Front Cover
 Title Page
 Back Cover

Title: Bessie Gray, or, The dull child
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00002074/00001
 Material Information
Title: Bessie Gray, or, The dull child
Alternate Title: Dull child
Physical Description: 110, 10 p. : ill. ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Mozley, Harriet Elizabeth, d. 1852
General Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Union ( Publisher )
Publisher: General Protestant Episcopal S.S. Union
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1851
Subject: Diligence -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' paper bindings (Binding) -- 1851   ( rbbin )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1851   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1851
Genre: Publishers' paper bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: from the London edition.
General Note: Publisher's advertisement follows text.
Funding: Brittle Books Program
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Bibliographic ID: UF00002074
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002234679
oclc - 45568749
notis - ALH5115
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front page i
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
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        Advertising page 1
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    Back Cover
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Full Text

Bcssic ranll,

tlit Dull hlnli


Page 84.

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Depository 20 John-Street.




ELIZABETH GRAY was the only daughter
of a labourer in a country village. Her pa-
rents were industrious and respectable people,
and her father, from his cleverness and hand-
iness, was raised a degree above many of
his own class. If any thing was amiss in
the village, Robert Gray was sure to be sent
for; and it was a hard matter indeed if his
skill or his good sense did not mend it a little.
But it is of Elizabeth, or, as she was always
called, Bessie, I am going to write, and there.


abled from service by a lame hand. There
was much talk in the village about what
Esther could do and what she could not
do. A hundred schemes were proposed for
her, but Esther seemed fit for none, and many
were pitying her and her parents for the in-
cumbrance she would be to them, when Esther
put an end to all the speculations one day, by
announcing that she meant to keep a school,
and that she was ready to receive ai' many
pupils as should be sent to her on the next
Monday. Little Bessie wondered, but did not
dare ask her father if he meant to send her to
school, now that there was to be one in the
village. One minute she thought one way
and the next another, till at length her father
said to her, "Bessie, my girl, should you like
to make one of Esther Mills' new scholars 7'
Bessie's little heart bounded high, but she
answered so quietly, that after she had left the
room, her mother observed to her father, I


fear me, Robert, Bessie will make but a dull
one after all."
Time will show," replied Robert; adding
quaintly, as he held up a bright key, Why,
Jane, is your key dull and mine bright ?"
"Because yours is always in your pocket,"
replied his wife, understanding his meaning,
but a key is not a girl I take it."
No, but th.e dullest matter, if hard enough,
gets a face with constant rubbing, and so I
take it may our Bessie."
Well, I am glad to hear you say so,
Robert," said Jane, "for somehow or other
your words generally turn up for truth."
So on Monday Bessie went to school. All
looked quite as delightful as she expected.
There was Esther Mills, neat and smiling, a
nice new form all along one side of the room,
some A B C books and others on the table,
and a rod hung up over the fire-place. All
that was done that day seemed very new and



wonderful to Bessie; and she thought she
liked school quite as much as she expected.
But next day, she was sadly surprised and
vexed to find that she could not tell great A
B, and little a b, one from the other as she
had done at first. All was a puzzle to her,
and all seemed to run out of her head as fast
as it was put in. In a few days the clergy-
man came to visit the new school, and he
heard the elder ones read and asked them
some questions. These he had seen and
known at the Sunday school, and they had
been well taught till the last half year by good
old Mrs. Higham, who had become too infirm
to go on teaching. Among these were some
quick, clever girls, but the sharpest was Ann
Roberts. Sharp is just the proper word for
her, for Ann was not clever enough to be very
sound, and she did not give her mind enough
to her books to make herself as much so as
she might have been. She was satisfied to


stand well in the school, and to be generally
praised as the quickest girl. She had a good
memory, and used it to repeat by heart, with-
out caring for the sense of the words. She
was considered very good-natured, and so she
was, if all went as she liked, and if nobody
interfered with her; but she liked to take the
lead in every thing.
Mr. Baker, the clergyman, did not examine
Bessie and the younger ones; he said he
would wait till they had been at school a lit-
tle longer and knew their letters; but he
wished their schoolmistress to kep account
of their goings on, and let him know who
was good and attentive and who was not.
Thus matters went on for seven or eight
weeks, and poor Bessie found out that school
was not the happy place she imagined, for
she had many troubles. She did not get on
like the others, and so was always being
scolded by her schoolmistress: besides, sh


was in the lowest place in the school, though
she was the oldest.in that class; and though
she knew it was true, it was a great pain to
her to hear it said two or three times a day,
before all, that she was a dull child, and that
there was no use in teaching her. This
caused her many tears, and she used to sit
crying over her alphabet when it would
have been much better if she had given her
whole attention to her task. Besides this,
her behaviour drew upon her the eyes of all
the school. Children are not very consider-
ate when, ay one of their number is in
trouble; Tome laugh, point, whisper, stare
and peep. They perhaps do not mean any
harm by it, but it certainly is not pleasant to
the one who is in distress, and kind children
feel very differently in a case like Bessie's,
and in one where their companion has been
really naughty and deserved punishment.
Miriam Coles felt this difference, and though



she could not do any thing to help Bessie,
she showed by her manner that she was kind,
and made Bessie feel obliged to her. But
poor Bessie's spirits were low, so that Miri-
am's kindness did not mend matters as far as
tears were concerned; and Bessie began to
get the character of being sulky with her
companions, as she had that of being dull
with her schoolmistress. Thus, I say, poor
Bessie began to discover that school was not
as delightful as she had expected. She had
thought that if she went to school, she should
be able to read, and she pictured to herself
the delight and grandeur of sitting reading
by herself, or even of reading a chapter in
the Bible to her parents. But, alas'! she was
scarcely nearer this than when she first went
to school. It is true she knew the large let-
ters down to D well; but she could not re-
member the small ones as she was taught
them, nor could she in the great ones get




over the difficulties of E and F. All she
could do, she could not be sure she said them
right-sometimes she did, sometimes she did
not-and, as I have said, she was always in
disgrace; her mistress scolded her, her com-
panions laughed at her, and even her father
looked grave, when he heard that every one
of the little ones, all younger than Bessie,
had learned more than she had.
"Every week the same story of Bessie,"
said Mr. Baker, looking gravely but kindly
at her; "only four letters in six weeks."
Poor Bessie felt very miserable.
No, no, as you say," continued he, "I
don't like the stick, we must try to do without
that, since you say Bessie lis good, only so
Why, sir," said Esther, "she is the stran-
gest child in the world; I am sure she would
learn her letters her owh way if I would let
her; she learns them backwards, and upside



down, and all sorts of fashions, but it is t a
nice way of learning, and she will never say
her A B C if I let her do so."
"Well, come here, Bessie," said Mr. Baker,
"and tell me all the letters you know."
Bessie could not look up or speak for her
tears, but she came close to the kind gentle-
man, and stood very meekly by his side with
her A B C card in her hand. Sadly thumb-
ed it was; though, as Esther explained, it was
the second she had had. Mr. Baker talked
a little to the mistress, and meanwhile Bessie
seemed to recover herself, so that she gave
the names of the first four letters distinctly, as
Mr. Baker pointed to them. He then placed
his finger on the hard E. Bessie looked
across in her mistress's face, and was forming
her mouth to an F, when Esther exclaimed,
"There, sir, you see how it is, she will call
E-F; she is a sad, stupid child surely; the
little ones learn as well agqin; it is a great



disq~ce to Bessie, who is a good two years
older than most of the others. I must say,
sir, that Bessie Gray is the dullest child in
the school."
"It is easier for the little ones to learn,"
said Mr. Baker, though he had never thought
this before; "we must have patience with
Bessie, and as she is older, we must let her
learn her letters her own way. Now, Bessie,"
continued he, don't cry, but speak out, and
you shall learn your letters like a woman,
and not like a chlid. Come, tell me what
letters you know."
Bessie, with the confidence which, know-
ledge gives, pointed to little h, and called it
"Well, and how do you know that letter
so well which you have not learned ?" asked
Mr. Baker.
Because of a chair," replied the litt)s girl,
in a very low voice.


S The children began to titter.
Esther cried, "That, sir, is the strange way
she gets her letters; nobody can teach her so."
Mr. Baker smiled and answered, "Well, I
believe we must let Bessie have her way this
time, as she is a good girl, you say; so now
go on and tell me some more."
Bessie now pointed to small p and q, and b
and d, and named them all rightly.
"Well, how do you remember these ?" ask-
ed Mr. Baker, they are the hardest letters in
the alphabet to learn."
Please, sir, because one is this way and
the other that," said Bessie, timidly, while the
elder scholars nudged each other, and whis-
pered her answer laughingly.
A very good reason indeed," said Mr. Ba-
ker; "you will soon read as well as the first
class, if you go on so."
It was perceived that Mr. Baker was in
earnest, and the tittering ceased quite sud-


deny. Bessie went on telling between twen-
ty and thirty letters, great and small, know-
ing them by some rule of her own; the last
she told were u and n,-" because," she said,
one was up and the other down."
How is it, Bessie," said Mr. Baker, "that
you can tell these letters one from the other
so well, and cannot find as good a reason for
knowing E from F ?"
Bessie was silent, and seemed puzzled.
Cannot you see that E has a foot and F
has none?" continued Mr. Baker.
Bessie said, "Yes, sir."
But this was not her difficulty. She knew
the form of the letters, but could not remem-
ber which name belonged to which, or which
came first.
Bessie has a way of her own for learning
her letters," said Mr. Baker, and in a little
time she will know them well. Let her learn
them her own way, Esther.--B' "



added he, speaking very clearly, so that the
little girl could understand, "I shall be better
pleased if you can go on with the alphabet
regularly, as your mistress teaches the rest."
Bessie made her curtsey, and she thought
she would try to please the kind gentleman
who had been so good to her.
The next week Bessie repeated to Mr.
Baker half the large and half the small al-
phabets, without a single mistake.
"There must have been some self-will in
Bessie, I am afraid, sir," said her mistress,
"for she has learned as quick as any other
child ever since you spoke to her, and has
never made any more ado about E and F.
Mr. Baker asked Bessie how she had re-
membered E and F.
"Please, sir," said the little girl, "because
you told me."
How did I tell you ?" asked the gentle-


"Please, sir, you said foot."
Well, and what then ?"
"Please, sir," again said Bessie, expecting
the laugh of her companions, and feeling
very foolish, "because E treads upon F's
All did laugh at Bessie's fancy, but with
more respect than the week before. Bessie
had proved that if she was stupid, she had a
way of her own of fighting with her stu-
pidity; and it looked very much as if she
would get the better in the end. Mr. Baker
too had made some of the elder ones feel
very foolish, by a remark he made during
his examination of them. As he left, he said
to Bessie, If you can say me the whole of
both alphabets next week, Bessie, I shall
think you a clever girl."
Perhaps a lady would not have said this
to Bessie; but gentlemen learn so easily,
that they do not think the alphabet can be



hard, even to a little girl. It however was a
very hard task to Bessie to do as she had
already done. She had not much memory,
as any one can easily see, and she could only
learn by figures and fancies of her own. As
she read her alphabet, she had to recall to
her mind all sorts of things-in one letter to
fancy herself in the garden, in the next at
home; now to see a wheelbarrow, and now
the handle of the well. This plan was a
trying one for a little girl, and it also caused
her to be very slow. Sometimes she was
obliged to shut her eyes, that she might re-
member more correctly; when her compan-
ions laughed, and her mistress often thought
that she was inattentive, and blamed her for
being slow. i
Next week Bessie did say the whole of
both alphabets to Mr. Baker, with only a very
few mistakes or hesitations. Mr. Baker did
not call me clever," thought poor Bessie, "but


I know I am not. How much pains I have
taken, and yet I have not done well after all."
I have given you this long history of Bes-
sie's learning her alphabet, because it will
show you what sort of a girl she is, and I dare
say some of you will be inclined to call her
stupid as herself and her companions did.
But I do not care for this; I do not mean to
say that you are not a great deal cleverer
than little Bessie ever was or ever will be;
and if so, I should only say that you must be
much in fault if you do not learn all the
quicker and become all the better.
About a year after this, Mr. Baker, the
clergyman, married. There was a great talk
about this in the place. Some thought it
would make things all the bet%.and some
all the worse. Others again thought all de-
pended upon the sort of lady it was that he
had married; and here again some said that
good gentlemen often did not care about good




wives, and it was all a turn-up ;" while Mr.
Baker's particular admirers stoutly stood to
it, that Mr. Baker was none of "your flighty
ones," and that he would be quite as safe in
his choice of a wife, as in his every-day deal-
ings.-"And where have you known him to
fail in those ever since he came among us ?"
asked Robert Gray, who was a great admirer
of Mr Baker's.
"Well, time will show," said one; "they
say she's a young lady, and young ladies al-
ways wear thin shoes; and if so we shall not
see much of her at Esther's school, or in our
dirty lane."
You've said wiser things than that, John,
I've a notion," said Robert Gray.
"Well, t will show," replied John, "I
know you won't allow a word against Mr. Ba-
ker ever since he took your Bessie by the hand."
"Aye, and before," said Robert;" but why
should I be ashamed if it was so ?"


Mrs. Baker was young, and she looked also
very much as if she wore thin shoes. But
before a fortnight was over, the new lady had
called at every house, and had been intro-
duced by her husband to the two schools in
the place. By degrees these came very much
under her care. She had not been used to
schools of this sort before, and was inclined
to take the opinion of the mistresses and
others, who had known more about the schol-
ars. Thus Bessie was for some time scarcely
noticed by Mrs. Baker; for Esther always
said she never could understand that child,
and Mrs. Baker took Esther's word for it that
Bessie was dull. One day Mrs. Baker was
seeing Ann Roberts write a copy, as she occa-
sionally did. Ann was still ca1I the quick-
est girl in the school. She did, and said, and
learned things in a minute, without seeming
to take any trouble at all; and she always
-,rote in a very off-hand, flourishing manner;


so much so indeed that she d not give her-
self time to hear or understand the directions
Mrs. Baker gave her. If you had seen and
heard what went on, you would have sup-
posed that Ann was either entirely deaf or
entirely obstinate. But neither was the case:
Ann was only inattentive, and too well sat-
isfied with her own dashing style of filling
her page. At last Mrs. Baker said, "Do
you know, Ann, that I have told you four
times the same thing ?-how easily you would
learn if you really did as you are bid !"
"That's very true, ma'am," said the mis-
tress, but Ann's quick and ready, and that
makes her longer in the end than the slow
I am sure if that is really the case," re-
plied Mrs. Baker, it is very disgraceful to
Ann; I had much rather she were dull and
"Well, ma'am, that is true enough also,"


said Esther, for there is Bessie Gray, who
never was very bright, but she pays attention,
and I don't know if she will be long behind the
best of them."
Bessie had been intently thinking over Mrs.
Baker's advice to Ann, and she was consider-
ing in herself how good it was, and sighed to
think how little she had ever made a point of
herself doing as Mrs. Baker recommended.
She was repeating to herself so intently Mrs.
Baker's two remarks, with her eyes closed,
that she should not forget them, that she
heard nothing of Esther's observation on her-
self but her own name. "How easily we
should learn," thought she, "if we really did
as we are bid ;-and Mrs. Baker had rather
have us dull and attentive than only clever!
-That's what I can be-dull and attentive-
and that is what I will try to be, from this
time; I can try-any body can try."
Bessie never forgot the impression which


these remarks of Mrs. Baker made upon her,
and you will see whether it made her act as
well as feel, for that is the use we are meant
to make of our feelings. As yet Bessie, though
so young, has seemed to make a good use of
hers. She felt a great desire to go to school;
she felt a wish to learn to read. She found
the task hard and tiresome. She knew her
feeling was a good one, so she persevered, and
with a great deal of labour she overcame her
difficulties. Supposing she had not felt the
desire of learning, but had looked upon it from
the other side as a duty-as a duty to her
parents or to God, she would have acted just
the same. She would have laboured hard to
do her very best. Thus it is in a great many
other ways besides learning to read, thatgood
feeling and right rules of conduct, or principle
as it is called, lead to the same point, w uh
is, in fact, our duty to God.





BESSIE thought she had never been atten-
tive till now. She was mistaken; she had
been attentive; but now that Mrs. Baker's re-
mark had so struck her, she began making a
rule and a duty of what before seemed to come
by accident-if it may so be said. However,
certainly now she was more strictly and stead-
ily attentive and obedient than ever. Time
and practice had made her lessons easier to
her. She could now read well, and learn ver-
ses and hymns. She had also nearly learned
her Multiplication Table. Time and practice
had made her lessons easier to her; but still
they cost her a great deal more labour than
other children. She went on learning on the
same plan on which she learned her alphabet.



She could not learn by rote, or by heart, or
by memory, as I dare say you can. In her
hymns she could not remember except she
knew and understood every word. I have
often heard children saya whole hymn through
from beginning to end, without a single mis-
take, when all the time these children did not
know what they had been saying, or what the
hymn was about. They perhaps knew the
meaning of every word, or almost every word,
but did not know what the words meant put
together. This is what we call saying a thing
" like a parrot." Now there is no harm in
very small children learning in this way-no
harm at all. After a time they come to know
what the words mean, and in the course of
months, or even years, the sense of all they
have been learning comes into their minds
very beautifully; and those who have been
teachable and obedient, see every day more
clearly many things that seem to have been



hidden from them before, and understand bet-
ter and better why it is that they were taught
and treated in such and such a manner, and
when they grow up, and have children to man-
age, they go on doing just the same.
But to go back to what I was saying, though
there is no harm in very young children learn-
ing in this way, like a pat rot, there is harm
and danger in elder ones doing so; it leads
them to use their memory, and even their
hearing, instead of their sense and under-
standing. It accustoms them to hear and re-
peat sacred words and the most solemn truths,
without considering the import of what they
say; and above all, it assists in forming the
sad habit of repeating the words of a prayer,
without attempting to understand or to follow
their meaning. For these reasons it is dan-
gerous for children to continue to repeat words
without considering the sense, when they are
old enough to profit by what they learn. Yet



most children, I am sorry to say, do so, though
you may be among those who do not. Most
find it much easier to repeat by memory or
sound, than by sense. Now this is what Bes-
sie could never do, and this it was that helped
to make her appear stupid, and even deceived
her mistress into setting her down as very far
behind the rest of the scholars. The cause
was partly in Bessie's nature, and partly from
her having begun to learn so much later than
the rest. If you consider, however, what the
appearance would be, you will perceive that
Bessie would be long in learning and slow in
speaking, and, considering her habit of shut-
ting up her eyes quite tight, she would often
seem stupid, and sometimes inattentive, while
all the time she really understood what she
said and what she learned a great deal better
than any body else in the school, and this ac-
tually was khe case. Often, what her compan-
ions took fo stupidity, and in fact laughed at,


in reality arose from Bessie being cleverer, or
having actually more understanding than the
rest. Bessie also was very meek and gentle,
as well as humble. She believed herself the
stupidest in the school; and even when she
thought she knew what she meant, she did not
defend or explain herself. So, though often
and often in class Bessie proved herself better
than the rest, and though often and often she
helped others, even the clever ones, in their
difficulties, it still was set down in the school
that Bessie was the dullest scholar." This
certainly would not have been if Esther Mills
had understood Bessie better. Now, after this
long explanation, I should like to give you an
account of Bessie learning her Multiplication
Table, and you will perceive how singularly
like it was to her learning her A B C, two
years before.
Oh, ma'am," said Esther Mills to Mrs.
Baker, one Monday morning, "I de Aish you



would be so kind as to hear Bessie say her
Tables. Her Multiplication Table she almost
knows, but she really is the dullest girl I ever
had to do with; there's no getting her to learn."
"How is it, Esther," said Mrs. Baker, that
Bessie always does so much better with me,
than she seems to do at other times ? She is
slow, and thinks before she speaks, but she
always repeats her lessons correctly, and
never gives me a wrong answer."
"I really can't say, ma'am," replied Esther;
"she is the strangest child-I never could
make her out. I always think there is self-
will at the bottom, for she can often learn
hard things easier than easy ones, and easier
than the sharpest girl here; yet she makes
such an ado about what a mere baby can
learn, that I am quite ashamed of her."
Well, I think Bessie must say her Multi-
plication Table to me," said Mrs. Baker, very



The little girl was very much pleased, for
she liked Mrs. Baker, and often wished that
lady to hear her as much as she did the
Bessie had learned the Table from be-
ginning to end; Mrs. Baker therefore said
she would dodge her, and began accordingly.
Bessie answered deliberately-not very slow,
but made no blunder. Mrs. Baker was satis-
fied, and seemed to look to Esther to see if
she was.
"Ah, ma'am," said Esther, "that is one of
Bessie's strange fancies; she can say her Ta-
ble when dodged, better than straight for-
ward; and she can tell in a minute what
twice 8, and 3 times 5, and many other num-
bers make, but if you ask her, 8 times 2, or 5
times 3, she screws up her eyes and stands
like a simpleton."
I was going to ask Bessie why she shut
up her eyes in that way," said Mrs. Baker.



" She never does so with me in the Sunday
Oh, ma'am, it's a trick Bessie has al-
ways had, and it's no use my scolding her
for it; if you ask her for the Table straight,
she'll do it worse."
Mrs. Baker now heard Bessie straight
through, and herself could scarcely help smil-
ing to see the odd faces poor Bessie some-
times made, but she said nothing then. Mrs.
Baker perceived how much easier Bessie
found it to say some numbers and some rows
than others; and though she was clever at
figures, she could not always account for it.
So afterwards she questioned the little girl--
" Why is it, Bessie, that 12 seems so easy to
Please, ma'am, because it is 2 more than
10 every time till 60, and then it comes the
same over again."
Some of the children laughed, and whis-



pered, "What does she mean?" but Mrs
Baker seemed to understand what Bessie did
mean, and then asked her why 9 seemed so
easy to her.
"Please, ma'am," replied Bessie, "9 always
makes itself."
Here the laughing and whispering was
more audible than before; but Mrs. Baker
seemed again perfectly to understand Bessie,
and asked rather surprised, "Who told you
that ?"
Please, ma'am, nobody."
"And now, Bessie," continued Mrs. Baker,
"tell me yourself those numbers you find
easy beside."
Bessie thought a little, but did not shut
her eyes, and answered, Those that belong
to themselves, and those that are the same as
What do you mean by those that belong
to themselves ?" asked Mrs. Baker.


"Like 21, 33, 35," replied the little girl,
without any hesitation.
Mrs. Baker. "Is 24 one of these numbers?"
Bessie. "No, ma'am."
Mrs. Baker. "Why not ?"
Bessie. Because twice 12, and 3 times 8,
and 6 times 4, make it."
Mrs. Baker. And what, Bessie, did you
mean by 'those numbers that are the same
as themselves ?' "
Bessie. Those that are themselves over
again, ma'am-like 16 and 49."
Mrs. Baker. And are there any numbers
that are both these together ?"-Seeing Bes-
sie puzzled, she added, I mean that, what
you call, belong to themselves, and are them-
selves over again?"
"Yes," said Bessie, so readily, that it was
evident she had observed it before,-" 4, and
all the uneven ones except 81."
Mrs. Baker paused and seemed puzzled.



while the children, even the elder ones, took
advantage of the pause to titter and try to
put Bessie out of countenance.
The uneven what ?" asked Mrs. Baker.
Bessie hesitated, and presently added,
Every other one;" on which several of the
children quite laughed. Perhaps as Mrs.
Baker had not rebuked them, they thought
she did not disapprove of their behaviour.
Mrs. Baker had been looking over the Mul-
tiplication Table which she held in her hand,
and now said very quietly, I see what you
mean, Bessie; you are quite right, every
other one; -every other square, as we call
those numbers, has also the other property
you have discovered."
"Please, ma'am," said Bessie, very diffi-
dently, are 9, and 16, and 25, and the rest,
called squares ?"
Yes, they are," replied Mrs. Baker, but
I should like to know if you can tell me if 13,



17, or 19, are in the Multiplication Ta-
ble ?"
"No, ma'am," said Bessie, "nor 23, nor
29, nor 31, nor 37, nor" --
Stop, Bessie," cried Mrs. Baker, laughing,
for Bessie had closed her eyes and seemed to
be intent on going on to the end; that will
do-I see you understand me; those num-
bers are called primes.-I can only say," con-
tinued Mrs. Baker to Esther, that if Bessie
goes on so, she will soon be the best arithme-
'tician in the school."
Well, ma'am," said Esther, "Bessie has
a way of her own that I don't understand.
This is just what happened before with Mr.
Baker, when she learned her alphabet, and
he said the same. She does surprise me cer-
tainly by knowing as much as she does, and
I think she wants a better scholar than me
for a teacher."
Mrs. Baker now spoke to the rest of the



children. "I suppose," said she, "by your
manner, you thought Bessie and I were
talking nonsense."
The poor girls looked foolish, and no won-
der, because they had allowed themselves to
act foolishly.
I know," continued Mrs. Baker, that the
study of numbers is amusing to very few
children; many can run over their tables
pretty correctly, and do a few common sums,
and that is quite enough; but Bessie has
shown a great deal of observation and inge-
nuity, and knows more about numbers, I
suspect, than any of you."
Those who had made themselves so merry
at the expense of Bessie now felt very down-
cast. Mrs. Baker did not want to be too se-
vere, but she thought, as I dare say you do,
that these thoughtless, and I may say igno-
rant girls, should have a lesson that might
do them good, and also should be made to



respect Bessie more than they did. She
therefore continued, "Now, in order to set
matters right, Bessie and I will try to make
some of you understand her discoveries.
First, you may remember, Bessie said that
the row 12 was easy to her, because it was
2 more than 10, every time till 60, and then
the same over again. Now look at your
Tables, and you, Bessie, explain what you
Bessie replied, "12 is two more than 10;
from 10 to 12 is 22, 2 times 12 are 24, and
24 is 2 more than 22, and so it goes on, 24,
36, 48, 60. Then it begins the same."
"Do you see what Bessie means ?" asked
Mrs. Baker.
Some few did-the rest did not; and those
who did not, felt more silly and ignorant
than they need have done; because they had
laughed at Bessie. Among them was Ann
Roberts. Mrs. Baker addressed herself espe-



cially to Ann, because Ann was always fore-
most and ready; but this view of numbers
was new to her, and she had despised it as
being Bessie's; besides, she did not choose to
take the trouble of following Mrs. Baker and
Bessie in the explanation. It seemed then
all as nonsense to Ann, though she could not
say so to Mrs. Baker, and did not appear al-
together inattentive. That lady was not
displeased with those who did not enter into
the lesson; she said it was one, those only
need follow who were inclined; she also re-
marked, that very few had a taste for this
part of arithmetic. Ann felt much piqued
and vexed, and she was resolved to pay at-
tention to the rest, and know all about it.
But she found it harder to fix her mind than
she expected. She could make nothing of it,
and at the end knew no more than at the
beginning. She therefore laughed at the
whole, afterwards, to her friends. "It was



not worth my while to attend," said she, "or
I would soon have rattled it all off;-as if I
could not do what Bessie Gray can !"
I must now return to the lesson," Mrs.
Baker continued. "Now about the row 9.
Bessie. What did you mean by 9 always
'making itself?'"
"If you add the figures together they
come up to 9," said Bessie; and on Mrs.
Baker desiring it, continued, twice 9 are
18; 1 and 8 are 9;-3 times 9 are 27; 2
and 7 are 9;-4 times 9 are 36; 3 and 6
are 9."
Mrs. Baker stopped Bessie, and asked if the
rest understood. Every one who was for-
ward enough understood this fast enough.
All were highly pleased, and were running
on all through the nines, trying the experi-
ment, greatly delighted to find that it an-
swered so well.
"This is curious !" exclaimed Miriam Coles,



who was a lively little girl; "I wonder we
never observed it before."
What is more curious," said Mrs. Baker,
"is, that it is the same whatever number of
figures, or digits, as they are called, a sum
may be. One of you say a high number."
Ann, who was always ready, named 8640.
"Well," said Mrs. Baker, that will divide
by 9, without remainder. Try it."
Ann did try it, and found the result was
Now can any body tell if 960 will divide
by 9, without any remainder ?" asked Mrs.
Baker, who, when nobody spoke, looked at
"I think it will not," said she.
Can you guess what will remain ?"
"If it was 96," replied Bessie, "6 wou-d re-
"And 6 will remain now, though it is 960,"
returned the lady. Try it."



They did, and so it came. Mrs. Baker
then explained how to add the digits of any
number together, so as to prove whether or
not it would divide by 9, without remainder,
and also what the remainder will be. For
instance, 8640. 8 and 6 are 14, and 4 are 18.
1 and 8 are 9. Another way is, 8 and 6 are
14. 1 and 4 are 5. 5 and 4 are 9. Both
ways come to the same thing; and if you
have a number with 100 figures in it, it will
be just the same. Now take the other num-
ber, 960. 9 and 6 are 15. 1 and 5 are 6.
Or, 9 is 9, and 6 over; 6 will be the remain-
der-as it was found to be in a minute.
Mrs. Baker explained all this. Ann Roberts
was mightily charmed with this secret at the
first, but soon got puzzled among the ad-
ditional numbers. She then thought it stu-
pid, and gave over; others followed up Mrs.
Baker in this part of the lesson, and went on
whispering, with their heads togedter, over


their slates, proving number after number by
the new rule. So engrossed were these, that
they heard none of the rest of Mrs. Baker's
lesson. She here showed those who were at-
tending, a little plan of turning this secret to
account, in proving sums. It became very
interesting to those who had given their
minds to it from the first, but was very dull
to the others.
Mrs. Baker proceeded. "Bessie talked next
of those numbers which she called belonging
to themselves ;' say what numbers you meant,
"21, 33, 35," replied the little girl.
Well, these are numbers of your own,
Bessie," said Mrs. Baker, smiling; I do not
know that they have any name given them.
You mean numbers that have only two fac-
tors, as we call them, besides 1 and them-
Mrs. Baker here fully explained what fac-



tors are, and then went on, "For instance, take
21.-What is 21 multiplied by 1 ?"
Some really did not know; some said it
made no number; another said it was nothing.
However others either knew or had learned
that once 21 is 21.
"Also 3 times 7 makes 21," said Mrs. Ba-
ker, but it has no other factors. 35 has the
same nature: 5 times 7 makes 35, and no fac-
tors beside. You see, other numbers have
many factors; these have but two; 24, as we
said before, has several."
"Yes, 2 times 12, 3 times 8, 4 times 6,"
said Miriam.
"The next numbers Bessie spoke of were
those she called 'themselves over again,'
continued Mrs. Baker, such as 25, 36. These
are found by multiplying a number by itself."
Mrs. Baker now made them multiply seve-
ral numbers by themselves: 3 times 3 = 9, 4
times 4 = 16, 5 times 5 = 25, &c. &c.



These are called squares, as you heard
me tell Bessie," added she; they are called
squares because they make a square, and I
will show you how."
She then desired Esther to give her the
penny box, which held the pence for Christ-
mas clothing, unlocked it, and counted out 36
pennies. She placed first 1 penny, which she
told them being 1 times 1, was the square of
1. This seemed to amuse Miriam greatly.
Then she made them go on to 2 times 2, and
placed 4 pennies so as to form the figure
of a square, thus : : Next, she set a row of
pennies round 2 sides of this figure; that is,
5 more pennies, which made 9. This still
formed a square, and was 3 every way thus
:! So she went on to 4 times 4, 16, till she
came to 6 times 6, which required all the pen-
nies she had taken out of the box. They
made a very nice regular looking figure on
the table, where she left them, while she



went on to finish her explanation of Bessie's
"One of Bessie's rules is rather hard, and I
shall pass it over at present," said she, it is
the one you all laughed so much at; but I can
explain about some other numbers which are
not in the Multiplication Table. Say some
of them, Bessie."
"13, 17, 19, 23, 29," said Bessie.
"These are called primes," replied Mrs.
Baker, "they can be divided by nothing but 1
and themselves. Now try if you can divide
23 by any thing else, without remainder."
No one could.
Then all the numbers that are not in the
Multiplication Table are primes !" exclaimed
Miriam, pleased at a new piece of knowledge.
Is that right, Bessie ?" asked Mrs. Baker.
No, ma'am," said Bessie, "' many can be
divided that are not in the Multiplication Ta-
S ble. 38 can be divided."



Very good, Bessie, 2 time 19 are 38," re-
plied Mrs. Baker. Are primes ever even num-
bers, Bessie ?" continued she.
Primes can never be even," answered Bes-
Quite right, Bessie, primes are always un-
even," said Mrs. Baker; "you know all even
numbers can be divided by 2, but a prime can-
not be divided at all. But what do you say
to 39, Bessie, is that a prime ? It is not in
the Multiplication Table."
It is not a prime, though," said Bessie ; 3
times 13 are 39."
Then you see, Miriam, you were mistaken
in supposing that all numbers not in the Mul-
tiplication Table are primes. 38 and 39 are
not in the Multiplication Table, yet they are
neither of them primes."
I knew both would divide when you men-
tioned them," said Miriam ; by the new rule,
I saw 39 would divide by 3, though I did



not know how many times 3 would make
"Explain how you saw this," said Mrs. Ba-
"I said to myself," replied Miriam, "3 and
9 are 12, 1 and 2 are 3, 9 will divide by 3,
and 3 over makes one more 3; so I saw it
would divide."
That shows you have paid attention, Mir-
iam," observed Mrs. Baker.
Of course, Miriam was pleased.
If I am pleased with Miriam," continued
the lady, "Without my saying a word, you
must all perceive how pleased I am with Bes-
sie Gray. She has shown more observation
and ingenuity than any here,-all by herself,
too, and when you thought she was making
mistakes. I wish to show you all I am much
pleased with Bessie, and you shall see what I
will do."
Mrs. Baker here took out her purse and put




down three silver shillings on the table where
the pennies were spread, saying, "36 pence
make-what ?"
Three shillings," said several.
She then put the shillings into the box,
called Bessie up to her side, and told the
little girl she might take the 36 pennies home,
as a memorial of her having made a good
use of them.
Bessie was too much amazed to say a word
at first, till Mrs. Baker asked her what she
would do with them.
Please, ma'am," said she, colouring with
pleasure, I should like to have them put on
my card for Christmas, but I will ask mo-
They were put on Bessie's card, and the
end was, that Bessie was able to buy a larger
and warmer cloak for the winter than the
rest of the children.
I need scarcely say how happy Bessie felt



as she walked home with her heavy load.
Half of what had happened would have been
enough to delight Bessie. It was a great sat-
isfaction to her to find that other people had
observed what she had done in the Multipli-
cation Table, and that there were really
names given to those numbers whose proper-
ties she had discovered for herself. Clever
children-and, though Bessie is called so dull,
I hardly know how we can help calling her
clever-clever children are pleased with new
pieces of knowledge; and though those Bes-
sie had learned to-day were of no apparent
use, it was for a long time a great pleasure
to her to consider her old friends, the favour-
ite numbers, under their new names of
primes, squares, digits, and factors, all of
which Mrs. Baker had very nicely explained.
I will just remark that Bessie could never
have made the discoveries she did, if she had
been taught her Multiplication Table from


any other but the old fashioned square shaped
one. They did not use at her school the
more modern one, which indeed saves a little
trouble, but does not show the beautiful order
and regularity of numbers as the old square
Table does. I must go on, however, to the
rest of Bessie's happy feelings, for her plea-
sure as to her newly acquired knowledge was
put off for a time to make way for what was
more delightful still, as she tripped along,
now and then with a step more dancing than
walking or running. It was not so much
the money-though that certainly was a
pleasant thought-it was the distinction that
made her feel so light and joyous. Mrs. Ba-
ker was pleased with her, and had said so
before every body; she hoped perhaps she
was less dull, perhaps even she was not quite
as stupid as she had herself supposed. Now
she should get on better, and not be so looked
down upon. These thoughts made her man-



ner quite different even to her father and
mother that very day.
"You remember my bright key, Jane,"
said Robert, who was highly delighted about
his little girl, to his wife in the evening,
" our Bess will beat the best of them after all.
But now don't go and spoil the girl: old
heads can't stand praise, let alone young



I MUST now pass over above a year, and
come to an event which will always make a
sensation in a school; this was the death of
a little girl who had been one of the scholars
in the school. Miriam Coles' death, however,
made as slight a sensation as possible. She
had been ill nearly a whole year, had not



been seen out of her father's house for nine
or ten months, and for the last three months,
she had scarcely been expected to live from
day to day; so that this event was not likely
to make the same impression as it would
have done, if Miriam had been more lately
among the rest, or had been able to see her
companions to the last. Every body in the
village talked over the little girl's death.
Many went to poor Mrs. Coles, to comfort
her, and tell her what a happy release it was
for her, as well as her poor suffering child,
while some held back, saying that comforters
were not always comforts, and the mother's
heart had its own sorrow. Little Miriam's
complaint had been a consumption, or, as
some called it, an atrophy; and she had
passed so quietly away, that, except for the
funeral, the children perceived nothing un-
usual, and felt no less. Every thing the next
day went on exactly the same, except that



Esther desired the first class to look over the
hymn which so many of you know, beginning,
"Death has been here, and borne away
A sister from our side."

Very correctly these lines were repeated to
Mrs. Baker the next Monday, by most, espe-
cially by Ann Roberts, who was highly
praised by her schoolmistress. "So different,
ma'am," said she, "from Bessie Gray. She
is slower than ever again, I think. There's
really no such thing as making her learn this
"Perhaps Bessie can say it to me," said
Mrs. Baker, observing the little girl's down-
cast looks.
Bessie stood up and repeated the first line
very slowly and distinctly-very different from,
many children I have heard, who repeat well
and remember every word, but allow them-
selves to run over their lessons, and even their
hymns or texts, as if the object were to try



how many words they could say in the course
of a minute or half a minute. Bessie never
said her hymns in this way. Mrs. Baker
often remarked it was quite a pleasure to
hear Bessie repeat her lessons, especially her
hymns, for she said them gently and even,
and in exactly the right time. Each word
followed the last, exactly as the ear would
desire; and there was no unpleasing tone,
which so often spoils the best repeated verses.
I have heard a great many children repeat
hymns in different parts of the country, but I
never heard more than half a dozen at all
equal Bessie Gray in correctness and serious-
ness. I cannot help thinking those children
who repeat in a confused manner, or very
fast, or very unequal, or thoughtlessly, gazing
about them, perhaps, or thinking very little of
the sacred words and ideas they are repeating
---I cannot help thinking, I saj, that such
children, if they had heard Bessie, would try



to model their manner in future by hers.
And this most of you can do, even though
you have never heard Bessie, if you only
choose to set about watching your tones and
mode, as if you were listening to another
S person, and resolve to correct one by one
every fault you perceive.
We must now go back to Bessie in this
particular hymn, as we shall find that she
had, like others, occasional difficulties and
drawbacks, which we must try to understand
better than her companions, or even Esther
herself. Bessie began in a low voice, and re-
S peated distinctly the first line,
"Death has been here, and borne away,"
At the end of which she made a full pause,
while Mrs. Baker patiently waited without
speaking. Esther however broke the silence.
"Ah, ma'am," said she, that is the way Bes-
sie serves me every now and then. Some-
S times I think she is really getting on, when



a fit of this kind comes over her; and she
seems to have less sense than a mere babe.-
I am quite ashamed of you, Bessie," added
her mistress, all the little ones have learned
this hymn and said it well."
"Begin again, Bessie," said Mrs. Baker, "I
dare say you know it."
Bessie did begin again, and repeated the
first line just as before-still getting no far-
"Do you know the hymn, Bessie ?" asked
Mrs. Baker.
"Yes, ma'am," replied Bessie, "I think I
know it."
"Then you see, ma'am it must be obstina-
cy with Bessie," said Esther, and if you
please I should like to punish her this
"I do not think it is obstinacy, Esther," re-
plied Mrs. Baker. "Go on, Bessie, at any
other verse you please."



After a little pause, Bessie, with an effort,
closing her eyes, resolutely began,
"We cannot tell who next may fall
Beneath thy chastening rod,
One must be first-but let us all
Prepare to meet our God."
And she continued to the end.
Mrs. Baker said nothing more, but told Bes-
sie she might sit down. Esther thought that
Mrs. Baker humoured Bessie's strange whims,
but she made no remark. Soon after Mrs.
Baker left.
"Only look at Bessie Gray," whispered Ann
Roberts to Susan Morris; "how stupid she
is; she has been all the morning over her
sum, though I know she can do it well enough.
She has been crying over it the last ten min-
utes. Look there, she dries her tears, and
thinks nobody sees her."
"Well, she can't help it, Ann," said Susan,
"she can't learn like you, she is dull; that's
not her fault."



Ann here moved so as Bessie could hear
her, and in a louder tone observed to Susan,
"I say, Susan, let us sing those pretty lines,

Is vexation,
Division is as bad,
The Rule of Three
Doth puzzle me,
And Practice drives me mad.

Or I should rather say,
Is vexation,
SDivision makes us sigh,
The Rule of Three
Doth puzzle we,
And Practice makes us cry.
Poor thing !" continued she in a pitiful tone,

"shall I help it ? Oh, no, it can do any thing;
it can find out squares and thingums, which
we dull ones can't understand."
Ann then returned to Susan, and continued,
SI would not be as stupid as Bessie for some-
thing; and she has no sense or spirit in her;
if she had, she would make more of herself




than she does, and not be the laugh of the
school as she is. Nobody observes it, but Bes-
sie does learn, though she is dull."
But Mrs. Baker observes it, Ann," replied
her friend, and even you sometimes apply to
I!" cried Ann, with a laugh; I like a
little fun when I apply to Bessie. Bessie Gray
is no conjuror surely."
Susan thought, and wished to observe, that'
Bessie was kind and good, and often before
Ann even, in her lessons; but Susan was
what is called afraid of Ann, and therefore
finding her first defence of Bessie so unwel-
come, she held her tongue. She thus suffer-
ed Ann to feel and express, and probably to
encourage, a harsh and untrue opinion of Bes-
sie. A few quiet words from Susan might
have made a difference, but Susan was afraid.
Nothing is more common and yet more cow-
ardly than such conduct. We have a great
* 6
'r s


many directions in the Bible, about helping
" the poor," the innocent," and the oppress-
ed." Many think they never have an oppor-
tunity of doing such things all their lives, be-
cause perhaps they are poor themselves, or
ignorant, or have no power. But there are
ways of helping the poor, the innocent, and
the oppressed, that are open to every body,
sometimes even to children. Susan had here
an opportunity. She knew that Bessie was
"innocent," yet she suffered Ann to treat Bes-
sie and speak of her as if she were in some
sense unworthy. This is a behaviour of which
children of really good feelings would be
ashamed. It was not as though Ann had
been Susan's superior in any way, when it
might have been improper for Susan to speak;
but Ann and Susan were not only equals, but
Susan was the elder. Of course Ann in the
present case was the worst of the two, because
Ann had been positively bad; she had quite



gone out of her way to be unkind, and had
betrayed other feelings quite as unchristian;
yet Ann could answer readily any question that
any lady asked her on the nature and punish-
ment of sin. She could quote in a moment
such a verse as,
"To do to others as I would
That they should do to me,
Will make me honest, kind, and good,
As children ought to be."
And yet it never properly entered her head,
that in feeling as she often did towards Bes-
sie, she was not "kind," and was sinning
against another in thought, word, and deed.
But though it did not enter her head, it did
enter her heart. She often felt a sore and un-
comfortable sensation after little incidents and
conversations, which she found it a hard mat-
ter to get over; yet she did get over it, and
nobody knew any thing about it She did
get over it, and did just the same, or worse,
again and again.



We must now return to Bessie and her
sums. Perhaps somebody already suspects
that Bessie's sums had nothing to do with her
tears, and if so, then somebody is right. The
truth was, that poor Bessie grieved over the
loss of little Miriam more than any in the
school. When they were at school together,
these two little girls were very good friends.
Miriam Coles was quick and lively. She was
a year or two older than Bessie, and much
forwarder. She had befriended Bessie in the
worst part of her trials during the first months
she was at school. Bessie had learned many
of her letters by asking Miriam their names,
whenever the form of one struck her as like
some of her fancies. After Bessi had got
over the drudgery of learning to read, she ad-
vanced rapidly, and Miriam was surprised to
find the little girl much more her equal in
learning, or rather understanding, than she
had expected. Insensible these two children



became friends. Ann Roberts used constant-
ly to laugh at Miriam for choosing the dullest
girl in the school for her companion. "We
hear," said she, that 'birds of a feather flock
together,' but it is not so here, for Miriam is
sharp and brisk enough."
Ann might be in jest in such sayings, and
mean no harm, but she was going the way to
part chief friends, which we know is account-
ed a sin in the Bible. Certainly she would
have succeeded if Miriam had been a differ-
ent sort of child. Miriam was lively, but not
thoughtless or unkind, and she only smiled
at Ann's sallies, instead of being laughed out
of her friend as many have been under simi-
lar circumstances. Miriam, though so brisk
and lively, was a delicate child. She came
from the farther part of the village; so when
the weather was rough she used to bring her
dinner to school, and when Bessie could do
as she pleased, and was not wanted at home,



she did the same, simply to keep Miriam
company. At these times these little girls
talked of many things pleasant to them--
their flowers and their little books, their friends
and their companions. They liked well
enough to play when others were with them,
and wished it; but when they were alone
together, they generally sat and talked, and
looked over their books. Sometimes they
had more serious talk: perhaps a text they
both had to learn, or a line in one of their
hymns, would lead to this; or perhaps it so
happened without any thing of this kind to
make them begin. One conversation they
once had, fixed itself very firmly in Bessie's
mind, and caused her many serious thoughts.
It occurred a year before this time, before
Miriam began to decline. Since Mrs. Baker
came, it had been the custom to read every
morning some of the psalms for the day. It
happened to be the 6th day of the month. It


also was Monday, and Mrs. Baker had been
at the school, and had asked a few questions
on the psalms, as usual. On the 7th verse of
the 34th psalm, she asked, "Do we ever hear
of angels delivering those who fear God in
the Bible ?"
All children, at least nearly all, have a
great desire to know something about angels
-what they are like, what are their forms,
whether they can see and hear us, and wheth-
er they can be quite near us, and we all the
time know nothing about it. Most children,
I say, think of such things, but these two lit-
tle girls happened to talk as well as think;
and as they said so many things which many
others think, I will relate the whole conversa-
tion. Miriam began abruptly with, "Bessie,
do you ever think of angels ?"
Oh, yes," said Bessie, "indeed I do; I
think of angels almost every night; and it
was so strange that Mrs, Baker should ask


us questions on that verse to-day, for when
we read, before she came, I was thinking a
great deal about angels in the Bible, and was
fancying what they could be like."
"I wonder what they are like !" said Miri-
am, "I often wonder about that. How I
should like to know-should not you, Bes-
sie ?"
"Yes, very much," said Bessie.
"I wonder if very learned clever men know,"
continued Miriam; "do you think such a
clergyman as Mr. Baker knows ? he is very
learned, and knows so much."
Yes," replied Bessie, but I remember a
hymn which seems to say differently; and
Bessie repeated the following verses:
No wisdom keen, no genius bright,
The unseen world can scan,
A veil conceals alike us light
From babe and wisest man.
Not goodness even, power nor strength,
Can draw that veil aside,
For only Death's strong hand at length
Cad ope an entrance wide."



Both little girls were silent for a space; for
though Miriam had never heard these lines be-
fore, her mind was prepared to understand
their meaning, and Bessie repeated them so
clearly, that it was as easy to follow their
sense as if the book lay before them.
"Yet," presently observed Miriam," I should
like to know all about angels and heaven : I
always like the verses in my hymns that
speak of them;-do you, Bessie?"
"I can always learn those hymns better
than any," said Bessie; I like to think of
angels being near us, though we cannot see
them. You know the Cradle Hymm begins,
'Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed!'

And the hymn we say every night is sure to
remind us of the angels who are near to watch
over us."
"Just say the words, Bessie," said Miriam.
"You know the words, don't you ?" asked



the other little girl, surprised ; "you say them
every night."
"Yes, I know I do," replied Miriam, a little
ashamed, "but I do not attend as you do.
You never say your prayers or any thing
without thinking of them."
You are quite wrong there, Miriam," said
Bessie, in her turn ashamed; but this is the
verse I mean :
'I lay my body down to sleep;
Let angels guard my head,
And through the hours of darkness keep
Their watch around my bed.'
After I have said that, I cannot help thinking
of angels, and how it is they can be near, and
how it is they can take care of us, and we not
see them and hear them."
"I never observed that verse so much be-
fore," said Miriam; "it is almost the same
meaning as the verse in the psalms which we
had to-day: The angel of the Lord tarrieth
round about them that. fear Him, and deliv-



ereth them.' But, Bessie, how strange it is
that you know this hymn so well. Don't
you remember how long you were learning
it? I thought you never would say it. I
learned it much quicker, and yet now you
know it better and understand it better than
me, or even Ann."
Bessie said nothing.
Miriam continued, Why are you so long
learning, Bessie ?"
Bessie, after a pause, gave the answer that
always satisfied herself and all about her,
and replied, with some shame and pain, "Be-
cause I am so stupid. You know every body
sees how dull I am, like nobody else."
But then you always understand, Bessie;
and sometimes you learn so quick,", actedd
Oh," cried Bessie, it is easy enough to
learn, when we understand a thing. I learn-
ed that verse about angels very quick ; it was



easy, because I understood it; but I am so
dull that there are a great many verses that
I don't understand, and then I cannot learn
or remember them at all."
Then I suppose you did not understand
many lines in this hymn, for how long yoh
were !" said Miriam.
I could not understand the first verse,"
returned Bessie, "and even now I find it
very hard to keep on understanding it."-
And she repeated it:

'And now another day is gone,
I'll sing my Maker's praise;
My comforts every hour make known
His providence and grace.'

1 was so long before I could at all under-
......'make known
Hi evidence and grace.'"

And then, continued Miriam, "you
would say for a long time, like many others,

' My sins how great they sum!' '



"Yes, I know," replied the little girl,
" others soon corrected it, but I never could tell
whether the word should be 'they' or their,'
till I understood that it meant, 'How great
is the sum of my sins;' and then I never
made a mistake afterwards. Then, in the
last verse, I could not see the meaning of,
Since thou wilt not remove;'
I used always to think, remove what ?
This is so very hard to remember; don't you:
find it so?"
Oh, Bessie," said Miriam, I do not think
of rny hymns and verses as much as you do.
I wish I was like you, but it always makes
me try to attend more when I talk to you.
You never learn without thinking on your
I am obliged to think on them so much
more than others," said Bessie, because I am
so slow and dull. How quick Ann is !"
"Yes, but in the end Ann does not say her



lessons as well as you, or understand them
half as well. I always wonder they call you
dull, for though you are slow you are sure,
and you never forget, while every body else,
even Ann, forgets, and often answers quite
"That is because Ann guesses; which is
a pity," said Bessie.
You never guess," observed Miriam.
No, I am not clever enough to guess,"
replied the other. "I am obliged to know
things really, or I could not answer at all."
Well, that is true, Bessie; Ann is clever,
and guesses, and is so often right, by memory
and chance, that the few times she is wrong
are not observed; others, who are ignorant,
but not so clever and quick, are soon obliged
to give up guessing, if they try to guess; and
if they do not, they are silent, and never an-
swer at all, except they are made."
I am sure the right way of doing things



is the best and easiest in the end," observed
Bessie, little thinking she was making a very
good remark, not only as to lessons, but as to
many other things. "And I never should
like to guess. It does not seem true to guess
and guess, as some do."
It does seem like making believe that we
are cleverer than we are; I never thought of
that before, but I am glad I never guessed,"
replied Miriam.
In this way the little girls often talked, and
Bessie felt far happier to sit thus with her
friend, than to be playing about; though she
often did play about as others did. Miriam
was of a much gayer turn, though she had
not the health and strength of other vil-
lage children for their plays and pastimes.
After she became ill, she showed a much
more thoughtful and serious temper, as was
to be expected, for she had always been a
good, obedient child, and had a great desire



to love and serve God, and become one of the
lambs of the flock of Christ her Saviour.
This visible change in Miriam affected Bes-
sie greatly. It seemed to her sad; for she had
been so used to see Miriam gay and lively,
that there appeared something out of place in
finding her more serious than Bessie herself.
Yet Bessie liked to hear her talk over the
psalms and chapters that happened to be read.
This lasted but a short time, for soon after
poor Miriam fell ill, she declined so rapidly as
almost immediately to keep her bed, and she
became so weak that Bessie was not allowed
to go and talk to her as before. This was a
greater grief to Bessie than any orie suspect-
ed. The thought of Miriam often quite filled
her mind, after she had heard any painful
news concerning her friend's decline. She
often longed to see her and be near her. She
thought if only they would allow her to do so,
she should do no harm-she would either sit



by quietly, or pick out chapters, verses, or
hymns, which were Miriam's especial favour-
ites. But the doctor had said that such things
would do Miriam harm, so Bessie could not
.go. Bessie however knew that she might
pray for her friend, though she could not see
her, and though she was but a child, she tried
to do so. She hardly knew how to pray for
her, or what to pray for, but often she would
kneel and pray as well as she could, with the
tears streaming down her face. After a time
Miriam lay on her bed almost insensible, and
without motion. It was a sad thing to see the
gentle little girl. Miriam had been a fair, ro-
sy, merry child, though never strong.-Now
she had lost her bloom; her cheek was as
pale as marble, and her face so altered, that,
like her character, it seemed to belong to one
many years older. Her frame wasted away
every day, so that a stranger in the room
would scarcely have known that there was



any one lying upon the bed, though it was a
mattress. The doctor left off giving her any
medicine, and the poor little girl seemed to
live without eating. Yet though she appear-
ed insensible, whatever feelings she showed'
were always good and gentle ones: and if
those who saw her wept, their tears were not
altogether melancholy. It was, as I said, a
sad thing to see the dear child lie week 'after
week and month after month, as she did; but
those who loved her were able to find two es-
pecial consolations in her case : one was, that
she had always been good and obedient, and
through her illness had been pious and uncom-
plaining ; for though she was but young, she
had shown, as far as she could, true faith and
trust in her Saviour, and had borne all that
He had seen fit to lay upon her, as from His
hand, with a heart thankful and resigned.
The other consolation was, that now she had
no pain, but lay between life and death, van-


fishing away, as it were, into a happier home,
where she would never more know pain or
sorrow, and where sin and misery are banish-
ed far away.
No one thought more of these things re-
specting Miriam, than Bessie, though she
was so young. The few times that Bessie
had seen her friend after she fell ill, Miriam
had talked so much of sin and its nature, that
Bessie could not but feel more than ever
) serious.-" It is not, Bessie, that I know more
about sin than I did before," said she, "but I
think more of many things I used to do, and
let others do, without caring, as much as I
do now, whether they were right or wrong.
I think I should be more particular now,"
added she, with tears; you, Bessie, were
always more so than me, so you cannot un-
derstand how I feel."
Such speeches as these dwelt on Bessie's
memory, and made her think what a good,.



religious child Miriam had been; but, more
than all, the conversation they had had about
angels excited her. After she had lost Miri-
am, she used to remember and treasure up
every word. It seemed to her as though she
had once talked to an angel. For," thought
she, now dear Miriam knows, perhaps, all
about heaven and angels, and that is what
she wished, even when she was quite well.
How happy she must be! And now, though
a poor ignorant little child, how much more
she knows than the wisest man in the whole
world !" Then she repeated to herself the
lines she had said to Miriam during their
conversation, beginning,
No wisdom keen, no genius bright."

' How true that is," thought she,
'Only Death's strong hand, at length,
Can ope an entrance wide.'
How little we both thought that it would be
so with Miriam when we talked together."-



Then she remembered her feelings at Miri-
am's funeral, when she felt an impulse of
leaping down into the grave, as if that would
lead her once again to her friend, and to the
knowledge of all she desired-and her tears
fell fast. She was roused from these thoughts
by hearing a voice, which was Ann Roberts',
in a jeering tone, close by her, repeat,

Is vexation,
Division is as bad,
The Rule of Three
Doth puzzle me,
And Practice drives me mad.

Poor Bessie now remembered she had her
sum before her, and found her slate was wet
with tears. Some of the figures were quite
effaced; she was ashamed to apply for them
again, because of her tears, and she got into
disgrace that day for having neglected her
You will now be able to judge about Bessle



better than Esther or Ann Roberts, because
you have before you all that was in her head
and her mind at that moment, which was an
extraordinary one for Bessie. She was not
accustomed to let any thoughts or fancies in-
terfere with her lessons; she always drove
them away till she had time for them; but
now she forgot to drive them away, her mind
was so engrossed with Miriam and all the
serious thoughts which the little of her dear
little friend brought. And, again, the less
others thought of Miriam, the more she did;
she could not help it. She could not bear to
hear one child after another repeat the hymn,
"Death has been here, and borne away
A sister from our side,"

as carelessly as if there was no particular
meaning in the words,-some smiling if they
made a mistake, or after the last line, turning
to their place and whispering and laughing
to their companions just as usual. Bessie


had loved Miriam, and had not forgotten her,
as others did, so she could not do so; and if
it had been any other child in the school,
about whom she had not cared as much,
Bessie could not have taken it as most of the
others seemed to do.
It does not seem necessary to account far-
ther for Bessie's hesitation in repeating her
hymn to Mrs. Baker.



ONE day Bessie was sent by her mother to
a neighbour's, with a packet of grocery which
Mrs. Gray had been commissioned to bring
home from the neighboring town. It was
just after school time, and a lovely day; one
of those unexpectedly hot suns which some-
times occur for a short time in the month of



April. Bessie's packet was heavy, and she
stopped while she untied her favourite cloak,
and hung it over her arm. After this, she
walked on with a lighter step, meeting the
fresh breeze, and thinking how pleasant
it was to feel summer coming back again.
Sally O'Neile, the neighbour to whom she was
going, lived at the bottom of a short lane,
where were two or three cottages. She had
turned some steps down this lane, when she
saw Ann Roberts running towards her very
fast. She knew that Ann had undertaken to
see little Fanny O'Neile home that day, as
Mrs. O'Neile was out, and the elder girl,. Em-
ma, stayed at home to take care of the baby,
a boy not two years old. Bessie thought,
" What a hurry Ann is in to get home again;"
but as Ann came nearer, Bessie perceived that
something unusual must have happened.
Ann was flying along, rather than running;
her bonnet hanging back by the strings, her


cloak streaming far behind in the air, her
hands stretched out before her, and her eyes
gleaming, strangely terrified. Altogether, she
was a wild-looking figure, and enough to
alarm all who saw her. As she passed Bes-
sie, she more loudly shrieked out something
which Bessie could not hear. Bessie paused
and almost stood still at the moment Ann shot
by. But the pause she made was scarcely
perceptible. Bessie had thought and presence
of mind; her very slowness was of use to her
on such an occasion, for as she was not quick
to understand all her lessons the very first mo-
ment, so she was not quick to feel exactly the
same as those about her felt. She was able
to think, that is to say, rather than be fright-
ened. Some little girls, for instance, would
have been so alarmed at seeing Ann behave
in such a singular manner, that, either from
fear at they knew not what, or from a sort of
curiosity, they would have turned and run


after her. Bessie, on the contrary, by not al
lowing herself to be frightened or bewildered,
perceived, by many small signs, that whatever
danger there was, was behind Ann; that Ann
was running away from it, perhaps seeking
for help, and as she thought this, she in a mo-
ment set down her heavy parcel, and began
running onward as fast, though not as wildly,
as Ann herself. What can it be ?" thought
she; how I wish I could have heard what
it was Ann cried out as she passed me." As
she thought this, the tone of Ann's words re-
turned to her ear, as is often the case after a
sound itself is gone; and again, in more and
more alarm, Bessie thought, Surely she said,
' Fire! fire '" But there were no flames or
smoke to be seen, though now she was close
to the cottages.
Bessie, at this moment, began to hear most
frightful screams; all at once they seemed to
burst upon her, for she had been running so


fast, and so anxiously, that the sounds did
not reach her ear so soon as might have been.
She rushed past the closed door of one of the
cottages, and made for the one where she
guessed the mischief was. In half an instant
she was in the room, and a scene presented
itself which would have daunted many an
older heart than Bessie's. There stood Em-
ma and Fanny O'Neile, both looking the
image of terror and helplessness, screaming
and shrieking at the highest pitch of their
voices. There they stood motionless; their
eyes fixed upon, and following, in the wildest
affright, an object which was almost enough
to excuse their terror and their helplessness.
This object appeared to be nothing but a col-
umn of flames; but, unlike the two sisters,
who were apparently chained to the earth, it
flitted about, here and there, in constant mo-,
tion, uttering sounds, which, though faint
compared with the two girls, at once assured



Bessie that the figure was none other than
the. unfortunate little Robert, though she
could trace nothing of the form of a child.
Bessie, without a pause, almost without trem-
bling hands, unfolded her cloak from her arm,
flew after the poor little boy, and entirely en-
closed him, flames and all, in her capacious
cloak. For some seconds she had to fight
with the flames, which seemed resolved still
to burst forth, and worked their way here and
there, in spite of all her efforts. With her
hands and her cloth cloak, she at length beat
them out and stifled them, till nothing but
smoke remained.
All this takes a long time to relate; but, in
reality, there was not one minute's space from
the moment that Bessie passed Ann, and that
when the former entered the cottage. In a
few more seconds the flames were entirely
extinguished, and now perhaps was the mo-
ment of the greatest trial for Bessie. Herself


was nearly choked with the smoke, and the
exertions she had made almost overpowered
her; but worse than both was her dread of
the state of the poor little boy. She feared to
withdraw her cloak and look upon him; she
thought it quite impossible that he should be
living, or if living, that he could long survive.
His sisters crowded over him, while Bessie,
now in great agitation, began to unloose her
cloak from about the poor child.
The first view was very alarming. His
clothes on one side were nearly entirely burnt
off, and on the other, as black and tender as
tinder. After a little time, he recovered from
his fright enough to hold up his arm, and cry,
"Arm, arm!"
Bessie had never seen a burn before, but
supposed this was one, though it did not look
any thing like as bad as she expected. The
injury to the arm was the worst, but not the
only one; he was badly burnt, but not near



as much as might have been expected. He
had on some thick clothes, and over all a
frock of some woollen material, which re-
pelled the fire for a considerable time. Be-
sides this, his mother had listened to the
advice of Mrs. Baker (who had given her an
old dress for the children's winter garments),
and had made them long sleeves for the win-
ter. But for these happy accidents, the poor
child must have been most dreadfully burnt,
if not have lost his life.
After a little time, Ann returned withBev-
eral of the neighbours. Bessie, after seeing
Robert safe in Nurse Holloway's hands, got
quietly away in the confusion, as she remem-
bered that she had left her parcel on the
ground in the road. Perhaps in their haste
and confusion none of the neighbours had seen
it, for there it was still, and Bessie, considering
that the cottage was in great commotion at
that moment, carried it back to her mother's.


Fire was not the only danger that poor
Robert had escaped. It seemed that his clothes
caught fire while Emma ran out to meet Ann
and Fanny, as the two latter returned from
school. They all stood gossipping and laugh-
ing outside the door, for what seemed to them
a minute, but what was probably much lon-
ger. Ann's face was turned to the cottage;
she was the first to perceive what had hap-
pened. She rushed in at the door, and with
a sort of half presence of mind, she ran to the
fire, i~ized a kettle of water, and proceeded
to follow the poor child around the room, en-
deavouring to direct the stream from the
mouth of the kettle upon the increasing
flames. Happily her fright, and the constant
movement of both parties, rendered her efforts
ineffectual, and presently the steam from the
water, as it lay on the floor, made her sensible
that her plan was a mistaken one. At this
point, more and more alarmed and incapaci-



tated, she flew out of the cottage, screaming,
as I have told, and crying for assistance.
However, after the first excitement had sub-
sided, Bessie having disappeared, and Ann
being present, the tale of Ann's exploit got
abroad-the water all about seeming to bear
witness that Ann's presence of mind had
saved the child's life. Ann knew that she
left the child in flames, but was not un-
willing to believe that her device had been
of some use; and as she did not know how
the flames were at length put out, she did
not stop all the questions and remarks to ex-
plain exactly how the thing happened, and
what had been her own part.
School time now came. Bessie was there.
Ann and many others were absent, in the
midst of all the bustle in and about Sally
O'Neile's cottage. Ann was a very great
person. Every body was praising her. Ev-
ery body was saying she had saved a child's


life, and how grateful poor Mrs. O'Neile would
be to her to her dying day. Ann, without
much effort, was persuaded she had done
some great thing. She was confused and
pleased, and did not seem to have time to
consider what she had actually done or not
done, much less to explain this to others.
But Ann was of a disposition to feel very dif-
ferently, had things been the other way. If
she had really saved the child's life, as Bes-
sie had done, or had she only helped to do so,
and had heard the deed given to another, or
not given to herself, she would have found
time to remember, and opportunity to explain,
that they were all making a great mistake,
for it was she who had done this and that
and acted so and so. This was because she
felt it so very pleasant to be praised and
made much of. She liked that better than
relating or hearing things exactly as they
were; that is, she loved her own praise bet-



ter than the truth, or, as we have it in a text,
she loved the praise of man better than the
praise of God.
Next day school time came again. Bessie
was not there. Ann was, and much again
was made of her. Every one wondered why
Bessie was not at school. It was found that
she had gone out somewhere with her mother.
Next morning Bessie was absent again.
Mrs. Baker came in to give some orders about
needlework. It was just as the school was
assembling in the afternoon. Mrs. Baker sat
talking with Esther, and she said she would
wait till the children all came in.
Mrs. Baker had been seeing the poor burnt
child, who was going on satisfactorily, and
had heard the praises of Ann's conduct which
were afloat in that part of the village. She
tried to get a connected account of the acci-
dent from Mrs. O'Neile. Emma was the
only one who knew about it, but she was so



frightened and bewildered at the time, that no-
body attended much to what she said, and ma-
ny laughed at her assertion that Bessie Gray
came and put out the fire, as a fancy of her
own. One woman, however, said, she did
think that Bessie was there when they first
came into the cottage; but it seemed impos-
sible; else, why did she run away directly?
Mrs. Baker asked if the fire was put out
with the water.
"Oh no, ma'am," said Sally O'Neile,
"they choose to say so, but it was no such
thing. Sure enough, the water in the kettle
was boiling hot by that time, and the poor
babe would have been scalded to death. An
hour afterwards the water in the kettle was
hot enough. Besides, ma'am, I believe my
Emma that it was Bessie came and put out
the fire. That child, ma'am, is all but a lit-
tle angel to my mind. She was the comfort.
of poor little Miriam, my sister says, who lives



By giving up Bessie's name, she knew she lost
all chance of keeping her present fame. But
then by telling, she should please Mrs. Baker
and be very good. Besides, Bessie was sure
to tell all about it when she came to school
again; so she decided to tell, and replied,
" Please, ma'am, I don't know, but I think it
was Bessie Gray."
"Then I am less than ever pleased with
you, Ann," said Mrs. Baker, to poor Ann's
great surprise. If you had the least suspi-
cion that another had done it, it was more
and more mean of you to do as you have
"Please, ma'am, Bessie has not been at
school these two days," said Ann, in a tone as
though this accounted for all, though she her-
self hardly knew how she meant it to be an
Yes, I know it," replied Mrs. Baker,
Though I suppose you do not know the rea-


son. The reason is, that her hands were so
scorched in putting out the flames, that the
doctor to whom her mother took her yester-
day, advised her to keep at home a few
This showed that Mrs. Baker was in pos-
session of the whole story. Bessie and her
mother had told her all, and the state of Bes-
sie's hands proved how arduous her task had
been, and how unflinchingly she had perform-
ed it. Mrs. Baker was surprised at a little girl
like Bessie, and one too so quiet, and appa-
rently slow, showing so much thought and en-
ergy, and she had questioned her about it.
"How was it, Bessie," said she, "that you
were not frightened, like Ann ?"
Please, ma'am," replied Bessie, "because
I did not think of being frightened then."
"What did you think of, Bessie?" asked
Mrs. Baker.
Please, ma'am, I thought of getting



to see what was the matter as fast as I
"And how came you to think of your
cloak ?" again asked Mrs. Baker.
Please, ma'am, from the story you told us
one day about playing with fire," said Bessie.
"Mrs. Hammond put out the flames with her
cloak, and I remembered it directly. I thought
Ann had cried Fire,' and I was very glad of
my large cloak."
Here Bessie's eyes, which she was once so
fond of shutting up, gave a certain look,
while she herself made a movement, which
Mrs. Baker understood in a moment to mean,
that the little girl remembered Mrs. Baker's
kindness about the cloak, and that she wished
to express her thanks.
"Bessie has often said, ma'am," added her
mother, how glad she was of her large cloak,
and of the hot day and the packet she had
with her. The heavy parcel and the heat



obliged her to take off her cloak and hang it
on her arm, so that all was ready, and she is
-so grateful to you for helping her to buy a
large, thick cloak, instead of the small ones
girls generally have."
"It is indeed wonderful," replied the lady,
"to see how happily slight circumstances
sometimes unite together to help us in cases
of danger. Without these little particulars
which you mention, we can see no human
means of the poor little boy's life having been
saved. At any rate, he would have suffered
most dreadfully, and perhaps for life."
Very true, as you say, ma'am," observed
Mrs. Gray, and these things come to make
us remember that there is One above who is
always watching over us; and I do think,
ma'am, that Bessie, young as she is, lays this
to heart as much as those older and sharper
than she is. She is gone now, ma'am, so I
may praise her, for her father and I both feel


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