Che Favnurite Library,
A SERIES OF WORKS FOR THE YOUNG.
ONE SHILLING EACH.
Votume 1â€”THE ESKDALE HERD BOY. By Lapy |
Sroppart, (Mrs. Buackrorp). Illustration by W. Harvey.
Votume 2â€”MRS. LEICESTERâ€™S SCHOOL; or, the
Histories of several Young Ladies. By Cuarzes and Many
Lams. Illustration by Joun Apsonon.
Vouvne 3.â€”HISTORY OF THE ROBINS. By Mrs.
Trimmer. Illustration by W. Harvey.
Vorume 4â€”MEMOIRS OF BOB, THE SPOTTED
TERRIER. Written by Himself. Illustration by H. Wer. |
| Vorume 5.â€”KEEPERâ€™S TRAVELS IN SEARCH OF |
HIS MASTER. Reprinted from the original Edition. Tllus-
tration by H. Weir.
Voirwume 6.â€”THE SCOTTISH ORPHANS; an Histo-
rical Tale. By Lapy Sroppart, (Mrs. Buackrorp). Ilus- |
tration by H. Weir.
| Voruwr 7â€”NEVER WRONG; or, the Young Dis-
putant; and â€œIT WAS ONLY IN FUN.â€ Illustration by
Vorume 8.â€”THE PERAMBULATIONS OF A MOUSE.
Illustration by Jonn GiLBERt.
LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
GRANT AND GRIFFITH,
SUCCESSORS TO NEWBERY & HARRIS,
CORNER OF 8T, PAUL'S CHURCH YARD.
IPOD Share (he $
Dvrine a remarkably severe winter, when a prodigious fall
of snow confined everybody to their habitations, who were
happy enough to have one to shelter them from the incle-
mency of the season, and were not obliged by business to
expose themselves to its rigour, I was on a visit to Meadow
Hall, where a large party of young folk had assembled,
and all seemed, by their harmony and good humour, to strive
who should the most contribute to render pleasant that con-
finement which we were all equally obliged to share. Nor
were those farther advanced in life less anxious to contribute
to the general satisfaction and entertainment.
After the more serious employment of reading each morn-
ing was concluded, we danced, we sang, we played at blind-
manâ€™s-buff, battledore and shuttlecock, and many other
games equally diverting and innocent; and, when tired of
them, drew our seats round the fire, while each one in turn
told some merry story to divert the company.
At ast, having related all that we could recollect worth
reciting, and being rather at a loss what to say next, a
sprightly girl in company proposed that every one should
relate the history of their own lives: â€œAnd it must be
strange indeed,â€ added she, â€œif that will not help us out
of this difficulty, and furnish conversation for some days
longer; by which time, perhaps, the frost will break, the snow
will melt, and set us all at liberty. But, let it break when
it may, I make a law, that no one shall go from Meadow Hall
till they have told their own history: so take notice, ladies
and gentlemen, take notice everybody, what you have to
trust to. And because,â€ continued she, â€œ I will not be un-
reasonable, and require more from you than you can perform,
I will give all you, who may perhaps have forgotten what
passed so many years ago, at the beginning of your lives,
two days to recollect and digest your story; by which time,
if you do not produce something pretty and entertaining, we
will never again admit you to dance or play among us.â€
All this she spoke with so good-humoured a smile, that every
one was delighted with her, and promised to do their best to
acquit themselves to her satisfaction ; while some (the length
of whose lives had not rendered them forgetful of the trans-
actions which had passed) instantly began their memoirs, as
they called them: and really some related their narratives
with such spirit and ingenuity, that it quite distressed us
older ones, lest we should disgrace ourselves when it should
fall to our turns to hold forth, However, we were all de-
termined to produce something, as our fair directress order-
ed. Accordingly, the next morning I took up my pen, to
endeavour to draw up some kind of a history, which might
satisfy my companions in confinement. I took up my pen,
it is true, and laid the paper before me; but not one word
towards my appointed task could I proceed. The various
occurrences of my life were such as, far from affording en-
tertainment, would, I was certain, rather afflict ; or, perhaps,
not interesting enough for that, only stupify and render the
company more weary of the continuance of the frost than
they were before I began my narration. Thus circumstanced,
therefore, although by myself, I broke silence by exclaiming,
â€œ What a task has this sweet girl imposed upon me! One
which I shall never be able to execute to my own satisfac-
tion or her amusement. The adventures of my life (though
deeply interesting to myself) will be insipid and unenter-
taining to others, especially to my young hearers: I cannot,
therefore, attempt it.â€ â€œ Then write mine, which may he
more diverting,â€ said a little squeaking voice, which sound-
ed as if close to me. I started with surprise, not knowing
any one to be near me: and, looking round, could discover
no object from whom it could possibly proceed; when, cast-
ing my eyes upon the ground in a, little hole under the
skirting-board, close by the fire, I discovered the head of a
mouse peeping out. I arose with a design to stop the hole
with a cork, which happened to lie on the table by me; and
was surprised to find that it did not run away, but suffered
me to advance quite close, and then only retreated a little
into the hole, saying in the same voice as before, â€œ Will you
write my history?â€ You may be sure, I was much sur-
prised to be so addressed by such an animal; but, ashamed
of discovering any appearance of astonishment, lest the
mouse should suppose it had frightened me, I answered with
the utmost composure, that I would write it willingly, if it
would dictate to me. â€œ Oh, that I will do,â€ replied the
mouse, â€œ if you will not hurt me.â€ â€œ Not for the world,â€
returned I, â€œCome, therefore, and sit upon my table, that
I may hear more distinctly what you have to relate.â€ It in-
stantly accepted my invitation, and with all the nimbleness of
its species, ran up the side of my chair, and jumped upon my
table; when, getting into a box of wafers, it began as follows.
But, before I proceed to relate my new little companionâ€™s
history, I must beg leave to assure my readers, that, in
earnest, I never heard a mouse speak in all my life ; and only
wrote the following narrative as being far more entertaining,
and not less instructive, than my own life would have been.
LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
Like all other new-born animals, whether of the human
or any other species, I cannot pretend to remember what
passed during my infant days. The first circumstance
I can recollect was, my motherâ€™s addressing me and my
three brothers, who all lay in the same nest, in the follow-
ing words :â€”â€œ I haye, my children, with the greatest diffi-
culty, and at the utmost hazard of my life, provided for you
all to the present moment; but the period is arrived when
I can no longer pursue that method: snares and traps
are everywhere set for me, nor shall I, without infinite
danger, be able to procure sustenance to support my own
existence, much less can I find sufficient for you all; and,
indeed, with pleasure I behold it as no longer necessary,
since you are of age now to provide and shift for your-
selves; and I doubt not but your agility will enable you
to procure a yery comfortable livelihocd. Only let me
10 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
give you this one cautionâ€”Never (whatever the tempt-
ation may be) appear often in the same place; if you do,
however you may flatter yourselves to the contrary, you
will certainly at last be destroyed.â€ So saying, she stroked
us all with her fore paw, as a token of her affection, and
then hurried away, to conceal from us the emotions of
her sorrow, at thus sending us into the wide world.
She was no sooner gone, than the thought of being
our own directors so charmed our little hearts, that we
presently forgot our grief at parting from our kind pa-
rent; and, impatient to use our liberty, we all set for-
ward in search of some food, or rather of some adventure,
for our mother had left us victuals more than sufficient
to supply the wants of that day. With a great deal of
difficulty we clambered up a high wall on the inside of a
wainscot, till we reached the story above that we were
born in, where we found it much easier to run round
within the skirting-board, than to ascend any higher.
While we were there, our noses were delightfully re-
galed with the scent of the most delicate food that we
had ever smelt; we were anxious to procure a taste of it
likewise, and, after running round and round the room a
great many times, we at last discovered a little crack,
through which we made our entrance. My brother Long-
tail led the way; I followed; Softdown came next; but
Brighteyes would not be prevailed upon to venture. The
OF A MOUSE. 11
xpartment which we entered was spacious and elegant ;
at least, differed so greatly from anything we had seen,
that we imagined it the finest place upon earth. It was
covered all over with a carpet of various colours, that
not only concealed some bird-seeds which we came to
deyour, but also for some time prevented our being dis-
covered, as we were of much the same hue with many
of the flowers on the carpet. At last, a little girl, who
was at work in the room, by the side of her mamma,
shrieked out as if violently hurt. Her mamma begged
to know the cause of her sudden alarm. Upon which
she called out, â€œA Mouse! a Mouse! I saw one under
the chair!â€ â€œAnd if you did, my dear,â€ replied her mo-
ther, â€œis that any reason for your behaving so ridicu-
lously? If there were twenty mice, what harm could
they possibly do? You may easily hurt and destroy
them; but, poor little things! they cannot, if they would,
hurt you.â€ â€œWhat! could they not bite me!â€ inquired
the child. â€œThey may, indeed, be able to do that ; but
you may be very sure that they have no such inclina-
tion,â€ rejoined the mother. â€œ A mouse is one of the most
timorous things in the world; every noise alarms it: and
though it chiefly lives by plunder, it appears as if pun-
ished by its fears for the mischiefs which it commits
among our property. It is, therefore, highly ridiculous
to pretend to be alarmed at the sight of a creature that
12 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
would run from the sound of your voice, and wishes never
to come near you, lest, as you are far more able, you
should also be disposed to hurt it.â€ â€œBut Iam sure,
Madam,â€ replied the little girl, whose name I afterwards
heard was Anne, â€œthey do not always run away; for
one day, as Miss Eliza Kite was looking among some
things which she had in her box, a mouse jumped out
and ran up her frock sleeveâ€”she felt it quite up on her
arm.â€ â€œAnd what became of it then?â€ inquired the
mother. â€œIt jumped down again,â€ replied Anne, â€œand
got into a little hole in the window-seat; and Eliza did
not see it again.â€ â€œ Well, then, my dear,â€ resumed the
lady, â€œwhat harm did it do her? Is not that a con-
vincing proof of what I say, that you have no cause to
be afraid of them, and that it is very silly tobe so? Itis
certainly foolish to be afraid of anything, unless it
threatens us with immediate danger; but to pretend to
be frightened at a mouse, and such like inoffensive things,
is a degree of weakness that I can by no means suffer
any of my children to indulge.â€ â€œ May I then, Madam,â€
inquired the child, â€œbe afraid of cows and horses, and
such great beasts as those?â€ â€œ Certainly not,â€ answered
her mother, â€œunless they are likely to hurt you. If a
cow or a horse run after you, I would have you fear them
so much as to get out of the way; but if they are quietly
walking or grazing in a field, then to fly from them, as
OF A MOUSE, 13
if you thought they would eat you instead of the grass,
is most absurd, and discovers great want of sense. I
once knew a young lady, who, I believe, thought it looked
pretty to be terrified at everything, and to scream if a
dog or even a mouse looked at her; but most severely
was she punished for her folly, by several very disagree-
able accidents she by those means brought upon herself.
â€œ One day, when she was drinking tea in a large com-
pany, on the door being opened, a small Italian grey-
hound walked into the drawing-room. She happened to
be seated near the mistress of the dog, who was making
tea; the dog, therefore, walked towards her, in order to
be by his favourite; but upon his advancing near her,
she suddenly jumped up, without considering what she
was about, overturned the water-urn, the hot iron of
which rolling out, set fire to her clothes, which instantly
blazed up, being only muslin, and burnt her arms, face,
and neck, most dreadfully. She was so much hurt as
to be obliged to be put immediately to bed, nor did she
recover enough to go abroad for many months. Now,
though every one was sorry for her sufferings, who could
possibly help blaming her for her ridiculous behaviour,
as it was entirely owing to her own folly that she was so
hurt? When she was talked to upon the subject, she
pleaded for her excuse, that she was so frightened she
did not know what she did, nor whither she was going;
14 LIFE AND PEKAMBULATIONS
but, as she thought that the dog was coming to her, she
could not help jumping up, to get out of his way. Now
what ridiculous arguing was this! Why could not she
help it?) And if the dog had really been going to her,
what harm would it have done? Could she suppose that
the lady whose house she was at would have suffered a
beast to walk about the house loose and go into company,
if he was apt to bite and hurt people? Or why should
she think he would more injure her, than those he had
before passed by? But the real case was, she did not
think at all; if she had given herself time for that, she
would not have acted so ridiculously. Another time,
when she was walking, from the same want of reflection
she very nearly drowned herself. She was passing over
a bridge, the outside rails of which were in some places
broken down; while she was there, some cows, which a
man was driving, met her: immediately, without mind-
ing whither she went, she shrieked out, and at the same
time jumped on one side just where the rail happened
to be broken, and down she fell into the river; nor was
it without the greatest difficulty that she was taken out
time enough to save her life. However, she caught a
violent cold and fever, and was again, by her own foolish
fears, confined to her bed for some weeks. Another ac-
cident she once met with, which, though not quite so
bad as the two former, yet might have been attended with
OF A MOUSE. 15
fatal consequences. She was sitting in a window, when
a wasp happened to fly toward her; she hastily drew
back her head, and broke the pane of glass behind her,
some of which stuck in her neck. It bled profusely ;
but a surgeon, happily being present, made some appli-
cation to it, which prevented its being followed by any
other ill effects than a few daysâ€™ weakness, occasioned by
the loss of blood. Many other misfortunes of the like
kind she frequently experienced ; but these which I have
now related may serve to convince you how extremely
absurd it is for people to give way to, and indulge them-
selves in, such groundless apprehensions, and, by being
afraid when there is no danger, subject themselves to
real misfortunes and most fatal accidents. And if being
afraid of cows, dogs, and wasps, (all of which, if they
please, can certainly hurt us,) is so ridiculous, what must
be the folly of those people who are terrified at a little
silly mouse, which never was known to hurt anybody?â€
Here the conversation was interrupted by the entrance
of some gentlemen and ladies; and, having enjoyed a
very fine repast under one of the chairs during the time
that the mother and daughter had held the above dis-
course, on the chairs being removed for some of the visit-
ors to sit upon, we thought it best to retire; highly
pleased with our meal, and not less with the kind good-
16 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
will which the lady had, we thought, expressed towards
us. We related to our brother Brighteyes all that had
passed, and assured him he had no reason to apprehend
any danger from venturing himself with us. Accord-
ingly he promised, if such were the case, that the next
time we went and found it safe, if we would return and
call him, he would certainly accompany us. â€œIn the
mean time, do pray, Nimble,â€ said he, addressing him-
self to me, â€œcome with me to some other place; for I
long to taste some more delicate food than our mother
has provided for us; besides, as perhaps it may be a long
while before we shall be strong enough to bring any
thing away with us, we had better leave that, in case we
should ever be prevented from going abroad to seek for
fresh supplies.â€ â€œ Very true,â€ replied I, â€œ what you say
is quite just and wise; therefore I will, with all my heart,
attend you now, and see what we can find.â€ So saying,
we began to climb, but not without difficulty, for very
frequently the bits of mortar which we stepped upon
gave way beneath our feet, and tumbled us down toge-
ther with them lower than when we first set off. How-
ever, as we were very light, we were not very much hurt
by our falls; only indeed, poor Brighteyes, by endeayour-
ing to save himself, caught by his nails on a rafter, and
tore one of them from his right fore-foot, which was very
sore and inconvenient. At length we surmounted all
OF A MOUSE. 17
difficulties, and, invited by a strong scent of plum-cake,
entered a closet, where we found a fine large one, quite
whole and entire. We immediately set about making
our way into it, which we easily effected, as it was most
deliciously nice, and not at all hard to our teeth.
Brighteyes, who had not before partaken of the bird-
seed, was overjoyed at the sight. He almost forgot the
pain of his foot, and soon buried himself withinside the
cake; whilst I, who had pretty well satisfied my hunger
before, only ate a few of the crumbs, and then went to
take a survey of the adjoining apartment. I crept softly
under the door of the closet, into a room as large as that
which I had before been in, though not so elegantly fur-
nished ; for, instead of being covered with a carpet, there
was only a small one round the bed, and near the fire
was a cradle, with a cleanly-looking woman sitting by it,
rocking it with her foot, whilst at the same time she was
combing the head of a little boy about four years old.
In the middle of the room stood a table, covered with a
great deal of litter, and in one corner was the little girl
whom I had before seen with her mamma, crying and
sobbing as if her heart would break. As I made not
the least noise at my entrance, no one observed me for
some time; so, creeping under one of the beds, I heard
the following discourse :â€”
18 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
â€œTt does not signify, Miss,â€ said the woman, whom I
found to be the childrenâ€™s nurse, â€œI never will put up
with such behaviour; you know that I always do every-
thing for you when you speak prettily, but to be ordered
to dress you, in such a manner, is what 1 never will sub-
mit to, and you shall go undressed all day before I will
dress you, unless you ask me as you ought to do.â€ Anne
made no reply, but only continued crying. â€œAy! you
may cry and sob as much as you please,â€ said the nurse ;
â€œT do not care for that: I shall not dress you for cry-
ing and roaring, but for being good and speaking with
civility.â€ Just as she said these words, the door opened,
and in came the lady whom I had before seen, and whose
name I afterwards found was Artless. As soon as she
entered, the nurse addressed her, saying, â€œ Pray, Madam,
is it by your desire that Miss Anne behaves so rudely
and bids me dress her directly, and change her shoes, or
else she will slap my face? Indeed, she did give me a
slap upon my hand, so I told her that I would not dress
her at all; for really, Madam, I thought you would not
wish me to do it whilst she behaved so, and I took the
liberty of putting her to stand in the corner.â€ â€œI do
not think,â€ replied Mrs. Artless, â€œthat slie deserves to
stand in the room at all, or in the house either, if she
behaves in that manner. If she does not speak civilly
when she wants to be assisted, let her go without help,
OF A MOUSE. 19
and see what will become of her then. I am quite
ashamed of you, Anne! I could not have thought you
would behave so; but since you have, I promise that
you shall not be dressed to-day, nor have any assist-
ance given you, unless you speak in a very different
Whilst Mrs. Artless was talking, Nurse went out of
the room. Mrs. Artless then took her seat by the cra-
dle, and, looking into it, found the child awake; and I
saw her take out a fine little girl, about five months
old: she then continued her discourse, saying, â€œ Look
here, Anne; look at this little baby; see how unable
it is to help itself; were we to neglect attending to it,
what do you think would become of it? Suppose I
were now to put your sister upon the floor, and there
leave her, tell me what do you think she could do, or
what would become of her?â€ Anne sobbed out, that
she would die. â€œAnd pray, my dear,â€ continued Mrs,
Artless, â€œif we were to leave you to yourself, what
would become of you? It is true, you can talk, and
run about better than Mary: but not a bit better could
you provide for, or take care of yourself. Could you
buy or dress your own victuals? Could you light your
own fire? Could you clean your own house, or open
and shut the doors and windows? Could you make
your own clothes, or even put them on without some
20 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
assistance, when made? And who do you think will
do anything for you, if you are not good, or if you do
not speak civilly? Not I, I promise you; neither shall
Nurse, nor any of the servants; for though I pay them
wages to help to do my business, I never want them to
do anything unless they are desired in a pretty manner.
Should you like, if, when I want you to pick up my
scissors, or do any little job, I were to say, â€˜ Pick up
my scissors this moment, or I will slap your face?â€™
Should you not think that it sounded very cross and
disagreeable?â€ â€œ Yes, Madam,â€ replied Anne. â€œ Then
why,â€ rejoined Mrs. Artless, â€œ should you speak crossly
to anybody, particularly to servants and poor people?
For to behave so to them, is not only cross, but insolent
and proud. It is as if you thought that, because they
are rather poorer, they are not so good as yourself;
whereas, I assure you, poverty makes no difference in
the merit of people; for those only are deserving of re-
spect who are truly good; and a virtuous beggar is far
better than a wicked prince.â€ I was prevented from
hearing any more of this very just discourse, by the
little boy's opening the door and letting in a cat; which,
though it was the first I had ever seen in my life, I was
certain was the same destructive animal to our race,
which I had frequently heard my mother describe. I
therefore made all possible haste back to the closet, and,
OF A MOUSE. 21
warning Brighteyes of our danger, we instantly returned
by the same way which we came, to our two brothers,
whom we found waiting for us, and wondering at our
long absence. We related to them the dainty cheer
which we had met with, and agreed to conduct them
thither in the evening. Accordingly, as soon as it grew
towards dusk, we clambered up the wall, and all four
together attacked the plum-cake, which no one had
touched since we left it. But scarcely had we all seated
ourselves round it, than on a sudden the closet-door
opened, and a woman entered. Away we all scampered
as fast as possible; but poor Brighteyes, who could not
move quite so nimbly, on aceount of his sore toe, and who
likewise, having advanced farther into the cake, was dis-
covered before he could reach the crack by which we
entered. The woman, who had a knife in her hand,
struck at him with it, at the same time exclaiming,
â€œBless me, Nurse, here is a mouse in the closet!â€ Hap-
pily, she missed her aim, and he only received a small
wound on the tip of his tail. This interruption sadly
alarmed us, and it was above an hour before we could
have courage to venture back ; when, finding everything
quiet, except Mrs. Nurse, who was singing to her child,
we again crept out, and once more surrounded the cake.
We continued to eat without any farther alarm till we
22 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
were perfectly satisfied, and then retired to a little dis-
tance behind the wainscot, determined there to sleep,
and to breakfast on the cake the next day.
Early in the morning I waked, and, calling my bro-
thers, we all marched forward, and soon arrived at
the delightful cake, where we highly enjoyed ourselves
without the least disturbance, till our appetites were
fully satisfied. We then retired, took a little run round
some other parts of the house, but met with nothing
worth relating. At noon, we again made our way into
the closet, intending to dine on the dish on which we
had breakfasted ; but, to our no small mortification, the
delicious dainty was removed. This, you may be sure,
was a sad disappointment; yet, as we were not ex-
tremely hungry, we had time to look about for more.
We were not long in finding it; for upon the same shelf
from which the cake had been removed, there was a
round tin box, the lid of which was not quite close shut
down; into this we all crept, and were highly regaled
with some nice lumps of sugar. But it would be end
less to enumerate all the various repasts which we met
with in this closet; sometimes terrified by the entrance
of people, and sometimes comfortably enjoying ourselves
without alarm; it is sufficient to inform you, that, un-
mindful of our motherâ€™s advice, we continued to live
OF A MOUSE. 23
upon the contents of the same cupboard for above a
week ; when, one evening, when we were, as usual, hast-
ening to find our suppers, Softdown, who happened to
be the first, ran eagerly to a piece of cheese, which he
saw hanging before him. â€œCome along,â€ said he;
â€œhere is some nice cheese, it smells most delightfully
good!â€ Just as he spoke these words, before any of
us could come up to him, a little wooden door on a sud-
den dropped down, and hid him and the cheese from
It is impossible to describe our consternation and
surprise upon this occasion, which was greatly increased
when we advanced near the place, at seeing him (through
some little wire bars) confined in a small box, without
any visible way for him to get out, and hearing him in
the most moving accents beg us to assist him in procur-
ing his liberty. We all ran round and round his place
of confinement several times; but not the least crack or
opening could we discover, except through the bars,
which being of iron, it was impossible for us to break or
bend. At length we determined to try to gnaw through
the wood-work close at the edge, which being already
some little distance from one of the bars, we hoped, by
making the opening a little wider, he would escape: ac-
cordingly we all began, he within, and we all on the
outside ; and by our diligence had made some very con-
24 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
siderable progress, when we were interrupted by the en-
trance of Mrs. Nurse, with the child in her arms.
Upon the sight of her, though much grieved at leay-
ing our brother in his distress, yet fearing instant death
would be the fate of us all if we stayed, we, to preserve
our own existence, retired as quickly as possible, but not
without her seeing some of us, for we heard her say to
herself, or to the babe in her arms, â€œ I declare, this clo-
set swarms with mice; they spoil everything one puts
here.â€ Then taking up the box (which I afterwards
learned was called a trap) in which was poor Softdown,
she carried it into the room. I crept softly after her,
to see what would be the fate. of my beloved brother.
But what words can express my horror, when I saw her
holding it in one hand close tc the candle, whilst in the
other she held the child, singing to her with the utmost
composure, and bidding her to look at Mousy! Mousy !
What were the actions or sensations of poor Softdown
at that dreadful moment I know not; but my own
anguish, which it is impossible to describe, was still
augmented every moment by seeing her shake the trap
almost topsy-turvy, then blow through the trap at one
end, at which times I saw the dear creatureâ€™s tail come
out between the wires on the contrary side, as he was
striving, I suppose, to retreat from her. At length, after
she had thus tortured him for some time, she set the
OF A MOUSE. 25
trap on the table, so close to a large fire that I am sure
he must have been much incommoded by the heat, and
began to undress her child.
Then hearing somebody go by the door, she cried out,
â€œWho is there? Tsit you, Elizabeth? Ifitis, I wish you
would come and take down the mouse-trap, for I have
caught a mouse.â€ Elizabeth instantly obeyed hercall, and
desired to know what she wanted. â€œIwant you to take
down the mouse-trap,â€ she replied, â€œ for I cannot leave the
child. I am glad I have got it, [am sure; for the closet
swarms so, thereisnosuch thing as bearing it. They devour
everything: I declare they have eaten up awhole pound of
sugar. Do, Elizabeth, pray take the trap down, and re-
turn with it as soon as you can, and I will set it again:
for I dare say I shall catch another before I go to bed, for
Theard some more rustling among the things.â€ â€œ You
do not think,â€ replied Elizabeth, â€œ that Iwill take down
the trap, do you? I would not touch it for twenty pounds.
I am always frightened, and ready to die at the sight of
a mouse. Once, when I was a girl, I had one thrown in
my face; and ever since I have always been scared out
of my wits at them; and if ever I see one running loose,
as I did one night in the closet below stairs, where the
vandles are kept, I scream as if I was being killed.â€
â€œ Why, then,â€ answered Nurse,.â€œ I think you behave like
a great simpleton; for what harm could a mouse do to
26 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
youtâ€ â€œOh! I hate them,â€ returned she, and then ran
away without the trap. Greatly was I rejoiced at her
departure, as I hoped that, by some means, Softdown
might still be able to make his escape. But, alas! no
such good fortune attended him. Some person again
passing the door, Nurse once more called out, â€œ Who is
there? John, is it you?â€ â€œ Yes,â€ replied a manâ€™s voice.
â€œThen do you step in, will you, for a moment?â€ re-
joined Mrs. Nurse: and instantly entered a man whom
I had never before seen. â€œ What do you want, Nurse?â€
said he. â€œ I only want to get rid of a mouse,â€ returned
she; â€œ and, do you know, Elizabeth is such a simpleton
that she is afraid of taking it, and I want the trap to
set it again, for they swarm here like bees in a hive: one
can have no peace for them: they devour and spoil
everything; I say sometimes, that I believe they will
eat me up at last.â€ While she was saying this, John
took the trap in his hand, and held it up once more to
the candle; then taking a thread out of a paper, that lay
bound round with a dirty blue ribbon upon the table,
he shook the trap about till he got my brother's tail
through the wires, when, catching hold of it, he tied the
thread tight round it, and dragged him by it to the door
of the trap, which he opened, and took him out, suspend-
ing the weight of his body upon his tail.
Softdown, who, till the thread was tied, had patiently
OF A MOUSE. 27
continued perfectly quiet, could no longer support the
pain without dismal cries and anguish; he squeaked as
loud as his little throat would let him, exerting at the
same time the utmost of his strength to disengage him-
self. But in such a position, with his head downward,
in vain were all his efforts to procure relief; and the bar-
barous monster who held him discovered not the smallest
emotions of pity for his sufferings. Oh! how, at that
moment, did I abhor my own existence, and wish that I
could be endowed with size and strength sufficient, at
once both to rescue him, and severely punish his tor-
mentor! But my wish was ineffectual; and I had the
inexpressible affliction of seeing the inhuman wretch
hold him down upon the hearth, whilst, without remorse,
he crushed him beneath his foot, aid then carelessly
kicked him into the ashes, saying, â€œThere! the cat will
smell it out when she comes up.â€ My very blood runs
cold within me at the recollection of seeing Softdownâ€™s,
as it spirted from beneath the monster's foot, whilst the
craunch of his bones almost petrified me with horror.
At length, however, recollecting the impossibility of re-
storing my beloved brother to life, and the danger of my
own situation, I, with trembling feet and palpitating
heart, crept softly back to my remaining two brothers,
who were impatiently expecting me, behind the closet.
There I related to them the horrid scene which had passed
28 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
before mine eyes; whilst the anguish it caused in their
gentle bosoms far exceeds my power to describe.
After having mingled our lamentations for some time,
I thus addressed them :â€”â€œ We have this night, my bro-
thers, tasted the severest affliction in the cruel death of
our dear brother, companion, and friend; let us not,
however, only mourn his loss, but also gather wisdom
from our misfortune, and return to that duty which we
have hitherto neglected. Recollect, my dear friends,
what were the last words which our good mother spoke
to us at parting. She charged us, upon no account, for
no temptation whatever, to return frequently to the same
place; if we did, she forewarned us that death and ruin
would certainly await us. But in what manner have we
obeyed this her kind advice? We have not even so
much as once recollected it since she left us; or, if we
thought of it for a moment, we foolishly despised it, as
unnecessary. Now, therefore, we sincerely feel the con-
Sequence of our disobedience ; and, though our sufferings
are most distressing, yet we must confess that we amply
deserve them. Let us, therefore, my brothers, instantly
fly from a place which has already cost us the life of our
beloved Softdown, lest we should all likewise fall sacri-
fices to our disobedience.â€
And here the writer cannot help observing how just
were the reflections of the Mouse on the crime which he
OF A MOUSE, 29
and his brethren had been guilty of; and he begs that
every reader will be careful to remember the fatal conse-
quences attendant upon their disobedience of their mo-
therâ€™s advice ; since they may be assured that equal, if
not the same, misfortune will always attend those who
refuse to pay attention to the advice of their parents.
But to return to the history :â€”
To this proposal (continued the Mouse) my brothers
readily agreed ; and we directly descended to the place
where we had discovered the crack that led us to the
room in which we feasted on bird-seed. Here we deter-
mined to wait, and when the family were all quiet in bed,
to go in search of provision, as we began to be rather
hungry, not having eaten anything a long while. Ac-
cordingly, we stayed till after the clock had struck twelve,
when, peeping out, we saw that the room was empty: we
then ventured forth, and found several seeds, though not
enough to afford a very ample meal for three of us.
After we had cleared the room, we again returned to
our hiding-place, where we continued till after the family
had finished their breakfast in the morning. They all
then went to take a walk in the garden, and we stepped
out to pick up the crumbs which had fallen from the
table. Whilst thus employed, and at a distance from our
place of retreat, we were alarmed by the entrance of two
boys, who appeared to be about twelve or thirteen years
30 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
of age. We directly ran towards the crack; but, alas!
not quick enough to escape their observation; for, seeing
us, they both at once exclaimed, â€œ Some mice! some
mice!â€ and at the same time took off their hats, and
threw at us. Longtail happily eluded the blow, and safe-
ly got home; but poor Brighteyes and myself were less
fortunate; and though we, for a considerable time, by our
quickness, prevented their catching us, at length, being
much disebled by a blow that one of them gave me with
a book which he threw at me, I was unable any longer
to run; and, as I was hobbling very slowly across the
room, he picked me up. At the same moment, Bright-
eyes was so entangled in a handkerchief, which the other
boy tossed over him, that he likewise was taken prisoner.
Our little hearts now beat quick with fear of those tor-
tures we expected to receive; nor were our apprehensions
lessened by hearing the boys consult what they should
do with us. â€œI,â€ said one, â€œwill throw mine into the
pond, and see how he will swim out again.â€ â€œ And I,â€
said the other, â€œ will keep mine, and tame it.â€ â€œ But
where will you keep it?â€ inquired his companion. â€œOh,â€
replied he, â€œ I will keep it under a little pan, till I can
get a house made for it.â€ He then, holding me by the
skin at the back of my neck, ran with me into the kit-
chen, to fetch a pan. Here I was not only threaten-
ed with death by three or four of the servants, who all
OF A MOUSE. 31
blamed Master Peter for keeping me, but, likewise, two or
three cats came round him, rubbing themselves backward
and forward against his legs, and then, standing up on
their hind feet, endeavoured to make themselves high
enough to reach me. At last, taking a pan in his hand,
he returned to his brother, with one of the cats following
him. Immediately upon our entrance the boy exclaimed,
â€œOh, now I know what I will do: I will tie a piece of
string to its tail, and teach the cat to jump for it.â€ No
sooner had this thought presented itself, than it was put
into practice, and I again was obliged to sustain the
shocking sight of a brother put to the torture. In the _
meantime, I was placed upon the table, with a pan over
me, in which was a crack, so that I could see, as well as
hear all that passed; and from this place it was that I
beheld my beloved Brighteyes suspended at one end of a
string by his tail; one while swinging backward and for-
ward, at another pulled up and down, then suffered to feel
his feet on the ground, and again suddenly snatched up
as the cat advanced; then twisted round and round, as
fast as possible, at the full length of the string; in short,
it is impossible to describe all his sufferings of body, or
my anguish of mind, At length, a most dreadful conclu-
sion was put to them, by the entrance of a gentleman
booted and spurred, with a whip in his hand. â€œ What
32 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
in the world, Charles!â€ said he, as he came in, â€œ are you
about? What have you got there?â€ â€œ Only a mouse,
sir,â€ replied the boy. â€œ He is teaching the cat to jump,
sir,â€ said Peter; â€œ that is all.â€
Brighteyes then gave afresh squeak, from the violence
of his pain. The gentleman, then turning hastily round,
exclaimed eagerly, â€œ What, is it alive?â€ â€œ Yes, sir,â€ said
the boy. â€œAnd how can you, you wicked, naughty,
cruel boy,â€ replied the gentleman, â€œ take delight in thus
torturing a little creature that never did you any injury?
Put it down this moment,â€ said he, at the same time giv-
ing him a severe stroke with his horsewhip across that
hand by which he held my brother. â€œ Let it go direct-
ly!â€ and again repeated the blow. The boy let go the
string, and Brighteyes, falling to the ground, was instant-
ly snapped up by the eat, who, growling, ran away with
him in her mouth, and, I suppose, put a conclusion to
his miseries and life together, as I never from that mo-
ment heard any account of him.
As soon as he was thus taken out of the room, the gen-
tleman sat down, and, taking hold of his sonâ€™s hand, thus
addressed him: â€œ Charles, I had a much better opinion
of you than to suppose you were capable of so much cru-
elty. What right, I desire to know, have you to torment
any living creature? If itis only because you are larger,
and so have it in your power, I beg you will consider
OF A MOUSE, 33
how you would like that either myself, or some great gi-
ant, as much larger than you, as you are bigger than the
mouse, should hurt and torment you? And, I promise
you, the smallest creature can feel as acutely as you; nay,
the smaller they are, the more susceptible are they of
pain, and the sooner they are hurt: a less touch will kill
a fly than aman; consequently, a less wound will cause it
pain. And the mouse, which you have now been swinging
by the tail over the catâ€™s mouth, has not, you may assure
yourself, suffered less torment or fright than you would
have done, had you been suspended by your leg, either
over water which would drown you, or over stones, on
which, if you fell, you must certainly be dashed to pieces.
And yet you could take delight in thus torturing and
distressing a poor inoffensive animal! Fie upon it,
Charles! Fie upon it! I thought you had been a bet-
ter boy, and not such a cruel, naughty, wicked fellow.â€
â€œWicked!â€ repeated the boy; â€œI do not think that I
have been at all wicked.â€ â€œ But I think you have been
extremely so,â€ replied his father; â€œ every action that is
cruel, and gives pain to any living creature, is wicked,
and is a sure sign of a bad heart. I never knew a man
who was cruel to animals kind and compassionate towards
his fellow-creatures; he might not, perhaps, treat them in
the same shocking manner, because the laws of the land
34 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS.
would severely punish him if he did; but if he is restrain-
ed from bad actions by no higher motive than fear of pre-
sent punishment, his goodness cannot be very great. A
good man, Charles, always takes delight in conferring
happiness on all around him; nor would he offer the
smallest injury to the meanest insect that was capable of
feeling.â€ â€œTI am sure,â€ said the boy, â€œ I have often seen
you kill wasps, and spiders too; and it was but last week
that you bought a mouse-trap yourself to catch mice in,
although you are so angry now with me.â€ â€œ And pray,â€
~ resumed his father, â€œ did you ever see me torment, as
well as kill them? Or did I ever keep them in pain one
moment longer than necessary? I am not condemning
people for killing vermin and animals, provided they do
it expeditiously, and put them to death with as little pain
as possible; but it is the putting them to needless tor-
ment and misery that I say is wicked. Had you destroy-
ed the mouse with one blow, or rather given it to some-
body else to destroy it (for I should not think a tender-
hearted boy would delight in such operations himself), I
would not have condemned you; but to keep it hanging
the whole weight of its body upon its tail, to swing it
about, and by that too, to hold it terrified over the cat's
jaws, and to take pleasure in hearing it squeak,and seeing
it struggle for liberty, is such unmanly, such detestable
cruelty, as calls for my utmost indignation and abhor-
OF A MOUSE. 35
rence. But, since you think pain so very trifling an evil,
try, Charles, how you like that,â€ said he, giving him at
the same time some severe strokes with his horsewhip.
The boy then cried, and called out, â€œI do not like it all,
Ido not like it at all.â€ â€œ Neither did the mouse,â€ re-
plied his father, â€œlike at all to be tied to a string, and
swung about by his tail; he did not like it, and told you so
ina language which you perfectly well understood; but you
would not attend to its cries: you thought it pleasure to
hear it squeak, because you were bigger, and did not feel
its torture. I am now bigger than you, and do not feel
your pain. I therefore shall not yet leave off, as I hope
it will teach you not to torment anything another time.â€
Just as he said these words, the boy, endeavouring to
avoid the whip, ran against the table on which I was
placed, and happily threw down the pan that confined
me. I instantly seized the opportunity, jumped down,
and once more escaped to the little hole by which I first
entered. There I found my only brother waiting for me,
and was again under the dreadful necessity of paining his
tender heart with the recital of the sufferings which I had
been witness to in our dear Brighteyes, as well as of the
imminent danger I myself had been exposed to. â€œ And
surely,â€ said I, â€œ we have again drawn all this evil upon
ourselves by our disobedience to our motherâ€™s advice.
She doubtless intended that we should not continue in
36 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
the same house long together; whereas, from the day of
her leaving us, we have never been in any other than
this, which has occasioned us such heavy aftliction.
Therefore, upon no account let us continue another night
under this roof; but, as soon as the evening begins to
grow dark enough to conceal us from the observation of
any one, we will set off, and seek a lodging in some other
place; and should any misfortune befal us on our passage,
we shall at least have the consolation of thinking that
we were doing our duty, by following the advice of our
parent.â€ â€œ It is true,â€ said my brother â€œwe have been
greatly to blame; for the future, we will be more careful
of our conduct: but do, my dear Nimble,â€ continued he,
â€œendeavour to compose yourself, and take a little rest,
after the pain and fatigue which you have gone through,
otherwise you may be sick; and what will become of me,
if any mischief should befal you? TI shall then have no
brother to converse with, no friend to advise me what to
do.â€ Here he stopped, overpowered with his grief for
the loss of our two murdered brothers, and with his ten-
der solicitude for my welfare. I endeavoured all in my
power to comfort him, and said I hoped that I should
soon recover from the bruises I had received from the
boyâ€™s hat and book, as well as the pinches in my neck
with his finger and thumb, by which he held me; and
promised to compose myself. This promise I fulfilled,
OF A MOUSE. 37
by endeavouring to sleep; but the scene that I had so
lately been witness to was too fresh in my imagination to
suffer me to close my eyes: however, I kept for some
The rest of the day we spent in almost total silence,
having no spirits for conversation, our hearts being almost
broken with anguish. When it grew towards evening,
we agreed to find our way out of that detested house, and
seek for some other habitation, which might be more pro-
pitious. But we found more difficulty in this undertak-
ing than we were at all aware of; for though we could
with tolerable ease go from room to room within the
house, still, when we attempted to quit it, we found it
every way surrounded with so thick a brick wall, that it
was impossible for us to make our way through it. We
therefore ran round and round it several times, searching
for some little crevice through which we might escape;
but all to no purpose, not the least crack could we dis-
cover; and we might have continued there till this time,
had we not at length, after the family were in bed, re-
solved to venture through one of the apartments into the
hall, and so creep out under the house-door. But the
dangers we exposed ourselves to in this expedition were
many and great: we knew that traps were set for us about
the house; and where they might chance to be placed we
could not tell. I had likewise been eye-witness to no less
38 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
than four cats, who might, for aught we knew to the con-
trary, at that hour of darkness be prowling in search of
some of our unhappy species.
But, in spite of every difficulty and hazard, we deter-
mined to venture, rather than continue in opposition to
our motherâ€™s commands; and to reward our obedience,
we escaped, with trembling hearts, unobserved, at least
unmolested, by any one. And now, for the first time
since our birth, we found ourselves exposed to the in-
clemency of the weather. The night was very dark and
tempestuous; the rain poured down in torrents, and the
wind blew so exceedingly high, that, low upon the ground
as we were, it was with difficulty we could keep our legs;
added to which, every step we took, we were in water up
to our stomachs. In this wretched condition we knew
not which way to turn ourselves, nor where to seek for
shelter. The spattering of the rain, the howling of the
wind, together with the rattling and shaking of the trees,
all contributed to make such a noise as rendered it im-
possible for us to hear whether any danger was approach-
ing us or not.
In this truly melancholy situation, we waded on for a
considerable time, till at length we reached a small house,
and very easily gained admittance through a pretty large
hole on one side of the door. Most heartily did we re-
joice at finding ourselves once more under shelter from
OF A MOUSE. 39
the cold and rain, and for some time onlybusied ourselves
in drying our hair, which was as thoroughly wet as if we
had been served as the boy threatened to serve my brother
Brighteyes, and had really been drawn through a pond.
After we had done this, and had a little rested ourselves,
we began to look about in search of food, but we could
find nothing, except a few crumbs of bread and cheese
in a manâ€™s coat-pocket, and a piece of tallow-candle stuck
on the top of a tinder-box. This, however, though not
such delicate eating as we had been used to, yet served
to satisfy our present hunger; and we had just finished
the candle, when we were greatly alarmed by the sight of
a human hand (for we mice can see a little in the dark)
feeling about the very chair on which we stood. We
jumped down in an instant, and hid ourselves in a little
hole behind a black trunk that stood in one corner of the
We then heard very distinctly a man say, â€œ Betty, did
you not put the candle by the bedside?â€ â€œ Yes, that I
am very sure I did,â€ replied a female voice. â€œI thought
so,â€ answered the man; â€œ but I am sure it is not here
now. Tom! Tom! Tom!â€ continued he. â€œ What,
father?â€ replied a boy, starting up; â€œ what is the mat-
ter?â€ â€œWhy, do you know anything of the candle? I
cannot find it, my dear; and J want it sadly, for I fancy
it is time we should be up and be jogging. Dost know
40 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
anything of it, my lad?â€ â€œ Not I, truly, father,â€ said
the boy; â€œ I only know that I saw mother stick it in the
box-lid last night, and put it upon the chair, which she
set by the bedside, after you had put your clothes upon
the back of it; I know I saw her put it there, so it must
be there now, I fancy.â€ â€œ Well, I cannot find it,â€ replied
the father; â€œso we must eâ€™en get up in the dark, for I
am sure it must be time.â€ The father and son then both
dressed themselves; and the man taking a shilling out of
his pocket, laid it upon the chair, saying at the same time,
â€œ There, Betty, I have left a shilling for you; take care
it does not go after the candle; for where that is I cannot
tell, any more than the carp at the bottom of the Squireâ€™s
fish pond.â€ He then unlocked the door, and went away,
accompanied by his son.
After their departure, we again came out, and took an-
other walk round the room, and found our way into a
little cupboard, which we had not before observed. Here
we discovered half a loaf of bread, a piece of cold pudding,
a lump of salt butter, some soft sugar in a basin, and a
fine large slice of bacon. On these dainties we feasted
very amply, and agreed that we should again hide our-
selves behind the black trunk all day, and at night, when
the family were in bed, return to take another meal on
the plenty of nice provision which we had so happily dis-
covered. Accordingly, we crept back just as the woman
OF A MOUSE. 4]
went to fill her tea-kettle at a pump which stood between
her house and the next neighbourâ€™s. When she returned,
she put it upon the fire she had just lighted, and, taking
a pair of bellows in her hand, sat down to blow it.
While she was thus employed, a young gentleman,
about ten years of age, very genteelly dressed, entered the
room, and in a familiar manner asked her how she did.
â€œT am very well, thank you, my dear,â€ replied she:
â€œand pray, Master George, how are your mamma and
papa, and all your brothers and sisters?â€ â€œThey are all
very well, thank you,â€ returned the boy; â€œand I am
come to bring you a slice of cake, which my grandpapa
gave me yesterday.â€ Then, throwing his arms round her
neck, he went on saying, â€œOh! my dear, dear Betty
Flood, how I do love you! I would do anything in the
world to serve you. I shall save all my Christmas-boxes
to give to you; and when I am aman, I will give you a
great deal of money. I wish you were a lady, and not
so poor.â€ â€œIam much obliged to you, my dear,â€ said
she, â€œfor your kind good wishes; but, indeed, love, I am
very well contented with my station. I have a good hus-
band, and three good children, which is more than many
a lady can say; and riches, Master George, unless people
are good, and those one lives with are kind and obliging,
will never make anybody happy. What comfort, now,
do you think a body could ever have at Squire Statelyâ€™s?
42 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
I declare, if it were put to my choice, I would rather a
thousand times be as Iam. To be sure, they are very
rich; but what of that? They cannot eat gold; neither
can gold ease their hearts when they are almost bursting
with pride and ill-nature. They say, indeed, that Madam
Stately would be kind enough, if they would let her rest;
but what with the Squireâ€™s drinking and swearing, and
the young gentlemanâ€™s extravagance, and her daughter's
pride and quarrelling, she is almost tired out of her life.
And so, Master George, I say, I had rather be poor Betty
Flood, with honest Abraham for my husband, than the
finest lady in the land, if I must live at such arate. To
be sure, nobody can deny but that money is very desir-
able, and people that are rich can do many agreeable
things, which we poor ones cannot; but yet, for all that,
money dees not make people happy. Happiness, Master
George, depends greatly upon people's own tempers and
dispositions: a person who is fretful and cross will never
be happy, though he should be made King of all England;
and a person who is contented and good-humoured will
never be wretched, though he should be as poor as a beg-
gar. So, never fret yourself, love, because Betty Flood
is poor; for, though I am poor, I am honest; and whilst
my husband and I are happy enough to be blessed with
health, and the use of our limbs, we can work for our
living; and though we have no great plenty, still we have
OF A MOUSE. 43
sufficient to support us. So pray, dear, eat your cake
yourself; for I would not take it from you for ever so
much.â€ They then disputed for some time who should
have it; at last, George scuffled away from her, and put
it into the closet, and then, nodding his head at her, ran
away, saying he must go to school that moment.
Betty Flood then ate her breakfast, and we heard her
say something about the nasty mice; but what, we could
not make out, as she muttered softly to herself. She
then came to the trunk behind which we lay, and taking
out of it a roll of new linen, sat down to needle-work.
At twelve oâ€™clock, her husband and son returned; so,
moving her table out of the way, she made room for them
at the fire, and, fetching the fryingpan, dressed some
rashers of the nice bacon we had before tasted in the cup-
board. The boy, in the meantime, spread a cloth on the
table, and placed the bread and cold pudding on it like-
wise; then returning to the closet for their plates, he cried
out, â€œ Oh! father, here is a nice hunch of plumcake; can
you tell how it came?â€ â€œ NotI, indeed, Tom!â€ replied
his father; â€œI can tell no more than the carp at the bot-
tom of the Squireâ€™s fish-pond.â€ â€œ Iwill tell you,â€ said Mrs.
Flood; â€œI know how it came there. Do you know that
dear child Master George Kendall brought it for me; he
called as he went to school this.morning. I told him I
would not haye it; but the dear little soul popped it into
44 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
the cupboard, and ran away without it. Bless his little
heart! I do think he is the sweetest child that ever was
born. You may laugh at me for saying so; but I am
sure I should have thought the same, if I had not nursed
him myself.â€ â€œ Indeed,â€ replied her husband, â€œ I do
not laugh at you for saying so; for I think so too, and
so must every one who knows him; for when young gen-
tlemen behave as he does, everybody must love and ad-
mire them. There is nothing I would not do to help
and serve that child, or any of his family; they always
are so kind, and speak as civilly to us poor folk as if we
were the first lords or ladies in the land. I am sure, if
it were needful, I would go through fire and water for
their sakes; and so would every man in the parish, I dare
say. But I wonder who would do as much to help Squire
Stately, or any of his family, if it were not that I should
think it my duty (and an honest man ought always to do
that, whether he likes it or not); but I say, if it were not
that it would be my duty to help my fellow-creature, I
would scarcely be at the trouble of stepping over the
threshold to serve them, they are such a set of cross good-
for-nothing gentry. I declare, it was but as we came
home to dinner now, that we saw Master Samuel throw-
ing sticks and stones at Dame Frugal's ducks, for the sake
of seeing them waddle; and then, when they got to the
pond, he sent his dog in after them, to bark and frighten
OF A MOUSE. 45
them out of their wits. And as I came by, nothing would
serve him, but throwing a great dab of mud all over the
sleeve of my coat. So I said, â€˜Why, Master Samuel,
you need not have done that; I did nothing to offend
you; and however amusing you may think it to insult
poor people, I assure you itis very wicked, and what no
good person in the world would be guilty of. He then
set up a great rude laugh, and I walked on and said no
more; but ifall gentlefolk were to behave like that family,
J had rather be poor as I am, than have all their riches,
if that would make me act like them.â€ â€œVery true,
Abraham,â€ replied his wife, â€œthat is what I say, and
what I told Master George this morning; for to be poor,
if people do not become so through their own extrava-
gance, is no disgrace to anybody; but to be haughty,
cruel, cross, and mischievous, is a disgrace to all who are
so, let their rank be as exalted as it may,â€
Here the conversation was interrupted by the entrance
of a man, who begged Mr. Flood to assist him in unload-
ing his cart of flour, as his man was gone out, and he
could not do it by himself.â€œ Well, I will come and help
you, with all my heart,â€ said Flood, â€œand so shall Tom,
too: will you not, my lad? I cannot live without help
myself; and if I do not assist others, I am sure I shall
not deserve any help when I want it.â€ So saying, he
left his house; and his wife, after cleaning and putting in
46 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
their proper places those things which had been used at
dinner, again sat down to her sewing.
Soon after the clock had struck six, the man and his
son returned; and, sitting round the fire, they passed the
evening in social conversation, till they went to bed,
which was a little after eight: and they convinced me,
by their talk and behaviour, that happiness in this world
depends far more upon the temper and disposition of the
heart, than upon any external possessions; and that vir-
tue, and a desire to be useful to others, afford far greater
satisfaction and peace of mind, than any riches and grand-
eur can possibly supply without such necessary qualifica-
tions. After they were all fallen asleep, we crept out,
and, leaving the candle unmolested, which was again
placed on the tinder-box by the bed-side, we hastened in-
to the closet, where we regaled heartily, and devoured
that part of the plum-cake which Tom had very gener-
ously left for his sister Mary, who, we found, was expect-
ed home the next day.
We then retired to our safe retreat, and thought we
might venture to stay for one more night's provisions,
without running any risk from our too frequent return
to the same place. But, in the morning, we found our
scheme frustrated; for, on the womanâ€™s going to the clo-
set to get her breakfast, she observed the robbery which
we had committed, and exclaimed, â€œSome teazing mice
OF A MOUSE. 47
have found their way into the closet. I will borrow neigh-
bour Savewellâ€™s trap to-night, and catch some of the little
toads; that I will!â€ After hearing this, it would have
been madness to make any farther attempts; we there-
fore agreed to watch for an opportunity, and escape on
the very first that offered. Accordingly, about noon,
when Mrs. Flood was busily employed in making some
pancakes, we slipped by her unobserved, and crept out at
the same hole by which we had at first entered. But no
sooner were we in the open road, than we repented our
haste, and wished we had continued where we were till
the darkness of the night might better have concealed us
from the observation of any one. We crept as close to
the wall of the house (as far as it reached, which was but
a few paces), as we possibly could, and then stepped into
a little ditch, which we were soon obliged to leave again,
as the water ran in some parts of it almost up to the
At length we reached a little cottage, which we were
just entering, when a cat, that was sleeping, unnoticed
by us, upon a chair, jumped down, and would certainly
have destroyed me, (who happened to be foremost,) had
she not, at the same moment, tried to catch my brother,
and, by that means missing her aim, she gave us both
an opportunity to Ã©scape, which we did by scrambling
48 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
behind a brick that a child had been playing with by the
side of the door. Fortunately the brick lay too close to
the house for the cat to get her paw behind it, so as to
reach us, though, to avoid it, we were obliged to use the
greatest precaution, as she could thrust it in a little way,
and, if we had gone one inch too near either end, she
would certainly have dragged us out with her talons.
In this dreadful situation did we spend some hours, in-
cessantly moving from one end of the brick to the other,
for the moment she hmd, by the entrance of her paw at
one end, driven us to the other, she stepped over, and
again made us retreat. Think with what dreadful terror
our little hearts must have been oppressed, to see our
mortal enemy so closely watching us, expecting every
moment, when she shook the brick with her two fore-
paws in searching, and with her mouth endeavoured to
lift it up, that she would be so far able to effect her pur-
pose, as to make it impossible for us to escape her jaws.
But, happily for us, it had somehow or other got so
wedged that she could not move it to any great distance,
though it kept momentarily increasing our terrors by
shaking as she strove to turn it.
From this state of horror, however, we were at length
delivered by a little boy about four years old, who came
out of the house, and, taking the cat up round its body
OF A MOUSE. 49
with both hands, tottered away with it, and shut the
Finding ourselves thus unexpectedly once more at li-
berty, we determined to make use of it by seeking some
safer retreat, at least till night should better hide us from
public view. Terrified almost out of our senses, we crept
from behind the brick, and, after running a few yards,
slipped under the folding doors of a barn, and soon con-
cealed ourselves amidst a vast quantity of threshed corn.
This appeared to us the most desirable retreat that we had
yet found; not only as it afforded such immense plenty
of food, but also as we could so easily hide ourselves from
the observation of any one; beside, as it did not appear
to be a dwelling-house, we could in security reside, free
from any danger of traps, or the cruelty of man. We,
therefore, congratulated each other, not more on account
of the wonderful escape we had had, than upon our good
fortune in coming to a spot so blessed with peace and
After we were a little recovered from the fatigue of
mind as well as of body which we had lately gone through,
we regaled very heartily upon the corn that surrounded
us, and then fell into a charming sleep, from which we
were awakened the next morning by the sound of human
voices. We very distinctly heard that of a boy, saying,
50 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
â€œLet us mix all the threshed corn with the rest that is
not threshed, and that will make a fine fuss, and set John
and Simon swearing like troopers when they come and
find all their labour lost, and that they must do all their
work over again.â€ â€œ And do you think there is anything
so agreeable in giving people trouble, and hearing them
swear,â€ replied another voice, â€œthat you can wish to do
it! For my part, I think it is so wicked a thing, that I
hate to hear anybody guilty of it, much less would I be
the cause of making them commit so great a sin; and as
for giving them all their trouble over again, so far would
it be from affording me any pleasure, that, on the con-
trary, it would give me great pain ; for, however you may
think of it, William, I assure you it always gives me much
uneasiness to see people labouring and working hard. I
always think how much I should dislike to be obliged to
do so myself, and, therefore, very sincerely pity those
who must work. On no account, therefore, will I do
anything to add to their labour, or that shall give them
â€œPho!â€ answered William, â€œyou are wonderfully
wise ; I, for my part, hate such superabundant wisdom ;
I like to see folk fret, and stew, and scold, as our maids
did last week when I cut the line, and let all the sheets,
and gowns, and petticoats, and frocks, and shirts, and
OF A MOUSE. 51
aprons, and caps, and what not, fall plump into the dirt.
Oh! how I did laugh! And how they did mutter and
scold! And do you know, that, just as the wash-ladies
were wiping their coddled hands, and comforting them-
selves with the thought of their work being all over, and
were going to sip their tea by the fireside, I put them
all to the scout, and they were obliged to wash every rag
over again. I shall never forget how cross they looked;
nay, I verily believe Susan cried about it; and how I did
â€œ And pray,â€ rejoined the other boy, â€œshould you have
laughed equally hearty if, after you had been at school
all day, and had with much difficulty just got through all
your writing and different exercises, and were going to
play, should you laugh, I say, if somebody should run
away with them all, and your master were to oblige you
to do them all over again? Tell me, William, should you
laugh, or cry and look cross?) And even that would not
be half so bad for you as it was for the servants to be
obliged to wash their clothes over again; washing is very
hard labour, and tires people sadly, and so does thresh-
ing too. It is very unkind, therefore, to give them such
unnecessary trouble, and everything that is unkind is
wicked, and I would not do it upon any account, I assure
you.â€ â€œThen I assure you,â€ replied William, â€œ you may
let it alone: I can do it without your assistance.â€ He
52 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
then began mixing the grain and the chaff together, the
other boy strongly remonstrating against it, to which he
paid no attention; and, whilst he was so employed, two
men, Simon and John, entered the barn.
â€œ Why, how now, Master William,â€ said Simon, â€œ what
are you about? What business have you to be here?
You are always doing some mischief or other! I wish,
with all my heart, that you were kept chained like a dog,
and never suffered to be at liberty, for you do more harm
in an hour than a body can set right again in a month?â€
William then took up hatsful of the corn and chaff, and
threw it in the two menâ€™s faces; afterwards, taking up a
flail, he gave Simon a blow across his back, saying, at the
same time, â€œI will shew you the way to thresh, and se-
parate the flesh from the bones.â€ â€œOh! will you so,
young Squire?â€ said John: â€œTI will shew you the way to
make naughty boys good.â€ He then left the barn, but
presently returned, accompanied by a gentleman, upon
the sight of whom William let fall the flail, which he was
till then brandishing over Simon's head, and was going
away, when the gentleman, taking hold of his hand, said,
â€œYou do not stir from this place, Master William, nor
have one mouthful of breakfast till you have asked the
men pardon for your behaviour, and likewise sifted every
grain of corn from the chaff which you have mixed with it.
When you have done that, you may have some food, but
OF A MOUSE. 53
not before, and afterwards you may spend the rest of the
day in threshing ; then you will be a better judge, my boy,
of the fatigue and labour of it, and find how you should
like, after working hard all day, to have it rendered use-
less by a mischievous boy. Remember, William, what I
have now said to you, for I do insist upon being minded,
and I promise you that if you offer to play or do anything
else to-day, you shall be punished severely.â€ The gentle-
man then went away. William muttered something, I
could not exactly hear what, and began to sift the corn;
and so much had he mixed together, that he did not go
in for his breakfast till after I had heard the church
clock strike one, though it was before eight when he
came into the barn. In about an hour he returned, and
the other boy with him, who addressed him, saying, â€œAh!
William, you had better have taken my advice, and not
have done so; I thought what you would get by your
nice fun, as you called it. I never knew any good come
of mischief: it generally brings those who do it into dis-
grace ; or, if they should happen to escape unpunished, still
it is always attended with some inconvenience ; it is an ill-
natured disposition which can take pleasure in giving trou-
ble to any one.â€ â€œDo hold your tongue, James,â€ replied
William ; â€œTI declare I have not patience to hear you
preach, you are so prodigiously wise, and prudent, and
54 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
sober! You had better go in doors, and sew with your
mamma, for you talk just as if you were a girl, and not
in the least like a boy of spirit.â€ â€œ Like a girl!â€ resumed
James; â€œare girls, then, the only folk who have any
sense or good nature? Or what proof does it shew of
spirit to be fond of mischief, and giving people trouble?
It is like a monkey of spirit, indeed, but I cannot say
that I see either spirit or sense in making the clean
clothes fall into the dirt, or mixing the corn and chaff,
for the sake of making the poor servants do all over
again. If these things be a sign of any spirit, I am sure
it is an evil one, and not at all such as I wish to pos-
sess, though I no more want to sit still or work with a
needle than you do; but I hope there are other ways of
shewing my spirit, as you call it, than by doing mischief
and being ill-natured. I do not think my papa ever
seems to be effeminate, or want sufficient spirit; but he
would scorn to give unnecessary trouble to anybody,
and so would Thomas Vaulter, though no boy in the
world loves play better than he does; he plays at cricket
the best of any boy in the school, and I am sure none can
beat him at tennis, and as for skipping, I never saw a
boy skip so well in all my life; and I am sure he would
beat you, with all your spirit, out and out twenty times,
either at running, or sliding, or swimming, or climbing
OF A MOUSE. 55
atree. And yet he never gives trouble to anybody for
the sake of fun; he is one of the, best tempered boys
in the world; and, whether it be like a girl or not, he
always does what he knows to be right and kind, and if
that is being like girls, why, with all my heart: I like girls
well enough, and, if they behave well, I do not see why
you should speak so contemptuously of them. My papa
always says that he loves girls just as well as boys; and
none but foolish and naughty boys despise and teaze
them.â€ Just as he said these words, Simon and
John entered the barn, and, seeing William stand idle,
â€œCome, come, young gentleman,â€ said John, â€œ take up
your flail, and go to work, sir. To work! To work!
Night will be here presently, and you have done nothing
yet.â€ Presently after, the gentleman returned and en-
forced Johnâ€™s advice for him to mind his work.
After Master William had continued his employment
some little time, he began to cry, saying his arms ached
ready to drop off, and his hand was so sore he could not
bear it. â€œThen, doubtless,â€ replied his father, â€œyou
would prodigiously like, after you have been labouring
all day, to have your work to do over again for the sake
of diverting a foolish boy! But go on, William; I am
determined that you shall, for one day, know what it is
to work hard, and thereby be taught to pity and help,
56 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
not add to the fatigue of others.â€ The boy then went
on with his business, though not without making great
complaints, and shedding many tears. At length, how-
ever, evening came; and the gentleman, his son, and the
two men all went away, leaving Longtail and myself to
enjoy our abundance. We passed another night in the
sweetest undisturbed repose, and in the day had nothing
to alarm our fears. In short, our situation was every
way so perfectly happy and desirable, that we thought,
although our mother had charged us not to return fre-
quently to the same place, yet she could not mean that
we should not take up our abode in a spot so secure and
comfortable. We therefore determined to continue
where we were, till we should find some cause for re-
moving. And happy had it been for us if we had kept
to this resolution, and remained contented when we had
everything requisite to make us so. Instead of which,
after we had thus, free from care, passed our time about
seven months, like fools as we were, we began to grow
weary of our retirement, and of eating nothing but the
same food, and agreed that we would again venture forth
and seek for some other lodging, at the same time resoly-
ing, in case we could find no babitation that suited us, to
return to the barn where we had enjoyed so many days
of plenty and repose.
OF A MOUSE. 57
Accordingly, one fine moonlight Monday night, after
securing our supper on the corn, we set forth, and tra-
velled some distance without other molestation than such
as our own fears created. At length we came to a brick
house, with about five or six windows in front, and made
our way into it through a small latticed window which
gave air into the pantry; but, on our arrival here, we
had no opportunity of so much as observing what it con-
tained, for, on our slipping down, a cat instantly flew at
us, and, by the greatest good luck in the world, there
chanced to be a hole in one of the boards of the floor,
close to the spot where we stood, into which we both
were happy enough to pop before she could catch us.
Here we had time to reflect, and severely blame ourselves
for not being satisfied with our state in the barn.
â€œ When,â€ said I, addressing myself to my brother, â€œ when
shall we grow wise, and learn to know that certain evil
always attends every deviation from what is right? When
we disobeyed the advice of our mother, and, tempted by
cakes and other dainties, frequently returned to the same
dangerous place, how severely did we suffer for it! And
now, by our own discontent, and not being satisfied when
so safely though more humbly lodged, into what trouble
have we not plunged ourselves? How securely have we
lived in the barn for the last seven months, and how
58 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
happily might we still have continued there, had it not
been for our restless dispositions? Ah! my brother, we
have acted foolishly. We ought to have been contented
when we were at peace, and should have considered that
if we had not everything we could wish for, we had
everything that was necessary; and the life of a mouse
was never designed for perfect happiness. Such enjoy-
ment was never intended for our lot; it is the portion
only of beings whose capacities are far superior to ours.
We ought, then, to have been contented, and, had we
been so, we should have been as happy as our state of life
can admit of.â€ â€œWhat you say is certainly very true,â€
replied Longtail, â€œand I sincerely wish that we had
thought of these things before. But what must we now
do? We said we would return to the barn in case of
difficulties; but that is now impossible, for, if we attempt
to retreat, the cat which drove us in here will certainly
destroy us; and yet in proceeding, what difficulties must
we encounter, what dangers may we not run? Oh! my
beloved Nimble,â€ continued he, â€œ what a life of hazard is
ours! To what innumerable accidents are we hourly ex-
posed! And how is every meal that we eat at the risk
of our very existence !â€
â€œTt undoubtedly is,â€ replied I; â€œbut, with all its
troubles, we still are very desirous of preserving it. Let
OF A MOUSE. 59
us not, then, my brother, indulge our hearts with mur-
muring and finding fault with that life, which, notwith-
standing all its evils, we value so highly. Rather let us
endeavour to learn experience, and, by conducting our-
selves better, escape many of those troubles which we now
suffer.â€ $o saying, I advised him to follow me. â€œ For,â€
added I, â€œit is impossible for us to exist in the place
we are at present; we must, therefore, strive to work our
way into some other house or apartment, where we can
at least find some food.â€ To this Longtail agreed; and
the rest of the night, and all the next day, we spent in
nibbling and finding our way into a closet in the house,
which richly repaid us for all our toil, as it contained
sugar-plums, rice, millet, various kinds of sweetmeats,
and, what we liked better than all the rest, a paper of
nice macaroons. On these we feasted most deliciously
till our hunger was fully satisfied; and then creeping
into a little hole, just big enough to contain us both, be-
hind one of the jars of sweetmeats, we reposed ourselves
with a nap, after the various and great fatigues which
we had gone through. I never was a remarkably sound
sleeper, the least noise disturbs me; and I was awakened
in the morning by the servant-maid coming into the
room to sweep it, and get it ready for the reception of
her mistress and family, who soon after entered. As I
60 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
wanted to know from whom the voices I heard proceeded,
stepped softly from behind the jar, and just peeped
under the door into the room, where I discovered a gen-
tleman, two ladies, and a little boy and girl.
As I was totally unacquainted with all places of re-
treat, and did not know how soon any of them might
have occasion to open the closet door, I instantly re-
turned to my brother, and, awaking him, told him it
was time for us to be upon our guard, as the family were
all up and about.
Whilst we were thus situated, the first words I heard
distinctly were those of the gentleman, saying, â€œNo,
Francis, I can never have a good opinion of him; the
boy who could once deceive, may, for aught I know, do
so again; he has, by breaking his word, forfeited the only
dependence one could possibly have in him. A person
who has once lost his honour, has no means left of gain-
ing credit to his assertions. By honour, Francis, I
would be understood to speak of veracity, of virtue, of
scorning to commit a mean action, not in that brutish
sense in which some understand it, as if it consisted in a
readiness to fight and resent an injury, for so far am I
from considering such behaviour as any proof of honour,
that, on the contrary, I look upon it as a sure sign of want
of proper spirit and true honour. Fools, bullies, and even
OF A MOUSE. 61
cowards may fight, whereas none but men of sense, and
resolution, and true magnanimity, know how to pardon
and despise an insult.â€ â€œ But, indeed, sir,â€ replied the
boy, â€œat school, if one did not fight, they would so laugh
at one, there would be no such thing as bearing it.â€ â€œAnd
for that very reason it is, my dear, that I say to pass by
and pardon an insult requires more resolution and courage
than mere fighting does. When I wish you to avoid
quarrelling and fighting, I by no means want you to be-
come a coward, for I as much abhor a dastardly spirit as
any boy in your school can possibly do; but I would
wish you to convince them that you merit not that appel-
lation, by shewing, through the whole of your behaviour,
a resolution which despises accidental pain, and avoids
avenging an affront for no other reason than because you
are convinced it shews a much nobler spirit to pardon
than to resent. And you may be assured, my dear, few
are the days that pass without affording us some oppor-
tunity of exerting our patience, and shewing, that, al-
though we disdain quarrelling, still we are far from being
â€œT remember, when I was at school, there was one boy
who, from his first coming, declined upon all occasions
engaging in any battle ; he even gave up many of his just
rights to avoid quarrelling; which conduct, instead of
62 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
gaining (as it justly deserved) the approbation of his com-
panions, drew upon him the insult and abuse of the whole
school, and they were perpetually teazing him with the
opprobrious title of coward. For some time he bore it
with great good humour, and endeavoured to laugh it off,
but, finding this had no effect, he one day thus addressed
us :â€”â€˜If you suppose that I like to be called a coward,
you are all very much mistaken, or, if you think me one,
T assure you that you are not less so, for no boy in the
school should, if put to the trial, shew greater resolution
than myself. Indeed I think it no small proof of pa-
tience that I have borne your repeated insults so long,
when I could, by behaving more like a savage beast, and
less like a reasonable creature, have established my char-
acter at once; but I abhor quarrelling; my soul detests
to treat my fellow creatures as if they were brutes, from
whose fangs I must defend myself ; but, if nothing else
than fighting will convince you that I possess not less
courage than yourselves, I will now offer, in cold blood,
to engage with the biggest boy in the school. IfJ should
conquer him, it will be a sign that I know how to de-
fend myself, and if he should conquer me, I will, by my
behaviour, give a proof that I am not wanting in resolu-
tion to suffer pain, although I never will so far demean
the character of a reasonable creature and a Christian, as
OF A MOUSE. 63
to fight upon every trifling disagreement or insult.â€™ No
sooner had he uttered these words, than every boy pre-
sent was loud either in his commendation or condemna-
tion. One quarter of them, convinced of the justness of
his arguments, highly extolled his forbearance; whilst
the other three parts, with still greater noise, only called
him a bully and a mean-spirited coward, who dared not
fight, and for that reason made such a fine speech, hoping
to intimidate them. â€˜Well, then,â€™ said he, â€˜if such be
your opinion, why will none of you accept my offer?
You surely cannot be afraid; you who are such brave fel-
lows, of such true courage, and such noble spirits, cannot
be afraid of a coward and a bully! Why, therefore, does
not one of you step forward, and put my fine speech to
the test? Otherwise, after I have thus challenged you
all, I hope none for the future will think they have any
right to call me coward, though I again declare my fixed
resolution against fighting.â€™
â€œ Just as he said this, a voice calling for help was heard
from a lane adjoining to the play-ground. Immediately
we all flocked to the side nearest to whence it proceeded,
and clambering upon benches, watering-pots, or whatever
came first in our way, peeped over the wall, where we
discovered two well-grown lads, about seventeen or
eighteen, stripping a little boy of his clothes, and beat-
6+ LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
ing him for his outeries in a most cruel manner; and, at
a little distance farther down the lane, sat a company of
gypsies, to whom the two lads evidently belonged. At
the sight of this we were all much distressed, and wished
to relieve the boy, though, discovering so large a party,
we were too much afraid to venture, till Tomkins (the
boy I before spoke about) instantly jumped from the
wall, and, only saying, â€˜Has nobody courage to follow
me?!â€™ ran toward them as fast as possible, and, with un-
common strength and agility, placed himself between
them and the boy, and began defending himself in the
best manner he could, which he did for some time with
great dexterity, none of his fighting schoolfellows having
courage to go to his assistance. At length, however,
seeing it impossible for him to stand out any longer
against two so much stronger than himself, the boys
agreed to secure themselves by numbers, and to sally forth
to his assistance all together. This scheme succceded,
and very shortly rescued Tomkins from his antagonists.
He thanked them for their assistance, saying, â€˜I hope
you will no longer doubt my courage, or my abilities to
fight, when it is necessary, or in a good cause.â€™ After
so signal a proof of his valour, his greatest enemies could
no longer doubt it; and, without ever engaging in fool-
ish battles, he passed through school as much respected
OF A MOUSE. 65
as any boy, and his magnanimity was never again called
As the gentleman stopped speaking, the little girl
called out, â€œOh, papa, the coach is at the door.â€ â€œIs it,
my dear?â€ returned the father. â€œ Well, then, stop, my
love,â€ said one of the ladies, â€œI have got a few cakes for
you; stay, and take them before you go.â€ She then un-
locked the closet where we were, and took down the pa-
per of macaroons, among which we had so comfortably
regaled ourselves, when, observing the hole in the paper
through which we had entered, â€œ O dear!â€ she exclaimed,
â€œthe mice have actually got into my cupboard. I will
move all the things out this very morning, and lock the
cat up in it, for I shall be undone if the mice once get
footing here; they will soon spoil all my stores, and that
will never do.â€ She then kissed both the children, and,
giving them the cakes, they, the gentleman, and the other
lady, all departed ; and she instantly began to move the
boxes and jars from the closet, whilst we, terrified almost
out of our wits, sat trembling behind one of them, not dar-
ing to stir, yet dreading the catâ€™s approach every moment.
We were soon, however, obliged to move our quarters,
for the lady, taking down the very jar which concealed us,
we were forced (without knowing where we were) to jump
down instantly. In vain we sought all round the room
66 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
for some avenue whereat we might escape ; the apartment
was too well fitted up to admit the smallest crack, and
we must then certainly have been destroyed, had we not,
with uncommon presence of mind, run up the back of
the ladyâ€™s gown, by which means she lost sight of us, and
gave us an opportunity to make our escape as she opened
the door to order the cat to be brought in. We seized
the lucky moment, and, dropping from her gown, fled
with the utmost haste out at the house-door, which hap-
pened to be wide open, and I, without once looking be-
hind me, ran on till I discovered a little crack in the
rick wall, which I entered, and which, after many turn-
ings and windings, brought me to this house, where I
have now continued skulking about in its different apart-
ments for above a month, during which time I have not
heard the least tidings of my beloved brother Longtail.
Whether, therefore, any mischief befel him as he followed
me, or whether he entered the crack with me, and then
lost sight of me, I know not; but in vain have I sought
him every day since my arrival within these walls; and
so anxious am I to learn what has become of him, that I
am now come forth, contrary to my nature, to engage
your compassion, and to beseech you, in case
OF A MOUSE. 67
At this moment the door of my room opened, and my
servant coming hastily in, the Mouse jumped from my
table, and precipitately retreated to the same hole from
whence it had first addressed me; and though I have
several times peeped into it, and even laid little bits of
cake to entice it back again, yet have I never been able
to see it anywhere since. Should either that or any
other ever again favour me so far with its confidence, as
to instruct me with its history, I will certainly communi-
cate it with all possible speed to my little readers, who,
T hope, have been wise enough to attend to the advice
given them in the preceding pages, although it was deli-
vered to them by one as insignificant as a Mouse.
Part the Second.
It is now some months since I took leave of my little read-
ers, promising, in case I should ever hear any farther tid-
ings of either Nimble or Longtail, I would certainly commu-
~ nicate it to them; and, as I think it extremely wrong not to
fulfil any engagement we enter into, I look upon myself
bound to give them all the information I have since gained,
relating to those two little animals; and I doubt not but
they will be glad to hear what happened to them, after
Nimble was frightened from my writing-table by the entrance
of my servant. If I recollect right, I have already told you
that I frequently peeped into the hole in the skirting-board,
and laid bits of cake to try to entice my little companion
back, but all to no purpose: and I had quite given over all
hopes of ever again seeing him, when one day, as I was put-
ting my hand into a large jar, which had some Turkey figs
in it, I felt something soft at the bottom, and, taking it out,
found it to be a poor little mouse, not quite dead, but so
starved and weak, that upon my placing it upon the table,
it had not strength sufficient to get from me. A little boy
happened to be standing by me, who, upon the sight of the
mouse, began to beg me te give i to the cat, or kill it, â€œ For
I donâ€™t like mice,â€ said he; â€œpray Maâ€™am, put it away.â€
â€œNot like mice !â€ replied I; â€œ what can be your objection
to such a little soft creature as this?â€ And taking advan-
tage of its weakness, I picked it up, and held it in the palm
of one hand, whilst I stroked it with the fingers of my right.
â€œ Poor little mouse!â€ said I, â€œwho can be afraid of such
a little object as this? Do you not feel ashamed of yourself,
Joseph, to fear such a little creature as this? Only look at
it: observe how small it is: and then consider your own size,
and surely, my dear, you will blush toâ€™ think of being no
more of a man than to feara mouse? Look at me, Joseph,â€
continued I; â€œsee, I will kiss it; Iam not at all afraid that
it will hurt me.â€ When lifting it up towards my face, I
heard it say, in the faintest voice possible: â€œDo you not
know me?â€ I instantly recollected my little friend Nimble,
and rejoiced at so unexpectedly finding him. â€˜â€œ What, is it
you, little Nimble,â€ exclaimed I, â€œthat I again behold? Be-
lieve me, I am heartily rejoiced once more to find you; but
tell me, where have you been, what have you done, whom
have you seen, and what have you learfed since you last left
me?â€ â€œOh!â€ replied he, in a voice so low I could scarcely
hear him, â€œTI have seen many things; but I am so faint and
weak for want of food and fresh air, that I doubt I shall
never live to tell you: but, for pityâ€™s sake, have compassion
o1 me; either put me out of my present misery, by instantly
killing me, or else give me something to eat; for, if you
knew my sufferings, I am sure it would grieve your heart.â€
â€œ Kill you!â€ returned I; â€œno, that I will not; on the con-
trary, I will try by every method to restore you to health,
and all the happiness a Mouse is capable of feeling.â€ I then
instantly sent for some bread, and had the satisfaction of
seeing him eat very heartily of it; after which he seemed
much refreshed, and began to move about a little more suit-
able to his name; for, in truth, when I first found him, no
living creature in the world could appear less deserving of
the appellation of Nimble. I then fetched him a little milk,
and gave him a lump of sugar to nibble; after eating of
which he begged to retire into some safe little hole to take
a nap, from whence he promised to return as soon as he
should wake; and accordingly, in about an hour, he again
appeared on my table, and began as follows:â€”
LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
[ was frightened away from you just as I was going to
implore your compassion for any unfortunate Mouse that
might happen to fall within your power, lest you should
destroy my dear and only surviving brother Longtail ;
but somebody, entering the room, prevented me; and
after I had regained my hiding-place, I resolved to quit
the house, and once more set out in search of my beloved
brother. Accordingly,-with great difficulty I made my
way out of the house; but my distress was much increased
upon finding the snow so deep upon the ground, that it
was impossible for me to attempt to stir; as, upon step-
ping one foot out to try, 1 found it far too deep for me
to fathom the bottom. This greatly distressed me.
â€œAlas!â€ said I to myself, â€œwhat shall I do now! To
proceed is impossible; and to return is very melancholy,
without any tidings of my dear, dear Longtail!â€ But I
74 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
was interrupted in the midst of these reflections by the
appearance of two cats, who came running with such
violence as to pass by without observing me; however,
it put me in such consternation, that, regardless of whi-
ther I went, I sprang forward, and sank so deep in the
snow, that I must inevitably soon have perished, had not
a boy come to the very place where I was, to gather snow
for making snow-balls to throw at his companions. Hap-
pily for me, he took me up in his hand, in the midst of
the snow, which not less alarmed me, when I considered
the sufferings I had before endured, and the cruel death
of my brother Brighteyes, from the hands of boys. â€œOh!â€
thought I to myself, â€œwhat new tortures shall I now
experience? Better had I perished in the cold show,
than be spared only to be tormented by the cruel hands
of unthinking children.â€
Searcely had I made this reflection, when the boy
called out, upon seeing me move, â€œ Lud! what have I
got here!â€ at the same instant tossing the handful of
snow from him in a violent hurry, without attempting to
press it intoa ball. Over I turned, head and heels, won-
dering what farther would be my fate, when I fell un-
hurt upon some hay, which was laid in the yard to fodder
the cows and horses. Here I lay some time, so fright-
ened by my adventure as to be unable to move, and my
little heart beat as if it would baye burst its way through
OF A MOUSE, 75
my breast: nor were my apprehensions at all diminished
by the approach of a man, who gathered the hay up in
his arms, and carried it (with me in the midst of it) into
the stable; where, after littering down the horses, he left
me once more to my own reflections.
After he had been gone some time, and all things were
quiet, I hegan to look about me, and soon found my way
into a corn-bin, where I made a most delicious supper,
and slept free from any disturbance till the morning,
when, fearing I might be discovered, in case he should
want any of the oats for his horses, I returned by the
same place I had entered, and hid myself in one corner
of the hay-loft, where I passed the whole of the day more
free from alarm than often falls to the lot of any of my
species; and, in the evening, again returned to regale
myself with corn, as T had done the night before. The
great abundance with which I was surrounded, strongly
tempted me to continue where I was ; but then the
thoughts of my absent brother embittered all my peace,
and the advice of my mother came so much across my
mind, that I determined before the next morning I would
again venture forth and seek my fortune and my brother.
Accordingly, after having eaten a very hearty meal, I left
the bin, and was attempting to get out of the stable,
when one of the horses, being taken suddenly ill, made
.80 much noise with his kicking and struggling, as to
76 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
alarm the family; and the coachman, entering with a
lantern in his hand, put me into such a consternation,
that I ran for shelter into the pocket of a great-coat,
which hung upon a peg next the harness of the horses.
Here I lay snug for some hours, not daring to stir, as I
smelt the footsteps of a cat frequently pass by, and heard
the coachman extol her good qualities to a man who ac-
companied him to the stable, saying she was the best
mouser in the kingdom. â€œI do not believe,â€ added he,
â€œT have a mouse in the stable or loft, she keeps so good
a look out. For the last two days, I have lent her to the
cook, to put into her pantry; but I have got her back
again, and would not part with her for a crown; no, not
for the best silver crown that ever was coined in the
Tower.â€ Then, through a little moth hole in the lining
of the coat, I saw him lift her up, stroke her, and put her
upon the back of one of the horses, where she stretched
herself out, and went to sleep.
In this situation I did not dare to stir. I had too
often seen how eager cats are to watch mice, to venture
out of the pocket whilst she was so near me, especially
as I did not at all know the holes or cracks round the
stable, and should, therefore, had she jumped down, have
been at a loss whither to run. So I determined to con-
tinue where I was, either till hunger should force me out,
or the absence of the cat give a better opportunity of
OF A MOUSE. 17
escaping. But scarcely had I taken up this resolution,
than the coachman again entered, and, suddenly taking
the coat from the peg, put it on, and marched out, with
me in his pocket.
It is utterly impossible to describe my fear and con-
sternation at this event. To jump out whilst in the
stable would have exposed me to the jaws of the cat,
and to attempt it when out of doors was but again sub-
jecting myself to be frozen to death, for the snow con-
tinued still on the ground ; yet, to stay in his pocket was
running the chance of suffering a still more dreadful death
by the barbarous hands of man, and nothing did I expect,
in case he should find me, but either to be tortured like
Softdown, or given to be the sport of his favourite catâ€”
a fate almost as much to be dreaded as the other. How-
ever, it was soon put out of my power to determine; for
whilst I was debating in my own mind what course I had
better take, he mounted the coach-box and drove away
with me in his pocket, till he came to a large house,
about a mile distant from this place, where he put down
the company he had in the coach, and then drove into
the yard. But he had not been there many moments,
before the coachman of the family he was come to invited
him into the kitchen to warm himself, drink a mug of ale,
and eat a mouthful of cold meat. As soon as he entered,
and had paid the proper compliments to the Mrs. Betties
7 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
and Maries at the place, he pulled off his great-coat and
hung it across the back of his chair. T instantly seized
the opportunity, and, whilst they were all busy assembling
round the luncheon table, made my escape, and ran un-
der a cupboard door close to the chimney, where I had
an opportunity of seeing and hearing all that passed, part
of which conversation I will relate to you.
â€œWell, Mr. John,â€ said a footman, addressing himself
to the man whose pocket I had just left, â€œhow fare you?
Are you pretty hearty? You look well, I am sure.â€
â€œ Ay, and so I am,â€ replied he: â€œI never was better in
all my life. I live comfortably, have a good master and
mistress, eat and drink bravely, and what can a man
wish for more? For my part, I am quite contented;
and if I do but continue to enjoy my health, I am sure I
shall be very ungrateful not to be so.â€ Â« Thatâ€™s true,â€
said the other; â€œ but the misfortune of it is, people never
know when they are well off, but are apt to fret and wish,
and wish and fret, for something or other all their lives,
and so never have any enjoyment. Now, for my own
part, T must needs confess, that I cannot help wishing I
was a gentleman, and think I should be a deal happier
if I were.â€ â€œ Pshaw!â€ replied John, â€œI donâ€™t like now
to hear a man say so; it looks as if you were diseon-
tented with the state in which you are placed; and, de-
pend upon it, you are in the one that is fittest for you,
OF A MOUSE, 79
or you would not have been put into it. Andas for be-
ing happier if you were a gentleman, I donâ€™t know what
to say to that. To be sure, to have a little more money
in oneâ€™s pocket, nobody can deny that it would be very
agreeable; and to be at liberty to come in and go out
when one pleased, to be sure, would be very comfortable,
But still, Robert, still you may assure yourself, that no
state in this world is free from care 3 and if we were
turned into lords, we should find many causes for uneasi-
ness. So hereâ€™s your good health,â€ said he, lifting the
mug to his mouth, â€œ wishing, my lad, you may be con-
tented, cheerful, and good-humoured ; for without these
three requisitesâ€”content, cheerfulness, and good humour,
nO one person upon earth, rich or poor, old or young,
can ever feel comfortable or happy; and so hereâ€™s to you,
T say.â€ â€œAnd hereâ€™s the same good wishes to you,â€
said a clean, decent-looking woman servant, who took up
the mug upon Johnâ€™s putting it down. Â« Content, cheer-
fulness, and good humour, I think, was the toast.â€ Then
wiping her mouth, as she began her speech, she added,
â€œand an excellent one it is 3 I wish all folks would mind
it, and endeavour to acquire three such good qualifica-
tions.â€ â€œT am sure,â€ rejoined another female servant,
whose name I heard was Sarah, â€œI wish so too 3 at least,
I wish Miss Mary would try to gain a little more of the
80 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
good humour, for I never came near such a cross crab in
my life as it is. I declare I hate the sight of the girl;
she is such a proud little minx, she would not vouchsafe
to speak to a poor servant for the world ; as ifshe thought,
because we are poorer, we were therefore not of the same
nature. Her sisters, I think, are worth ten of her, they
always reply so civilly if a body speaks to them, and say,
â€˜Yes, if you please, Sarah,â€™ or, â€˜No, thank you, Robert,
or â€˜I should be obliged to you if you would do so and
so, Ellen ;â€™ and not plain â€˜Yes,â€™ or â€˜No,â€™ as she does, and
well too if you can get even that from her, for sometimes,
I declare, she will not deign to give one any answer at
all.â€ â€œAy, that is a sure thing she won't,â€ replied the
maid servant who first drank. â€œIt is a sad thing she
should behave so. I canâ€™t think, for my part, where she
learns it. I am sure neither her papa nor mamma set
her the example of it, for they always speak as pretty and
as kind as it is possible to do; and I have heard, with
my own ears, my mistress tell her of it twenty and twenty
times, but she will do so. I am sure it is a sad thing
that she should, for she will always make people dislike
her. Iam sure, if young gentlemen and ladies did but
know how it makes people love them to speak civilly
and kind, they would take great care Pot to behave like
Miss Mary. Do you know, the other day, when Mrs.
Limeâ€™s servant brought litt}g Miss Margaret to see my mis-
OF A MOUSE. 81
tress, as she went away, she made a curtsey to Miss Mary,
and said, â€˜Good morning to you, Miss.â€™ And, would you
think it, the child stood like a stake, and never returned
it so much as by a nod of the head, nor did she open her
lips. I saw by her looks the servant took notice of it,
and, I am sure, I have such a regard for the family, that
I felt quite ashamed of her behaviour.â€ Â« Oh! she
served me worse than that,â€ resumed Sarah 3 â€œfor, would
you believe it, the other day I begged her to be so kind
as to let her mamma know I wanted to speak with her ;
and I did not choose to go into the room myself, because
I was dirty, and there was company there; but for all
I desired her over and over only just to step in (and she
was at play close to the door), yet, could you suppose it
possible, she was ill-natured enough to refuse me, and
would not do it at last.â€ Â« Well, if ever I heard the like
of that!â€ exclaimed John, whose pocket I had been in ;
â€œT think that was being cross indeed; and if a child of
mine were to behave in that surly manner, I would whip
it to death almost. I abominate such unkind doings ;
let every one, I say, do as they like to be done by, and
that is the only way to be happy, and the only way to
deserve to be so; for if folks will not try to be kind, and
oblige others, why should any body try to please them?
And if Miss Mary were my girl, and chose to behave rude
82 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
and cross to the servants, if I were her papa, I would
order them to refuse doing anything for her. I would
soon humble her pride, I warrant you; for nobody should
make her puddings, or cut her bread, or do anything for
her, till she learned to be kind, and civil, and thankful
too, for all that was done for her. I have no notion, for
my part, of a child giving herself such airs for nothing ;
and, because her parents happen to have a little more
money in their pockets, for that reason to think she may
be rude to poor folks; but though servants are poor, still
surely they are richer than she is: I should like to ask
her how much she has got, and which way she came by
it? A child, I am sure, is no richer than a beggar; for
they have not a farthing that is not given them through
mere bounty ; whereas, a servant who works for his living,
has a right and just claim to his wages, and may truly
call them his own; but a child has not one farthing that
is not its parentsâ€™. So hereâ€™s my service to you, Miss,â€
said he, (again lifting the ale-mug to his mouth,) â€œand,
wishing her a speedy reformation of manners, I drink
to her very good health.â€
John drank to the bottom of the mug; and then shak-
ing the last drop into the ashes under the grate, he told
the following story, as he sat swinging the mug by its
handle across his two fore-fingers, which he had joined
for that purpose.
OF A MOUSE. 83
â€œ When my father was a young man, he lived at one
Mr. Speedgoâ€™s, as upper footman ; they were vastly rich.
Mr. Speedgo was a merchant, and by good luck he
gathered gold as fast as his neighbours would pick up
stones (as a body may say). So they kept two or three
carriages ; there was a coach, and a chariot, and a phaeton,
and I canâ€™t tell what besides, and a power of servants,
you may well suppose, to attend them all; and very well
they lived, with plenty of victuals and drink. But, though
they wanted for nothing, still they never much loved either
their master or mistress, they used to give their orders in
so haughty and imperious a manner; and, if asked a civil
question, would answer so shortly, as if they thought
their servants not worthy of their notice: so that, in short,
no one loved them, nor their children either, for they
brought them up just like themselves, to despise every
one poorer than they were, and to speak as cross to their
servants, as if they had been so many adders they were
afraid would bite them.
â€œT have heard my father say, that, if Master Speedgo
wanted his horse to be got ready, he would say, â€˜Saddle
my horse!â€™ in such a displeasing manner as made it quite
a burthen to do anything for him. Or if the young ladies
wanted a piece of bread and butter, or cake, they would
say, â€˜ Give me a bit of cake;â€™ or, if they added the word
â€˜prayâ€™ to it, they spoke in such a grumpy way, as plainly
84 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
shewed they thought themselves a great deal better than
their servants; forgetting that an honest servant is just
as worthy a member of society as his master; and, whilst
he behaves well, as much deserving of civility as anybody,
But to go on with my story. [have already told you Mr.
Speedgo was very rich and very proud; nor would he, on
any account, suffer any one to visit at his house whom
he thought below him, as he called it; or at least, if he
did, he always took care to behave to them in such a
manner as plainly to let them know he thought he shew-
ed a mighty favour in conversing with them.
â€œ Among the rest of the servants, there was one Mary
Mount, as good-hearted a girl, my father said, as ever
lived. She had never received much education, because
her parents could not afford to give her any; and she
learned to read after she was at Mr. Speedgoâ€™s from one
of the housemaids, who was kind enough to teach her a
little; but, you may suppose, from such sort of teaching,
she was no very good scholar. However, she read well
enough to be able to make out some chapters in the Bi-
ble; and an excellent use she made of them, carefully ful-
filling every duty she there found recommended as neces-
sary for a Christian to practise. She used often to say
she was perfectly contented in her station, and only wish-
ed for more money that she might have it in her power
todo more good. And sometimes, when she was dress-
OF A MOUSE. 85
ing and attending the young ladies of the family, she
would advise them to behave prettier than they did, tell-
ing them, that, by kindness and civility, they would be
so far from losing respect, that, on the contrary, they
would much gain it. â€˜ For we cannot, she would very
truly say, â€˜ have any respect for those people who seem
to forget their human nature, and behave as if they
thought themselves superior to the rest of their fellow
creatures. Young ladies and gentlemen have no occasion
to make themselves very intimate or familiar with their
servants; but everybody ought to speak civilly and good-
humouredly, let it be to whom it may; and if I were a la-
dy, I should make it a point never to look crossly or
speak gruffly to the poor, for fear they should think I had
forgotten I was of the same human nature as they were.â€™
By hints of this kind, which every now and then she
would give to the misses, they were prodigiously offend-
ed, and complained of her insolence, as they called it, to
their mamma, who very wrongly, instead of teaching
them to behave better, joined with them in blaming Mary
for her freedom; and, to shew her displeasure at her con-
duct, she would put on a still haughtier air, whenever she
spoke to her, than she did to any other of the servants.
Mary, however, continued to behave extremely well; and
often very seriously lamented in the kitchen the wrong
behaviour of the family, â€˜I don't mind it, she would
8&6 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS.,
say, â€˜ for my own part; I know I do my duty; and their
cross looks and proud behaviour can do me no real harm;
but I cannot help grieving for their sakes; it distresses
me to think that people, who ought to know better,
should, by their ill conduct, make themselves so many
enemies, when they could so easily gain friends. I am
astonished how anybody can act so foolishly.â€™
â€œTn this sensible manner she would frequently talk
about the sin as well as the folly of pride. And, one day,
as she was talking to her fellow-servants, rather louder
than in prudence she ought to have done, her two young
ladies overheard her; and the next time she went to dress
them, they inquired what it was she had been saying to
the other servants. â€˜ Indeed, ladies,â€™ said she, â€˜ I hope
you will excuse my telling you. I think, if you give
yourselves time to reflect a little, you will not insist up-
on knowing, as it is beneath such rich ladies as you are,
to concern yourselves with what poor servants talk about.â€™
This answer did not, however, satisfy them, and they
positively commanded her to let them know. Mary was
by far too good a woman to attempt to deceive any one;
she therefore replied, â€˜ If, ladies, you insist upon know-
ing what I said, I hope you will not take anything amiss
that I may tell you, thus compelled as I am by your
commands. You must know, then, Miss Eliza and Miss
Rachel, that I was saying how sad a thing it is for people
OF A MOUSE. 87
to be proud because they are rich; or to fancy, because
they happen to have a little more money, that for that
reason they are better than their servants, when in reality
the whole that makes one person better than another is,
having superior virtues, being kinder and more good-
natured, and readier to assist and serve their fellow-crea-
tures; these are the qualifications, I was saying, that
make people beloved, and not being possessed of money.
Money may, indeed, enable its possessors to procure ser-
yants to do their business for them; but it is not in the
power of all the riches in the world to purchase the love
and esteem of any one. What a sad thing then it is,
when gentlefolks behave so as to make themselves de-
spised; and that will ever be the case with all those who,
like (excuse me, ladies, you insisted upon my telling you
what I said) Miss Eliza, and Miss Rachel, and Master
James, shew such contempt to all their inferiors. No-
body could wish children of their fortunes to make them-
selves too free, or to play with their servants; but if they
were little kings and queens, still they ought to speak
kind and civil to every one. Indeed our King and Queen
would scorn to behave like the children of this family, and
if, She was going on, but they stopped her, say-
ing, â€˜If you say another word, we will push you out of
the room this moment, you rude, bold, insolent woman;
you ought to be ashamed of speaking so disrespectfully
88 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
of your betters; but we will tell our mamma, that we will,
and she won't suffer you to allow your tongue such liber-
ties.â€™ â€˜If, replied Mary, â€˜Ihave offended you, I am
sorry for it, and beg your pardon, ladies. I am sure, I
had no wish to do so; and you should remember that you
hoth insisted upon my telling you what I had been say-
ing.â€™ â€˜So we did,â€™ said they; â€˜but you had no business
to say it at all; and we promise you our mamma shall
â€œ In this manner they went on for some time; but, to
make short of my story, they represented the matter in
such a manner to their mother, that she dismissed Mary
from her service, with a strict charge never to visit the
house again, â€˜ For, said Mrs. Speedgo, â€˜no servant
who behaves as you have done, shall ever enter my doors
again, or eat another mouthful in my house.â€™ Mary had
no desire so suddenly to quit her place; but as her con-
science perfectly acquitted her of any wilful crime, after
receiving her wages, respectfully wishing all the family
their health, and taking a friendly leave of her fellow-ser-
vants, she left the house, and soon engaged herself as
dairymaid in a farmer's family, about three miles off, in
which place she behaved so extremely well, and so much
to the satisfaction of her master and mistress, that, after
she had lived there a little more than two years, she was
married, with their entire approbation, to their eldest
OF A MOUSE. 89
son, a sober, worthy young man, to whom his father gave
a fortune not much less than three thousand pounds, with
which he bought and stocked a very pretty farm in Som-
ersetshire, where they lived as happy as virtue and afflu-
ence could make them. By industry and care, they pros-
pered beyond their utmost expectations, and by their
prudence and good behaviour gained the esteem and love
of all who knew them.
â€œTo their servants (for they soon acquired riches
enough to keep three or four, I mean household ones, be-
sides the number that were employed in the farming bu-
siness) they behaved with such kindness and civility, that
had they even given less wages than their neighbours,
they would never have been in want of any, every one
being desirous of getting into a family where they were
treated with such kindness and condescension.
â€œIn this happy manner they continued to live for
many years, bringing up a large family of children to im-
itate their virtues. But one great mortification they were
obliged to submit to, which was that of putting their chil-
dren very early to a boarding-school, a circumstance
which the want of education in Mrs., and indeed I may
add, Mr. Flail, rendered absolutely necessary.
â€œ But I am afraid, Mrs. Sarah and Mrs. Ellen, you
will be tired, as I have but half done my story; but I
will endeavour to make short work of it, though, indeed,
90 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
it deserves to be noticed, for it will teach one a great deal,
and convince one how little the worldâ€™s riches are to be
â€œT have said, you know, that Mr. Speedgo was a mer-
chant, and a very rich one, too. It is unknown what
vast sums of money he used to spend! when,â€”would
you think it?â€”either through spending it too fast, or some
losses he met with in trade, he broke all to nothing, and
had not a farthing to pay his creditors. I forget how
many thousand pounds he owed; but it was a vast great
many. Well, this, you may be sure, was a great morti-
fication to them; they begged for mercy from their cre-
ditors; but as, in their prosperity, they had never shewn
much mercy themselves to those they thought beneath
them, so now they met with very little from others: the
poor saying they deserved it for their pride; the rich con-
demning them for their presumption, in trying to vie
with those of superior birth; and those who had been less
successful in business, blaming them for their extrava-
gance, which, they said, had justly brought on them their
â€œTn this distress, in vain it was they applied for assist-
ance to those whom they had esteemed their friends; for,
as they had never been careful to form their connections
with people of real merit, only seeking to be acquainted
with such as were rich and prosperous, so now, when they
OF A MOUSE. 91
could no longer return their civilities, they found none
ready to shew them any; but every one seemed anxious
to keep from them as much as possible. Thus distressed,
and finding no one willing to help them, the young squire,
Master James, was obliged to go tosea; while Miss Eliza
and Miss Rachel were even forced to try to get their liv-
ing by service, a way of life they were both ill qualified
to undertake, for they had always so accustomed them-
selves to be waited on and attended, that they scarcely
knew how to help themselves, much less how to work for
others; the consequence of which was, they gave so lit-
tle satisfaction to their employers, that they staid but a
short time in a place; and from so frequently changing,
no family, that wished to be well settled, would admit
them; for they thought it impossible they could be good
servants whom no one thought worthy of keeping.
â€œ Tt is impossible to describe the many and great mor-
tifications those two young ladies met with. They now
frequently recollected the words of Mary Mount, and ear-
nestly wished they had attended to them whilst it was in
their power, as, by so doing, they would have secured to
themselves friends. And they very forcibly found, that,
although they were poor and servants, yet they were as
sensible of kind treatment and civility as if they had
After they had been for some years changing from
92 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
place to place, always obliged to put up with very low
wages, on account of their being so ill qualified as ser-
vants, it happened that Miss Eliza got into service at
Watchet, a place about three miles distant from Mr. Flailâ€™s
farm. Here she had a violent fit of illness, and not hav-
ing been long enough in the family to engage their gen-
erosity to keep her, she was dismissed on account of her
ill health rendering her wholly incapable of doing the
business for which she had been hired. She then, with
the very little money she had, procured a lodging in a
miserable little dirty cottage; but, through weakness, be-
ing unable to work, she soon exhausted her stock, and
was even obliged to quit this habitation, bad as it was,
and for some days supported herself wholly by begging
from door to door, often meeting with very unkind lan-
guage for soidle an employment; some people telling her
to go to her parish, when, alas! her parish was many miles
distant, and she, poor creature, had no means of getting
â€œ At last she wandered, in this distressful situation, to
the house of Mr. Flail, and walked into the farm-yard,
just at the time the cows were being milked. She, who
for a long time had tasted nothing but bits of broken
bread, and had no drink besides the water she had scoop-
ed up in her hands, looked at the fresh milk with a most
wishful eye; and, going to the women who were milking,
OF A MOUSE. 93
she besought them, in a moving manner, to give her a
draught, as she was almost ready to perish.â€˜ For pityâ€™s
sake, said she, â€˜have compassion upon a poor wretch,
dying with sickness, hunger, and thirst. It is a long
time since I tasted a mouthful of wholesome victuals ; my
lips are now almost parched with thirst, and I am so faint
for want, that I can scarcely stand; my sufferings are very
great indeed, it would melt a heart of stone to hear the
story of my woes. Oh! have pity upon a fellow-creature,
then, and give me one draught of that milk, which can
never be missed out of so great a quantity as you have
there, and may you never, never, know what it is to suffer
as I now do!â€™ To this piteous request she received for
answer the common one of â€˜ Go about your business; we
have nothing for you, so donâ€™t come here.â€™ â€˜We should
have enough to do, indeed,â€™ said one of the milkers, â€˜ if
we were to give to every idle beggar who would like a
draught of this delicious milk! But no, indeed, we shall
not give you a drop! So, go about your business, and
donâ€™t come plaguing us here.â€™ Mrs. Flail, who happened
to be in the yard with one of her children, who was feed-
ing the chickens, overheard enough of this to make her
come forward and inquire what was the matter. â€˜ Nothing,
ma'am,â€™ replied the milkmaid, â€˜ only I was sending away
this nasty dirty creature, who was so bold as to come ask-
ing for milk, indeed! But beggars grow so impudent
94 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
now-a-days, there never was the like of it.â€™ â€˜Oh fie!â€™ re-
turned Mrs. Flail, shocked at her inhuman way of speak-
ing, â€˜ fie upon you, to speak in so unkind a manner of a
poor creature in distress.â€™ Then turning to the beggar,
she inquired what she wanted, in so mild a tone of voice
that it encouraged her to speak and tell her distress.
â€œ Mrs. Flail listened with the greatest attention, and
could not help being struck with her speech and appear-
ance ; for, though she was clothed in rags (having parted
with all her better clothes to pay for lodging and food),
still there was a something in her language and manner
which discovered that she was no common beggar. Eliza
had stood all the time with her eyes fixed upon the ground,
scarcely once lifting them to look at the face of Mrs. Flail ;
and shewas so changed herself by her troubles and sickness,
that it was impossible for any one, who had ever seen Miss
Speedgo, to recollect her in her present miserable state.
Mrs. Flail, however, wanted no farther inducement to re-
lieve her than to hear she was in want, â€˜ Every fellow-
creature in distress,â€™ she used to say, â€˜was a proper object
of her bounty; and, whilst she was blessed with plenty,
she thought it her duty to relieve, as far as she prudently
eould, all whom she knew to be in need.â€™ She therefore
fetched a mug, and, filling it with milk herself, gave it
to the poor woman to drink, Â« Here,â€™ said she, â€˜ take
this, good woman, and I hope it will refresh and be of
OF A MOUSE, 95
service to you.â€™ Eliza held out her hand for it, and, lift-
ing her eyes up to look at Mrs. Flail, whilst she thanked
her for her kindness, was greatly astonished to discover
in her benefactress the features of her old servant Mary
Mount. â€˜ Bless me!â€™ said she, with an air of confusion,
â€˜What do I see? Who is it? WhereamI? Madam,
pardon my boldness, but pray forgive me, maâ€™am, is not
your name Mount?â€™ â€˜It was,â€™ replied Mrs. Flail, â€˜ but
T have been married thirteen years to Mr. Flail, and that
is my name now. But, pray, where did you ever see me
before? Or how came you to know anything of me?â€™
Poor Eliza could return no answer; her shame at being
seen by her servant that was, in her present condition,
and the consciousness of having so ill-treated that very
servant to whose kindness she was now indebted, all to-
gether were too much for her in her weak state, and she
fell senseless at Mrs. Flailâ€™s feet.
â€œThis still added to Mrs. Flailâ€™s surprise, and she
had her carried into the house and laid upon a bed, where
she used every means to bring her to herself again:
which, after a considerable time, succeeded: and she then
(covered with shame and remorse) told her who she was,
and how she came into that miserable condition. No
words can describe the astonishment Mrs. Flail was in,.
at hearing the melancholy story of her sufferings: nor is.
96 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
it possible to tell with what generosity and kindness she
strove to comfort her, telling her to compose herself, for
she should no longer be in want of anything. â€˜ I have,
thank Heaven,â€™ said she, â€˜a most worthy good man for
my husband, who will rejoice with me in having it in
his power to relieve a suffering fellow-creature. Do not,
therefore, any longer distress yourself upon what passed
between us formerly. I had, for my part, forgotten it,
if you had not now reminded me of it; but, however I
might then take the liberty to censure you for too much
haughtiness, I am sure I have no occasion to do so now.
Think no more, therefore, I beseech you, upon times
which are now past; but be comforted, and make your-
selfas happy in my humble plain manner of living as you
possibly can do.â€™
â€œ She then furnished her with some of her own clothes,
till she could procure her new ones, and sent immediately
for a physician from the next town; by following of whose
prescription, together with good nursing, and plenty of
all necessaries, she soon recovered her health; but she
was too deeply affected with the thoughts of her former
misconduct ever to feel happy in her situation, though
Mrs. Flail used every method in her power to render her
as comfortable as possible. Nor did she confine her good-
ness only to this one daughter, but sent also for her sis-
OF A MOUSE. 97
ter and mother, (her father being dead,) and fitted up a
neat little house for them near her own. But as the
Flails could not afford wholly to maintain them for no-
thing, they intrusted the poultry to their care, which
enabled them to do with one servant less; and by that
means they could, without any great expense, afford to
give them sufficient to make their lives comfortable, that
is, as far as their own reflections would let them; for the
last words Mrs. Speedgo said to Mary, when she parted
from her, dwelt continually upon her mind, and filled her
W@ shame and remorse.
â€œÂ«T told her,â€™ said she, â€˜ that she should never again
come into my doors, or eat another mouthful in my house;
and now it is her bounty alone which keeps us all from
perishing! Oh! how unworthy are we of such good-
ness! True, indeed, was what she told you, that kind-
ness and virtue were far more valuable than riches.
Goodness and kindness no time nor change can take
from us; but riches soon fly, as it were, away, and then
what are we the better for having been once possessed
of them?â€™â€ :
Here Mr. John stopped, and jumping hastily up, and
turning round to Mrs. Sarah, Mrs. Ellen, and Mr. Robert,
exclaimed, rubbing his handsâ€”â€œ There, ladies, 1 have
finished my story ; and, let me tell you, so long preaching
98 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
has made my throat dry; so another mug of ale, if you
please, Master Bobby,â€ (tapping him at the same time
upon the shoulder), â€œ Another mug of ale, my boy: for
faith, talking at the rate I have done, is enough to wear
a manâ€™s lungs out; and, in truth, I have need of some-
thing to hearten me after such fatigue.â€
â€œ Well, I am sure,â€ replied Sarah and Ellen, im the
same breath, â€œ we are greatly obliged to you for your his-
tory; and I am sure it deserves to be framed and glazed,
and it ought to be hung up in the hall of every family,
that all people may see the sad effects of pride, and hew
little cause people have, because they are rich, to despise
those who are poor; since it frequently happens, that
those who this year are like little kings, may the next be
beggars; and then they will repent, when it is too late,
of all their pride, and the unkindness they showed to those
Here the conversation was put a stop to by the bell
ringing, and John being ordered to drive to the door.
I, who during the whole of the history had been feasting
upon a mince-pie, now thought it prudent to conceal my-
self in a little hole in the wainscot of the closet, where,
finding myself very safe, I did not awake till mid-
After the family were all retired to rest, I peeped out of
OF A MOUSE, 99
the hole, and there saw just such another frightful trap
as that which was the prelude to poor Softdownâ€™s suffer-
ings. Startled at the sight, I retreated back as expedi- -
tiously as possible, nor ever stopped till I found my way
into a bed-chamber, where lay two little girls fast
I looked about for some time, peeping into every hole
and corner before I could find anything to eat, there be-
ing not so much as a candle in the room with them. At
last I crept into a little leathern trunk, which stood on
a table, not shut down quite close; here I instantly smelt
something good, but was obliged to gnaw through a great
deal of linen to get at it; it was wrapped up in a lap-bag,
amongst a vast quantity of work. However, I made my
way through half a hundred folds, and at last was amply
repaid by finding out a nice piece of plum cake, and the
pips of an apple, which I could easily get at, one half of
it having been eaten away. Whilst thus engaged, I heard
a cat mew, and, not knowing how near she might be, I
endeavoured to jump out; but, in the hurry, I somehow
or other entangled myself in the muslin, and pulled that,
trunk and all, down with me; for the trunk stood half
off the table, so that the least touch in the world might
overset it, otherwise my weight could never have tumbled
100 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
The noise of the fall, however, waked the children, and
T heard one say to the other, â€œ Bless me! Mary, what is
that noise? What can it be! Iam almost frightened out
of my wits! Do, pray, sister, hug me close!â€ â€œ Poh! â€
replied the other, â€œ never mind it! What in the world
need you be frightened at? What do you suppose will
hurt you? It sounded as if something had fallen down;
but as it has not fallen upon us, and I do not hear any-
body stirring, or speaking as if they were hurt, what need
we care about it? So, pray, Ann, let us go to sleep again;
for as yet I have not had half sufficient, I am sure. I
hope morning is not eoming yet, for I am not at all ready
to get up.â€ â€œ I am sure,â€ answered the other, â€œ I wish
it were morning and daylight now, for I should like to
get up vastly; I do not like to lie here in the dark any
longer. I have a great mind to ring the bell, and then
mamma or somebody will come to us with a candle.â€
â€œ And what,â€ rejoined Mary, â€œ will be the use of that?
Do you want a candle to light you to look for the wounds
the noise has given you; or what can you wish to dis-
turb mamma for? Come, let me cuddle you, and do go
to sleep, child; for I cannot think what occasion there
is for us to keep awake because we have heard a noise.
IT never knew that noise had teeth or claws to hurt one
with; and I am.sure this has not hurt me; and so, whe-
OF A MOUSE. 101
ther you choose to lie awake or not, I will go to sleep,
and so good-bye to you, and pray do not disturb me any
wore, for I cannot talk any longer.â€ â€œ But, Mary,â€ again
replied the other, â€œ pray do not go to sleep yet, I want
to speak to you.â€ â€œ Well, what do you want to say?â€
inquired Mary. â€œ Why, pray have you not very often,â€
said Ann, â€œheard of thieves breaking into peopleâ€™s houses
and robbing them? And I am sadly afraid that noise
was made by some rogues coming in; so pray, Mary, do
not go to sleep; I am in such a fright and tremble, you
cannot think. Speak, Mary, have not you, I say, heard
of thieves?â€ â€œ Yes,â€ replied Mary, in a very sleepy voice,
â€œa great many times.â€ â€œ Well, then, pray, sister, do not
go to sleep,â€ said Ann, in a peevish accent; â€œ suppose,
I say, that noise I heard should be thieves, what should
we do? What will become of us? Oh! what shall we
dotâ€ â€œ Why, go to sleep, I tell you,â€ said Mary, â€œ as
fast as you can! At least, do pray let me; for I cannot
say I am in the smallest fear about housebreakers or
housemakers either; and of all the robberies I ever
heard of in all my life, I never heard of thieves steal-
ing little girls; so do, thereâ€™s a dear girl, go to sleep
again, and do not so foolishly frighten yourself out
of your wits for nothing.â€ â€œ Well,â€ replied Ann,
â€œT will not keep you awake any longer; but I am
102 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
sure I shall not be able to get another wink of sleep all
Here the conversation ended, and T could not help
thinking how foolish it was for people to permit them-
selves to be terrified for nothing. Here is a little girl,
now, thought I, in a nice clean room, and covered up
warm in bed, with pretty green curtains drawn round
her, to keep the wind from her head, and the light in the
morning from her eyes; and yet she is distressing her-
self, and making herself really uncomfortable, and un-
happy, only because I, a poor, little, harmless mouse,
with scarcely strength sufficient to gnaw a nutshell, hap-
pened to jump from the table, and throw down, perhaps,
her own box. Oh! what a pity it is, that people should
so destroy their own confort! How sweetly might this
child have passed the night, if she had but, like her sister,
wisely reflected that a noise could not possibly hurt her ;
and that, had any of the family occasioned it, by falling
down, or running against anything in the dark which
hurt them, most likely they would have heard some more
And upon this subject the Author cannot help, in
human form (as well as in that of a mouse), observing
how extremely ridiculous it is for people to suffer them-
selves to be terrified upon every trifling occasion that
OF A MOUSE. 103
happens ; as if they had no more resolution than a mouse
itself, which is liable to be destroyed every meal it makes,
And, surely, nothing can be more absurd than for chil-
dren to be afraid of thieves and housebreakers ; since, as
little Mary said, they never want to seek after children.
Money is all they want; and as children have very seldom
much of that in their possession, they may assure them-
selves they are perfectly safe, and have therefore no occa-
sion to alarm themselves if they hear a noise, without
being able to make out what it is; unless, indeed, like
the child I have just been writing about, they would be
so silly as to be frightened at a little mouse ; for most
commonly the noises we hear if we lie awake in the
night, are caused by mice running about and playing
behind the wainscot ; and what reasonable person would
suffer themselves to be alarmed by such little crea-
tures as these? But it is time I should return to the
history of my little make-believe companion, who went
The conversation I have been relating I overheard as
I lay concealed in a shoe, that stood close by the bedside,
and into which I ran the moment I had jumped off the
table, and where I kept snug till the next morning ; when,
just as the clock was striking eight, the same Ellen,
whom I had seen the day before in the kitchen, entered
104 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
the apartment, and accosted the young ladies, saying,
â€œ Good morning to you, ladies ; do you know that it is
time to get up?â€ â€œThen, pray, Ellen, lace my stays,
will you?â€ said Miss Ann. â€œ But lace mine first, and
give me my other shoes; for those I wore yesterday must
be brushed, because I stepped in the dirt; and so, when
you go down you must remember and brush them, and
then let me have them again,â€ said Mary; â€œbut come
and dress me now.â€
Well, thought I, this is a rude way of speaking, indeed,
something like Miss Ann Artless, at the house where my
poor dear Softdown was so cruelly massacred. I am sure,
I hope I shall not meet with the like fate here, and I
wish I were safe out of this shoe. For, perhaps, presently
it may be wanted to be put on Mary's foot; and I am
sure I must not expect to meet any mercy from a child
who shews so bad a disposition as to speak to a servant
in so uncivil a manner, for no good-natured person would
With such reflections I was amusing myself, when, all
on a sudden, they were put an end to by my finding the
shoe in which I was concealed hastily taken up; and, be-
fore I had time to recollect what I had best do, I was al-
most killed by some violent blows I received, which well
nigh broke every bone in my skin. I crept quite up to
OF A MOUSE. 165
the toe of the shoe, so that I was not at all seen, and the
maid, when she took up the shoes, held one in one hand,
and the other in the other by the heels, and then slapped
them hard together, to beat out some of the dust which
was in them. This she repeated three or four times, till
I was quite stunned; and how or which way I tumbled
or got out J know not; but, when I came to myself, I
was close up behind the foot of a table, in a large apart-
ment, where were several children, and a gentleman, and
a lady, all conversing together with the greatest good-hu-
mour and harmony.
The first words I heard distinctly enough to remember
were those of a little boy, about five years old, who,
with eargerness, exclaimed, â€œI forget you! No, that I
never shall. If I was to go a hundred thousand miles off, I
am sure I shall never forget you. What! do you think
I should ever, as long as I live, if it should be a million
of years, forget my own dear papa and mamma! No!
that I should not; I am very, very sure I never should.â€
â€œWell, but Thomas,â€ interrupted the gentleman, â€œif in
a million of years you should not forget us, I dare say in
Jess than two months you will forget our advice ; and,
before you have been at school half that time, you will
get to squabbling with, and tricking the other boys, just
as they do with each other ; and, instead of playing at all
106 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
times with the strictest openness and honour, you will,
I sadly fear, learn to cheat, and deceive, and pay no at-
tention to what your mother and I have been telling
you.â€ â€œNo; that I am sure I shanâ€™t!â€ replied the boy.
â€œWhat! do you think I shall be so wicked as to turn a
thief, and cheat people?â€ â€˜I dare say, my dear,â€ re-
sumed the father, â€œyou will not do what we call thieving,
but, as I know there are many naughty boys in all schools,
I am afraid they will teach you to commit dishonourable
actions; they will tell you there is no harm in them, and
that they are signs of cleverness and spirit, and qualifi-
cations very necessary for every boy to possess.â€ â€œAy,
thatâ€™s sure enough,â€ said an elder boy, who appeared
about ten years old; â€œfor they almost all declare, that
if a boy be not sharp and cunning, he might almost as
well be out of the world as in it. But, as you say, papa,
T hate such behaviour; I am sure there is one of our
boys, who is so wonderfully clever and acute, as they call
him, that I detest ever having anything to dowith him, for,
unless one watches him as a cat would watch a mouse, he
is sure to cheat or play one some trick or other.â€ â€œWhat
sort of tricks do you mean?â€ inquired the little boy.
â€œWhy, I will tell you,â€ replied the other. â€œ You know
nothing of the games we have at school, so if I were to
tell you how he plays at them, you would not understand
OF A MOUSE. 107
what I mean. But you know what walking about blind-
fold is, donâ€™t you? Well, one day, about a dozen boys
agreed to have a blind race, and the boy who got nearest
the goal, which was a stick driven into the ground, with
a shilling upon the top of it, was to win the shilling, pro-
vided he did it fairly without seeing.â€ â€œI suppose,â€ in-
terrupted Thomas, â€œyou mean the boy who got to the
stick first.â€ â€œNo, I do not,â€ replied his brother; â€œI
mean what I say; the boy who got nearest it, no matter
whether he came first or last; the fun was to see them
try to keep in a straight path with their eyes tied up,
whilst they wander quite in the wrong, and not to try
who could run fastest. Well, when they were all blinded,
and twisted round three or four times before they were
suffered to set off, they directed their steps the way they
thought would directly conduct them to the goal; and
some of them had almost reached it, when Sharply (the
boy I mentioned), who had placed a shilling upon the
stick,â€”for they drew lots who should do that, and he who
furnished the money was to stand by it, to observe who
won it by coming nearest ;â€”well, Sharply, I say, just as
they came close to it, moved away softly to another place
above three yards distant from any of them; (for I
should have told you, that if none of them got within
three yards, the shilling was to remain his, and they
108 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
were each to give hima penny). So then he untied their
eyes, and insisted upon it they had all of them lost. But
two or three of us happened to be by, and so we said he
had cheated them, and ought not to keep the money, as
it had fairly been won by Smyth. But he would not
give it up; so it made a quarrel between him and
Smyth; at last they fought, and Mr. Chiron confined
them both in the school all the rest of the afternoon,
and, when he heard what the quarrel was about, he
took the shilling from Sharply, and called him a mean-
spirited cheat; but he would not let Smyth have it, be-
cause, he said, he deserved to lose it for fighting
about such a trifle; and so it was put into the forfeit-
â€œBut pray do not you think Sharply behaved extremely
wrong!â€ â€œShamefully so, indeed,â€ said the gentleman.
â€œ T never could have any opinion of a boy who could
act so dishonourably,â€ said the lady, â€œlet his cleverness
be what it would.â€ â€œPray, Francis, tell me some more,â€
said the little boy. â€œMore!â€ replied Frank; â€œI could
tell you a hundred such kind of things. One time, as
Peter Light was walking up the yard, with some damsons
in his hat, Sharply ran by, and, as he passed, knocked
his hat out of his hand, for the sake of scrambling for as
many as he could get himself. And sometimes, after the
OF A MOUSE. 109
pie-woman has been there, he gets such heaps of tarts, you
cannot think, by his different tricks ; perhaps he may buy
a currant tart himself; then he will go about, calling out,
â€˜Who'll change a cheesecake for a currant tart!â€™ and now
and then he will add, â€˜and half a bun into the bargain!â€™
Then two or three of the boys call out, â€˜Twill, Iwill!â€™ and
when they go to hold out their cheesecakes to him, he
snatches them out of their hands before they are aware,
and runs awayin an instant; and whilst they stand for a
moment in astonishment, he gets so much ahead of them,
that he eats them up before they can again overtake him.
At other times, when he sees a boy beginning to eat his
cake, he will come and talk carelessly to him for a few
moments, and then all of a sudden call out, â€˜Look!
look! look !â€”there!â€™ pointing his finger as if to shew
him something wonderful; and when the other, with-
out suspecting any mischief, turns his head to see
what has so surprised him, away he snatches the cake,
and runs off with it, cramming it into his mouth in a
â€œ And when he plays at Handy-dandy Jack-a-dandy,
which will you have, upper hand or lower? if you hap-
pen to guess right, he slips whatever you are playing
with into his other hand; and that, you know, is not
playing fair, and so many of the boys tell him, but he
110 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
does not mind any of us. And as he is clever at his
learning, and always does his exercises quite right, Mr.
Chiron (who, indeed, does not know of his tricks), is very
fond of him, and is for ever saying what a clever fellow
he is, and proposing him as an example to the rest of
the boys; and I do believe many of them imitate his de-
ceitful cheating tricks, only for the sake of being thought
â€œAh! it is a sad thing,â€ interrupted the gentleman,
â€œthat people who are blessed with sense and abili-
ties to behave well, should so misuse them as to set a
bad instead of a good example to others, and by that
means draw many into sin, who otherwise, perhaps,
might never have acted wrong. Was this Sharply you
have been speaking of a dunce and blockhead at his
book, he would never gain the commendations that Mr.
Chiron now bestows upon him, and consequently no
boy would wish to be thought like him; his bad ex-
ample, therefore, would not be of half the importance it
â€œOnly think, then, my dear children, how extremely
wicked it is for those who are blessed with understand-
ings capable of acting as they should do, and making
people admire them, at the same time to be guilty of such
real and great sin. For, however children at play may like
OF A MOUSE. lll
to trick and deceive each other, and call it only play or
fun, still, let me tell you, they are much mistaken if they
flatter themselves there is no harm in it. It is a very
wrong way of behaviour ; it is mean, it is dishonourable,
and it is wicked; and the boy or girl who would ever
permit themselves to act in so unjustifiable a manner,
however they may excel in their learning or exterior ac-
complishments, can never be deserving of esteem, confi-
dence, or regard. What esteem or respect could I ever
entertain of a personâ€™s sense or learning, who made no
better use of it than to practise wickedness with more dex-
terity and grace than he otherwise would be enabled to
do? Or, what confidence could I ever place in the per-
son who I knew only wanted a convenient opportunity
to defraud, trick, and deceive me? Or, what regard and
love could I possibly entertain for one who, unless I kept
a constant watch over, as I must over a wild beast, would,
like a wild beast, be sure to do me some injury?â€”
Would it be possible, I say, to love such a character,
whatever shining abilities or depth of learning he might
possess? Ask your own hearts, my dears, whether you
think you could.â€
To this they all answered at once, â€œNo, that I could
not,â€ and â€œI am sure I could not.â€ â€œ Well, then,â€ re-
112 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
sumed the father, â€œ only think how odious that conduct
must be, which robs us of the esteem, confidence, and
love of our fellow creatures, and that, too, notwithstand-
ing we may at the same time be very clever, and have a
great deal of sense and learning. But, for my part, I
confess I know not the least advantage of our under-
standing or our learning, unless we make a proper use of
them. Knowing a great deal, and having read a great
many books, will be of no service to us, unless we are
careful to make a proper use of that knowledge, and to
improve by what we read; otherwise the time we so be-
stow is but lost, and we might as well spend the whole
of our lives in idleness.
â€œ Always remember, therefore, my loves, that the whole
end of our taking the trouble to instruct you, or putting
ourselves to the expense of sending you to school, or your
attending to what is taught you, is, that you may grow
better men and women than you otherwise would be;
and unless, therefore, you do improve, we might as well
spare ourselves the pains and expense, and you need not
take the trouble of learning; since, if you will act wick-
edly, all our labour is but thrown away to no manner of
â€œMr. and Mrs. Sharply, how I pity them! What sor-
row must they endure to behold their son acting in the
OF A MOUSE. 113
manner you have described; for nothing can give so
much concern to a fond parentâ€™s heart, as to see their
children, for whom they have taken so much pains, turn
out naughty, and to deceive and cheat! What can be
worse than that? I hope, my dear children, you will
never any of you give us that dreadful misery. I hope,
my dear Thomas, I hope you will never learn any of
those detestable ways, which your brother has been tell-
ing you of. And if it were not that you will often be
obliged to see such things when you mix with other
children, I should be sorry you should even hear of such
bad actions; as I could wish you to pass through life
without so much as knowing such wickedness ever existed.
But that is impossible! There are so many naughty
people in the world, that you will often be obliged to see
and hear of crimes which I hope you will shudder to
think of committing yourselves; and, being warned of
them beforehand, I hope it will put you more upon your
guard not to be tempted, upon any consideration, to give
the least encouragement to them, much less to practise
â€œPerhaps, Thomas, if your brother had not, by telling
us of Sharplyâ€™s tricks, given me an opportunity of warn-
ing you how extremely wrong and wicked they are, you
114 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
might, when you were at school, have thought them very
clever, and marks of genius, and, therefore, like others of
the boys, have tried to imitate them, and by that means
have become as wicked, mean, and dishonourable your-
â€œ And only think how it would have grieved your
mamma and me to find, the next holidays, our dear little
Thomas, instead of being that honest, open, and generous-
hearted boy he now is, changed into a deceiver, a cheat,
a liar, one whom we could place no trust or confidence
in; for, depend upon it, the person who will, when
at play, behave unfairly, would not scruple to do so
in every other action of his life. And the boy who will
deceive for the sake of a marble, or the girl who would
act ungenerously for the sake of a dollâ€™s cap, or a
pin, will, when grown up, be ready to cheat and oyer-
reach in their trades, or any aflairs they may have to
transact. And you may assure yourselves that num-
bers of people, who are every year hanged, began at
first to be wicked by practising those little dishonour-
able mean actions which so many children are too
apt to do at play, without thinking of their evil conse-
â€œT think, my dear,â€ said he, turning to his wife, â€œI
have heard you mention a person whom you were ac-
OF A MOUSE, 115
quainted with when a girl, who at last was hanged for
stealing, I think, was she not?â€ â€œNo,â€ replied the lady,
â€œshe was not hanged, but she was transported for one-
and-twenty years.â€ â€œ Pray, madam, how transported?
What is that?â€ inquired one of the children. â€œ People,
my dear,â€ resumed the lady, â€œ are transported when they
have committed crimes, which, according to the laws of
our land, are not thought quite wicked enough to be
hanged for, but still too bad to suffer them to continue
amongst other people. So, instead of hanging them,
the Judge orders that they shall be sent on board a ship
built on purpose to hold nauglty people, and carried
away from all their friends, a great many miles distant,
commonly to New South Wales, where they remain,
some for seven years, some for fourteen or twenty-one
years, and some for their whole lives, and where they are
obliged to work hard to earn a livelihood. And the per-
son your papa mentioned was transported for twenty-one
years; but she died before that time was out, as many
of them do, and they seldom have an opportunity of
secing their friends any more after they are once sent
â€œHow should any of you, my dears, like to be sent away
from your papa and me, and your brothers and sisters,
and uncles and aunts, and all your friends, and never
116 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
never see us any more, and only keep company with
naughty, cross, wicked people, and labour very hard, and
suffer a great deal of sickness, and such a number of dif-
ferent hardships you cannot imagine? Only think how
shocking it must be. Howshould you like it?â€ â€œOh,
not at all, not at all,â€ was echoed from every one in the
â€œ But such,â€ rejoined their mother, â€œ is the punish-
ment naughty people have; and such was the punishment
the person your papa spoke of had, who, when she was
young, no more expected to come to such an end than
any of you do.
â€œTwas very well acquainted with her, and often used
to play with her, and she (like the boy whom Francis
has been talking of) used to think it a mark of clever-
ness to be able to deceive; and for the sake of win-
ning the game she was engaged in, would not scruple to
commit any little unfair action, which would give her the
â€œT remember one time, at such a trifling game as push-
pin, she gave me a very bad opinion of her; for I observ-
ed, instead of pushing the pin as she ought to do, she
would try to lift it up with her finger a little, to make it
cross over the other.
â€œAnd when we were all at cards, she would peep, to
OF A MOUSE, 117
find out the pictured ones, that she might have them in
her own hand,
â€œ And when we played at any game which had forfeits,
she would try, by different little artifices, to steal back
her own before the time of crying them came; or, if she
was the person who was to cry them, as you call it, she
would endeavour to see whose came next, that she might
order the penalty accordingly.
â€œOr if we were playing at hide and seek, she would
put what we had to hide either in her own pocket, or
throw it into the fire, so that it would be impossible to
find it; and then, after making her companions hunt for
it for an hour, till their patience was quite tired, and they
gave out, she would burst out in a loud laugh, and say
she only did it for fun! But, for my part, I never could
see any joke in such kind of things; the meanness, the
baseness, the dishonour, which attended it, always, in my
opinion, took off all degree of cleverness or pleasure
from such actions.
â€œ There was another of her sly tricks, which I forgot
to mention, and that was, if at tea, or any other time, she
got first to the plate of cake or bread, she would place
the piece she liked best where she thought it would come
to her turn to have it; or, if at breakfast she saw her
sisterâ€™s basin haye the under crust in it, and nobody hap-
118 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
pened to be by, or to see her, she would take it out, and
put her own, which she happened not to like so well, in
â€œOnly think, my dears, what frightful, sly, naughty
tricks to be guilty of! And from practising these, which
she said there was no harm in, and which she only did in
play, and for a bit of fun, at last she came by degrees to
be guilty of great crimes. She, two or three different
times, when not observed, stole things out of shops; and
one day, when she was upon a visit, and thought she could
do it cleverly, without being discovered, put a couple of
tablespoons into her pocket. The footman who was wait-
ing happened to see her; but, fearing to give offence, he
took no notice of it till after she was gone home, when
he told his master, who, justly provoked at being so ill
treated bya person to whom he had shewn every civility,
went after her, called in her own two servants and his
footman, as witnesses, and then insisted upon examining
her pockets, where he indeed found his two spoons. He
then sent for proper officers to secure her, had her taken
into custody, and for that offence it was that she was
â€œThus, my dear children, you see the shocking conse-
quences of ever suffering such vile habits to grow upon
us; and I hope the example of this unhappy woman
OF A MOUSE. 119
(which, T assure you, isa true story) will be sufficient to
warn you for ever against being guilty, for a single
time, of so detestable a crime, lest you should, like her,
by degrees come to experience the same fatal punish-
Just as the lady had said these words, a bell rang, and,
all getting up together, they went out of the room, the
young ones calling out, â€œTo dinner! To dinner! To
dinner! Here we all go to dinner!â€
â€œ And I will seek for one too,â€ said I to myself, (creep-
ing out as soon as I found I was alone,) â€œ for I feel very
faint and hungry.â€ I looked and looked about a long
while, for I could move but slowly, on account of the
bruises I had received in the shoe. At last, under the
table, round which the family had been sitting, I found
a pincushion, which, being stuffed with bran, afforded
me enough to satisfy my hunger, though it was ex-
cessively dry and unsavoury. Bad as it was, however,
Twas obliged to be content at that time with it; and
had nearly done eating when the door opened, and in
ran two or three of the children. Frightened almost
out of my senses, I had just time to escape down a
little hole in the floor, made by one of the knots in
the wood slipping out, and there I heard one of the girls
120 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
â€œQ dear! who now has cut my pincushion? It was
you did it, Thomas.â€ â€œ No, indeed I did not,â€ replied
he. â€œThen it was you, Mary.â€ â€œ No, I know nothing
of it,â€ answered she. â€œThen it was you, Hetty.â€ â€œThat
T am sure it was not,â€ said she; â€œ I am sure, I am cer-
tain it was not me; I am positive it was not.â€ â€œAh!â€
replied the other, â€œI dare say it was.â€ â€œ Yes, I think it
most likely,â€ said Mary. â€œ And so do I, too,â€ said Tho-
mas, â€œAnd pray why do you all think so?â€ inquired
Hetty, inan angry tone. â€œ Because,â€ said the owner of
the pincushion, â€œ you are the only one who ever tells
fibs! You told a story, you_know, about the fruit. You
told a story, too, about the currant jelly; and about put-
ting your fingers in the butter, at breakfast; and there-
fore, there is very great reason why we should suspect you
more than anybody else.â€ â€œ But I am sure,â€ said she,
bursting into tears, â€œI am very sure I have not meddled
with it.â€ â€œI do not at all know that,â€ replied the other,
â€œ and I do think it was you; for I am certain, if any one
else had done it, they would not deny it; and it could
not come into this condition by itself. Somebody must
have done it; and, I dare say, it was you; so say no more
Here the dispute was interrupted by somebody calling
them out of the room; and I could not help making some
OF A MOUSE. 121
reflections on what had passed. How dreadful a crime,
thought I, is lying and falsity; to what sad mortifications
does it subject the persons who are ever wicked enough
to commit it; and how does it expose them to the con-
tempt of every one, and make them to be suspected of
faults they are even perfectly free from! Little Hetty
now is as innocent with respect to the pincushion, with
the destruction of which her sister charges her, as any of
the others; yet, because she has before forfeited her ho-
nour, she can gain no credit; no one believes what she
says; she is thought to be guilty of the double fault of
spoiling the pincushion, and, what is still worse, of lying
to conceal it; whilst the other children are at once be-
lieved, and their words depended upon.
Surely, surely, thought I, if people would but reflect
upon the contempt, the shame, and the difficulties which
a disregard of truth exposes them to, they would never
be guilty of so terrible a vice, which subjects them to the
scorn of all they converse with, and renders them at all
times suspected, even though they should, as in the case
of Hetty, really speak the truth. Such were my reflec-
tions upon falsehood; nor could I help altogether blam-
ing the owner of the pincushion for her hasty judgment
relating to it, Somebody, she was certain, must have
done it; it was impossible it could come so of itself. That,
122 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
to be sure, was very truc; but then she never recollect-
ed that it was possible a little Mouse might put it in that
condition. Ah! thought I to myself, what pity is it that
human creatures, who are blest with understanding and
faculties so superior to any species, should not make bet-
ter use of them, and learn from daily experience to grow
wiser and better for the future! This one instance
of the pincushion may teach (and surely people engaged
in life must hourly find more) how dangerous it is to
draw hasty conclusions, and to condemn people upon
suspicion; as also the many, great, and bad consequences
Searcely had I finished these soliloquies, when a great
knock at the house-door made me give such a start that
I fell off the joist on which I was standing; and I then
ran straight forward, till I came out at a little hole in
the bricks above the parlour window; from that I de-
scended into the road, and went on unmolested till I
reached a malthouse, about whose various apartments,
never staying long in the same, I continued to live ;
till, one night, all on a sudden, I was alarmed by
fire, which obliged me to retreat with the greatest ex-
I passed numberless rats and mice in my way, who,
like myself, were driven forth by the flames; but, alas!
OF A MOUSE. 123
among them all I found not my brother. Despairing,
therefore, of ever seeing him again, I determined, if
possible, to find my way back to you, who before
had shewn me such kindness. Numberless were the
fatigues and difficulties I had to encounter in my jour-
ney hither; one while in danger from hungry cats,
at another, almost perished with cold and want of
But it is needless to enumerate every particular;
T should but tire your patience, were I to attempt it;
so I will hasten to a conclusion of my history, only
telling you how you came to find me in that melan-
choly condition from which your mercy has now raised
TI came into your house one evening, concealed in the
middle of a floor-cloth, which the servant had rolled up
and set at the outside of the back door, whilst she swept
the passage, and which she neglected to take in again till
the evening. In that I hid myself, and, upon her laying
it down, ran with all speed down the cellar-stairs, where
T continued till the family were all goneto bed. Then I
returned, and came into your closet, where the scent of
some figs tempted me to get into the jar in which you
found me. I concealed myself among them, and, after
feasting most deliciously, fell asleep, from which I was
124 LIFE AND PERAMBULATIONS
awakened by hearing a voice say, â€œWho has left the
cover off the fig jar?â€ and at the same time I was involy-
ed in darkness by having it put on. In vain I endea-
voured to remove it; the figs were so low, that when I
stood on them I could but just touch it with my lips; and
the jar being of stone, I could not possibly fasten my
nails to hang by the side.
In this dismal situation, therefore, I was constrained to
stay, my apprehensions each day increasing as my food
diminished, till at last, after feeding very sparingly for
some days, it was quite exhausted; and I had en-
dured the inexpressible tortures of hunger for three days
and three nights, when you happily released me, and
by your compassion restored me once more to life and
liberty.. Condescend, therefore, to preserve that life
you have so lengthened, and take me under your pro-
â€œThat most gladly,â€ interrupted I, â€œTI will do:
you shall live in this large green-flowered tin canis-
ter, and run in and out when you please, and I will keep
you constantly supplied with food. But I must now
shut you in, for the cat has this moment entered the
OF A MOUSE. 125
And now I cannot take leave of all my little readers,
without once more begging them, for their own sakes, to
endeayour to follow all the good advice the Mouse has
been giving them; and likewise warning them to shun
all those vices and follies, the practice of which renders
children so contemptible and wicked.
W. Mâ€˜DOWALL, PRINTER, LITTLE QUEEN STREET,
LINCOLNâ€™S INN FIELDS,
hey XS Ty
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1 4 Oy eee i + A an Ss on u =
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i G i
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'3' 'info:fdaE20090910_AAAAFPfileF20090910_AABZYP' 'sip-files00127.txt'
'34752' 'info:fdaE20090910_AAAAFPfileF20090910_AABZYQ' 'sip-files00127thm.jpg'
'24' 'info:fdaE20090910_AAAAFPfileF20090910_AABZYR' 'sip-filesprocessing.instr'
'186145' 'info:fdaE20090910_AAAAFPfileF20090910_AABZYS' 'sip-filesUF00001672_00001.mets'
TargetNamespace.1: Expecting namespace 'http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/digital/metadata/ufdc2/', but the target namespace of the schema document is 'http://digital.uflib.ufl.edu/metadata/ufdc2/'.
The element type "div" must be terminated by the matching end-tag "