty of elbow room,
had set his fire-machine going, spite of smoke
and flame, and now the kettle was singing merrily,
and sending steam from its spout, and even from
under its lid. Mary, as we know, left him for the
water-lilies; and after that she ran off with Mr
Sunderland, who was as full of fun as a lad, to
look at a hedgehog which he had found under a
tall holly-tree. By the time the kettle was boiled
she came back to the boat, and was the first to
learn the good tidings. Without a moment's loss
of time, therefore, she and her old friend began
to make preparations, and, with the help of Mr







RURAL LIFE. 59

Sunderland, who sang a merry impromptu song
in praise of the machine, the tea-things were set
out and the tea was brewing in the teapot, the
cake cut in slices, and everything ready to be
eaten and enjoyed when the company returned,
to go off, as they supposed, to the island.
Everybody was delighted. Mr Felton washed
his hands and face leaning over the side of the
boat. Mary had done this long ago, so that they
looked no longer like either chimney-sweepers or
blacksmiths, and the merriment and delight of the
whole party was without bounds. Never, since
tea was made in a teapot, had such tea as that
been drunk, and as to the cake and the bread and
butter, the cold tongue and chicken, nobody had
ever eaten such before, at least so they thought.
"When tea was over they set out again; and as
Mr Felton had no longer occasion to trouble him-
self about his fire-machine, he was now able
thoroughly to enjoy himself. They landed, as
they proposed, at the gypsum cliffs, and gathered
the most beautiful specimens of the curious plant
they wanted, which greatly pleased Mary's father
and uncle. When they were ready to set off
again, neither Mr Sunderland nor Mr Felton
were to be found. The others ran about and
shouted, and looked here and there, but they were
nowhere. The sun was declining, and the beau-
tiful moon, then nearly at full, was slowly ascend-








60 MARY LEESON.
ing on the other side of the heavens; the wood-
pigeons were cooing and the owls were hooting.
At first everybody supposed that these were
Mr Sunderland; but as he did not make his
appearance, and they still kept hooting and coo-
ing on, everybody decided that they were only
birds.
"Whilst they were thus waiting at the river's
edge for their two missing companions, a little
troop of children came down the wood. They had
been out at field-labour all day, weeding corn and
such like. There were five of them, two little
lads, and two girls, the eldest of whom carried a
baby. They had in their hands their baskets and
basins in which they had taken out their dinners,
but they were now quite empty. Mary and Aunt
Emmeline knew them again; they were children
from Linford, who went every day three miles to
their labour, young as they were, and then back.
They said that they worked for a large farmer at
Linford, who had also a tillage-farmer at Sedley,
and that they earned from fourpence to sixpence
a-day. Two of them were the children of poor
Widow Brooks, who was hay-making in the island
with the basket-maker; the other three children
belonged to an equally poor family in Linford;
the baby was theirs, and the eldest girl, its sister,
said she took it out with her every day that'their
mother might be able to earn all she could in the








RURAL LIFE. 61

harvest, for their father was dying "of a waste,"
which meant that he was ill of a consumption.
It was a melancholy history, and filled Mary's
heart with love towards them. She wished to do
them a kindness; they had been out all day hard
at work, and were tired; she asked her mother,
therefore, to let them go home in their boat, and
she herself, and her uncle, and Mr Sunderland,
she was sure, would walk to make room, that
papa and Mr Felton could row, and Aunt Emme-
line would steer. Her mother thought the idea
a good one, and so did everybody. But the poor
children, who seemed rather confused by all this
kind interest, declined it. The eldest girl, who
did most of the talking, said that her mother,
who was working in the island, had told them to
come and wait under the grove opposite the
island, and, may be, the basket-maker would let
them all go down the river with him in the boat,
and therefore they must make haste, lest they
should be too late. As that was the case, Mary's
father said that they should at once get into the
boat, and that he and Uncle Edward would row
them down to the island, when they would be
sure to be in time. Everybody was pleased, espe-
cially the poor tired little day-labourers, though
they did not dare to say so. Mary's mother held
the baby while the biggest girl got into the boat;
and then, when all the little tired company, with








62 MARY LEESON.
their empty baskets and basins, were safely in,
she gave the baby into the arms of the sister,
whose cheeks were now crimson with pleasure.
There never was such a shame-faced yet happy
little company. They never had been in a grand
green pleasure-boat before. To them it was the
same, as it would have been to Mary, if the Queen
had taken her to sail in her yacht.
Just as they were going to set off, Mr Sunder-
land and Mr Felton came down the steep road in
the wood, laughing and talking as merrily as
could be. They carried between them a large
market-basket full of ripe cherries, which they
had bought in the village from an old cottage
dame. Mr Sunderland saw her standing at her
cottage door with this basket of cherries at
her feet, and with great tears running down her
cheeks. He asked her what was amiss, and then
she told him that the carrier had gone without
her basket of cherries, and now she did not know
what to do with them; she had no way of sending
them to market; nobody wanted to buy them in
the village; she was just come back from the hall,
where she had carried them herself, heavy as they
were, but they would not buy them. It was just
so much lost money to her, for if she kept them
they would spoil, and she wanted the money to
pay her rent. When she had thus told the his-
tory of her trouble, the tears again began to flow.







RURAL LIFE. 63

and she took up her checked apron to wipe them
away.
Mr Felton, who very often knew what a trouble
it was to get the money ready for his own rent,
condoled with the old woman; and Mr Sunder-
land, always energetic in everything he did, said
that he would buy all the cherries, and the basket
also, or how else could he get them down to the
boat. The bargain was soon made, and the poor
woman was now just as ready to cry for joy as the
minute before for sorrow. She had not words to
express her gratitude; tired as she was, she begged
to carry the basket down to the boat for him,
but that they would not hear of; and this circum-
stance now explains to you why our friends at
the river side saw them coming down this steep
road with the large basket of cherries between
them.
The basket was heaved into the boat; Mr
Felton seated himself at the helm, and Uncle
Edward and Mary's father taking each an oar,
away shot the green pleasure-boat, and the poor
children's faces flushed into a rosy redness of
delight.
When the little party that had to walk under
the grove arrived opposite the island, they found
Uncle Edward waiting for them in the boat. The
five children, tired as they had seemed at first,
were now scattered about the pretty little island








64 MARY LEESON.
gathering dew-berries which they knew, although
Mary did not, grew at the further end amongst
the willows. The hay-makers, who had found the
fetching of the hay from the upper island a longer
job than they expected, would not yet have finished
for some time. Uncle Edward, her father, and
Mr Felton, therefore, set to work to help them;
whilst Mary's mother, Aunt Emmeline, and Mr
Sunderland .were talking about a scheme which
they had thought of in their walk.
This was to have a little harvest supper in the
island, and to feast the poor children, if they could
do no more. It was a charming idea; the baskets
were brought out of the boat, a cloth spread on
the grass, the loaf and the tongue sliced into sand-
wiches, and the large cake cut up. They had wine
with them, and might give them wine and water,
or simply water, but milk would be best, Mary's
mother thought. It was about a quarter of a
mile to the nearest farm-house, and that, she said,
made a difficulty; Mr Sunderland, however,
thought it made none; he leaped into the boat,
pushed himself across the narrow channel, and
ran up the grove in the direction of the farm-
house.
The poor children, who knew nothing of all the
good that was in store for them, had, as I told you,
set off in search of dew-berries, great quantities
of which they found; and as the baby was now







RURAL LIFE. 65

wrapped up in a shawl on some hay, the eldest
girl, who seemed the cleverest of the party, made
a pretty sort of rural basket of oak-leaves, linked
curiously together by their stems, in which she
put the dew-berries, and then timidly offered them
to Mary, whilst the other children stood at a dis-
tance to watch how they would be received.
Mary, who had never seen dew-berries before,
was delighted to have these, and added them to
the little entertainment which was arranged on
the grass.
Before anybody could have thought such a
thing possible, Mr Sunderland was back again,
bringing with him not only the milk, in a large
stone bottle, but a brown loaf, a piece of cheese,
and a stone bottle of ale also, having hired a boy
to help him in carrying them. All the hay-
makers, he said, should have a good supper, as
well as the children, and here were the materials
for it. Mary's parents, Uncle Edward, Aunt
Emmeline, and, above all, Mr Felton approved;
and as the hay was now nearly piled upon the
rick, and nothing remained but to rake up the
scattered remains and to thatch the rick, which
would not be done for a fortnight at least, every-
body, therefore, would soon be ready to eat and
drink and enjoy themselves before they went
home.
The news of a general invitation soon spread
E








66 MARY LEESON.
among the hay-making company. The basket-
maker and his son and daughter joined the party;
so did Mrs Brooks and her two children; and the
three children of the sick father, and Mary, and
her parents, and Uncle Edward, and Aunt Emme-
line, and Mr Sunderland, and Mr Felton, and
Billy-boy, all seated themselves on the grass,
which, I am glad to say, was not, for a wonder,
dewy this evening; while the broad summer moon
was shining above, and the voices of night birds
sounded out of the grove opposite, and the river
flowed audibly beside them.
Everybody was happy; and when, after all had
eaten to their heart's content, and the poorer guests
had thought that they had never eaten anything
half so good before, and after Mary's mother had
inquired from widow Brooks about the sick father
of the three children, and had heard that wine was
recommended for him, but that they were too
poor to buy any, she gave her a bottle of the
wine which they had brought with them, but had
not opened, for him, with a promise that she
would call on him very soon; then, after all this,
and when Mr Sunderland had told one of his
funny stories, you may be quite sure that it was
one of the pleasantest suppers that ever was eaten
in a hayfield.
When all this was over it was time for them to
go home. The party broke up. The haymakers







RURAL LIFE. 67

and the poor children went off as happy as could
be in the larger boat, and Mary and her friends
followed after, floating calmly down the river with
scarcely the use of an oar. Aunt Emmeline and
Uncle Edward sang beautiful songs, and Mary lay
with her head on her mother's knee, watching the
stars that were becoming visible in the dark blue
summer sky.








68 MARY LEESON.







CHAPTER VII.

MARY THE TEACHER.

Suca was one of the many pleasant days which
Mary spent at Linford. A day or two afterwards
Aunt Emmeline left and returned to Ellingham,
taking with her a promise that Mary should visit
her in the following summer. When her aunt
was gone Mary's mother was with her altogether,
and very soon she and her little daughter went to
see the sick father of the three children. Besides
these she found other two children, for whom
there was no employment in the fields, and who
ran about idly all day with sunburnt hair and
ragged frocks. They did not go to school because
their parents could not afford even the small sum
which was required as payment. There was every
token of extreme poverty in the house; the sick
man was beyond the power of medicine or of
wine. The wife and the elder children supported
the family, and the unemployed children attended
to the father.
When they left the cottage they spoke of the







MARY THE TEACHER. 69
children, and Mary then proposed to her mother
a little scheme which now filled her mind with
enthusiasm. She was not at this time allowed to
study; she learnt nothing herself, and she would
like very much to teach. Would her mother let
her have these two little children for her own
scholars? she would teach them to read, and to
sew; they should mend their old frocks, and she
would teach them to be clean and neat. She
should enjoy it very much, she would try to
make the children love her, and would endeavour
to do them good.
Her mother had no objection to the plan, but
before she gave her full consent she made her
little daughter take several things into considera-
tion; first, that it would really be a troublesome
undertaking; she must devote at least two hours
every day to the children, if she would do them
any good; and in a little while she might grow
tired and wish she had not undertaken the task.
She must carefully consider all this, because it
would be unkind to the children to give them the
expectation of a benefit which, after all, she might
not have perseverance enough to carry out; and
if she began it her mother would expect her to do
her utmost, and to persevere in it as long as
she remained in Linford.
Mary, who understood the view her mother
took, was of course too enthusiastic, at the mo-








70 MARY LEESON.
ment, to think it possible that she should ever
weary of the task; she would like to have under-
taken a school of a dozen children, instead of
two. However she consented, at her mother's
wish, to take till the following day to consider
of it.
On the following day her mind was as deter-
mined as ever, and she and her mother proposed
the plan to the poor family. It was joyfully ac-
cepted by the parents; the father needed but little
attention; the children played out of the house
the greater part of the day, so that he would not
miss them. Every afternoon, from two to four,
Mary was now to have her little scholars. There
were no ragged schools in those days; they were
hardly thought of at that time. Mary's was, per-
haps, one of the first of its class.
Aunt Emmeline, who would have been an ex-
cellent seconder of Mary's plans, was gone back
to Ellingham as we know, therefore Mary took
counsel with her mother in all she did. The
children were wild and shy, and somewhat fright-
ened at first; however, in a day or two all went
on tolerably smoothly. They were well washed,
and made perfectly clean; they did their best to
learn to read, and Mary, who had loving patience,
fancied them most docile scholars. The greatest
difficulty occurred, however, where Mary least
looked for it, and that was with regard to the needle-







MARY THE TEACHER. 71
work. In needlework she herself did not at all
excel; therefore, the mending of those old frocks
was a most bewildering and perplexing piece of
work. Mary's mother had furnished a quantity
of pieces of print and calico, with needles, thread,
and pins; and she promised Mary, that if she
could manage to make these old frocks tidy for
every-day wear, she would buy the material for
Sunday frocks, which she would cut out, and they
should make amongst them. This was a great
stimulus, but still poor Mary's awkwardness and
want of experience puzzled her sorely, and made
her at times almost despair.
A very unlooked-for help, however, presented
itself in this sewing and shaping line," and that
was no other than Mr Felton. To Mary's astonish-
ment, he understood how to set on a patch in the
neatest possible manner; he even aspired to join-
ing the pattern. How he had gained all this
knowledge she never cared to inquire: it was
sufficient for her that he had it, and both she and
the poor children now took sewing-lessons from
him.
Mary's scholars progressed wonderfully; the
eldest made rapid progress with her reading, and
po well did the sewing succeed, that in less than
a month the new frocks were made, and the
mother was permitted to send various clean but
ragged garments to be well mended by the chil-








72 MARY LEESON.
dren. Mr Felton was in his element; three days
in the week he was with them punctually at two
o'clock, as he said, to help Mary, lest the fatigue
should be too great for her. The youngest girl,
though two years younger than Mary, soon
showed such aptitude with her needle that she
could do anything; and, with the help of Mr
Felton, they made the poor father a flannel shirt,
which was a great comfort to him. The neatness
which was required from these children seemed
to influence the rest of the family; all were de-
sirous of having their tattered garments mended,
and Mr Felton spent many hours over them in
their own poor cottage. Somebody said that, as
Mr Felton was so clever with his scissors and
needle, that he must have been a tailor in his
prosperous days, and probably it was so.
The poor father grew worse as the summer
drew to a close, and Mr Felton was found to be
the greatest comfort -that ever entered beneath
that humble roof. Spite of his really weak sight,
he might be seen, with two pairs of spectacles on,
reading to him from the Bible such consolatory
passages as he knew, by the experience of his own
sorrowful life, were capable of affording comfort
even in the hour of death. The poor family had
found a friend indeed, and one who, being in
poverty himself, could be the recipient of all
their troubles, and sympathize with them, as







MARY THE TEACHER. 73
only a fellow-sufferer can; whilst, from his supe-
rior knowledge and experience, he could advise
and direct them much better than one who
had always been of their own class. For the
last day and night of the poor sufferer's life
Mr Felton never left his bedside; and when he
was dead he set about to make the parish funeral
as respectable as possible. He was not ashamed
of begging for them; and by the help of Mary's
mother and her friends a variety of old black
garments were furnished, which by his skill and
contrivance furnished tidy mourning for every
member of the family; and then, to complete his
work of charity, he undertook to raise a little
subscription to purchase a mangle, and as the
mother was a good washerwoman, and the elder
children docile and active, there seemed to be a
prospect of better days dawning upon them.
All this, however, was the work of months;
and I must now return to Mary and the pleasant
autumn days which were spent at Linford. She
rode about on her pony, often accompanied by
her father. They made the most charming ex-
cursions that could be imagined; and whilst her
health improved in this more active and natural
life, every one saw that her mind would lose
nothing by thus, as it were, lying fallow. It filled
her mother's heart with a thankful joy to see her
when she returned from these pleasant rides, in








74 MARY LEESON.
her little hat and habit, her long curls tightly
braided, with the rose once more on her cheek,
and the sparkle of health and enjoyment in her
eye. The rose, it is true, paled after the excite-
ment was over, but the solid benefit was there;
the seed of health was sown, and with it a more
active, healthful state of feeling. She no longer
sat bending over her books or her drawings, with
her whole soul absorbed in one idea, and made
peevish or unhappy by any interruption, till at
length subdued by very weariness-the unnatural
weariness of the overworked brain in the child-
she would throw herself on her couch, and toss
about in troubled and fevered dreams, which
deprive sleep of all repose.
Very different was Mary now; cheerful books
were read; cheerful and varied occupation filled
every hour of the day. Exercise and fresh air,
and cold water were the only stimulants-the
only medicines that were used. The child was
once more a child, happy from morning till night,
full of intelligence and benevolence, and, with a
fund of knowledge and experience in her own
young heart and brain, was one of the most de-
lightful companions, either to her parents or
others. She still pursued drawing, but now in
moderation, and the walls of the basket-maker's
cottage bore evidence to the skill of her youthful
pencil. She learned, too, to make baskets from







MARY THE TEACHER. 75

the old man and his son, which she soon could
do so cleverly, that when she had made a dozen
of different sizes she sent out one of her little
scholars into some of the neighboring villages
to sell them, and thus obtained four shillings,
which she had the pleasure of expending on the
poor family. It was the first money she had ever
earned, and it gave her a great idea of the plea-
sure of labour which produces a return.








MARY LEESON.






CHAPTER VIII.

MARY IS AGAIN A TEACHER.

THE corn-harvest as well as the hay-harvest was
finished; the corn which Mary had seen in early
ear she watched ripening day by day; from green
it turned to pale yellow, and then to a deep russet
gold. She saw it with its heavily-laden heads
swaying before the sweeping breeze that passed
over it; she walked amongst it with those who
were dearest to her on earth, and plucked the
ears as she went along, and rubbed them in her
hands as the disciples of Christ, that beloved
Master and Teacher of us all, had done nearly
two thousand years ago, on a certain Sabbath-
day, when the Pharisees and other censorious
people blamed them as if they had committed a
great sin. This she had done; and had talked
with her mother of that beautiful and simple
incident in the Gospel; and then, going back to
still older times, had remembered the little son of
the good Shunammite, who went out at the time
of barley-harvest to his father in the fields, and
was taken ill there, and carried home by a lad to







MARY IS AGAIN A TEACHER. 77
his mother, when he lay on her knee till evening
and then died; then how the good Prophet of
Carmel was fetched by the sorrowful mother, and,
by a miracle of God's power, the child was restored
to life. They talked of Ruth, how she, living in
poverty with her mother-in-law, who had once
been rich, went gleaning in the harvest-fields of
a wealthy kinsman, who, riding among his reapers,
saw the beautiful young woman, and inquired
about her, and, when he heard how good she was,
married her.
I think I told you how much Mary had read
the Bible even when she was a very little child.
Her parents from their childhood had also loved
this holy book. Her dear grandmother at Wilton
used to read it to her father when he was a boy;
and, when Mary was a very little child, she could
remember sitting on her father's knee, and hear-
ing him tell or read the old stories about the
patriarchs, who lived like kings in the beautiful
land of the East, and had flocks, and herds, and
much cattle; and about the flood, and the dove
that went out of the ark, and returned with an
olive-leaf, the lovely emblem of peace; and of
the rainbow which spanned the heavens and en-
circled the green earth, and was a sign of hope
and promise from God to man.
But, if I were to go through all the beautiful
stories in the Bible which Mary loved, I should








78 MARY LEESON.
never have finished. Her father had a very large
Dutch Bible in three volumes, which was full of
fine pictures, and these she used to study very
attentively. Sometimes her father would look
them through with her, and then they became
still more interesting, because he knew all the old
histories so well, and could explain them to her.
If Mary and her father delighted in the picturesque
stories of Palestine, and the kings, and prophets,
and poets of old, she and her mother loved most
to talk and read of Christ and his divine life and
precepts. Many an evening had they sat together
in the old house in the town, and read of some
beautiful act of mercy; some parable which em,
bodied in itself whole volumes of wisdom and love,
the divine sermon on the mount, or miracle by
the sea, until, like the disciples who walked with
the Divine Master to Emmaus, their hearts burned
within them, for His spirit indeed was with them,
as His sacred presence had been with the disciples,
although at the time they knew it not. Those
were happy hours which the mother and child
thus spent together, and the little prayer which
Mary never failed to say on going to bed seemed
after such times a double communion with Heaven.
I do not at all wonder that Mary, glancing up
from her pillow, fancied that the little cherub-
faces on the ceiling were indeed celestial coun-
tenances looking down in love upon her.








MARY IS AGAIN A TEACHER. 79
I wish all dear children could be brought up in
such an atmosphere of love and peace as was Mary
Leeson-and then, avoiding the mistake which
her affectionate and over-anxious mother made in
one instance, but hastened to remedy as soon as
she knew it, what pure and noble character, what
high principle and unostentatious benevolence
might not affectionate parents live to rejoice in I
Then, indeed, would their children be crowns of
glory to their old age!
As I told you, the corn-harvest was finished,
but not without Mary having had her enjoyment
in it; she saw the reapers at work, and walked
among the sheaves, and studied the peculiar flowers
that grow in the corn, the cockle, the scarlet
poppy, which the country people call "head-aches,"
from their overpowering smell, and the little scarlet
pimpernel which lies close to the ground. When
the sheaves were carried away, she went into the
fields with the gleaners, and gleaned amongst
them, taking care always to give her gleanings
to some very old woman or hungry-looking child
amongst them, that thus she might have the plea-
sure of doing them a little kindness and showing
them her good-will.
The time was now at hand for Mary to return
to her own home in the town; just before she left,
however, she had a little adventure, which I must
relate to you.








80 MARY LEESON.
One day she and her father were strolling about
one of the large pasture meadows near the river,
when Mary suddenly picked up a silver watch. It
was a well-made and apparently nearly new watch
in a case, with a ribbon and key. The surprise
and joy which she felt nobody can imagine. To
whom could it belong, and how did it come there ?
The ribbon was rather old, and the watch, though
a good one and nearly new, was of an old-fashioned
make; it belonged, no doubt, to some working
man in the town, some hard-working artisan, most
probably, who had thus had a great loss, and no
doubt was much distressed on its account. Mary's
first feeling, after her surprise, was the delight
she would have in returning it to its proper owner,
to find out whom every effort must now be made.
In the course of the day Mr Felton came over,
and of course this strange event was told to him,
and he undertook to find out, if possible, the per-
son to whom it belonged. The watch, as I told
you, had a case, but no maker's name on it. There
was, however, a watch paper, bearing the printed
name of a watchmaker in the town, and to him
Mr Felton was sent to make inquiries.
This person told him that the watch, which he
had taken with him, belonged to a young man in
the town, an artisan, the son of an artisan, who
had saved some money by a long life of industry
and care. He was, however, a very stern and







MARY IS AGAIN A TEACHER. 81
severe man, as all his acquaintance knew; and
though he had given this watch to his son, which
seemed kind, yet that the son was very much
afraid of his father, and no doubt would have to
suffer much from his severity if he knew of his
loss.
From the watchmaker's Mr Felton went to the
house of the young artisan. He lived with his
father; the mother was dead; and, as it was
evening when he got there, the two were sitting
together at supper. The old man, who, in his
way, was polite enough to strangers, asked Mr
Felton to sit down and join them, adding, that his
son Joe was sadly out of sorts about something,
he couldn't tell what, but he hadn't eaten any-
thing for several days; he hoped he hadn't got
into any mischief; for he had always kept a tight
hand on Joe, and always meant to do so; by which
he intended to imply that Joe had not much mercy
to expect at his hands.
Joe, who knew this well enough, rose from the
little supper table and stood against the mantel-
piece, resting his head on his hand, and looking
very unhappy. Mr Felton joined the father at the
supper, and the son, declining to eat on the plea
that he did not feel hungry, soon after left the
room. The father, like Mr Felton, was a politi-
cian, and they two had a long talk. Unlike our
old friend, however, he was a man of violent-and








82 MARY LEESON.
bitter temper; he would not believe that anybody
had any goodness in them; and, among other
things, he said that, if a person found what was
not their own, they would not return it except for
a reward. Mr Felton longed to prove his words
false, but he did not dare to do so, because, if
this were the son's watch, his carelessness in
losing it would make the father angry.
After supper Mr Felton left this unamiable old
man, intending to see the son alone the next day;
fortunately, however, he saw him in the court in
which they lived, and asked him to walk on with
him a little way. He then spoke to him of his
dejected air, and asked, as if quite accidentally, if
he had lost anything which preyed on his mind.
At this question the young man suddenly stopped,
and inquired so eagerly whether he had found
anything, that Mr Felton was sure he was the
owner of the watch. He said he knew somebody
that had, and then asked the young man to de-
scribe what he had lost. He did so; and to the
minutest particular described the silver watch
which Mary had found. Mr Felton told him who
had found it and where; and the young man then
explained that he had been to bathe in the river,
when the owner of some fisheries below, who
wanted to put a stop to all bathing, and who em-
ployed police even to take people into custody, had
come up suddenly to seize him, and he, dreading








MARY IS AGAIN A TEACHER. 83
his father's displeasure if he got into any scrape
with the police, had run away half-dressed, and in
his flight lost his watch in the very field, as he
supposed, where Mary had found it. He had, he
said, gone day by day ever since into that field,
and hunted about, but in vain, to find it, and now
it was impossible for him to express his joy in
hearing of its recovery; he hoped, above all things,
he said, that its loss would never come to his
father's knowledge, who would not easily forgive
him.
Mr Felton promised that his father should know
nothing of it from him, and, bidding him go on
the following day to the house of Mary's parents,
told him the watch would be restored to him. The
young man, who had imbibed from his father's
teaching some of his opinions, believed that nobody
would restore anything of value without a reward,
and therefore was now in great difficulty as to
the means of raising the money for this purpose.
Three pounds he supposed might be required;
and, as he afterwards told Mr Felton, he never
slept all that night for thinking of some scheme
to raise the money. Early in the morning, there-
fore, before his father was up, he tied his best
clothes, which were very good, into a bundle, his
shirts and shoes into the bargain, and took them
to a pawnbroker's, who gave him the money upon
them, and, at the time appointed, he presented








84 MARY LEESON.
himself at Mary's house with the money in his
pocket.
Mary, who with her mother, had left Linford
that day, had the watch ready for him. The young
man looked greatly agitated, and so did Mary, when
they met, she with the watch in her hand, and he
with a pocket-book in his, which he took from
the breast-pocket of his fustian working-jacket-
if he had not pawned his best clothes, he would
have come in them. Mary wondered he did not
take the watch at once; she saw tears of joy
actually in his eyes, and yet he was busied over
his pocket-book, from which he was taking out
papers. "Of course you want a reward, Miss,"
said he, rather awkwardly; for Mary's eagerness
to give him the watch astonished him. "No I
don't want any reward," said Mary; "I never
thought of such a thing !"
Oh, Miss I have brought three pounds-per-
haps you'll take two, as you hadn't much trouble
about it."
I shall not take any money," said Mary, laying
the watch on the table, and feeling a little disap-
pointed, she hardly knew why. "I never thought
of having any reward;-I only felt so pleased that
you should have your watch again !"
The young man looked at Mary's mother, but
she reiterated her little daughter's words, saying
that, according to their ideas, an honest person







MARY IS AGAIN A TEACHER. 85

would never be satisfied without returning what
he had found to its rightful owner, and would
require no reward for such an action. The young
man was surprised; it was a mode of reasoning to
which he was unaccustomed. He felt exceedingly
grateful. It would almost have been a relief to
him if Mary would have taken his money; but
she had her reward in seeing the undisguised joy
with which, when he had again put up his money,
he took the watch into his hand, looked on its
face, as he would no doubt have done on the face
of a long-lost friend, and then put it into his
waistcoat pocket.
Mary was very happy, and when, that same
evening, Mr Felton told her how the money had
been raised, she was doubly thankful that she had
not taken one penny of it.
The young man, however, insisted on Mr Felton
having ten shillings at least, which he, poor as he
was, likewise refused, greatly to the astonishment
of the young man, who never till then believed that
there was such a thing as disinterested honesty;
or that anybody would do that which was right
merely for its own sake, and without looking for
a reward. Whether he informed his father of
this new knowledge which he had gained I never
knew. Very likely he did not, for the father,
through his harshness and bitterness, had inspired
his son's heart only with fear.








86 MARY LEESON.







CHAPTER IX.

MARY AT THE FAIR.

THEY were now at home again. It was the month
of October; days were growing shorter; the even-
ings and mornings were cold; the pony, which
had been such a delight to Mary at Linford, was
sent back to Wilton, but not without a tear at
parting, and kisses even, which Mary bestowed
upon its beautiful face and neck. She was again
a dweller in the town, looking out from the win-
dows of her home into a busy street, with its
trading population, instead of upon a village
green, with a spreading tree, under which chil-
dren played, and old men rested from their la-
bours.
Mary's health was so much improved, that
although as much country air as possible was still
prescribed for her for the next twelve months at
least, with the extremes moderation in her studies,
lessons were again leisurely commenced. The
diversion and relaxation of mind which she had
enjoyed at Linford made her take more pleasure








MARY AT THE FAIR. 87
than ever she had done in them before, as well as
in outward objects, and the ordinary pleasures
and occupations of childhood, and thus her sphere
of enjoyment was greatly increased.
In the town where Mary lived was an extremely
fine spacious market-place, where every kind of
article was sold in the open air, on covered stalls,
or even under huge umbrellas, which had very
much the appearance of little tents. There was
something very picturesque and amusing in these
markets, which, of course, were frequented by
people from the neighboring villages, who
brought in their little wares to sell. Another
feature of the town, or rather its outskirts, was
the innumerable gardens which surrounded it.
The hill sides were covered with them, and
they belonged to the operatives, or working
people of the town. All were fenced in, many
with hawthorn hedges, and little narrow paths
intersected them, where, if you walked, you had
the pleasure of seeing, early in the morning
and late at night, before and after work hours,
the poor men and their families toiling in their
little pieces of ground, cultivating flowers, often
of the most splendid kinds, and vegetables for
their own eating. Of course, where there was
such a general love of gardening, there would be
a great demand for flower-roots and plants of
every description. Therefore, in spring; the







88 MARY LEESON.

weekly market, of which I have spoken, was like
a great flower-show.
At this season Mary's father used to take her
very often into the market, and show her the
beautiful flowers, which he admired as much as
she did. Besides regular garden flowers, there
were people who sold every variety of lovely wild
flowers-arums, and cowslips, and primroses, and
oxlips, and fritillaries, and orchises; sometimes
also curious fly and bee orchises, which were
brought from the Peak of Derbyshire. Besides,
these wild-flower sellers, there were boys with
birds' nests and eggs, and in these Mary's father
took the greatest interest. He had himself made
a collection of every variety of British birds' eggs,
which he kept in a cabinet; and even some of the
most beautiful and curious of their nests. It
often made Mary sorry to think of all. the trouble
the poor little birds had taken to make their nests
and lay their eggs, for no other purpose, as it
seemed, than for boys to sell to the townspeople,
who seldom knew much about them.
Besides these markets once a-week, which, how-
ever, were not only interesting to Mary in the
spring, there was, in the month of October, a great
annual fair, which lasted nearly a fortnight. In
ancient times this fair was of great importance,
because to it manufacturers of all kinds brought
their goods, stores of which the shopkeepers laid







MARY AT THE FAIR. 89

in for the next twelve months. In time, however,
there was a greater demand for goods than could
be. supplied once or twice a-year, and manufac-
turers took to sending out their travellers for
orders, or shopkeepers sent them by letter, and
thus the great fair decreased in importance.
Still, however, it was kept up with much bustle;
tradespeople of all kinds, often the shopkeepers of
the town, opened large booths and displayed their
wares; cutlers from Sheffield, with cutlery; lace-
men from Nottingham; hosiers from Derby and
Leicester. The Yorkshireman brought his cloth
and his Barnsley linen; and the West of England-
man his woollen cloths likewise; there were
earthenware dealers from the Staffordshire pot-
teries; and toymen from Tunbridge Wells. This
fair was opened, or proclaimed, as it was called
with much ceremony, by the mayor and aldermen,
who walked in procession in their robes, with a
mace and other signs of authority borne before
them; and then, presenting themselves on an
elevated stage raised for the occasion, trumpets
were blown, the charter of the fair was read, and
the business of the fair commenced.
One important feature of the fair was the sale
of cheese, which, the cheese-making season being
pretty well over, was brought by the farmers to
sell, and cheese-buyers, or factors, as they are
called, came from all parts of the country to pur-







90 MARY LEESON.
chase. The farmer sold his cheese and had plenty
of money in his pocket, and the wives and daugh-
ters, who, if not the actual makers of the cheese,
at all events had had the oversight of it, came
also to see it sold, and to receive from the farmer,
-husband, or father,-money to make purchases
of winter clothing, and of provisions against the
Christmas time, which was frequently thought of
so long before-hand.
From the great and small farmhouses came the
cheese, and from country cottages came hives of
honey, strings of onions, and immense quantities
of nuts, walnuts, apples, and winter fruit, and
with them, of course, all sorts of old-fashioned,
simple-hearted, and homely men and women, in
old-fashioned and picturesque dresses, who, like
their smarter and richer neighbours the farmers,
came here to turn their country summer produce
into money, part of which went to buy winter
clothing, if not provision. If the old folks came
to sell and buy, the young folks also came to
make their small purchases out of their wages or
their savings, to meet with their companions, and
to make themselves merry. One end of the large
market-place was filled with shows and travelling
theatres, to_ which there was a sort of outward
stage, where men in scarlet and gold played very
loud music, and young men and women, in all
manner of fanciful dresses, with-silver spangles







MARY AT THE FAIR. 91

and waving plumes, walked about or danced, to
give the people an idea of the amusement within.
There were conjurers and fire-eaters, and dwarfs
and giants, and exhibitions of wild beasts in great
caravans, the fronts of which were adorned with
huge paintings of the wonders that were to be
seen; but in which Mary soon observed that the
dwarfs were represented as less than they really
were, the giants as bigger, and the wild beasts
ten times more terrific and wild than they ever
appeared within their narrow cages.
All this will give you a little idea of the great
fair, which was held as usual, just after Mary re-
turned from Linford. Grandpapa at Wilton sent
his cheese like any other farmer. It came in a
waggon, which arrived generally at about five
o'clock in the morning, and which was unloaded
upon the pavement, in the market-place, by the
men who brought it. As it was unloaded, the
cheese was properly arranged by the fat dairy-
maid who came with it, and who might be seen
by nine o'clock sitting in the midst of her
cheese, dressed in her Sunday bonnet and large
drab coat with four capes, which she and many
another country woman invariably wore on such
occasions.
By nine o'clock grandpapa from Wilton was
come, and grandmamma with him. They came
in their large, old-fashioned gig, and were most








92 MARY LEESON.
joyfully received. Breakfast was always ready
for them, and because they came out of the
country, and might be supposed to be very
hungry-and people are used to such plenty
in a farmhouse-the breakfast-table, on these
occasions, was unusually supplied. To Mary it
seemed more like a dinner than a breakfast; and
often, even to the abundant provisions which
stood upon it, grandpapa and grandmamma, after
opening that big basket which always came with
them, would take out one of the large pork pies
which they had brought, together with many
other good things, and set it on the table, insist-
ing that Mary's parents, as well as she herself,
should have a slice of it, because grandmamma
had made it, with her own dear hands, on pur-
pose for their eating, and she knew that country
things were such a treat to people who lived in
towns.
When Mary had finished her breakfast, and she
was not long over it, grandpapa, or somebody
else, would give her leave to open the "big
basket" out of which the pie had come, and this
was a great pleasure to her. There was always
a goose and some game, and such pots of pre-
serves! and always a little pot of delicate apri-
cot jam for Mary's especial eating; a large pot
of fresh butter, a bottle of rich cream, and a
bag of dried pears or apricots, or something







MARY AT THE FAIR. 93
equally nice; with a large loaf of brown bread,
and other pork pies; and a spare-rib and a dozen
of other things; and, ten to one, while Mary was
clearing away all these stores, in would come one
of the farm-servants from Wilton, dressed in his
Sunday clothes, carrying in a large hamper of
apples which they had brought with them in the
cheese waggon.
After breakfast grandpapa went into the fair
to see how his cheese looked, and to hear how
prices were, and sometimes he would take Mary
with him. Her grandmother never went into the
fair on the first days. She disliked bustle and
noise; and as she generally came to stay a week
or two in the town, Mary was contented to leave
her to go out with her grandfather. She always
felt a great interest about her grandfather's cheese;
she knew exactly where it stood, for she had seen
it year after year, and Sally Moxon the dairy-
woman sitting amongst it, scolding if any of the
buyers dared to run it down. On the side of the
market-place where the cheese from Wilton stood,
was exhibited the cheese of a hundred other farms
at least, and there amongst it were the farmers'
wives and daughters, or the dairy-women, as in
this case, all jealous of the honour of their cheese.
Long before noon Mary was again at home,
for her grandfather had always too much bar-
gaining to do with the cheese factors, to have








94 MARY LEESON.
time to attend to a little girl. When he came
home to dinner, at about one o'clock, anybody
could see, in a moment, by his countenance,
whether his cheese had sold well. If the prices
were high, and his dairy approved of, in all pro-
bability it was sold by dinner-time, and then he
looked in such a good, merry humour, and so did
Sally Moxon the dairy-woman, for he always, on
the morning of the fair, made her a present
according to the sale of the cheese.
When the cheese was sold, and Sally had re-
ceived her present, she might be seen without her
great drab-coat, under which was her best gown,
wearing a smart shawl, and often with a fur boa
round her neck, walking in the fair with some of
the men-servants of the farm, who, as I said, were
always dressed in their best, leaning on the arm
of one of them, and laughing and talking with
them and her other acquaintance. On they went,
pushing their way through a crowd of other farm-
servants and dairy-women; making purchases at
the booths or the shops, receiving and giving
fairings, and thronging into the shows.
After tea, and often rather late in the evening,
Sally, with all her purchases and her good humour,
went merrily home with her fellow-servants in
the waggon, saying, we hope, that it had been the
pleasantest fair-day they had ever spent.
Grandpapa had often, also, to sell or buy a







MARY AT THE FAIR. 95
norse or something of that kind, which found him
plenty to do after the cheese was sold, so that he
always stayed over night. If grandpapa had
satisfaction in his sales, he was, as I said, in very
good humour; and I strongly suspect that the
amount of money which the beloved grandmother
had to make purchases with, much depended
upon this circumstance, for sometimes it was ob-
servable that she dropped the idea of buying a
Second new gown, although she had spoken of it at
first; or she would remark, as if the idea had sud
denly struck her, that she "thought her old muff
would do very well this winter for an old woman
like her-though she had thought, when she
came first, of buying a new one. If Mary's
mother was not ashamed of walking out with
her in the town, it would do very well in the
country."
Dearly beloved grandmamma at Wilton, I have
not words to tell your self-denying goodness;
never did you blame another, or speak harshly,
or make a disappointment more bitter by regrets
or ill.humour Would that everybody were like
you!
All that could be done to make the dear old
lady's visit pleasant was done. What did they
care whether her muff were a new one or an old
one; they loved her too well to care about such
trifles; and they had good reason. Frequently








96 MARY LEESON.
Uncle Edward came to see her at Mary's father's,
and then the ten days or fortnight that she spent
with them were still more agreeable.
At the particular fair of which we are writing,
grandpapa's cheese sold wonderfully well; so did
his young horses; all things went as he wished
them. Sally Moxon laughed and chattered in
the fair till you could hear her a hundred yards
off; she bought a new shawl of scarlet and green;
a new gown of yellow and blue, and such a smart
cap for Sundays, as had never been seen on her
old-fashioned head before. She gave a fairing
to the waggoner and to the waggoner's boy; and
they, who likewise had received their present
from "the master," were equally liberal to her in
return.
All that the dear grandmother had wished to
buy she bought, and had plenty of money left in
her purse beside. It was a merry fair also to
Mary; she had the very presents she wanted;
Rogers's "Italy," and a box of coloured chalks
for drawing, which Mr Sunderland sent to her
from a distance; besides lesser fairings from
everybody else.
Grandmamma, who was amongst the most
anxious on account of Mary's health, and who
thought her still looking delicate, spite of her
summer sojourn at Linford, obtained the consent
of her parents for her to return with her to








MARY AT THE FAIR. 97

Wilton, where she was to spend several weeks,
staying over the Christmas holidays, which she
particularly wished for, because two other grand-
children would come from school, and thus Mary
would have additional pleasure.
These were the children of a brother of Mary's
father who had died abroad, their mother also was
dead, and they were entirely under the care of
their grand-parents. They were both of them at
school, and spent their holidays at Wilton.






















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