Citation
The story of an apple

Material Information

Title:
The story of an apple
Creator:
Campbell, Pamela
Gilbert, John, 1817-1897 ( Illustrator )
B. Bradley & Co ( Binder )
Ticknor, Reed, and Fields ( Publisher )
Thurston, Torry, and Emerson ( Printer )
Baker, Smith & Andrew ( Engraver )
Place of Publication:
Boston
Publisher:
Ticknor, Reed, and Fields
Manufacturer:
Thurston, Torry, and Emerson
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
134 p., [4] leaves of plates : ill. ; 17 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Apples -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Generosity -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Poverty -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Nature -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1853 ( rbbin )
B. Bradley & Co -- Binders' tickets (Binding) -- 1853 ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1853
Genre:
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) ( rbbin )
Binders' tickets (Binding) ( rbbin )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Attributed to Lady Pamela Campbell in NUC pre-1956, v. 92, p. 277.
General Note:
Bound in red rib cloth; stamped in blind and gold.
General Note:
Illustrations engraved by Baker, Smith & Andrew.
General Note:
"Illustrated by John Gilbert."
Funding:
Brittle Books Program

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026627701 ( ALEPH )
15581088 ( OCLC )
ALG3902 ( NOTIS )

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Full Text


e/} ae Bi
eee Ah &

- I. r a .
ny *

in

: :
“

“Mrs. Parsons now entered, carrying a bullet pudding.”*



_ THE

STORY OF AN APPLE.

ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN GILBERT.

Sounkyo

BOSTON:
TICKNOR, REED, AND FIELDS.

M DCCC LIIT.



THURSTON, TORRY, AND EMERSON, PRINTERS.



THE

STORY OF AN APPLE.

In one of the loveliest parts of Sussex, a
gentleman had planted extensive orchards.
It was in one of these, pleasantly situated
on the outskirts of the beautiful beech-
woods of St. Leonard’s Forest, sloping
towards the South Downs, that I first saw
the light and sipped the dew upon my
parent tree, sheltered by the tall hedge
that enclosed his grounds. ‘This tree was
one of the oldest in the neighborhood, and
from the excellence of its fruit, had,
probably, originally suggested to my mas-
ter the idea of enlarging his orchards. A

light, good soil, a southern aspect, and a
1



6 ; THE STORY OF

pure air, had certainly contributed to this
peculiar excellence ; but if a little honest
pride may be allowed me, I may add, that
our family has been well known in most
parts of England, our tree being one of
the true old Ribstone Pippins, first natu-
ralized in Yorkshire, having come over,
like many other fine old families, at the
time of the Conquest, introduced by
William the Conqueror from Normandy,
and by same of his people planted near
one of the old abbeys which he had be-
stowed on his grasping followers. Perhaps
such benefits agd innocent endowments
of trees, plants, flowers, and even arts, are
among the extenuations of war ;

which appear

wars
to me to execute among
men just such mischief and ravage as
hurricanes and storms cause among our
vegetable tribes. Many a winged seed,
atid useful berry have been drifted into
bare and desolate places by these painful
_ providences, and have grown up pleasant
to the eye and good for food. Ours was



AN APPLE. - oy i

an old family, and though. rT well know we
are not so far-famed as the ancient Eve
_ Apple, the nearly extinct Golden Pippins,
besideS other noble stocks, I may be par-
doned if I remember that we rank in that
middle state of society, where, perhaps,
most respectability, usefulness, wOGEeT AON:
and true happiness may be found.

I have heard wise men: quote a wise

prayer, ——

‘Give me neither poverty nor riches.’

and I have assented to if truth, when I
have looked upon the -iniserable acidity
of ‘the poor crab that grew in the hedge
that enclosed our rich orchard, and then
again upon the sickly delicacy and over-
weening pride of a golden pippin, within
a few trees of us on the other side; and
also on a peach that required a wall for
its support, in the adjoining garden, being
a stranger, and accustomed to warmer ,
skies. This peach, indeed, had some ex-—
cuse for its delicacy, whilst the golden



8 +. HE STORY OF

pippin could dllese no ) such apology ; ; itis
an apple which our good master, in my
opinion, ever thought too much of. Con-
sidering the pains he took with this tree,
‘ the last of his race, as he would term it,
a poor return he had for his trouble;
small, puny, and few, were the apples ; but
I was surprised to find that scarcity, or
what is called rarity, does very much en-
hance the value men set upon such things
as they possess.

There are few things more delightful
among the m@@my pleasant objects that
surround men in this fair world, than an
orchard in the spring, when the sweet air
is laden with the breath of its blossoms,
passing the odors of Eden. My attention
was first drawn to this upon a bright
April morning, as [I listened to the conver-
sation of Reginald, my master’s eldest son,
a sea-faring boy, as he lay beneath our old
gnarled tree, then bowing its brown and
rugged branches, wreathed with delicate
pink and white blossoms; his sister Alice



AN APPLE. _— | 9

sat with his head on her lap, and as they
talked, a light breeze blew a snowy shower
of the tender petals all over the two chil-
dren’s faces. He was telling the girl
wonders of the’ marvellous sights a had
seen in .the far seas.

‘The sweetness of these blossoris, Al-
ice, puts me so in mind of the Spice
Islands. We began to smell them in the
ship just at dawn, and then we knew we
must be near land; and I thought of
home at the sound of “ Land;” and this.
very grass bank; this very orchard some-
how came into my mind.’

The boy had, perhaps, never noticed the
fragrance of these common flowers floating
around him, and far had he sailed before
he found out how many simple pleasures
are about us every day, and every hour,
and how little we notice them because they
are so easily attained.

My master had five children, and it was
amongst them as they played about in the



10 —. THE STORY OF

orchard that i made most of my. observa-
tions upon men and manners.

It diverted me to watch their delight in»
the early days when primroses and daisies
were scarce, and only just beginning to
peep out here and there, among the fresh
green blades of grass. They would al-
most quarrel for them; three or four of
the children would run to get first, till
they were fit to die for want of breath,
tumbling over each other, snatching at the
flowers, and nearly crushing them, in their
eagerness for the first violet, or the first
crocus! Presently, when the sun brought
out ‘his sweet family’ of flowers in abun-
dance, the grass being set with primroses
like stars in the heavens for multitude,
and I expected the children would be ten-
fold more delighted, I saw these strange
creatures walk over them almost without
‘notice, or if they did pick a whole lapful of
them in their busy idleness, suddenly they
wearied of them, cast them about, and left
them to wither, without a thought. I felt



AN APPLE. _ . fl

quite sorry, and a regretful fellow-feeling
would come over me at the sight ;—— not
but what I had. sense enough to know,
flowers must needs fade like everything
else, but it seemed sad they should be
thrown away without any use being made
of them. | a

My master’s family consisted of his
wife, the kind and gentle mother of these
children, and the friend of*every one. The
eldest boy had been made a sailor, rather
against his father’s wish; but by reason
of his being a great, favorite with his un-
cle, my master’s only brother, who was an
Admiral, and had no children of his own,
it was thought an advantage to the lad,
and I heard the people say, it went very
hard with my mistress to part with her
son; but as he was called Reginald after
his uncle, there was no more to be said
against it; moreover, the boy himself
seemed inclined to the sea. He was my
favorite amongst them, which is curious
enough, that I, being so stationary in my



12 , “THE STORY OF

habits naturally, should most love a crea-
ture, who had seen so much, and sailed so
far. I believe it does fall out so some-
times, that affection goes by contrast ; but
indeed he was of a joyous and kindly
mature, besides being such a traveller.
Alice and Margaret, his sisters, were good
and pleasant girls twins, very like each
other in _perdn, but differently disposed in
their inclinatiofs ; Alice had great steadi-
ness, Margaret had livelier spirits. The
next in age was Frank, the little farmer,
as they called him ; he was only six years
old, so strong, and hearty, and indepen-
dent, you would have fancied him older, as
he trudged about in his Holland smock-
frock all day long, out in the orchard, or
the fields, now driving the geese to the
stubbles, now seeing the cattle foddered,
or the horses taken to water, swinging on
the high five-barred gates, riding the
plough-horses as they came from the fur-
rows, with the loosened traces dragging
after them; and it was Alice alone who





AN APPLE. > 13

could coax and lure him in to his book
and slate: many a good hour’s play, she
gave up to entice him to his duty, but no
one else had so much patience with Frank.

Bertha, the youngest of the five, was a
fair-haired little girl, who was the delight
of them all. The rest of the family con-
sisted of old Nurse Hinton, Stephen the
boy, and the cross cook,—@ut for the
scolding of this cook, oWfs would have
been a very quiet family. The orchard
being close to the garden on one side, and
the road to the farm-yard running directly
through it, I saw a great deal of them all.
Nurse Hinton and the children spent most
of the day among us; they had an arbor
in the corner which my master had made
for them, and furnished it with benches
and a table; we had bee-hives on the op-
posite side, sheltered from the bleak north.

I suppose I have seen as much of real
country life as any apple going. I cannot
help owning, however, that even in the
days of my bloom, the gairish day was



14 THE STORY OF

often too much for me; first there came
the loud voice of the cook as she
called up the cow-boy at sunrise, and
then the routing the poor cows out, then
her working at the pump as. if she
would work its handle out of its socket,
then her loud calling to the poultry till she
‘set them all in a cackle, then her driving
the dogs o and her lecturing Stephen.
all the time h such asperity as made
me shake on my bough; and though my
mistress said this was the cleverest cook
she ever had, I often wished her further,
for indeed she was most noisy.

The bees next began their humming,
and work, and buzzing — very stirring,
restless insects ; and after those, the birds
commenced their everlasting perching, and
hopping, and pecking: they often made
me wonder at their ceaseless fluttering, and
what pleasure they could find in it LI can-
not conceive. When they began to build
their nests, however, I found great delight
in watching them. On the highest branch,



AN APPLE, © 15

~just above.my head, a pair of chaffinches
laid the first. twig of a nest, which, for
compactness, neatness, warmth, and beauty,
when it was completed, few birds could
have excelled ; and they so cunningly in-
terlaced the wool and hair with moss, and
grey lichens, and liverworts, which in
their subtlety they had pinched: off our
own tree, that it was har iscern the
nest, so nearly did it resem the weather-
stained bark. It was well for them that
nature had taught them thus to conceal
themselves, for I am sorry to say, the
chief pastime in which Stephen, the
groom-boy, and cow-herd delighted, was
the stealing of birds’ nests, and their ex-
ample set both Reginald and Frank to do
the like; though these boys, being better
taught by their mother, contented them-
selves with discovering and looking at the
poor frightened birds, overmuch for their
comfort, indeed, as I knew by the terror
my friends the chaffinches expressed when
Reginald helped master Frank to climb up



16 | THE STORY OF

our tree to have a peep at the brood, who, |
foolish birds ! gaped for food, little knowing
their danger; for it was a hard matter to
prevent Frank from squeezing and finger-
ing the unfledged panting creatures, the
poor old birds all the while flying and
wheeling overhead, screaming piteously.
At last the boy came down, and the pa-
rents paci the brood with a worm or
two, and all still in that quarter.

I could not but reflect on this occasion
that my condition had some advantages,
though deprived of lively pleasures —
pleasures of the will, and of change of
place. I am sure [I have been quite
shocked to see dogs hunt a cat in a most
painful manner, till as the animal had
darted up the tree, I actually felt her
tremble and thrill with terror at her ene-
my, who yelped and barked after her at
the foot of the tree; then again I have
seen this very cat (Nurse Hinton’s cat,
that the children called Miss Ribs among
themselves ),— this soft, grey, sleek, well-



AN APPLE. ALT

fed cat, — I have seen her hunt a helpless,
harmless field-mouse that lived in our
hedge-bank, in avery cruel manner, and
worse still, I beheld her tear a blackbird
to pieces, with peculiar ferocity, and gnaw
and mumble it as she devoured it, in a way
that made me quiver to my core. :
Birds, too, have some propensities to de-
struction ; robins, particu. pick up
their worms, and deliberately devour them ;
I turned quite sick to see the reptiles twirl-
ing and writhing round their bills. I was
thankful my nature was not carnivorous,
though I made allowance for these instincts
when I saw fowls feeding upon the cater-
pillars, so noxious to our own leaves, and
to the cabbages that grew hard by, in regu-
lar and goodly rows. I took the liberty of
thus suggesting to my friends, the Early
Yorks, the superior advantages of our pla-
cid destinies, for it pained me to hear them
murmuring at the monotony and tameness
of this existence ; planted in good soil, well
trenched, carefully earthed up, what had



is THE STORY OF

they to complain of in this unthankful ©
strain? I found discontent to be the source |
of so many evils, that I began to reflect
upon it as. the one besetting evil, which ap-
peared in a hundred different forms. Not
far from this pampered ‘cabbage, I found
the crab-tree full of bitterness, because he
was not attended to, left to grow as he list-
ed in the hedge, no spade loosening the
ground at his feet, though his glowing
blossom was full of beauty and abundance.
It would have ill become me to hint to him
the true reason of this neglect, and that
his sour unprofitable fruit was the cause of
it, as such a remark might increase his bit~
terness. I strove to cultivate peace among
them all, and chiefly in myself the spirit
of contentment. We have all our uses,
and I remarked to the crab-tree, it was no
mean use to delight the eye, to add to the
beauty of this goodly world, to shelter the
fowls of heaven; nay, does not his fruit,
harsh and crude as it appears, furnish as
much nourishment and satisfaction in its



AN APPLE. FG,

season to the merry squizrel ¢ of the forest,
to the sleek mice, and such ‘small deer,’
as the far-famed pines afford to the rich ?
This is a long digression, for which my
friends must excuse me; my sedentary
habits incline me to meditation ; though
the body is fixed to the branch, the ima-
_gination will ramble. I have not describ-.
ed half the noises which disturbed my
peace. Nurse Hinton’s singing nonsense
to Miss Bertha was tiresome enough. It
seems a custom, but what pleasure it
could afford the child, is hard to tell.
When cook had finished her evening clat-
ter of milking, pumping water, feeding
poultry, and scolding Stephen, I felt to re-
vive, for by that time the cool dews began
to fall, and my happiest hours approached ;
I no longer felt the languor brought on me
by the heat of the sun, and the clamor of
life and labor. Nurse Hinton took her
children home, cook retired to her. supper
and kitchen, the boys whistled on their
way home, the cocks and hens leisurely



20° - THE STORY OF —

disposed chemuélyes to roost, hopping one
by one to their perches, and, not without |
jostling and. altercation, settled to rest ; the
cow in her stall gave a quiet low, as she
turned tothe calf she had been absent
from all day, and I could hear the hoof of
the tired plough-horse, as he turned lazily
round, and struck the manger in his stable.
These few peaceful sounds enhanced the
‘growing stillness of the night, and inclined
me to repose. The daisies and the clover
were closed. It seemed to me, as the round
moon rose, as if men left their world to our
peculiar enjoyment; all the sweet odors
of the fir and pine-trees, plants and flow-
ers, came forth in greater richness, and,
sweetest of the sweet, the kindly well-
named May-blossom content to cheer the
cottage and ornament the park. These
were very happy days of youthful joy among
all our tribes; the pale-flowered cherry,
the fairer pear, and broad medlar, all drop-
ped their petals in the moonlight,. when
the air was so still you might hear the light



AN APPLE. — oe 21

leaf fall, ‘or the. sleepy twitter of the chaf-
finches as they overlaid each other i in their
nest. On such nights as these, my master
and mistress, with the elder children, would
walk among us, ‘and scarcely break the
silence I loved so well; tired with the la-
bor or the sports of the day, and sobered
by the hour, they lingered long, watching
the stars, and talking of a heaven beyond
those far stars; another world, where
those that left this world might go, and
where they all hoped to meet.

I thought as they sauntered home, they
seemed wiser, and better, and holier, for
pondering on that far world, than I had
ever seen them in the broad noon-day:
when left to myself, I reflected on what I
had heard them talk about; and as the
moon shone mildly round, casting black
flickering shadows round us, and the dews
dropt softly from their leaves, I did wonder
how men could fancy a world lovelier than
ours! These quiet hours were both pleas-

ant and profitable to me: in the night sea-
2



22 ‘THE STORY OF

son there seemed nothing to prevent. our
looking up to the starry heavens, receiving
the cool dew-drops upon our. leaves, and
being thankful and content.

T experienced on the whole a most favor-
able season. We had a few rainy days,
and some morning frosts, which were sharp
enough to nip us more than was pleas-
ant, and caused several of us to drop off
before the time, and then the hail showers
knocked us about a good deal; I was
sorry to observe the golden pippins suffer
cruelly in that rough hour, whilst we kept
our boughs in good condition. Few events
marked the summer, our growth was so
gradual. The family were away on a visit
to the Admiral; his wife, Lady Jemima,
having no children, found the country dull,
except when she had my master and mis-
tress staying with her the best part of the
time.

At last they all returned, as it is a busy
time in orchards, when autumn comes, and
my master had to look after us as well as



AN APPLE. ua 23

the rest of his family ; and I was SO glad
to have the children basking amongst us
again. Our old tree was actually weighed
down with glowing fruit, and though the
weather was lovely, with misty pleasant
mornings, and bright sunny days after
them, and bracing exhilarating breezes, that
invited to exercise ; yet at times my heart
felt sad as I looked down on the multitude
of us hanging on frail boughs, and thought
of our probable fate. My hour must soon
come, when I should be torn from our
parent tree, and meet the common destiny
of the Apples of this. earth. I felt this
deeply, notwithstanding the ruddy color
on my smooth cheek; yet might not that
treacherous beauty tempt the hand of man,
and hasten the fatal hour I so much
dreaded? :

It was on a fine clear night, while the
hunter's moon shonein its greatest splendor,
and as I hung pondering upon the future,
I heard a stealthy step, and then some
whispering voiccs outside the hedge, and



24 — THE STORY OF |

presently an ill-looking man, accompanied
by two boys, forced their way through a
thin part of the hedge. They brought a.
sack and a ladder: conceive my horror
when I saw them hastily proceed to strip
the neighboring trees and fill their sack
with apples! One of the savages actually
made me shudder as I heard him munch-
ing an apple with his broad white teeth,
shining in the moonlight, the greedy
monster,—- with the greatest coolness!
They next stripped my master’s golden
pippin tree; every apple fell before them.
Now comes our turn, thought I, as I saw
their thievish eyes glaring upon our noble
clusters, and the detestable hand of the rob-
ber was actually upon the trunk of our old
tree, when I heard the voice of Reginald
hallooing the dogs, and gallantly com-
ing to the rescue : — we were saved! The
man seized his sack, and, followed by the
boys, dashed through the gap, leaving the
ladder behind them ; my master fired some
shots ; there was a good deal of excitement.





AN APPLE. | 25

altogether. T hey soon perceived that all
my master’s favorite golden. pippins were
gone. Sorry enough he was, more so than
was quite reasonable, considering we had
been spared to him. But it is ever thus;
he thought more of what was gone than
he prized what was left. Stephen was left
to -pace round the orchard, and keep watch,

-and when peace was restored, and the dogs
had snuffed about the traces of the thieves,

and yelped, and returned to their-kennel, I
heard the measured footsteps of our guard
crunching in the crisp frozen grass till day-
light relieved him from his watch. This
even hastened the apple-gathering.

The orchard for the next few days pre-
sented a scene of great bustle; men, wo-
men and children with baskets were hard
at work. ‘Tree after tree was stripped of
its fair load. Reginald and Frank, with
faces as red as my own, were foremost in
the business ; the former, used to climbing
masts, was always first at the top of the
tree, and I saw on that day the goodness



26 - ®4—THE STORY OF

of his heart. There was a poor woman
among the pickers that had a child badly
burned, and I saw him give her his golden
half-guinea, which the Admiral had sent
him, and he and Alice prevailed on their
mother to set her up with a stall and bas-
ket, to sell apples in the street. | |
Still, amidst this tale of woe, anxiety
about my own fortunes would intrude. I
felt the crisis of my fate approach ; soon,
too soon, they drew near ; the dear children
were the busiest among the busy. Regi-
nald was soon reclining himselfin triumph
on our topmost bough — which was safe
enough for one of his sea-faring habits.
They actively stripped our honored parent-
tree, and though I felt the agitation of such
a moment, and the impending separation,
yet I considered how much better I had
fared, thus gently plucked from the bough
by the accustomed hands of those I loved,
and laid in the basket with my own kin-
dred to fulfil the future duties reserved for
me by fate, instead of being rudely torn in



AN APPLE. QT

the dead of night from my branch by the
ruthless hand of rapine, and ignominiously
thrust into the wallet of pickpockets and
pilfering knaves, like the wretched golden
pippins. These reflections, and indeed all
selfish considerations, were suddenly inter-
rupted by a loud scream.

Alas! poor Frank, with his usual each
ness, had, unobserved by any one, climbed
upon a high and unsafe branch whilst his
sisters were filling the panniers; he had
spied the deserted nest of my old friends
the chaffinches, and overreaching himself
in his attempt to seize it, missed his hold,
and fell upon his head, cutting his fore-
head upon the ladder that lay beneath.
My poor mistress had seen his fall, and in
an instant was at the spot. I never shall
forget the pain I saw pass over her face, as
she lifted the stunned child up, his yellow
hair dabbled in blood, his eyes closed, his
arm hanging helplessly down: but she was
very quiet and composed, and making an
effort, she sent Stephen for my master,



28 THE sTORY OF

and desiring the terrified little girls to re-
main where they were and not to make a
noise, she, Reginald, and Nurse Hinton,
gently carried poor Frank into the house.
Mary, after staying awhile, could bear the
suspense no longer, and ran crying home
after the rest; the apple gatherers went
into the yard ; how was all changed around !
Presently I noticed, lying on the grass,
with her face. buried in her hands, poor
little Alice, sobbing as if her heart would
break: her mother’s desire had fixed her
to the spot. When her straining eyes saw
the door close behind the sad procession,
and she could see her dear Frank no more,
she lay moaning on the ground —‘ He’s
killed, he will die, why did I lose sight of
him? Why did I let go his hand? Oh!
Frank, dear little Frank,’ cried she, as
she saw his straw hat, which had dropped
in his fall, ‘it is all my fault! what shall
I do? itis my fault! what will become of
me 2’ |

I scarcely know how long she remained



AN APPLE. | Q9

in this condition, bet it was nearly dark
when I héard a quick step : it was Reginald
seeking poor Alice.. He brought the joy-
ful tidings that Frank was not dangerous-
ly hurt. He was shocked when. he found
Alice so overcome with misery, pale, and
her face stained with tears; she had been
forgotten in the confusion, and had thus
remained under the tree for fear of vexing
her mother. ‘ But, dear Alice, why did
you stay perishing here ? you are half dead
with cold; I: have been looking for you
everywhere this hour past. Come, cheer
up, Alice, he 1s all right now.’ ‘Reginald,
do you know I felt as if I had killed Frank 2
I could not stir, I was afraid of hearing he
was worse, afraid to hear he was dead ;
and when the Doctor’s horse trotted by so
fast up the lane, I feared he would do
something dreadful to him, and actually
stopped my ears lest I should hear him
scream. How thankful I am! tell me all
about it ; never mind my shivering and cry-
ing, I cannot stop myself. ‘ Well, come
3



30° | THE STORY OF.

along home, Alice, said Reginald, ‘the
Doctor says the cut on his head is nothing
to signify ; but, Alice,’ added he gravely,
‘poor Frank’s arm is broken.’ As he
uttered this he leant against the tree and
burst out crying.

It was Alice’s turn now to be the com-
forter. It was too true the poor boy’s arm
was broken. He had borne the setting
well, and was quiet; time must do the
rest. It was a great trial to the little fel-
low. I could not help seeing how in an
affectionate family, if one is hurt, all suffer.
The nursery shutters were closed, Nurse
Hinton did not sing Miss Bertha to sleep
this night; all wore anxious faces, the
scolding cook even was quiet and went
softly, unless for the noise she made hush-
ing every one else. The dogs hung their
ears, and seemed to seek Frank, for we were
all fond of him, in spite of his pranks:
he was good-hearted and kind, would give
away the thing he liked best, if he thought
it would please, and could never bear to



AN APPLE. _ | 3]

see any one in trouble. I have seen him
take worms and beetles off the path, for
fear any one should tread on them, which
good feeling he very much owed to his
mother, and to Nurse Hinton’s common
saying, ‘It is easy to take away life, a baby
may do it; but who can give life 2?’

It was the most miserable night I ever
spent. When I saw Reginald and Alice
slowly return home, and darkness close
round me, torn from my first home, my
own bough, my heart felt sad and chill,
and my spirits sank; but with the morn-
ing came more cheerful thoughts, and just
as the rose-colored blush of the dawn ush-
ered in the golden sun, the cook and Ste-
phen came out, and I was cheered by hear-
ing them say, dear Frank was doing well,
had slept, and was not in pain. They soon
lifted the basket I lay in, and carried me
into the house, — that house whose walls
I had seen ever since I had hung on my
branch. Strange and wonderful did every-
thing appear to me. I was carried to the



a2 THE STORY OF

store-room, taken carefully out, and put
upon a neat shelf, with a number of my
companions, and I considered myself for-
tunate in having plenty of light and air.
The store-room was in the most central
situation, very near the parlor, the lesson-
room, and the kitchen, and not far from
the nursery ; which gave me opportunities
few apples have enjoyed, of making obser-
vations on the ways and customs of men.
Having arranged us in great order and
regularity, the cook, whom I now almost
loved because she had brought me into civ-
ilized society, shut the door, double-locked
it, and left me to recover the hurry of the
last few days. On looking round me, after
a short interval of repose, I found myself
extremely well pleased, in a neat, well-
arranged store-room.

I could trace the orderly hand of my
good mistress, who was noted for regulari-
ty. Rows of jars, and rows of jam-
pots, and confections, furnished the snowy
shelves, besides endless varieties of other



AN APPLE. | , 33

articles, such as rice, cocoa, tea, white cones
of sparkling sugar, and quantities of things
I cannot describe, and which the children
of men seem to deem necessary for their
nourishment and well-being. Here, again,
I could not but consider how dearly nature
has made mankind. pay for the privileges
of activity and motion, by attaching such
troublesome conditions to their existence,
as ‘ eating their bread by the sweat of their
brow;’ while us plants, her more favored
children, she nourishes with her own
hands, by cooling dews, and kindly show-
ers. It was only when taken into the inti-
macy of this good family, that I became
fully aware of the trouble incident to their
condition. I have seen even my mistress
enter, her placid countenance loaded with
care and forethought, giving orders for the
provisions and proper preparations of food
for the day, and for the week — her hus-
band’s dinner, breakfast for the children,
servants’ suppers, and food for distribution
among the poor, whom she never over-



34 | . THE STORY OF

looked; and as to the pickling, and scald-
ing, and boiling, and roasting, and clean-
_ing of dishes, and washing of plates, and
scouring of pots, that went on in the kitch-
en near us, it was endless, it showed me
the rashness of my judgment, when I blam-
ed the scolding cook for her unbecoming
violence of temper. I considered myself a
very patient apple, but I own I could not
have borne one half of her trials, and the
heat of the fire, and her many responsi-
bilities, without some irritation.

Our store-room had appropriate furni-
ture, such‘as scales and weights, sugar-
scoops, an instrument called a sugar-nip-
per, but which seemed more likely to nip
the fingers severely, than the sugar; pestle
and mortar, coffee-mill, wooden ladles, balls
of twine, vinegar, oil, and sauces. In one
corner there was a medicine-chest, contain-
ing simple remedies, such as my mistress
found useful among the poor sick people
about us, when sickness came among them.
Three deep drawers were full of warm



AN. APPLE. 35

clothing for the poor, made up by the la-
dies: in their evening leisure. These were
entrusted to my little friends, Mary and
Alice, since they had come to an age that
could be depended on. My mistress had
found that the wish to clothe the poor had
made the little girls work extremely neat-
ly, and it was a pretty pride, to my mind,
with which I saw Mary display the baby-
linen she had completed in the long win-
ter’s evenings, and with what satisfaction
she would get Nurse to wash some squalid
infant, and array it in her handy-work.
The mother was scarcely more proud of the
child than Mary was of her work!

Here is another penalty in man’s estate
—the clothing of their bodies; and it is
one of the most complicated of their trou-
bles, for the minds of women and children,
nay, of men, at times, run into such unac-
countable and fantastic notions upon rai-
ment. I have been inclined to laugh some-
times, as I sat on my shelf, to hear Nurse
come to state to my mistress the things she



36 a THE STORY OF

thought necessary for the ‘ proper appear-
ance of the young ladies.’ Poor Nurse
being but an ignorant woman, though a
good soul, her mind ran very much on tri-
fles and follies, particularly upon caps,
bows of ribbon, and artificial flowers
poor, mean, gaudy, stiff-looking things,
made of colored rags, paper, wire, and gum,
as nearly as I could make out: I could
scarcely forbear laughing at hearing them
called flowers at all. I think my mistress
was a good deal of my mind, and discour-
aged Nurse Hinton; but I found poor
nurse had one feeling deeper than mere love
of dress; the truth was, she was jealous
of the superior style of dress of the Admi-
ral’s wife’s maid.

As she indulged in the vanity of fine
clothes considerably, she anxiously wished
her mistress to dress as well as Lady Jemi-
ma, and she herself, ike Mrs. Parsons. I
was at one time very angry with Nurse, as
I thought this a mean feeling of jealousy ;
but I have since learned more self-knowl-





AN APPLE. ~ - oF.

edge: swinging giddily on a tree, I had no
time for self-examination ; but now quiet-
ly laid on this shelf, and undisturbed by
the pride of youthful bloom, I can see
more rationally things as they are. I
dared not blame, though I could lament
to see, nurse looking down on cook, and
thinking herself quite above her, and then
again looking up to Mrs. Parsons, the
proud housekeeper, with envy. Alas! had
I not done the same by the poor crab-tree
in the hedge; I had despised it, and envied.
my neighbor, the golden pippin. Nay, had.
not my black heart Ee ON Gea tl at the wicked
thief’s taking them!

In the deep selfishness of our natyire, all
have golden pippins above them, and their
crab-tree below. Self is the evil. I was
humbled, and from that day I became a
wiser and a better apple. My retreat was
so central, I could see and hear almost all
that went on about me. I had the pleas-
ure of watching the recovery of my little
friend Frank, and I also witnessed the un-



aS ‘THE STORY OF

ceasing patience of Alice’s love towards
him, how she bore with him, striving to
please when the weariness of pain made
it most difficult. Mary amused him when
he was better; Alice he preferred when
he was at his worst. She could ‘explore
the thought, explain the asking eye,’ as
I heard my mistress read out of some
book to the children. He was much
changed.

It was wonderful to see the child, who
never sat still willingly before, now stretch-
ed upon a sofa, motionless, his little face
pale but sweet, his arm bandaged and use-
less by his side, casting wistful glances at
the window when a robin or stray bird
would dash at the casement, reminding
him of that out-door world he had loved
so much. And who could feel for him
more than I did, I who had lived on the
branch? not but what I thought, ‘you,
dear child, will return to those fair woods,
you will again feel the breeze parting the
locks on that young brow, under the broad



AN APPLE, 89

and glorious skies, but not to me will such
blest hours return.’ |
I did not murmur, however, but strove
to be contented; my feelings were well ex-
pressed in some lines of poetry Alice re-
peated to her mother : —
‘ Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day or the sweet approach of eve or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine!’
Talking of poetry, another piece of a
more joyous character came strangely home
to my bosom by its truth; as little Mary
read it, I thought it quite remarkable that
men could so exactly embody what I ex-
perienced : —
‘Where the bee sucks, there lurk I,
In a cowslip’s bell I lie,
There I couch while owls do cry!
On the bat’s back I would fly,
After summer, merrily ;

Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.’

I linger over this happy time, to which
I owe the improvement of my heart and



40, ‘THE STORY OF

understanding, thus living in this good
and simple family; they found such hap-
piness in living for others, in thinking of
others, in loving others more and better
than themselves, that with them I learned
the one great lesson that selfis our great
enemy, and usefulness one of the chief
purposes of our existence. But I must
proceed. A_ friend of MReginald’s, the
‘Widow Jones, came to our house shortly
before that period which men call Christ-
mas; she was very destitute, having three
children, one of whom was lame and
helpless. Our children brought her to
the store-room, to furnish her with such
things as she most needed.

I remember the whole scene as if it
was but yesterday it had passed; especi-
ally as, in the bustle, when Reginald came
up in high spirits and full of fun, I got a
severe blow on the side of my head, from
a heavy bunch of keys which Mary in her
confusion dashed on the dresser among
us; and a great hunt she had for these



AN APPLE. © | AT

same keys, my mistress asking for them
in a hurry, though there they lay just
before her, as I knew to: my cost; but her
head was so full of Christmas and the
Widow Jones, that she could think of
nothing else. Reginald brought in two
baskets which I plainly saw were to be
well filled. ‘There stood Nurse Hinton
with poor Frank in her arms; he had
begged very hard to be allowed to put
something into the widow’s basket, par-
ticularly when he heard she had a lame
sick boy at home. Bertha also trotted
into the store-room after Nurse, not
understanding much of what was going
on, and contented herself with picking up
busily such little dried currants, and
raisins, and crumbs of sugar and rice, as
had dropped on the floor.

Reginald was full of jokes, and said
such amusing things as almost made me
roll off the shelf with laughing. As Alice
was all for business, and gravely employed
herself in taking out the clothes with



42 THE STORY OF

much decorum, to dole them out to the
widow, what should Reginald do, but
snatch the night-cap, full of frills, and put
it on his young head, tie a check apron
round his waist, and keep dropping
curtsies just like the widow herself; who
stood by doing the very same thing, and
wiping the tears of gratitude from her
eyes, and partly laughing too at his
tricks: then he mimicked the cook scold-
ing, and indeed in his frilled cap he had
a look of her. Frank laughed and
shouted, and the packing went on all this
while. Tea, sugar, cocoa, rice, soap, and
candles, were all neatly put into one of
the baskets, and Frank was allowed to
put a pot of jam in for the sick boy;
little Bertha added a packet of biscuits,
not without some trouble; for some time
she held the paper bag fast, intending to
carry off her prize to the nprsery: after
some persuasion, such as, *‘ Will you not
give poor Widow Jéines some biscuits?’
to which she stoutly answered ‘No! I



AN APPLE. ~ | a

had rather keep them for myself, > Alice
had to manage the matter by giving her
one in her hand, and one for Frank, and
a bit for puss, and so disengaged the mass
of biscuits from the clutch of her fat little
hand.

The bundle of clothes was nest made
up; Reginald took off his cap and apron
and added them to the store, all the time
eating jam, and painting moustaches of
black-currant jelly upon Mary and him-
self. My foolish head was giddy with fun
and drollery. Alas! alas! how often in
the midst of such hilarity does a heavy
blow fall on us, to remind us that we are
but apples! that all is but vanity and
vexation of spirit! Another basket stood
by, ready to receive its freight: I tremble
while I relate it, — Reginald, my own be-
loved Reginald, he whom I doted upon,
began filling this fatal basket, not with
insensible tea, and passive coffee, or insipid
rice, but with apples! Row after row was
taken from the shelf and stowed away; I



44 THE STORY OF

awaited my fate in breathless anxiety ;
how empty and cruel now appeared his
jokes, when I saw too clearly that I must
leave this scene of peace and happiness, to
try an unknown world!

I had learnt the duty of acquiescence
and patience from my dear mistress, and
as she appeared at the door for a moment,
her placid look was not lost upon me; I
recovered my composure, for I had been
sadly ruffled, and resolved to submit with
meekness to my fate. I took, as I thought,
my last look at her gentle face, as she put
some money in the widow’s hand; I look-
ed at Frank, Mary, Alice, good Nurse
Hinton. I pressed against the beloved
hand of Reginald, who little knew my
feelings as he consigned me to straw and
darkness in the basket! The top was
closed upon me, and I really think for some
moments I lost all consciousness of my
sorrow in insensibility, so sudden was
the blow that had changed my joy into
mourning. The first thing that roused



AN APPLE. _ | 45

me was feeling the basket I lay in, rudely
set upon the kitchen table, and the un-
mistakeable voice of cook advising Mrs.
Jones to take me and my companions up
to the Admiral’s, where she understood
there were to be great doings at Christmas,
and where it was likely she would get a
good price for us, as apple-tarts and apple-
puddings would be wanted by the dozens.

I could not restrain the natural shud-
der that shook my frame at these ominous
words spoken so lightly; I felt my very
peel creep! yet cook was not a_ bad-
hearted woman on the whole; she gave
the widow a jug of soup and a large lump
of dripping for her family; so that it was
just want of thought, and a disregard of
the feelings of others, that had led her to
speak of those tarts. The widow’s two
girls were warming themselves, and wait-
ing by the great kitchen-fire; they took
their share of the load my generous friends
had bestowed upon their mother with
great joy, and we sat forth towards my

4



46 | THE STORY OF

future home. I bore it quietly, though
it was painful indeed to leave such a home
as this had been to me: I was even sorry
to think I should see the scolding cook
and Stephen no more.

Jane and Susan were the names of
‘Widow Jones’s. little girls, and her boy
Johnny was a cripple. She herself was
a sickly woman, looking as if she were
half-clothed and half-starved.. I began
to perceive more of the suffering, physical
suffering of the children of men, than I
had imagined could exist in this beautiful
world. Mrs. Jones was what: is termed
above her situation in life, she had re-
ceived education sufficient to preserve her
from many of the vices that often attend
utter destitution. Susan, who carried
me, was a small delicate looking girl; her
attenuated little arms and thin form ap-
peared shrunken in faded, threadbare
clothes that were too short for her; her
pale face and sunken eyes told of poor, bad
food, and little of it: chilled, and nipped,



AN APPLE. | 47

as if the cold blew through her; yet she
was an interesting looking child, her was
such an appearance of meek endurance
about her. |

It was impossible exactly to tell the age
of these children, for suffering and priva-
tion give a painful precocity to the features
and countenance of children, while it
stunts their growth and they appear small
and yet old. Jane was a stouter, fresher
looking girl, far better able to travel
the rough road of life than her sister ;
yet she too looked cold and ill-clad and
ill-fed, limping with chilblains, trying to
Keep her poor swelled and purple hands
warm by tucking them under her patched
pinafore; she had an honest, open, con-
tented face, and hada deal to talk about,
and expatiated on all the good things they
were taking home. The widow stopped
to buy fuel on the road, and I could not
help comparing the scanty bag of small
coal, and the httle faggot she bought and
paid so much for, to the round coal and



48 = THE sTORY OF

heavy billet that filled my late master’s
grate. She next stopped at a basket-
maker’s to see a blind girl of the name of
Rachel, who was her cousin, and to tell
her that she would send Jane to fetch her
up to supper this very night.

At last we arrived at a poor-looking
place; a dark and ricketty stair-case
opened upon a narrow landing-place, and
we entered into a low-room in a dingy,
ill-repaired tenement, in which Widow
Jones lived. ‘The windows had _ been
blown in, during the late high winds, and
were patched with brown paper and old
copies in various places; a curtain, as a
sort of partition, divided the room;.a
small grate, bearing some proportion to
their fuel, occupied one side, but had evi-
dently been without fire on this day. In
one corner was-a press-bed, in the other
the bare cupboard; then there were a
chair or two, and a few cups; Ihttle
enough of anything but poverty, and
cold and want, stared upon me all round;



AN APPLE. | 49

yet all was clean and orderly; cleanest of
all was a little straw pallet on which lay
poor lame Johnny. _

‘In bed, my boy?’ anxiously inquired
the widow; ‘I. hope you are not in
pain ?’ 7

‘No, mother, no pain, no particular
pai, only hungry. and very cold; it was
the cold made me lie down when it grew
dark, and I could not see to read; but
you have been so long away. Did you
get the rent? do say so; the woman was
here asking for the money so loud, I grew
quite afraid of her.’

‘Don’t be afraid, my little man, it is all
right. Johnny, now will you-hear all the
ood news? I have brought home money
enough for rent, and for fire, and for food,
and you need not go to bed yet for the
cold. Thank your Father, which is in
heaven; oh! how can we thank him
enough 2?’ said the widow.

By this time Susan had brought a light,
and Jane had set about making a fire ;



50 THE STORY OF

the widow filled the kettle, drew the cur-
tain across the room, to keep the wind
from the ill-shutting door off; closed the
clumsy shutter, and then displayed the
treasures of clothes and food, fuel and
money.

Poor Johnny gazed as if it was too good
to be true, his eyes filled with tears; and
then fairly overcome, and weak from want,
he sobbed aloud: his mother laid him
gently back, but he kept hold of her with
his arm round her neck.

‘ Mother, mother, I had prayed so hard
for some relief, for some. help; was it
wrong t was it complaining? it. was more
for you than for us, for to-day I felt as if
you could bear no more misery; and you
were so long away, and the woman was so
angry, she frightened me; I did feel as if
it would be better if we were all dead and
in another world.’

‘Do not talk any more, Johnny, till you
are stronger and better.’

By this time Susan had heated some of



AN APPLE. . 51

cook’s good soup; the loaf was cut, and
the widow gave Johnny some food. She
could scarcely speak: as her eyes rested
on that worn face, she felt what a hard
long day it had. been for the boy to bear
since she had closed the door upon him,
leaving him all she had to leave, a few
cold potatoes, and not much hope of any
relief. | |

I began now dimly to perceive why the
children of men cling so to that other
world, of which I so often heard them
talk. My mistress would strive to im-
press the reality of the other world on the
minds of her children when they were in
the full tide of enjoyment, to prevent
their being too fond of this beautiful
world, and I thought it very wise; but
when I saw this miserable cripple clinging
to this same hope, it seemed notonly wise
but necessary: indeed it was the only;so-
lution of what I found so hard to under-
stand, how the poor, so sorely afflicted,
could bear life at all with any patience.



62 THE STORY OF
. Strange to say; it was in this pernicious
habitation, under its dark and smoky
rafters, where first I saw sickness, want
and misery, that I first envied human be-
ings.. Here I first understood how glorious
was the hope of immortality, that hope
which brightened these naked walls with
divine radiance, raising the lone widow
and her stricken boy above such evils. I
felt that they were immortal, and I the
poor perishable creature of an hour. —
Revived by warmth and nourishment,
they commenced arranging their plans.
Susan was sent down with the quarter’s
rent to. the landlady, and as I saw them
gravely count over the shillings, the few
shillings, as if it were a heavy sum, I was
quite puzzled. I had often seen Nurse
Hinton and Cook, when they were chaf-
fering with a pedlar, in the old orchard,
examine gowns and shawls, and count the
cost of pounds and shillings, and the
pedlar would declare it was as cheap as
dirt, and that he gave them the gowns and





Vedlav.

a

with

Cook ehathertias

rie

' Nurvee Tinton



AN APPLE. | _ §3

shawls for nothing; and yet these things.
cost far more than the rent Widow Jones
was counting out so carefully. I saw the
widow fold and put aside her shawl, and
then allow the children to put on their
new frocks to see if they fitted; and nice
and comfortable they looked.

The tea-table was then prepared, the
kettle sang merrily on the fire, and away
ran Jane to fetch Cousin Rachel, the blind
girl. Johnny was lifted into his chair, and
Susan presented him with Frank’s pot of
jam, and some books my mistress had sent
him, upon his promising that he would
not read till he had finished his. supper.
Johnny in his trepidation of delight prom-
ised anything she pleased; but when once
he got hold of these books, these treasures,
promises and all his cares were forgotten,
and he was buried in this new world of
the mind.

All this time the widow was rustling
and fussing about, dividing a portion of all

she had received.
5



54: _ THE STORY OF

_ Jane now returned with Cousin Rachel,
a woman about twenty, who had become
blind after the small-pox; she lived next
door to the basket-maker’s with whom she
worked. Rachel was wonderfully cheerful
and contented, yet she could not see the
light of day, or the beauty of nature, or
the faces of those she loved so well. .

_ ‘This evening, as usual, she brought her
work ; she could knit as fast as possible,
and besides she brought some withies: for
her basket-work. [never met with a hap-
pier human being. When supper was
over, the widow sat down to work; Susan
cleared away the ill-matched cups, and
the glazed black-earthen tea-pot. Jane
was learning to make baskets, and it was
lucky her teacher Rachel was blind, and
could not see Jane’s clumsy failures, and
awkward way of handling the willow ;
she was indeed but a beginner. Johnny
read aloud to them the moving story of a
shipwreck, called the Loss of the Kent,
but the Widow Jones was too careful of her



AN APPLE. | OO

candle to. allow more than a couple of hours
of such indulgence; she ingeniously stuck
a pin in the candle, just in the middle, which
was the allowance of light for the night,
and the signal when,to stop—a. sort of
silent curfew. Johnny looked from time
to time at the decreasing space, and when
the pin dropped out of the melting light,
he sighed, but closed the book. ‘The
widow then bestowed a portion of the
things she had been so busy putting to-
gether, to Cousin Rachel, and prepared to
lead her home.

The poor widow now felt something of
the happiness my good mistress experi-
enced that very morning; perhaps, indeed,
in a higher degree still, for my mistress of
her abundance had given to others; the
widow gave of her poverty. But the
chain of kindness has many links; I found
that the greatest luxury of the rich was
not denied to the poor — the power of do-
ing good! Johnny’s bed was prepared,
the press-bed was also let down, in which



56 | THE STORY OF

the widow slept with her two girls, and it
nearly filled the room. "When the widow
returned, I saw them kneel down and pray
to their Maker. I watched their tearful
gratitude, as they looked up to Heaven,
by the flickering light of the fire, and I
thought how different must have been the
piercing earnestness and fervor of their
prayers and petitions the night before,
when bread had failed, and hope was well-
nigh gone: however when hope is low,
prayer is strongest.

Johnny was laid in his bed, his darling
books by his side, that he might at least
feel them the first thing in the morning;
the little girls nestled up to their mother,
and soon slept warmly under the thick
blanket Nurse Hinton had provided. It
was long before the widow could close her
eyes; she lay pondering, most likely, upon
the blessings of this day, this 8th of De-
cember, as she heard the strong winter
wind moaning, howling, and rattling at the
window, as an enemy shaking the poor



AN APPLE. _ 67

frail house. The children were fed, they
were warm and covered; wolfish hunger,
cold and wind, those fierce foes, could not
reach them this night. How fervently
she blessed my dear mistress, and thanked
her Maker! At last she fell asleep, and
all was still.

I now began to look about me, and be-
came aware of the extraordinary difference
there seemed to be among the habitations
of men. I remembered the sunny house
of my master, the bright windows, and
gay papers, shining grates, and thick warm
curtains of better materials than that
‘which covered the very bodies of these
poor shivering people;-the carpets they
walked on softer than the beds which
these lay upon, and I began to fear I had
myself even been somewhat spoiled by the
luxuries I had partaken of.

I felt chilled in the damp atmosphere
around me, as I watched the sticky green-
ish stains that seemed to creep along the
mouldy walls: the regular dropping of



58 7 THE STORY OF

wet that broke the silence, drop after
drop, proved how ill the damaged roof
kept out the weather; the ill-joined and
uneven floor did not appear sound enough
to sustain the crazy furniture. Man here
‘seemed born to sorrow,’ and to nothing
else. I could not help looking with in-
terest upon Johnny sleeping so soundly,
his little bird hanging near the head of
his bed in its shabby cage, close to his
shelf of books. Susan’s rose-tree and a
dusty geranium seemed well prized: one
wan blossom hung on the girl’s china-
rose; how different from the ruddy clus-
ters round my mistress’s casement! Yet I
was glad to think that anything could
blow in such a place, and that these poor
children had their pleasures. I felt grati-
fied that one of my fellow plants could so
far contribute its humble mite to cheer
their poverty.

This rose had blossomed to a holy pur-
pose; it had not been without its use, it

had perhaps helped to keep hope alive in



AN APPLE. — 59

their hearts. Dwelling on this, I soon felt
ashamed of my impatience under my own
trials. The tardy morn ushered in a cheer-
less light, but labor knocks early at the
poor man’s door, and anticipates the dawn.
It is remarkable that those who do no
work have most rest in this ill-divided
world. |

The Widow Jones rose betimes, cleaned
her room; the girls soon dressed, washed
some clothes, and prepared the oatmeal
gruel for their breakfast, long before
Johnny awoke. He was tenderly and
carefully dressed, and established in his
chair. Having eaten their hasty breakfast,
they all began work; the widow drew out
her table, which was soon covered with
working materials to which the girls ap-
plied themselves ; I discovered they were
making frocks for my old acquaintances,
Mary and Alice, and a fine dress for the
Admiral's wife, the Lady Jemima. I now
felt somewhat more indulgence for Nurse
Hinton’s love of dress and ribbons, as it



60 {THE STORY | OF |

gave employment to the widow and her
orphans.

‘Johnny had been taught to make straw
baskets and chairs, and had also learned
to carve in wood and ivory, so he had no
lack of employment: they all had much
to do before Christmas-eve.

At two o’clock, Jane was sent out fora
loaf and some milk, by way of dinner; it
caused little interruption, they must work
on while light lasted —- work, work, work
— Susan stitched till she was languid;
Jane sewed till she was dogged —— working
on till I began to think they grew upon
the wooden forms, scarcely allowing them-
selves time to swallow the bread they
meeded. I declare, when on my bough in
the orchard, I was not so immovable,
eight hours at a time, as these poor workers
who sat there until the daylight flagged.
Jane once or twice looked wearily round to
watch if darkness would not come to their
relief; and yet they were short December
days.





Bry 7
) Lars op fr
1d eee

m a practicgl tere
| TON

re ance













sh . ent fronj Brighton —
ANS 2h Nitata iy, we well

istress = to dispose of .a
such engouragement hé

gap th dere ; ‘ang be
ode qnake wo of a ngater
kind, sr my friends Alice and Mary, as
a Christmas-box. For my part, I grew
heartily weary of this monotonous work~
room, with no sound but the sewing, and.
clicking of the scissors, and rustling of
the straws. I blessed my fate that had
formed me a quiet apple, a could do
nothing.



62 THE STORY OF

Man is surely his own enemy; he will
not follow nature’s law. She would
kindly suspend labor when night brings
rest; but man must needs invent twenty
different kinds of artificial hghts, to enable
him to prolong his own toil and torment.
I had lost all patience, and supper-time
relieved me as much as it did the poor
girls, when the Widow Jones took down
the frying-pan, and the fire burning
clearly, she sliced some potatoes and an
onion, adding some of the dripping cook
had given her. Such frying, and hissing,
and turning went on, and such a smell
came forth, as made them all hungry: the
creatures seemed wonderfully happy and
merry over this piece of cookery, served in
a dish that the tinker had mended, and
sewed with strong stitches of brass wire
—a mess and dish that I question wheth-
er the Admiral would have set before his
spaniel.

I had noticed at my master’s, that the
Admiral was occasionally rather annoyed



AN APPLE. | i 63

if the dinner was not quite to his mind, or
the game over-roasted ; he would sit and
look vexed, and Zoe, the spaniel, would
look as if she sympathized ; and my gentle
mistress, who always took such pains to
have the food abundant and good, ap-
peared fretted and annoyed, and got red in
the face, if she thought she had failed to
please the Admiral. I found all this hard
to understand,—I, who had drank so
carelessly of the dews of heaven, and been
nourished with its rains, I wondered at the
anxiety of men about food. I have seen
the good Admiral pace up and down the
old orchard long enough to tire fat Zoe
the spaniel, and make her he down pant-
ing, looking piteously up at her master
who, watch in hand, fretted and fumed
because dinner was not ready as soon as he
expected ; these passages of by-gone days
were vividly recalled to my mind, by the
thankfulness and satisfaction with which
these over-worked people sat down to their
coarse roots cooked with the refuse of the



64 _ THE STORY OF

rich man’s table; there was gratitude in-
deed in the prayer of grace they uttered ;
for they had felt hunger, and but yester-
day, stood on the brink of starvation.

_ The petition for daily bread has a fearful
earnestness in the mouth of the poor, who,
perhaps, know not where to look for that
bread on the morrow. My humble friends
were not without the courtesies of good
manners ; they pressed their mother to
eat, and helped her to the best; the brown
and mealy potato were put upon her plate,
and no one would take the last bit, declar-
ing they were quite satisfied; so that was
given to Johnny for the sparrows — he
never forgot the birds. I was sorry to see
there was more work coming; it was Sat-
urday night, and besides the daily tasks,
the preparation for Sunday was added on;
clothes had to be set in order, and every-
thing and place cleaned; no peace for
dust anywhere. The very bird-cage was
scraped and sanded till the scared bird
wondered what was going to happen, and



| AN APPLE. 65

took some time to compose himself upon
his perch with any satisfaction. |

‘They did denominate this bird a gold-
finch, but I could hardly believe it; he
looked so different from the finches I had
known in the orchard. I do not think
this dingy creature had ever seen a tree, or
would have known how to roost on it
when he did see it. It was this which
gave me a low opinion of the intellect of
birds, that could content themselves hop-
ping up and down in a cage six inches
square, scratching and scraping their bills,
and crying ‘sweet’ for twelve hours to-
gether.

The children were then thoroughly
washed, as the Widow Jones termed it;
and I dare say it was very wholesome ; but
it was a severe operation. By the time
they had been well dried with a rough
towel, and a good deal of soap had got
into their eyes, their faces shone pretty
much like my own, as they stood round
the little fire in the steam of warm water



66 | THE STORY OF

and soap-suds, whilst the widow repeated
her homely saying, that ‘cleanliness was
next to godliness.’ I slept better this
night, for I had been wearied by the never-
ceasing work which made up these peo-
ple’s day.

Sunday was great rest to me, as well as
to the Widow Jones and her children.
There was little to be done on this morn-
ing, everything having been set in order
the night before; the girls looked neat
and decent; their mother gave them a
piece of bread, and sent them to Mr. Ne-
ville’s Sunday school; she then sat by
Johnny whilst he read to her, and they
talked of things, solemn things, far beyond
my poor comprehension, of a world where
the ‘ weary are at rest.’ These poor toil-
ing souls might well sigh for such a
world !

The widow having settled Johnny by
the fire, and put the bird near him for
company, prepared to go to church, tell-
ing him that, as she was going up to the



AN APPLE. © | -6T

Squire’s, she should not be back for some
time. I sighed to think she would see the
abode of my dear friends, the beloved or-
chard, scenes so dear to me, and she left
the room, striving to close. the crazy door
after her.* I blush to say I felt deep emo-
tions of discontent — angry and rebeilious
feelings, that would have disgraced the
bosom of the -wickedest crab, and should
never have arisen in an apple that had en-
joyed no mean advantages in planting and
nurture, not to mention the gentle school-
ing I had received from my mistress in
the example of every virtue. I, who had
preached contentment — I, who had warn-
ed others: what had become of my proud
philosophy? In my blindness, I ques-
tioned the purposes of my existence, pre-
sumptuously questioned why I. was torn
from my fair home, the sweet free orchard,
to pine and linger in a dark close basket ?
Pride was rankling within me. I scarcely
know how long I was possessed by these
bad thoughts, when I was roused by the



68 THE STORY OF

scratching of the bird, as he cleaned his
bill, and hearing the oft repeated call of
‘sweet, as he hopped upon his one small
perch. I was almost provoked by the
senseless hilarity of this poor goldfinch.
In my peevishness, I think it made me
more cross to see how little it was in
unison with ‘ the winter of my discontent,’
as I heard Reginald once call it; but when
I looked again through the wicker-bars of
my prison upon the picture before me, I
stood reproved. A struggling sunbeam
streamed in at the patched window, and
shining through the leaves of the girl’s
china rose-tree, brightened even the pale
bleached rose that hung on it. Poor
Johnny, whiter than the flower, basked in
the beam, watching the motes that played in
the slanting ray, now and then feeding his
bird with a grain of hemp-seed, which the
merry little fowl took tamely from his
thin, attenuated, pale fingers, ever and
anon acknowledging his master’s bounty
with his chirping. Lame, helpless, full of



3 4
OY Wh in

LU

SS



>
*Teoulll have wished Jobuery tad hnewn the tmopertaeer of the lesson

his patience taught me.’



- AN APPLE, 69

pain, at the very age when activity and
motion seem the law of a child’s existence,
what might not that boy be’ then feeling ?
Does he envy the restlessness of that
wretched bird? No, all was cheerful
peace and holy calm in his countenance.

I felt rebuked, and while he read his
book, I spent no unprofitable time in self-
examination. I trust no murmur will ever
again arise in my mind; I will no longer
doubt but that I was made for some wise
use, and I will be content to fill my hum-
ble destiny with cheerfulness: the free
bear their sufferings willingly; it is the
slave who merely endures the pain he can-
not avoid sullenly; he does not bearit. I
could have wished Johnny had known
the importance of the lesson his patience
taught me; those who are much tried
should be much cheered by this pleasant
thought, that their patient example
teaches far better than any preacher; it
is one of the uses of adversity.

In the course of the day Mr. Nevdle

6



TO a THE STORY OF

came in, and I found it was he who had
so well instructed Johnny where to seek
resignation; he had led him to raise his
mind above the things of this world: there
is no better sign of your mind being set
above the things of this world, than bear-
ing well with things in this world. Mr.
Neville inquired into his occupations, ap-
proved of his baskets, and particularly en-
couraged him to go on with the wood
carving, promising to bring him some of
the proper tools necessary in this art; also
to bring him rare woods, such as cedar
and sandal-wood, to carve into paper-
knives, frames, and various things of the
sort, for which they could find a ready
sale.

. Isaw a flush pass over the boy’s face —
a look of hope. |

‘Then, sir, you think I can do some-

thing?’ exclaimed he; ‘you do think I
shall not hang on idle, no help to my
mother, rather indeed a sorrowful, useless
encumbrance upon her hands ?’



AN APPLE. | FU

‘Do not say useless, Johnny; nothing
created is useless, nothing created has not
a holy purpose, if we will but look and
see it is so, and do our part. ‘Those also
serve who only stand and wait; such
seems the service your Master requires of
you ; see that you do it with cheerfulness,
my little man.’ |

After these werds Mr. Neville went
away, and I began to think there was no
place so low, into which some sunbeam
could not come to gladden it, such as had
brightened this poor place this day.

Evening came on, the widow and her
daughters returned, bringing Rachel; still
and quiet were their enjoyments ; to those
who work hard six days, rest is in itself a
pleasure, which can scarcely be appreci-
ated by those who have never felt fatigue,
or the bondage of labor.

Cousin Rachel had the faculty, remark-
able in the blind, of remembering what she
had once heard with singular accuracy.
She repeated to Johnny almost word for



72 : THE STORY OF

word what she had heard at church: the
precious seed of holy words dropped into
good hearts. He, in return, read to her,
and furnished her with thoughts for the
ensuing week, to employ her mind while
she wove baskets and knitted the homely
grey hose, which she sold: she earned
seven or eight.shillings a week, and often
remarked with honest pride what a thing
it was for a blind woman to be so inde-
pendent. Poor blind Rachel! indepen-
dence was her boast, and she the most
dependent of human creatures. Tea was
the treat of this day — tea, brought out
only on high days.

I was now getting quite reconciled to
this humble life, when, on Wednesday
night—-I am pretty sure it was on a
Wednesday —I was dreadfully startled
by hearing the Joneses talk of carrying
the basket of apples to be sold! I turned
quite sick. ‘What, thought I, ‘is it
always thus in this life? No sooner have
we become accustomed to the evils of one



AN. APPLE. | 13

condition or of one age, no sooner have we
mastered its trials and its temptations, but
we find ourselves hurried on to other
scenes, again to suffer new trials, and
to withstand unknown temptations. I
checked myself, however, for I had not
spent a week near Johnny’s pallet without
learning some degree of resignation.

That very day a friendly voice struck
my ears; who should it be but dear old
Nurse Hinton, and better still, Reginald!
I quite felt my heart beat to see his brown
face again; he came clattering in to see
Johnny, whom Mr. Neville had mentioned
to him. It was a pleasant sight.to see two
such boys, both so good in their different
ways. Reginald brought him, as a Christ-
mas-box, a little piece of yellow money —
a triflime thing as I considered it, till I
saw the pleasure it gave Johnny. It was
ten shillings in gold, just the price of the
carving tools he wanted, and which I had
heard him sighing for as quite unattaina-
ble, many a time, on his weary couch, in



74 _ THE STORY OF

the restless hours of his dreamy nights.
Johnny then offered Reginald his cedar-
wood paper-knife, upon the handle of
which he had carved a ship and anchor,
Reginald being a sailor, and hoped he ap-
proved of it. Johnny had also his two
baskets for the young ladies, which Mrs.
Hinton took charge of, and a cradle for
little Bertha’s doll.

The two boys were very friendty to-
gether, whilst Mrs. Jones gave up her
work to Nurse Hinton, who, after examin-
ing the frocks very minutely, pronounced
the work good; and that was saying a
great deal, for I seldom saw her approve
of any stitching and sewing that was
brought for her inspection. Nurse prom-
ised more work, shirts for Master Regi-
nald who was going to sea again. She
also desired Lady Jemima’s dress to be
taken home to the Admiral’s: ‘and you
may as well take the apples my mistress
gave you, added she; ‘I have spoken a
good word for you to Mrs. Parsons, her



AN APPLE, 75

ladyship’s housekeeper, and she will give
you a good price for them ; indeed, it is
not everywhere she can get such apples.
I never saw better — the real Ribstone ;
she wants them for dessert on Christmas-
day; and mind you go early, for there is
always a bustle at the Admiral’s: for my
part, I prefer our quiet home to any of
their fine places, although the house-
keepers wear silks of a morning.’

After this oration, and with a very
doubtful expression of contentment in the
preference of calico and humble home-
spun, she took up her bundle and departed.
Reginald soon followed. Another chance,
another change, I soon saw, hung over me,
and soon, too soon, alas! 1t came upon me.

Breakfast over the next day, the girls
settled to work; Johnny with his new
tools, carved away. The widow took us
off the shelf, rubbed us all with a clean
cloth, to make us look well, replaced us
in’ the basket, shut down the lid, made
herself neat, took Lady Jemima’s fine dress



76 | THE STORY OF

in a cloth on one arm, the basket on the
other. I sighed when I found ‘I was
leaving this peaceful roof, and above all,
patient Johnny, who was a superior crea-
ture, ripened by no common sufferings ; :
however, I had the,,comfort of seeing in
the reviving looks of ‘the little girls, that
my mistress’s bounty was bringing health
and strength into this dwelling. Well did
I know the road, as we jogged away; we
passed the church, and the’neat school: I
caught a glimpse of the orchard, leafless
indeed, but still beloved. I saw the clus-
ters of china-roses still blooming in the
shelter of my mistress’s casement, and
memory recalled all the dear familiar forms
—my good master in his loose coat, and
long waistcoat, and gaiters over his thick
clouted shoes; my gentle mistress, the
boys, the girls, the grey prowling tabby
cat; — where were ye all, when I passed
the well-known gate? where were ye all,
when the remorseless lid of the market-
basket closed on the head of your poor
apples, which had ripened among you all?



AN APPLE. TT

These may appear idle fancies’ and foel-
ings, but I certainly had picked up a good
many scraps of poetry among the children
of men. I thought, for a moment, I heard
cook’s voice rating Stephen soundly at a
distance; but that too may have been the
work of my heated imagination.

We soon reached the lodge of the Ad-
miral’s house; I could feel poor Widow
J shes tremble so much. that the basket
shook, as she timidly inquired if she
might be allowed to go up to the house
with the apples.

A rough reply of, ‘No apples wanted ;
you need not take your apples up there,
good woman.’

There was a tone of contempt and im-
pertinence towards apples in the answer
that I.could not but feel, though I make
it a rule not to let the imsolence of the
ignorant chafe me; I owe it to my name
and family to be quite above such a
speech, yet I might have resented it had
I been a free agent. Poor Widow Jones

vey
4



73 «THE STORY OF

knew the world better; she did not press
the apples upon the gate-keeper, or turn
away in a huff, as I was inclined to do,
but mentioning she had brought a dress
for Lady Jemima, we were forthwith ad-
mitted. Upon our entrance I could not
help thinking of the fairy tales I had
heard Reginald and Alice read, how Giant
Castles were watched; for no sooner had
we got clear of the dragon that guarded
the gate, than we encountered the miral’s monster of a huge dog; he barked
loud and deep, showed a sullen hostility
toward us, and withal a troublesome curi-
osity, snuffling and smelling at the widow,
in a way that frightened her considerably.
Having satisfied himself, I conclude, as to
her garments, and found treason upon her
person, he néxt applied his nose inquisi-
tively to the basket that carried me and my
fortunes. I actually felt his hot breath
blowing upon me most unpleasantly. It
was a relief to find apples were not in his
line, so we escaped. Next came my Lady



(eZ



“To the back door — ye to the back deer. canto vou. miistress £"



AN APPLE. 7 9

Jemima’s dog, a German spitz, and he at-
tacked the widow’s heels sharply ; in the
rear followed the fat spaniel Zoe, who
snarled and barked huskily ; but she be-
ing both asthmatic and corpulent, soon
gave in. The widow -was going up the
hall-door steps, glad to escape the dogs,
when a tall footman, who was lounging
about the hall reading a newspaper, inter-
rupted himself in the middle of his para-
graph to inquire her business, and with
some importance motioned us away.

‘To the back door— go to the back
door, can’t you, mistress? Such as you
have no business here, I tell you. Fmd
your way as fast as you can round to the
kitchen door; this is no place for tramp-
ers.’ : |

‘What do you mean, sir, by sending
honest folks away from my door in this
manner?’ exclaimed a voice of thunder,
which I soon recognized_as the Admiral’s ;
he had come unawares into the hall. rather think I keep you to show people



80 = £‘THE STORY OF

in, and not to drive them out. Mistress.
indeed! And if you did consider her
business lay with the cook, you might
have shown her the way round with some
civility. I wish I had you on board of
ship, I do not doubt I could show you
your business with a vengeance. Well
ma’am,’ added the hot old Amiral, ‘ never
you mind that puppy; I will show you
the way myself, — yes, yes, I understand,
Lady Jemima’s dress, all right, recom-
mended by my brother Charles; I know
all about it, you have a lame boy. I will
buy the apples, at least Mrs. Parsons will
buy them, and I will pay you for them,’
said he, fumbling in the large liberal
pockets of his ample waistcoat; ‘and in
the meantime here is something to help
you to keep Christmas; and as to you,
sirrah, never you dare drive decent people
from this door, — do you hear?’

Sirrah was a term of endearment, or re-
proach, very much used by the Admiral ;
I never could make out what it meant.



“AN APPLE. 81

Having taken the widow round to the
other door, and flourishing his thick
walking-stick, and whistling up all his
dogs, he proceeded to take his walk before
the widow could find time to thank him.
Mr. James, the tall footman, did not seem
to mind the rating he had received; he
evidently made allowances for the warmth
of an eccentric old gentleman, who knew
so little of the usages of life, and nothing
at all of the footman’s department; but
he so far complied with the Admiral’s
wishes, as complacently to show the widow
along the longest stone passage that I ever
saw, till he ushered us into the house-
keeper's room, Mrs. Parsons’ state-office ;
after which, I have no doubt, he returned
to his Morning Post, in the hall.

The good Admiral, who was much dis-
tinguished in his profession, (he had led a
ship at the battle of the Nile, and at Tra-
falgar,) had married late in life. His wife,
Lady Jemima, was suitable to him in point
of age, being no longer very young; of a



82 oe THE STORY OF

very good. family, she had not much un-
derstanding, but was kind-hearted and
extremely well-bred ; indeed I have heard
it remarked that without a kind heart it
is very difficult to be really well-bred.
‘They had no children, and Lady Jemima
not having much to do, fell into delicate
health. She found that nursing herself
was better than no occupation at all, —
it filed up the time when the Admiral
was at sea, it took her occasionally to
Bath, or the sea-side, it enabled her to
dispense with doing anything she did not
like, nor did it materially imterfere to
prevent her sharing in any amusement
that came in her way; she thus gave
herself a good deal up to the indulgence
of delicate health. Being rather indolent,
and now a confirmed invalid, she relin-
quished the entire management of her
house, her dress, and family, to Mrs. Par-
sons, the housekeeper, and lady’s-maid,
and purse-bearer ; hke Hecate, of ancient
fable, she bore threefold office, and ruled,



_ AN APPLE. — | 83

and knew she ruled, and showed she
ruled, and had not her ‘humor most,—
had not her humor at all, when she
obeyed. It was in the awful presence of
this great power, that poor Widow Jones
now stood in some trepidation. Mrs.
Parsons ruled all but the Admiral; his
occasional voyages broke her sway; she
had to begin it all over again when he
returned from sea.

She was a high woman, no doubt, and
had her faults; but she was a woman of
principle as far as I could know. Widow
Jones told her errand, and was conde-
scendingly told she might wait. I could
not help .peeping through the basket to
look at Mrs. Parsons, —— housekeeper,
lady’s-maid, plenipotentiary, her of the
silk gown. Her voice sounded strange
and loud, so different from my mistress’s,
and from the plaintive subdued tone of
Mrs. Jones, who seemed afraid of offend-
ing the very air she breathed by speaking
before this great woman ; yet, again, her



84 - = THE STORY OF

voice was not so shrill as old cross cook’s,
nor so thin and busy as Nurse Hinton’s.
It was a-voice of pomp and power ; it
bespoke the housekeeper and lady’s-maid
in full; it was such as might be expected
to issue from her spreading jaw and ample
form. She was doling out damask nap-
kins to one maid, dusters to another,
tea and coffee to her of the still-room ;
bunches of keys lay about, numerous as
the drawers and presses that lined the
apartment. Her dress was rich, and who
shall describe her cap? ‘The ornaments
were of complicated intricacy ; hard,
crisp, stiff curls of black hair were
ranged round her highly colored face ;
her eyes had the appearance of black
beads ; and she had a fine large nose
besides.
After half an hour of expectation,
which gave me time thus narrowly to
scan her, Mrs. Parsons at last turned to
the widow, approved of her work so
much that she gave her more, and a set



- AN APPLE. | 85

of. chair-covers to make, which was work
the children ‘could easily accomplish ; and
also agreed to buy the apples. Before I
knew where I was, we all found ourselves
rolled out upon the dresser, with very
little ceremony, and being counted over
in a business-like manner by the dozen,
which was mortifying enough; some were
consigned to airless drawers, others piled
on green china dishes. Mrs. Parsons
seemed struck by the rosy hue of my
cheek, took me up in her large hand,
looked hard at me, a gulf yawned beneath
me !— she dropped me into her pocket,
and all was night! ‘Ah! fatal bloom,’
I exclaimed, ‘fatal bloom that tempted
Mrs. Parsons’ — bloom. of which in my
vanity and folly I had boasted so often:
how little had I dreamed it would have
brought me into such straits !

Such was the confusion of my mind at
this appalling crisis, that I lost all recol-
lection for a time. Alas! imnsensibility
was a boon I could not long enjoy ;



86 = THE STORY OF

recalled to consciousness by the startling
jingle of an impatient bell, Mrs. Parsons
rose to obey the summons of her mistress,
dismissed the Widow Jones, and my re-
turning senses became painfully alive to
the miseries and trials of this my new
position. A stifling sensation of suffoca-
tion oppressed me; heat and want of air
pervaded the housekeeper’s pocket. I
now, also, felt the separation from all
other apples, my own compeers, more
than I could have fancied it possible.
Those apples whose friendship I had not
half cultivated, how should I now have
prized their society !— I, who had looked
down upon them as mere apples; so
puffed up, and so efgrossed had I been
with concerns of mankind, with things
far above me, the knowledge of good and
evil. Ah! what would I not now have
given for the companionship of one golden
pippin, with all its faults; nay, for the
very refuse of the uncultivated hedge —
the poor crab-apple—so longed I for a



(AN APPLE, = si
kindred spirit: who would have had some
sympathy with me, more affinity than I
could feel towards my present compan-
ions.

My reader may wish to know whs were
the tenants of the pocket in which we
were fellow-prisoners. A silver thimble,
a good deal dented in, useful no doubt,
but in this instance it was an individual
of limited capacity, merely used occasion-
ally by Mrs. Parsons when she had to sew
a button on the Admiral’s clothes, and a
string on my lady’s slipper. A purse came
next, which I reckon, from the distension
of its sides, had a good deal in it; but it
was fast and close, so that it lent itself
little to the interchange of words or
thoughts. A paper of needles, sharp
neighbors ; a pair of scissors, curiously
fashioned like a stork. I always remark
how mankind strive to imitate the forms
of nature in their ornaments, toys, and
devices; and clumsily enough they copy
her handiwork. I heard my mistress ob-



88 = - #£‘THE STORY OF
serve, the more closely you look into
nature’s work, the more exquisite you find
the perfection and finish of its minutest
parts; whilst the closer you examine the
work of man, you perceive its numerous
flaws and coarse imperfection.

It required all my philosophy to bear
my present condition with patience, the
points of these odious scissors occasionally
sticking in my sides. Farther yet, there
was a piece of sealing-wax, which, how-
ever, I perceived suffered more even than
I did from the heat of Mrs. Parsons’
pocket, as I perceived it grow sensibly
flatter from the high temperature. “We
had also among us a glass seal, set In
brass, the gift of the absent Mr. Parsons,
who was coxswain on board the Admiral’s
ship. -

I got on pretty well with this medley,
and could have found amusement among
them, but for a paper of cloves — pungent
cloves —_that Mrs. Parsons carried in her
pocket as a remedy for toothache ; the



AN APPLE. 89

smell of this spice really depressed my
spirits, and. filled me with melancholy
thoughts, for cloves are emblems of. death,
among us apples. I tried to cast off these
dark thoughts, and to remember that men
die as well as apples, and that. I had no
right to repine. JI was altogether sad and
strange. Mrs. Parsons went up and down
stairs twenty times, settling and managing
everything and everybody from morning
till night. As she was dressing Lady
Jemima the next day, the Admiral came
in to announce that he had arranged the
party for Christmas; and I was con-
siderably revived by hearing the names of
my good friends.

‘I hope you feel pretty well, my dear,
for I have asked Charles and his wife, and
all the children, and good Nurse Hinton,
to come and spend Christmas here. Par-
sons, you must see to making them all
comfortable : give poor little Frank the
south room. I have only asked the
‘Thompsons and all their children, and the



90. ‘THE STORY: OF

Nevilles, to dine here Christmas-eve qui-
etly ; but I suppose with Charles’s four
young ones, and the three Thompson
boys, and three Nevilles, we shall be able
to make it out pretty well. We must
have snap-dragon, and supper, and any
fun they like,’ said the Admiral, rubbing
his hands in anticipation of a good noisy
party. |

Lady Jemima, very nervous and ailing
all the morning, got almost well at the
sound of all these “doings, and remarked
it was charmingly arranged ; Mrs. Charles
would take all the trouble of the children
off her hands, she knew so well how to
manage them; Parsons could see after
everything else. _ She really thought she
should not mind the fatigue of the sort
of thing, — she dared say she should
enjoy it. She could rest herself and take
her nervous medicine, and nurse up all
the day before, and, with care, she might
be equal to the exertion ; and the Ad-
miral, quite satisfied, left her to finish
dressing.



Mrs. Parsons never rested ; the extent
of this large substantial country-house
added to her -labor, and confused me
sadly. I never knew exactly where I
was ; the number of bed-rooms, drawing-
rooms, parlors, dressing-rooms, bath-rooms,
and offices, which four housemaids were
perpetually kept to clean, astonished me:
and all for two people to livein! I re-
membered the Widow Jones in her one
room, nine~ feet by twelve, where four
souls besides myself and the goldfinch
lived, paying nearly four shillings a-week
for the same; and I know blind Rachel
lived in one room with a family that reck-
oned eleven in number, and I often heard
her say they managed to get on very well,
except when four of the children took the
measles. It did indeed at times appear
to me as if things were rather too un-
evenly divided in this world, particularly
houses.

Christmas-eve came at last; and a busy
woman was Mrs. Parsons that day — as.



92 a THE STORY OF |

busy as any Field-Marshal on the day of
battle — among her mince pies, puddings,
jellies, creams, and cakes.-

My heart beat when I heard the wheels.
of the carriage drive up, and the Admiral
stumping out to meet his brother Charles,
and my dear mistress, the children, and
Nurse Hinton, who was still obliged to
carry Frank; his arm was in a sling.
The Admiral took him from her, for who
so gentle and tender to children, and to
the weak and sick, as the rough old Ad-
miral? for a young child or a sick child
what would he not do 2

He had for some time been stealing
plums and cakes from his own dessert,
against this auspicious day, and stowing
them away in his huge pockets for the
children ; and now having got possession
of Frank, he carried him off to show him
the stables, horses, and kennels, and dogs,
and puppies, followed by Reginald, whilst
my master found his way about the farm
and gardens.



AN APPLE. £983

Mrs. Parsons and I waited on my mis-
tress and the young ladies, and showed
them to their rooms, as Lady Jemima was
saving herself for the evening. I could
not but feel gratified at seeing Nurse
Hinton rustling about in a very good
gown; if not silk it came very near it,
so she was in a placid state of mind,
though quite determined not to evince
any surprise or approbation of the luxu-
ries in the Admiral’s house before Mrs.
Parsons, lest she might fancy her unac-
customed to such profusion of wax can-
dles, and mirrors, and toilettes, — things
which I knew my mistress never had in
her comfortable cottage, for she always
regulated her house with great simplicity
and moderation, according to her present
income, and not to her future expectation.
My master being a younger son, with a
numerous family, it certainly was supposed
that the Admiral, having no children,
would leave his fortune to Reginald, be-

sides handsomely providing for the rest of
) 8



94 | THE STORY OF

them. Nurse Hinton’s private opinion
upon these matters was, that her master
and his children were extremely ill-used
by these arrangements of primogeniture,
and that the Admiral somewhat unjustly
kept them out of their own, as she termed
it; and that they had a stronger claim to
his property in fact than he could urge
in his own favor: the Admiral’s kindness
and affection for his brother and the chil-
dren, she reluctantly accepted as a sort of
apology for such an injury, which showed,
she fancied, some consciousness of the
fact. |

Reginald returned from the stables and
began scampering all over the house,
diving into all Mrs. Parsons’ drawers and
stores, helping her, he called it, but he
certainly helped himself largely to every-
thing. I wonder how she put up with
it, for on company days, the thimble told
me he had observed she had a good deal
of the bereaved tigress about her; even
on common occasions she was none of the



AN APPLE, 95

‘most patient : however, she loved Regi-
nald, and considered he had a lawful right
to be troublesome in his uncle’s house ;
he had, besides, when he returned from
his first voyage, remembered her and
brought her a gaudy Moorish scarf from
Malta, which had firmly established him.
in her favor.

This day he tried her severely; twice
he mislaid her keys, and another act of
turpitude came to light. After dressing
Lady Jemima, who was quite a helpless
person, and could or would do nothing
for herself, Mrs. Parsons proceeded to
dress the dishes for dessert. The best
china was displayed ; and oranges, grapes,
pears, nuts, walnuts, sweetmeats of every
description! how can I tell the varieties
that lay before her? Great was the
matching of dishes, and sorting of sizes.
I heard her, after arranging the pears, call
for the golden pippins, my old acquaint-
ances, and then she asked for the Ribstone
apples to ‘“‘ correspond.” Alas, alas! was



96 | THE STORY OF

I alone to be pent up in a frowsy pocket ?
was I alone to be excluded from the
joys and -honors of this social day? My
bosom swelled with disappointment, the
lifeless companions I had with me in this
detestable pocket aggravated my sufferings
by their utter insensibility. ’Tis true I
was but the perishable apple of a season,
but I felt superior to them, iron, steel,
ivory, — they might indeed outlast me, but
they would not outlive me, they lived not
at all,—— happily for them in this instance,
they could not feel as I did! my anguish
showed me how greatly inferior they were
to me in their still life; and in my pas-
sionate grief I spurned them, — when I
heard the sound of sharp altercation ; the
very pocket I was in shook with Mrs.
Parsons’ motion: Reginald had _ been
among the Ribstones, and had so griev-
ously thinned their ranks, that Mrs. Par-
sons despaired of forming a decent dish
out of their scattered remains !

‘My Ribstones! my best Ribstones



AN APPLE. | 97

gone, gone! I do declare! I have -not
twenty, nay, scarcely a dozen, cried--Mrs.
Parsons, ‘ to form a pyramid! Master
Reginald, master Reginald, how could
you serve me so 2’ -

© Qh, for a voice!’ thought I, ‘a voice,
that I might reply to this pathetic com-
plaint, this touching appeal, and offer
myself and my poor services, and throw
myself into the breach upon this trying
occasion.’

Fortune stood my friend ; as luck would
have it, Mrs. Parsons dived with her fat
hand into her pocket in search of the key
of the apple drawer. As she routed in
the dismal recesses of my dungeon, I
heard her exclaim,— ‘ Upon my word, I
do believe here is another apple!’ What
was her joy, compared to mine! Let no
one, sunk in the depths of the greatest
misery, after this, despair; the darkest
hour is ever before the dawn: what was
her joy to mine when I revisited the day!

Dazzled with the sudden blaze, and





98 THE STORY OF

bewildered with the change of fortune, I
must have fainted, had not the air revived
me. Iwas now put upon the very top
of the pyramid, gently laid upon bright
laurel leaves,—- fresh gathered, such leaves
as had not gladdened my poor heart since
I left the parent tree. These cool and
natural leaves saved me from pride: was
I not in danger, thus translated from the
pocket of captivity -to the- pinnacle of
happiness ? but the green leaves brought
the orchard, and the short hours of past
youth, too vividly before me, and all the
vicissitudes of the life I had experienced.
Sweet and bitter thoughts kept me hum-
ble, and grateful for my release; not im-
properly excited or giddy at this sudden
and unlooked-for elevation.

Humility spared me some subsequent
mortifications, that appeared severely felt
by the golden pippins. Poor little crea-
tures! they had not had the severe but
wholesome schooling, that made me what
IT am; for I observed they were much



Full Text




e/} ae Bi
eee Ah &

- I. r a .
ny *

in

: :
“

“Mrs. Parsons now entered, carrying a bullet pudding.”*
_ THE

STORY OF AN APPLE.

ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN GILBERT.

Sounkyo

BOSTON:
TICKNOR, REED, AND FIELDS.

M DCCC LIIT.
THURSTON, TORRY, AND EMERSON, PRINTERS.
THE

STORY OF AN APPLE.

In one of the loveliest parts of Sussex, a
gentleman had planted extensive orchards.
It was in one of these, pleasantly situated
on the outskirts of the beautiful beech-
woods of St. Leonard’s Forest, sloping
towards the South Downs, that I first saw
the light and sipped the dew upon my
parent tree, sheltered by the tall hedge
that enclosed his grounds. ‘This tree was
one of the oldest in the neighborhood, and
from the excellence of its fruit, had,
probably, originally suggested to my mas-
ter the idea of enlarging his orchards. A

light, good soil, a southern aspect, and a
1
6 ; THE STORY OF

pure air, had certainly contributed to this
peculiar excellence ; but if a little honest
pride may be allowed me, I may add, that
our family has been well known in most
parts of England, our tree being one of
the true old Ribstone Pippins, first natu-
ralized in Yorkshire, having come over,
like many other fine old families, at the
time of the Conquest, introduced by
William the Conqueror from Normandy,
and by same of his people planted near
one of the old abbeys which he had be-
stowed on his grasping followers. Perhaps
such benefits agd innocent endowments
of trees, plants, flowers, and even arts, are
among the extenuations of war ;

which appear

wars
to me to execute among
men just such mischief and ravage as
hurricanes and storms cause among our
vegetable tribes. Many a winged seed,
atid useful berry have been drifted into
bare and desolate places by these painful
_ providences, and have grown up pleasant
to the eye and good for food. Ours was
AN APPLE. - oy i

an old family, and though. rT well know we
are not so far-famed as the ancient Eve
_ Apple, the nearly extinct Golden Pippins,
besideS other noble stocks, I may be par-
doned if I remember that we rank in that
middle state of society, where, perhaps,
most respectability, usefulness, wOGEeT AON:
and true happiness may be found.

I have heard wise men: quote a wise

prayer, ——

‘Give me neither poverty nor riches.’

and I have assented to if truth, when I
have looked upon the -iniserable acidity
of ‘the poor crab that grew in the hedge
that enclosed our rich orchard, and then
again upon the sickly delicacy and over-
weening pride of a golden pippin, within
a few trees of us on the other side; and
also on a peach that required a wall for
its support, in the adjoining garden, being
a stranger, and accustomed to warmer ,
skies. This peach, indeed, had some ex-—
cuse for its delicacy, whilst the golden
8 +. HE STORY OF

pippin could dllese no ) such apology ; ; itis
an apple which our good master, in my
opinion, ever thought too much of. Con-
sidering the pains he took with this tree,
‘ the last of his race, as he would term it,
a poor return he had for his trouble;
small, puny, and few, were the apples ; but
I was surprised to find that scarcity, or
what is called rarity, does very much en-
hance the value men set upon such things
as they possess.

There are few things more delightful
among the m@@my pleasant objects that
surround men in this fair world, than an
orchard in the spring, when the sweet air
is laden with the breath of its blossoms,
passing the odors of Eden. My attention
was first drawn to this upon a bright
April morning, as [I listened to the conver-
sation of Reginald, my master’s eldest son,
a sea-faring boy, as he lay beneath our old
gnarled tree, then bowing its brown and
rugged branches, wreathed with delicate
pink and white blossoms; his sister Alice
AN APPLE. _— | 9

sat with his head on her lap, and as they
talked, a light breeze blew a snowy shower
of the tender petals all over the two chil-
dren’s faces. He was telling the girl
wonders of the’ marvellous sights a had
seen in .the far seas.

‘The sweetness of these blossoris, Al-
ice, puts me so in mind of the Spice
Islands. We began to smell them in the
ship just at dawn, and then we knew we
must be near land; and I thought of
home at the sound of “ Land;” and this.
very grass bank; this very orchard some-
how came into my mind.’

The boy had, perhaps, never noticed the
fragrance of these common flowers floating
around him, and far had he sailed before
he found out how many simple pleasures
are about us every day, and every hour,
and how little we notice them because they
are so easily attained.

My master had five children, and it was
amongst them as they played about in the
10 —. THE STORY OF

orchard that i made most of my. observa-
tions upon men and manners.

It diverted me to watch their delight in»
the early days when primroses and daisies
were scarce, and only just beginning to
peep out here and there, among the fresh
green blades of grass. They would al-
most quarrel for them; three or four of
the children would run to get first, till
they were fit to die for want of breath,
tumbling over each other, snatching at the
flowers, and nearly crushing them, in their
eagerness for the first violet, or the first
crocus! Presently, when the sun brought
out ‘his sweet family’ of flowers in abun-
dance, the grass being set with primroses
like stars in the heavens for multitude,
and I expected the children would be ten-
fold more delighted, I saw these strange
creatures walk over them almost without
‘notice, or if they did pick a whole lapful of
them in their busy idleness, suddenly they
wearied of them, cast them about, and left
them to wither, without a thought. I felt
AN APPLE. _ . fl

quite sorry, and a regretful fellow-feeling
would come over me at the sight ;—— not
but what I had. sense enough to know,
flowers must needs fade like everything
else, but it seemed sad they should be
thrown away without any use being made
of them. | a

My master’s family consisted of his
wife, the kind and gentle mother of these
children, and the friend of*every one. The
eldest boy had been made a sailor, rather
against his father’s wish; but by reason
of his being a great, favorite with his un-
cle, my master’s only brother, who was an
Admiral, and had no children of his own,
it was thought an advantage to the lad,
and I heard the people say, it went very
hard with my mistress to part with her
son; but as he was called Reginald after
his uncle, there was no more to be said
against it; moreover, the boy himself
seemed inclined to the sea. He was my
favorite amongst them, which is curious
enough, that I, being so stationary in my
12 , “THE STORY OF

habits naturally, should most love a crea-
ture, who had seen so much, and sailed so
far. I believe it does fall out so some-
times, that affection goes by contrast ; but
indeed he was of a joyous and kindly
mature, besides being such a traveller.
Alice and Margaret, his sisters, were good
and pleasant girls twins, very like each
other in _perdn, but differently disposed in
their inclinatiofs ; Alice had great steadi-
ness, Margaret had livelier spirits. The
next in age was Frank, the little farmer,
as they called him ; he was only six years
old, so strong, and hearty, and indepen-
dent, you would have fancied him older, as
he trudged about in his Holland smock-
frock all day long, out in the orchard, or
the fields, now driving the geese to the
stubbles, now seeing the cattle foddered,
or the horses taken to water, swinging on
the high five-barred gates, riding the
plough-horses as they came from the fur-
rows, with the loosened traces dragging
after them; and it was Alice alone who


AN APPLE. > 13

could coax and lure him in to his book
and slate: many a good hour’s play, she
gave up to entice him to his duty, but no
one else had so much patience with Frank.

Bertha, the youngest of the five, was a
fair-haired little girl, who was the delight
of them all. The rest of the family con-
sisted of old Nurse Hinton, Stephen the
boy, and the cross cook,—@ut for the
scolding of this cook, oWfs would have
been a very quiet family. The orchard
being close to the garden on one side, and
the road to the farm-yard running directly
through it, I saw a great deal of them all.
Nurse Hinton and the children spent most
of the day among us; they had an arbor
in the corner which my master had made
for them, and furnished it with benches
and a table; we had bee-hives on the op-
posite side, sheltered from the bleak north.

I suppose I have seen as much of real
country life as any apple going. I cannot
help owning, however, that even in the
days of my bloom, the gairish day was
14 THE STORY OF

often too much for me; first there came
the loud voice of the cook as she
called up the cow-boy at sunrise, and
then the routing the poor cows out, then
her working at the pump as. if she
would work its handle out of its socket,
then her loud calling to the poultry till she
‘set them all in a cackle, then her driving
the dogs o and her lecturing Stephen.
all the time h such asperity as made
me shake on my bough; and though my
mistress said this was the cleverest cook
she ever had, I often wished her further,
for indeed she was most noisy.

The bees next began their humming,
and work, and buzzing — very stirring,
restless insects ; and after those, the birds
commenced their everlasting perching, and
hopping, and pecking: they often made
me wonder at their ceaseless fluttering, and
what pleasure they could find in it LI can-
not conceive. When they began to build
their nests, however, I found great delight
in watching them. On the highest branch,
AN APPLE, © 15

~just above.my head, a pair of chaffinches
laid the first. twig of a nest, which, for
compactness, neatness, warmth, and beauty,
when it was completed, few birds could
have excelled ; and they so cunningly in-
terlaced the wool and hair with moss, and
grey lichens, and liverworts, which in
their subtlety they had pinched: off our
own tree, that it was har iscern the
nest, so nearly did it resem the weather-
stained bark. It was well for them that
nature had taught them thus to conceal
themselves, for I am sorry to say, the
chief pastime in which Stephen, the
groom-boy, and cow-herd delighted, was
the stealing of birds’ nests, and their ex-
ample set both Reginald and Frank to do
the like; though these boys, being better
taught by their mother, contented them-
selves with discovering and looking at the
poor frightened birds, overmuch for their
comfort, indeed, as I knew by the terror
my friends the chaffinches expressed when
Reginald helped master Frank to climb up
16 | THE STORY OF

our tree to have a peep at the brood, who, |
foolish birds ! gaped for food, little knowing
their danger; for it was a hard matter to
prevent Frank from squeezing and finger-
ing the unfledged panting creatures, the
poor old birds all the while flying and
wheeling overhead, screaming piteously.
At last the boy came down, and the pa-
rents paci the brood with a worm or
two, and all still in that quarter.

I could not but reflect on this occasion
that my condition had some advantages,
though deprived of lively pleasures —
pleasures of the will, and of change of
place. I am sure [I have been quite
shocked to see dogs hunt a cat in a most
painful manner, till as the animal had
darted up the tree, I actually felt her
tremble and thrill with terror at her ene-
my, who yelped and barked after her at
the foot of the tree; then again I have
seen this very cat (Nurse Hinton’s cat,
that the children called Miss Ribs among
themselves ),— this soft, grey, sleek, well-
AN APPLE. ALT

fed cat, — I have seen her hunt a helpless,
harmless field-mouse that lived in our
hedge-bank, in avery cruel manner, and
worse still, I beheld her tear a blackbird
to pieces, with peculiar ferocity, and gnaw
and mumble it as she devoured it, in a way
that made me quiver to my core. :
Birds, too, have some propensities to de-
struction ; robins, particu. pick up
their worms, and deliberately devour them ;
I turned quite sick to see the reptiles twirl-
ing and writhing round their bills. I was
thankful my nature was not carnivorous,
though I made allowance for these instincts
when I saw fowls feeding upon the cater-
pillars, so noxious to our own leaves, and
to the cabbages that grew hard by, in regu-
lar and goodly rows. I took the liberty of
thus suggesting to my friends, the Early
Yorks, the superior advantages of our pla-
cid destinies, for it pained me to hear them
murmuring at the monotony and tameness
of this existence ; planted in good soil, well
trenched, carefully earthed up, what had
is THE STORY OF

they to complain of in this unthankful ©
strain? I found discontent to be the source |
of so many evils, that I began to reflect
upon it as. the one besetting evil, which ap-
peared in a hundred different forms. Not
far from this pampered ‘cabbage, I found
the crab-tree full of bitterness, because he
was not attended to, left to grow as he list-
ed in the hedge, no spade loosening the
ground at his feet, though his glowing
blossom was full of beauty and abundance.
It would have ill become me to hint to him
the true reason of this neglect, and that
his sour unprofitable fruit was the cause of
it, as such a remark might increase his bit~
terness. I strove to cultivate peace among
them all, and chiefly in myself the spirit
of contentment. We have all our uses,
and I remarked to the crab-tree, it was no
mean use to delight the eye, to add to the
beauty of this goodly world, to shelter the
fowls of heaven; nay, does not his fruit,
harsh and crude as it appears, furnish as
much nourishment and satisfaction in its
AN APPLE. FG,

season to the merry squizrel ¢ of the forest,
to the sleek mice, and such ‘small deer,’
as the far-famed pines afford to the rich ?
This is a long digression, for which my
friends must excuse me; my sedentary
habits incline me to meditation ; though
the body is fixed to the branch, the ima-
_gination will ramble. I have not describ-.
ed half the noises which disturbed my
peace. Nurse Hinton’s singing nonsense
to Miss Bertha was tiresome enough. It
seems a custom, but what pleasure it
could afford the child, is hard to tell.
When cook had finished her evening clat-
ter of milking, pumping water, feeding
poultry, and scolding Stephen, I felt to re-
vive, for by that time the cool dews began
to fall, and my happiest hours approached ;
I no longer felt the languor brought on me
by the heat of the sun, and the clamor of
life and labor. Nurse Hinton took her
children home, cook retired to her. supper
and kitchen, the boys whistled on their
way home, the cocks and hens leisurely
20° - THE STORY OF —

disposed chemuélyes to roost, hopping one
by one to their perches, and, not without |
jostling and. altercation, settled to rest ; the
cow in her stall gave a quiet low, as she
turned tothe calf she had been absent
from all day, and I could hear the hoof of
the tired plough-horse, as he turned lazily
round, and struck the manger in his stable.
These few peaceful sounds enhanced the
‘growing stillness of the night, and inclined
me to repose. The daisies and the clover
were closed. It seemed to me, as the round
moon rose, as if men left their world to our
peculiar enjoyment; all the sweet odors
of the fir and pine-trees, plants and flow-
ers, came forth in greater richness, and,
sweetest of the sweet, the kindly well-
named May-blossom content to cheer the
cottage and ornament the park. These
were very happy days of youthful joy among
all our tribes; the pale-flowered cherry,
the fairer pear, and broad medlar, all drop-
ped their petals in the moonlight,. when
the air was so still you might hear the light
AN APPLE. — oe 21

leaf fall, ‘or the. sleepy twitter of the chaf-
finches as they overlaid each other i in their
nest. On such nights as these, my master
and mistress, with the elder children, would
walk among us, ‘and scarcely break the
silence I loved so well; tired with the la-
bor or the sports of the day, and sobered
by the hour, they lingered long, watching
the stars, and talking of a heaven beyond
those far stars; another world, where
those that left this world might go, and
where they all hoped to meet.

I thought as they sauntered home, they
seemed wiser, and better, and holier, for
pondering on that far world, than I had
ever seen them in the broad noon-day:
when left to myself, I reflected on what I
had heard them talk about; and as the
moon shone mildly round, casting black
flickering shadows round us, and the dews
dropt softly from their leaves, I did wonder
how men could fancy a world lovelier than
ours! These quiet hours were both pleas-

ant and profitable to me: in the night sea-
2
22 ‘THE STORY OF

son there seemed nothing to prevent. our
looking up to the starry heavens, receiving
the cool dew-drops upon our. leaves, and
being thankful and content.

T experienced on the whole a most favor-
able season. We had a few rainy days,
and some morning frosts, which were sharp
enough to nip us more than was pleas-
ant, and caused several of us to drop off
before the time, and then the hail showers
knocked us about a good deal; I was
sorry to observe the golden pippins suffer
cruelly in that rough hour, whilst we kept
our boughs in good condition. Few events
marked the summer, our growth was so
gradual. The family were away on a visit
to the Admiral; his wife, Lady Jemima,
having no children, found the country dull,
except when she had my master and mis-
tress staying with her the best part of the
time.

At last they all returned, as it is a busy
time in orchards, when autumn comes, and
my master had to look after us as well as
AN APPLE. ua 23

the rest of his family ; and I was SO glad
to have the children basking amongst us
again. Our old tree was actually weighed
down with glowing fruit, and though the
weather was lovely, with misty pleasant
mornings, and bright sunny days after
them, and bracing exhilarating breezes, that
invited to exercise ; yet at times my heart
felt sad as I looked down on the multitude
of us hanging on frail boughs, and thought
of our probable fate. My hour must soon
come, when I should be torn from our
parent tree, and meet the common destiny
of the Apples of this. earth. I felt this
deeply, notwithstanding the ruddy color
on my smooth cheek; yet might not that
treacherous beauty tempt the hand of man,
and hasten the fatal hour I so much
dreaded? :

It was on a fine clear night, while the
hunter's moon shonein its greatest splendor,
and as I hung pondering upon the future,
I heard a stealthy step, and then some
whispering voiccs outside the hedge, and
24 — THE STORY OF |

presently an ill-looking man, accompanied
by two boys, forced their way through a
thin part of the hedge. They brought a.
sack and a ladder: conceive my horror
when I saw them hastily proceed to strip
the neighboring trees and fill their sack
with apples! One of the savages actually
made me shudder as I heard him munch-
ing an apple with his broad white teeth,
shining in the moonlight, the greedy
monster,—- with the greatest coolness!
They next stripped my master’s golden
pippin tree; every apple fell before them.
Now comes our turn, thought I, as I saw
their thievish eyes glaring upon our noble
clusters, and the detestable hand of the rob-
ber was actually upon the trunk of our old
tree, when I heard the voice of Reginald
hallooing the dogs, and gallantly com-
ing to the rescue : — we were saved! The
man seized his sack, and, followed by the
boys, dashed through the gap, leaving the
ladder behind them ; my master fired some
shots ; there was a good deal of excitement.


AN APPLE. | 25

altogether. T hey soon perceived that all
my master’s favorite golden. pippins were
gone. Sorry enough he was, more so than
was quite reasonable, considering we had
been spared to him. But it is ever thus;
he thought more of what was gone than
he prized what was left. Stephen was left
to -pace round the orchard, and keep watch,

-and when peace was restored, and the dogs
had snuffed about the traces of the thieves,

and yelped, and returned to their-kennel, I
heard the measured footsteps of our guard
crunching in the crisp frozen grass till day-
light relieved him from his watch. This
even hastened the apple-gathering.

The orchard for the next few days pre-
sented a scene of great bustle; men, wo-
men and children with baskets were hard
at work. ‘Tree after tree was stripped of
its fair load. Reginald and Frank, with
faces as red as my own, were foremost in
the business ; the former, used to climbing
masts, was always first at the top of the
tree, and I saw on that day the goodness
26 - ®4—THE STORY OF

of his heart. There was a poor woman
among the pickers that had a child badly
burned, and I saw him give her his golden
half-guinea, which the Admiral had sent
him, and he and Alice prevailed on their
mother to set her up with a stall and bas-
ket, to sell apples in the street. | |
Still, amidst this tale of woe, anxiety
about my own fortunes would intrude. I
felt the crisis of my fate approach ; soon,
too soon, they drew near ; the dear children
were the busiest among the busy. Regi-
nald was soon reclining himselfin triumph
on our topmost bough — which was safe
enough for one of his sea-faring habits.
They actively stripped our honored parent-
tree, and though I felt the agitation of such
a moment, and the impending separation,
yet I considered how much better I had
fared, thus gently plucked from the bough
by the accustomed hands of those I loved,
and laid in the basket with my own kin-
dred to fulfil the future duties reserved for
me by fate, instead of being rudely torn in
AN APPLE. QT

the dead of night from my branch by the
ruthless hand of rapine, and ignominiously
thrust into the wallet of pickpockets and
pilfering knaves, like the wretched golden
pippins. These reflections, and indeed all
selfish considerations, were suddenly inter-
rupted by a loud scream.

Alas! poor Frank, with his usual each
ness, had, unobserved by any one, climbed
upon a high and unsafe branch whilst his
sisters were filling the panniers; he had
spied the deserted nest of my old friends
the chaffinches, and overreaching himself
in his attempt to seize it, missed his hold,
and fell upon his head, cutting his fore-
head upon the ladder that lay beneath.
My poor mistress had seen his fall, and in
an instant was at the spot. I never shall
forget the pain I saw pass over her face, as
she lifted the stunned child up, his yellow
hair dabbled in blood, his eyes closed, his
arm hanging helplessly down: but she was
very quiet and composed, and making an
effort, she sent Stephen for my master,
28 THE sTORY OF

and desiring the terrified little girls to re-
main where they were and not to make a
noise, she, Reginald, and Nurse Hinton,
gently carried poor Frank into the house.
Mary, after staying awhile, could bear the
suspense no longer, and ran crying home
after the rest; the apple gatherers went
into the yard ; how was all changed around !
Presently I noticed, lying on the grass,
with her face. buried in her hands, poor
little Alice, sobbing as if her heart would
break: her mother’s desire had fixed her
to the spot. When her straining eyes saw
the door close behind the sad procession,
and she could see her dear Frank no more,
she lay moaning on the ground —‘ He’s
killed, he will die, why did I lose sight of
him? Why did I let go his hand? Oh!
Frank, dear little Frank,’ cried she, as
she saw his straw hat, which had dropped
in his fall, ‘it is all my fault! what shall
I do? itis my fault! what will become of
me 2’ |

I scarcely know how long she remained
AN APPLE. | Q9

in this condition, bet it was nearly dark
when I héard a quick step : it was Reginald
seeking poor Alice.. He brought the joy-
ful tidings that Frank was not dangerous-
ly hurt. He was shocked when. he found
Alice so overcome with misery, pale, and
her face stained with tears; she had been
forgotten in the confusion, and had thus
remained under the tree for fear of vexing
her mother. ‘ But, dear Alice, why did
you stay perishing here ? you are half dead
with cold; I: have been looking for you
everywhere this hour past. Come, cheer
up, Alice, he 1s all right now.’ ‘Reginald,
do you know I felt as if I had killed Frank 2
I could not stir, I was afraid of hearing he
was worse, afraid to hear he was dead ;
and when the Doctor’s horse trotted by so
fast up the lane, I feared he would do
something dreadful to him, and actually
stopped my ears lest I should hear him
scream. How thankful I am! tell me all
about it ; never mind my shivering and cry-
ing, I cannot stop myself. ‘ Well, come
3
30° | THE STORY OF.

along home, Alice, said Reginald, ‘the
Doctor says the cut on his head is nothing
to signify ; but, Alice,’ added he gravely,
‘poor Frank’s arm is broken.’ As he
uttered this he leant against the tree and
burst out crying.

It was Alice’s turn now to be the com-
forter. It was too true the poor boy’s arm
was broken. He had borne the setting
well, and was quiet; time must do the
rest. It was a great trial to the little fel-
low. I could not help seeing how in an
affectionate family, if one is hurt, all suffer.
The nursery shutters were closed, Nurse
Hinton did not sing Miss Bertha to sleep
this night; all wore anxious faces, the
scolding cook even was quiet and went
softly, unless for the noise she made hush-
ing every one else. The dogs hung their
ears, and seemed to seek Frank, for we were
all fond of him, in spite of his pranks:
he was good-hearted and kind, would give
away the thing he liked best, if he thought
it would please, and could never bear to
AN APPLE. _ | 3]

see any one in trouble. I have seen him
take worms and beetles off the path, for
fear any one should tread on them, which
good feeling he very much owed to his
mother, and to Nurse Hinton’s common
saying, ‘It is easy to take away life, a baby
may do it; but who can give life 2?’

It was the most miserable night I ever
spent. When I saw Reginald and Alice
slowly return home, and darkness close
round me, torn from my first home, my
own bough, my heart felt sad and chill,
and my spirits sank; but with the morn-
ing came more cheerful thoughts, and just
as the rose-colored blush of the dawn ush-
ered in the golden sun, the cook and Ste-
phen came out, and I was cheered by hear-
ing them say, dear Frank was doing well,
had slept, and was not in pain. They soon
lifted the basket I lay in, and carried me
into the house, — that house whose walls
I had seen ever since I had hung on my
branch. Strange and wonderful did every-
thing appear to me. I was carried to the
a2 THE STORY OF

store-room, taken carefully out, and put
upon a neat shelf, with a number of my
companions, and I considered myself for-
tunate in having plenty of light and air.
The store-room was in the most central
situation, very near the parlor, the lesson-
room, and the kitchen, and not far from
the nursery ; which gave me opportunities
few apples have enjoyed, of making obser-
vations on the ways and customs of men.
Having arranged us in great order and
regularity, the cook, whom I now almost
loved because she had brought me into civ-
ilized society, shut the door, double-locked
it, and left me to recover the hurry of the
last few days. On looking round me, after
a short interval of repose, I found myself
extremely well pleased, in a neat, well-
arranged store-room.

I could trace the orderly hand of my
good mistress, who was noted for regulari-
ty. Rows of jars, and rows of jam-
pots, and confections, furnished the snowy
shelves, besides endless varieties of other
AN APPLE. | , 33

articles, such as rice, cocoa, tea, white cones
of sparkling sugar, and quantities of things
I cannot describe, and which the children
of men seem to deem necessary for their
nourishment and well-being. Here, again,
I could not but consider how dearly nature
has made mankind. pay for the privileges
of activity and motion, by attaching such
troublesome conditions to their existence,
as ‘ eating their bread by the sweat of their
brow;’ while us plants, her more favored
children, she nourishes with her own
hands, by cooling dews, and kindly show-
ers. It was only when taken into the inti-
macy of this good family, that I became
fully aware of the trouble incident to their
condition. I have seen even my mistress
enter, her placid countenance loaded with
care and forethought, giving orders for the
provisions and proper preparations of food
for the day, and for the week — her hus-
band’s dinner, breakfast for the children,
servants’ suppers, and food for distribution
among the poor, whom she never over-
34 | . THE STORY OF

looked; and as to the pickling, and scald-
ing, and boiling, and roasting, and clean-
_ing of dishes, and washing of plates, and
scouring of pots, that went on in the kitch-
en near us, it was endless, it showed me
the rashness of my judgment, when I blam-
ed the scolding cook for her unbecoming
violence of temper. I considered myself a
very patient apple, but I own I could not
have borne one half of her trials, and the
heat of the fire, and her many responsi-
bilities, without some irritation.

Our store-room had appropriate furni-
ture, such‘as scales and weights, sugar-
scoops, an instrument called a sugar-nip-
per, but which seemed more likely to nip
the fingers severely, than the sugar; pestle
and mortar, coffee-mill, wooden ladles, balls
of twine, vinegar, oil, and sauces. In one
corner there was a medicine-chest, contain-
ing simple remedies, such as my mistress
found useful among the poor sick people
about us, when sickness came among them.
Three deep drawers were full of warm
AN. APPLE. 35

clothing for the poor, made up by the la-
dies: in their evening leisure. These were
entrusted to my little friends, Mary and
Alice, since they had come to an age that
could be depended on. My mistress had
found that the wish to clothe the poor had
made the little girls work extremely neat-
ly, and it was a pretty pride, to my mind,
with which I saw Mary display the baby-
linen she had completed in the long win-
ter’s evenings, and with what satisfaction
she would get Nurse to wash some squalid
infant, and array it in her handy-work.
The mother was scarcely more proud of the
child than Mary was of her work!

Here is another penalty in man’s estate
—the clothing of their bodies; and it is
one of the most complicated of their trou-
bles, for the minds of women and children,
nay, of men, at times, run into such unac-
countable and fantastic notions upon rai-
ment. I have been inclined to laugh some-
times, as I sat on my shelf, to hear Nurse
come to state to my mistress the things she
36 a THE STORY OF

thought necessary for the ‘ proper appear-
ance of the young ladies.’ Poor Nurse
being but an ignorant woman, though a
good soul, her mind ran very much on tri-
fles and follies, particularly upon caps,
bows of ribbon, and artificial flowers
poor, mean, gaudy, stiff-looking things,
made of colored rags, paper, wire, and gum,
as nearly as I could make out: I could
scarcely forbear laughing at hearing them
called flowers at all. I think my mistress
was a good deal of my mind, and discour-
aged Nurse Hinton; but I found poor
nurse had one feeling deeper than mere love
of dress; the truth was, she was jealous
of the superior style of dress of the Admi-
ral’s wife’s maid.

As she indulged in the vanity of fine
clothes considerably, she anxiously wished
her mistress to dress as well as Lady Jemi-
ma, and she herself, ike Mrs. Parsons. I
was at one time very angry with Nurse, as
I thought this a mean feeling of jealousy ;
but I have since learned more self-knowl-


AN APPLE. ~ - oF.

edge: swinging giddily on a tree, I had no
time for self-examination ; but now quiet-
ly laid on this shelf, and undisturbed by
the pride of youthful bloom, I can see
more rationally things as they are. I
dared not blame, though I could lament
to see, nurse looking down on cook, and
thinking herself quite above her, and then
again looking up to Mrs. Parsons, the
proud housekeeper, with envy. Alas! had
I not done the same by the poor crab-tree
in the hedge; I had despised it, and envied.
my neighbor, the golden pippin. Nay, had.
not my black heart Ee ON Gea tl at the wicked
thief’s taking them!

In the deep selfishness of our natyire, all
have golden pippins above them, and their
crab-tree below. Self is the evil. I was
humbled, and from that day I became a
wiser and a better apple. My retreat was
so central, I could see and hear almost all
that went on about me. I had the pleas-
ure of watching the recovery of my little
friend Frank, and I also witnessed the un-
aS ‘THE STORY OF

ceasing patience of Alice’s love towards
him, how she bore with him, striving to
please when the weariness of pain made
it most difficult. Mary amused him when
he was better; Alice he preferred when
he was at his worst. She could ‘explore
the thought, explain the asking eye,’ as
I heard my mistress read out of some
book to the children. He was much
changed.

It was wonderful to see the child, who
never sat still willingly before, now stretch-
ed upon a sofa, motionless, his little face
pale but sweet, his arm bandaged and use-
less by his side, casting wistful glances at
the window when a robin or stray bird
would dash at the casement, reminding
him of that out-door world he had loved
so much. And who could feel for him
more than I did, I who had lived on the
branch? not but what I thought, ‘you,
dear child, will return to those fair woods,
you will again feel the breeze parting the
locks on that young brow, under the broad
AN APPLE, 89

and glorious skies, but not to me will such
blest hours return.’ |
I did not murmur, however, but strove
to be contented; my feelings were well ex-
pressed in some lines of poetry Alice re-
peated to her mother : —
‘ Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day or the sweet approach of eve or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine!’
Talking of poetry, another piece of a
more joyous character came strangely home
to my bosom by its truth; as little Mary
read it, I thought it quite remarkable that
men could so exactly embody what I ex-
perienced : —
‘Where the bee sucks, there lurk I,
In a cowslip’s bell I lie,
There I couch while owls do cry!
On the bat’s back I would fly,
After summer, merrily ;

Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.’

I linger over this happy time, to which
I owe the improvement of my heart and
40, ‘THE STORY OF

understanding, thus living in this good
and simple family; they found such hap-
piness in living for others, in thinking of
others, in loving others more and better
than themselves, that with them I learned
the one great lesson that selfis our great
enemy, and usefulness one of the chief
purposes of our existence. But I must
proceed. A_ friend of MReginald’s, the
‘Widow Jones, came to our house shortly
before that period which men call Christ-
mas; she was very destitute, having three
children, one of whom was lame and
helpless. Our children brought her to
the store-room, to furnish her with such
things as she most needed.

I remember the whole scene as if it
was but yesterday it had passed; especi-
ally as, in the bustle, when Reginald came
up in high spirits and full of fun, I got a
severe blow on the side of my head, from
a heavy bunch of keys which Mary in her
confusion dashed on the dresser among
us; and a great hunt she had for these
AN APPLE. © | AT

same keys, my mistress asking for them
in a hurry, though there they lay just
before her, as I knew to: my cost; but her
head was so full of Christmas and the
Widow Jones, that she could think of
nothing else. Reginald brought in two
baskets which I plainly saw were to be
well filled. ‘There stood Nurse Hinton
with poor Frank in her arms; he had
begged very hard to be allowed to put
something into the widow’s basket, par-
ticularly when he heard she had a lame
sick boy at home. Bertha also trotted
into the store-room after Nurse, not
understanding much of what was going
on, and contented herself with picking up
busily such little dried currants, and
raisins, and crumbs of sugar and rice, as
had dropped on the floor.

Reginald was full of jokes, and said
such amusing things as almost made me
roll off the shelf with laughing. As Alice
was all for business, and gravely employed
herself in taking out the clothes with
42 THE STORY OF

much decorum, to dole them out to the
widow, what should Reginald do, but
snatch the night-cap, full of frills, and put
it on his young head, tie a check apron
round his waist, and keep dropping
curtsies just like the widow herself; who
stood by doing the very same thing, and
wiping the tears of gratitude from her
eyes, and partly laughing too at his
tricks: then he mimicked the cook scold-
ing, and indeed in his frilled cap he had
a look of her. Frank laughed and
shouted, and the packing went on all this
while. Tea, sugar, cocoa, rice, soap, and
candles, were all neatly put into one of
the baskets, and Frank was allowed to
put a pot of jam in for the sick boy;
little Bertha added a packet of biscuits,
not without some trouble; for some time
she held the paper bag fast, intending to
carry off her prize to the nprsery: after
some persuasion, such as, *‘ Will you not
give poor Widow Jéines some biscuits?’
to which she stoutly answered ‘No! I
AN APPLE. ~ | a

had rather keep them for myself, > Alice
had to manage the matter by giving her
one in her hand, and one for Frank, and
a bit for puss, and so disengaged the mass
of biscuits from the clutch of her fat little
hand.

The bundle of clothes was nest made
up; Reginald took off his cap and apron
and added them to the store, all the time
eating jam, and painting moustaches of
black-currant jelly upon Mary and him-
self. My foolish head was giddy with fun
and drollery. Alas! alas! how often in
the midst of such hilarity does a heavy
blow fall on us, to remind us that we are
but apples! that all is but vanity and
vexation of spirit! Another basket stood
by, ready to receive its freight: I tremble
while I relate it, — Reginald, my own be-
loved Reginald, he whom I doted upon,
began filling this fatal basket, not with
insensible tea, and passive coffee, or insipid
rice, but with apples! Row after row was
taken from the shelf and stowed away; I
44 THE STORY OF

awaited my fate in breathless anxiety ;
how empty and cruel now appeared his
jokes, when I saw too clearly that I must
leave this scene of peace and happiness, to
try an unknown world!

I had learnt the duty of acquiescence
and patience from my dear mistress, and
as she appeared at the door for a moment,
her placid look was not lost upon me; I
recovered my composure, for I had been
sadly ruffled, and resolved to submit with
meekness to my fate. I took, as I thought,
my last look at her gentle face, as she put
some money in the widow’s hand; I look-
ed at Frank, Mary, Alice, good Nurse
Hinton. I pressed against the beloved
hand of Reginald, who little knew my
feelings as he consigned me to straw and
darkness in the basket! The top was
closed upon me, and I really think for some
moments I lost all consciousness of my
sorrow in insensibility, so sudden was
the blow that had changed my joy into
mourning. The first thing that roused
AN APPLE. _ | 45

me was feeling the basket I lay in, rudely
set upon the kitchen table, and the un-
mistakeable voice of cook advising Mrs.
Jones to take me and my companions up
to the Admiral’s, where she understood
there were to be great doings at Christmas,
and where it was likely she would get a
good price for us, as apple-tarts and apple-
puddings would be wanted by the dozens.

I could not restrain the natural shud-
der that shook my frame at these ominous
words spoken so lightly; I felt my very
peel creep! yet cook was not a_ bad-
hearted woman on the whole; she gave
the widow a jug of soup and a large lump
of dripping for her family; so that it was
just want of thought, and a disregard of
the feelings of others, that had led her to
speak of those tarts. The widow’s two
girls were warming themselves, and wait-
ing by the great kitchen-fire; they took
their share of the load my generous friends
had bestowed upon their mother with
great joy, and we sat forth towards my

4
46 | THE STORY OF

future home. I bore it quietly, though
it was painful indeed to leave such a home
as this had been to me: I was even sorry
to think I should see the scolding cook
and Stephen no more.

Jane and Susan were the names of
‘Widow Jones’s. little girls, and her boy
Johnny was a cripple. She herself was
a sickly woman, looking as if she were
half-clothed and half-starved.. I began
to perceive more of the suffering, physical
suffering of the children of men, than I
had imagined could exist in this beautiful
world. Mrs. Jones was what: is termed
above her situation in life, she had re-
ceived education sufficient to preserve her
from many of the vices that often attend
utter destitution. Susan, who carried
me, was a small delicate looking girl; her
attenuated little arms and thin form ap-
peared shrunken in faded, threadbare
clothes that were too short for her; her
pale face and sunken eyes told of poor, bad
food, and little of it: chilled, and nipped,
AN APPLE. | 47

as if the cold blew through her; yet she
was an interesting looking child, her was
such an appearance of meek endurance
about her. |

It was impossible exactly to tell the age
of these children, for suffering and priva-
tion give a painful precocity to the features
and countenance of children, while it
stunts their growth and they appear small
and yet old. Jane was a stouter, fresher
looking girl, far better able to travel
the rough road of life than her sister ;
yet she too looked cold and ill-clad and
ill-fed, limping with chilblains, trying to
Keep her poor swelled and purple hands
warm by tucking them under her patched
pinafore; she had an honest, open, con-
tented face, and hada deal to talk about,
and expatiated on all the good things they
were taking home. The widow stopped
to buy fuel on the road, and I could not
help comparing the scanty bag of small
coal, and the httle faggot she bought and
paid so much for, to the round coal and
48 = THE sTORY OF

heavy billet that filled my late master’s
grate. She next stopped at a basket-
maker’s to see a blind girl of the name of
Rachel, who was her cousin, and to tell
her that she would send Jane to fetch her
up to supper this very night.

At last we arrived at a poor-looking
place; a dark and ricketty stair-case
opened upon a narrow landing-place, and
we entered into a low-room in a dingy,
ill-repaired tenement, in which Widow
Jones lived. ‘The windows had _ been
blown in, during the late high winds, and
were patched with brown paper and old
copies in various places; a curtain, as a
sort of partition, divided the room;.a
small grate, bearing some proportion to
their fuel, occupied one side, but had evi-
dently been without fire on this day. In
one corner was-a press-bed, in the other
the bare cupboard; then there were a
chair or two, and a few cups; Ihttle
enough of anything but poverty, and
cold and want, stared upon me all round;
AN APPLE. | 49

yet all was clean and orderly; cleanest of
all was a little straw pallet on which lay
poor lame Johnny. _

‘In bed, my boy?’ anxiously inquired
the widow; ‘I. hope you are not in
pain ?’ 7

‘No, mother, no pain, no particular
pai, only hungry. and very cold; it was
the cold made me lie down when it grew
dark, and I could not see to read; but
you have been so long away. Did you
get the rent? do say so; the woman was
here asking for the money so loud, I grew
quite afraid of her.’

‘Don’t be afraid, my little man, it is all
right. Johnny, now will you-hear all the
ood news? I have brought home money
enough for rent, and for fire, and for food,
and you need not go to bed yet for the
cold. Thank your Father, which is in
heaven; oh! how can we thank him
enough 2?’ said the widow.

By this time Susan had brought a light,
and Jane had set about making a fire ;
50 THE STORY OF

the widow filled the kettle, drew the cur-
tain across the room, to keep the wind
from the ill-shutting door off; closed the
clumsy shutter, and then displayed the
treasures of clothes and food, fuel and
money.

Poor Johnny gazed as if it was too good
to be true, his eyes filled with tears; and
then fairly overcome, and weak from want,
he sobbed aloud: his mother laid him
gently back, but he kept hold of her with
his arm round her neck.

‘ Mother, mother, I had prayed so hard
for some relief, for some. help; was it
wrong t was it complaining? it. was more
for you than for us, for to-day I felt as if
you could bear no more misery; and you
were so long away, and the woman was so
angry, she frightened me; I did feel as if
it would be better if we were all dead and
in another world.’

‘Do not talk any more, Johnny, till you
are stronger and better.’

By this time Susan had heated some of
AN APPLE. . 51

cook’s good soup; the loaf was cut, and
the widow gave Johnny some food. She
could scarcely speak: as her eyes rested
on that worn face, she felt what a hard
long day it had. been for the boy to bear
since she had closed the door upon him,
leaving him all she had to leave, a few
cold potatoes, and not much hope of any
relief. | |

I began now dimly to perceive why the
children of men cling so to that other
world, of which I so often heard them
talk. My mistress would strive to im-
press the reality of the other world on the
minds of her children when they were in
the full tide of enjoyment, to prevent
their being too fond of this beautiful
world, and I thought it very wise; but
when I saw this miserable cripple clinging
to this same hope, it seemed notonly wise
but necessary: indeed it was the only;so-
lution of what I found so hard to under-
stand, how the poor, so sorely afflicted,
could bear life at all with any patience.
62 THE STORY OF
. Strange to say; it was in this pernicious
habitation, under its dark and smoky
rafters, where first I saw sickness, want
and misery, that I first envied human be-
ings.. Here I first understood how glorious
was the hope of immortality, that hope
which brightened these naked walls with
divine radiance, raising the lone widow
and her stricken boy above such evils. I
felt that they were immortal, and I the
poor perishable creature of an hour. —
Revived by warmth and nourishment,
they commenced arranging their plans.
Susan was sent down with the quarter’s
rent to. the landlady, and as I saw them
gravely count over the shillings, the few
shillings, as if it were a heavy sum, I was
quite puzzled. I had often seen Nurse
Hinton and Cook, when they were chaf-
fering with a pedlar, in the old orchard,
examine gowns and shawls, and count the
cost of pounds and shillings, and the
pedlar would declare it was as cheap as
dirt, and that he gave them the gowns and


Vedlav.

a

with

Cook ehathertias

rie

' Nurvee Tinton
AN APPLE. | _ §3

shawls for nothing; and yet these things.
cost far more than the rent Widow Jones
was counting out so carefully. I saw the
widow fold and put aside her shawl, and
then allow the children to put on their
new frocks to see if they fitted; and nice
and comfortable they looked.

The tea-table was then prepared, the
kettle sang merrily on the fire, and away
ran Jane to fetch Cousin Rachel, the blind
girl. Johnny was lifted into his chair, and
Susan presented him with Frank’s pot of
jam, and some books my mistress had sent
him, upon his promising that he would
not read till he had finished his. supper.
Johnny in his trepidation of delight prom-
ised anything she pleased; but when once
he got hold of these books, these treasures,
promises and all his cares were forgotten,
and he was buried in this new world of
the mind.

All this time the widow was rustling
and fussing about, dividing a portion of all

she had received.
5
54: _ THE STORY OF

_ Jane now returned with Cousin Rachel,
a woman about twenty, who had become
blind after the small-pox; she lived next
door to the basket-maker’s with whom she
worked. Rachel was wonderfully cheerful
and contented, yet she could not see the
light of day, or the beauty of nature, or
the faces of those she loved so well. .

_ ‘This evening, as usual, she brought her
work ; she could knit as fast as possible,
and besides she brought some withies: for
her basket-work. [never met with a hap-
pier human being. When supper was
over, the widow sat down to work; Susan
cleared away the ill-matched cups, and
the glazed black-earthen tea-pot. Jane
was learning to make baskets, and it was
lucky her teacher Rachel was blind, and
could not see Jane’s clumsy failures, and
awkward way of handling the willow ;
she was indeed but a beginner. Johnny
read aloud to them the moving story of a
shipwreck, called the Loss of the Kent,
but the Widow Jones was too careful of her
AN APPLE. | OO

candle to. allow more than a couple of hours
of such indulgence; she ingeniously stuck
a pin in the candle, just in the middle, which
was the allowance of light for the night,
and the signal when,to stop—a. sort of
silent curfew. Johnny looked from time
to time at the decreasing space, and when
the pin dropped out of the melting light,
he sighed, but closed the book. ‘The
widow then bestowed a portion of the
things she had been so busy putting to-
gether, to Cousin Rachel, and prepared to
lead her home.

The poor widow now felt something of
the happiness my good mistress experi-
enced that very morning; perhaps, indeed,
in a higher degree still, for my mistress of
her abundance had given to others; the
widow gave of her poverty. But the
chain of kindness has many links; I found
that the greatest luxury of the rich was
not denied to the poor — the power of do-
ing good! Johnny’s bed was prepared,
the press-bed was also let down, in which
56 | THE STORY OF

the widow slept with her two girls, and it
nearly filled the room. "When the widow
returned, I saw them kneel down and pray
to their Maker. I watched their tearful
gratitude, as they looked up to Heaven,
by the flickering light of the fire, and I
thought how different must have been the
piercing earnestness and fervor of their
prayers and petitions the night before,
when bread had failed, and hope was well-
nigh gone: however when hope is low,
prayer is strongest.

Johnny was laid in his bed, his darling
books by his side, that he might at least
feel them the first thing in the morning;
the little girls nestled up to their mother,
and soon slept warmly under the thick
blanket Nurse Hinton had provided. It
was long before the widow could close her
eyes; she lay pondering, most likely, upon
the blessings of this day, this 8th of De-
cember, as she heard the strong winter
wind moaning, howling, and rattling at the
window, as an enemy shaking the poor
AN APPLE. _ 67

frail house. The children were fed, they
were warm and covered; wolfish hunger,
cold and wind, those fierce foes, could not
reach them this night. How fervently
she blessed my dear mistress, and thanked
her Maker! At last she fell asleep, and
all was still.

I now began to look about me, and be-
came aware of the extraordinary difference
there seemed to be among the habitations
of men. I remembered the sunny house
of my master, the bright windows, and
gay papers, shining grates, and thick warm
curtains of better materials than that
‘which covered the very bodies of these
poor shivering people;-the carpets they
walked on softer than the beds which
these lay upon, and I began to fear I had
myself even been somewhat spoiled by the
luxuries I had partaken of.

I felt chilled in the damp atmosphere
around me, as I watched the sticky green-
ish stains that seemed to creep along the
mouldy walls: the regular dropping of
58 7 THE STORY OF

wet that broke the silence, drop after
drop, proved how ill the damaged roof
kept out the weather; the ill-joined and
uneven floor did not appear sound enough
to sustain the crazy furniture. Man here
‘seemed born to sorrow,’ and to nothing
else. I could not help looking with in-
terest upon Johnny sleeping so soundly,
his little bird hanging near the head of
his bed in its shabby cage, close to his
shelf of books. Susan’s rose-tree and a
dusty geranium seemed well prized: one
wan blossom hung on the girl’s china-
rose; how different from the ruddy clus-
ters round my mistress’s casement! Yet I
was glad to think that anything could
blow in such a place, and that these poor
children had their pleasures. I felt grati-
fied that one of my fellow plants could so
far contribute its humble mite to cheer
their poverty.

This rose had blossomed to a holy pur-
pose; it had not been without its use, it

had perhaps helped to keep hope alive in
AN APPLE. — 59

their hearts. Dwelling on this, I soon felt
ashamed of my impatience under my own
trials. The tardy morn ushered in a cheer-
less light, but labor knocks early at the
poor man’s door, and anticipates the dawn.
It is remarkable that those who do no
work have most rest in this ill-divided
world. |

The Widow Jones rose betimes, cleaned
her room; the girls soon dressed, washed
some clothes, and prepared the oatmeal
gruel for their breakfast, long before
Johnny awoke. He was tenderly and
carefully dressed, and established in his
chair. Having eaten their hasty breakfast,
they all began work; the widow drew out
her table, which was soon covered with
working materials to which the girls ap-
plied themselves ; I discovered they were
making frocks for my old acquaintances,
Mary and Alice, and a fine dress for the
Admiral's wife, the Lady Jemima. I now
felt somewhat more indulgence for Nurse
Hinton’s love of dress and ribbons, as it
60 {THE STORY | OF |

gave employment to the widow and her
orphans.

‘Johnny had been taught to make straw
baskets and chairs, and had also learned
to carve in wood and ivory, so he had no
lack of employment: they all had much
to do before Christmas-eve.

At two o’clock, Jane was sent out fora
loaf and some milk, by way of dinner; it
caused little interruption, they must work
on while light lasted —- work, work, work
— Susan stitched till she was languid;
Jane sewed till she was dogged —— working
on till I began to think they grew upon
the wooden forms, scarcely allowing them-
selves time to swallow the bread they
meeded. I declare, when on my bough in
the orchard, I was not so immovable,
eight hours at a time, as these poor workers
who sat there until the daylight flagged.
Jane once or twice looked wearily round to
watch if darkness would not come to their
relief; and yet they were short December
days.


Bry 7
) Lars op fr
1d eee

m a practicgl tere
| TON

re ance













sh . ent fronj Brighton —
ANS 2h Nitata iy, we well

istress = to dispose of .a
such engouragement hé

gap th dere ; ‘ang be
ode qnake wo of a ngater
kind, sr my friends Alice and Mary, as
a Christmas-box. For my part, I grew
heartily weary of this monotonous work~
room, with no sound but the sewing, and.
clicking of the scissors, and rustling of
the straws. I blessed my fate that had
formed me a quiet apple, a could do
nothing.
62 THE STORY OF

Man is surely his own enemy; he will
not follow nature’s law. She would
kindly suspend labor when night brings
rest; but man must needs invent twenty
different kinds of artificial hghts, to enable
him to prolong his own toil and torment.
I had lost all patience, and supper-time
relieved me as much as it did the poor
girls, when the Widow Jones took down
the frying-pan, and the fire burning
clearly, she sliced some potatoes and an
onion, adding some of the dripping cook
had given her. Such frying, and hissing,
and turning went on, and such a smell
came forth, as made them all hungry: the
creatures seemed wonderfully happy and
merry over this piece of cookery, served in
a dish that the tinker had mended, and
sewed with strong stitches of brass wire
—a mess and dish that I question wheth-
er the Admiral would have set before his
spaniel.

I had noticed at my master’s, that the
Admiral was occasionally rather annoyed
AN APPLE. | i 63

if the dinner was not quite to his mind, or
the game over-roasted ; he would sit and
look vexed, and Zoe, the spaniel, would
look as if she sympathized ; and my gentle
mistress, who always took such pains to
have the food abundant and good, ap-
peared fretted and annoyed, and got red in
the face, if she thought she had failed to
please the Admiral. I found all this hard
to understand,—I, who had drank so
carelessly of the dews of heaven, and been
nourished with its rains, I wondered at the
anxiety of men about food. I have seen
the good Admiral pace up and down the
old orchard long enough to tire fat Zoe
the spaniel, and make her he down pant-
ing, looking piteously up at her master
who, watch in hand, fretted and fumed
because dinner was not ready as soon as he
expected ; these passages of by-gone days
were vividly recalled to my mind, by the
thankfulness and satisfaction with which
these over-worked people sat down to their
coarse roots cooked with the refuse of the
64 _ THE STORY OF

rich man’s table; there was gratitude in-
deed in the prayer of grace they uttered ;
for they had felt hunger, and but yester-
day, stood on the brink of starvation.

_ The petition for daily bread has a fearful
earnestness in the mouth of the poor, who,
perhaps, know not where to look for that
bread on the morrow. My humble friends
were not without the courtesies of good
manners ; they pressed their mother to
eat, and helped her to the best; the brown
and mealy potato were put upon her plate,
and no one would take the last bit, declar-
ing they were quite satisfied; so that was
given to Johnny for the sparrows — he
never forgot the birds. I was sorry to see
there was more work coming; it was Sat-
urday night, and besides the daily tasks,
the preparation for Sunday was added on;
clothes had to be set in order, and every-
thing and place cleaned; no peace for
dust anywhere. The very bird-cage was
scraped and sanded till the scared bird
wondered what was going to happen, and
| AN APPLE. 65

took some time to compose himself upon
his perch with any satisfaction. |

‘They did denominate this bird a gold-
finch, but I could hardly believe it; he
looked so different from the finches I had
known in the orchard. I do not think
this dingy creature had ever seen a tree, or
would have known how to roost on it
when he did see it. It was this which
gave me a low opinion of the intellect of
birds, that could content themselves hop-
ping up and down in a cage six inches
square, scratching and scraping their bills,
and crying ‘sweet’ for twelve hours to-
gether.

The children were then thoroughly
washed, as the Widow Jones termed it;
and I dare say it was very wholesome ; but
it was a severe operation. By the time
they had been well dried with a rough
towel, and a good deal of soap had got
into their eyes, their faces shone pretty
much like my own, as they stood round
the little fire in the steam of warm water
66 | THE STORY OF

and soap-suds, whilst the widow repeated
her homely saying, that ‘cleanliness was
next to godliness.’ I slept better this
night, for I had been wearied by the never-
ceasing work which made up these peo-
ple’s day.

Sunday was great rest to me, as well as
to the Widow Jones and her children.
There was little to be done on this morn-
ing, everything having been set in order
the night before; the girls looked neat
and decent; their mother gave them a
piece of bread, and sent them to Mr. Ne-
ville’s Sunday school; she then sat by
Johnny whilst he read to her, and they
talked of things, solemn things, far beyond
my poor comprehension, of a world where
the ‘ weary are at rest.’ These poor toil-
ing souls might well sigh for such a
world !

The widow having settled Johnny by
the fire, and put the bird near him for
company, prepared to go to church, tell-
ing him that, as she was going up to the
AN APPLE. © | -6T

Squire’s, she should not be back for some
time. I sighed to think she would see the
abode of my dear friends, the beloved or-
chard, scenes so dear to me, and she left
the room, striving to close. the crazy door
after her.* I blush to say I felt deep emo-
tions of discontent — angry and rebeilious
feelings, that would have disgraced the
bosom of the -wickedest crab, and should
never have arisen in an apple that had en-
joyed no mean advantages in planting and
nurture, not to mention the gentle school-
ing I had received from my mistress in
the example of every virtue. I, who had
preached contentment — I, who had warn-
ed others: what had become of my proud
philosophy? In my blindness, I ques-
tioned the purposes of my existence, pre-
sumptuously questioned why I. was torn
from my fair home, the sweet free orchard,
to pine and linger in a dark close basket ?
Pride was rankling within me. I scarcely
know how long I was possessed by these
bad thoughts, when I was roused by the
68 THE STORY OF

scratching of the bird, as he cleaned his
bill, and hearing the oft repeated call of
‘sweet, as he hopped upon his one small
perch. I was almost provoked by the
senseless hilarity of this poor goldfinch.
In my peevishness, I think it made me
more cross to see how little it was in
unison with ‘ the winter of my discontent,’
as I heard Reginald once call it; but when
I looked again through the wicker-bars of
my prison upon the picture before me, I
stood reproved. A struggling sunbeam
streamed in at the patched window, and
shining through the leaves of the girl’s
china rose-tree, brightened even the pale
bleached rose that hung on it. Poor
Johnny, whiter than the flower, basked in
the beam, watching the motes that played in
the slanting ray, now and then feeding his
bird with a grain of hemp-seed, which the
merry little fowl took tamely from his
thin, attenuated, pale fingers, ever and
anon acknowledging his master’s bounty
with his chirping. Lame, helpless, full of
3 4
OY Wh in

LU

SS



>
*Teoulll have wished Jobuery tad hnewn the tmopertaeer of the lesson

his patience taught me.’
- AN APPLE, 69

pain, at the very age when activity and
motion seem the law of a child’s existence,
what might not that boy be’ then feeling ?
Does he envy the restlessness of that
wretched bird? No, all was cheerful
peace and holy calm in his countenance.

I felt rebuked, and while he read his
book, I spent no unprofitable time in self-
examination. I trust no murmur will ever
again arise in my mind; I will no longer
doubt but that I was made for some wise
use, and I will be content to fill my hum-
ble destiny with cheerfulness: the free
bear their sufferings willingly; it is the
slave who merely endures the pain he can-
not avoid sullenly; he does not bearit. I
could have wished Johnny had known
the importance of the lesson his patience
taught me; those who are much tried
should be much cheered by this pleasant
thought, that their patient example
teaches far better than any preacher; it
is one of the uses of adversity.

In the course of the day Mr. Nevdle

6
TO a THE STORY OF

came in, and I found it was he who had
so well instructed Johnny where to seek
resignation; he had led him to raise his
mind above the things of this world: there
is no better sign of your mind being set
above the things of this world, than bear-
ing well with things in this world. Mr.
Neville inquired into his occupations, ap-
proved of his baskets, and particularly en-
couraged him to go on with the wood
carving, promising to bring him some of
the proper tools necessary in this art; also
to bring him rare woods, such as cedar
and sandal-wood, to carve into paper-
knives, frames, and various things of the
sort, for which they could find a ready
sale.

. Isaw a flush pass over the boy’s face —
a look of hope. |

‘Then, sir, you think I can do some-

thing?’ exclaimed he; ‘you do think I
shall not hang on idle, no help to my
mother, rather indeed a sorrowful, useless
encumbrance upon her hands ?’
AN APPLE. | FU

‘Do not say useless, Johnny; nothing
created is useless, nothing created has not
a holy purpose, if we will but look and
see it is so, and do our part. ‘Those also
serve who only stand and wait; such
seems the service your Master requires of
you ; see that you do it with cheerfulness,
my little man.’ |

After these werds Mr. Neville went
away, and I began to think there was no
place so low, into which some sunbeam
could not come to gladden it, such as had
brightened this poor place this day.

Evening came on, the widow and her
daughters returned, bringing Rachel; still
and quiet were their enjoyments ; to those
who work hard six days, rest is in itself a
pleasure, which can scarcely be appreci-
ated by those who have never felt fatigue,
or the bondage of labor.

Cousin Rachel had the faculty, remark-
able in the blind, of remembering what she
had once heard with singular accuracy.
She repeated to Johnny almost word for
72 : THE STORY OF

word what she had heard at church: the
precious seed of holy words dropped into
good hearts. He, in return, read to her,
and furnished her with thoughts for the
ensuing week, to employ her mind while
she wove baskets and knitted the homely
grey hose, which she sold: she earned
seven or eight.shillings a week, and often
remarked with honest pride what a thing
it was for a blind woman to be so inde-
pendent. Poor blind Rachel! indepen-
dence was her boast, and she the most
dependent of human creatures. Tea was
the treat of this day — tea, brought out
only on high days.

I was now getting quite reconciled to
this humble life, when, on Wednesday
night—-I am pretty sure it was on a
Wednesday —I was dreadfully startled
by hearing the Joneses talk of carrying
the basket of apples to be sold! I turned
quite sick. ‘What, thought I, ‘is it
always thus in this life? No sooner have
we become accustomed to the evils of one
AN. APPLE. | 13

condition or of one age, no sooner have we
mastered its trials and its temptations, but
we find ourselves hurried on to other
scenes, again to suffer new trials, and
to withstand unknown temptations. I
checked myself, however, for I had not
spent a week near Johnny’s pallet without
learning some degree of resignation.

That very day a friendly voice struck
my ears; who should it be but dear old
Nurse Hinton, and better still, Reginald!
I quite felt my heart beat to see his brown
face again; he came clattering in to see
Johnny, whom Mr. Neville had mentioned
to him. It was a pleasant sight.to see two
such boys, both so good in their different
ways. Reginald brought him, as a Christ-
mas-box, a little piece of yellow money —
a triflime thing as I considered it, till I
saw the pleasure it gave Johnny. It was
ten shillings in gold, just the price of the
carving tools he wanted, and which I had
heard him sighing for as quite unattaina-
ble, many a time, on his weary couch, in
74 _ THE STORY OF

the restless hours of his dreamy nights.
Johnny then offered Reginald his cedar-
wood paper-knife, upon the handle of
which he had carved a ship and anchor,
Reginald being a sailor, and hoped he ap-
proved of it. Johnny had also his two
baskets for the young ladies, which Mrs.
Hinton took charge of, and a cradle for
little Bertha’s doll.

The two boys were very friendty to-
gether, whilst Mrs. Jones gave up her
work to Nurse Hinton, who, after examin-
ing the frocks very minutely, pronounced
the work good; and that was saying a
great deal, for I seldom saw her approve
of any stitching and sewing that was
brought for her inspection. Nurse prom-
ised more work, shirts for Master Regi-
nald who was going to sea again. She
also desired Lady Jemima’s dress to be
taken home to the Admiral’s: ‘and you
may as well take the apples my mistress
gave you, added she; ‘I have spoken a
good word for you to Mrs. Parsons, her
AN APPLE, 75

ladyship’s housekeeper, and she will give
you a good price for them ; indeed, it is
not everywhere she can get such apples.
I never saw better — the real Ribstone ;
she wants them for dessert on Christmas-
day; and mind you go early, for there is
always a bustle at the Admiral’s: for my
part, I prefer our quiet home to any of
their fine places, although the house-
keepers wear silks of a morning.’

After this oration, and with a very
doubtful expression of contentment in the
preference of calico and humble home-
spun, she took up her bundle and departed.
Reginald soon followed. Another chance,
another change, I soon saw, hung over me,
and soon, too soon, alas! 1t came upon me.

Breakfast over the next day, the girls
settled to work; Johnny with his new
tools, carved away. The widow took us
off the shelf, rubbed us all with a clean
cloth, to make us look well, replaced us
in’ the basket, shut down the lid, made
herself neat, took Lady Jemima’s fine dress
76 | THE STORY OF

in a cloth on one arm, the basket on the
other. I sighed when I found ‘I was
leaving this peaceful roof, and above all,
patient Johnny, who was a superior crea-
ture, ripened by no common sufferings ; :
however, I had the,,comfort of seeing in
the reviving looks of ‘the little girls, that
my mistress’s bounty was bringing health
and strength into this dwelling. Well did
I know the road, as we jogged away; we
passed the church, and the’neat school: I
caught a glimpse of the orchard, leafless
indeed, but still beloved. I saw the clus-
ters of china-roses still blooming in the
shelter of my mistress’s casement, and
memory recalled all the dear familiar forms
—my good master in his loose coat, and
long waistcoat, and gaiters over his thick
clouted shoes; my gentle mistress, the
boys, the girls, the grey prowling tabby
cat; — where were ye all, when I passed
the well-known gate? where were ye all,
when the remorseless lid of the market-
basket closed on the head of your poor
apples, which had ripened among you all?
AN APPLE. TT

These may appear idle fancies’ and foel-
ings, but I certainly had picked up a good
many scraps of poetry among the children
of men. I thought, for a moment, I heard
cook’s voice rating Stephen soundly at a
distance; but that too may have been the
work of my heated imagination.

We soon reached the lodge of the Ad-
miral’s house; I could feel poor Widow
J shes tremble so much. that the basket
shook, as she timidly inquired if she
might be allowed to go up to the house
with the apples.

A rough reply of, ‘No apples wanted ;
you need not take your apples up there,
good woman.’

There was a tone of contempt and im-
pertinence towards apples in the answer
that I.could not but feel, though I make
it a rule not to let the imsolence of the
ignorant chafe me; I owe it to my name
and family to be quite above such a
speech, yet I might have resented it had
I been a free agent. Poor Widow Jones

vey
4
73 «THE STORY OF

knew the world better; she did not press
the apples upon the gate-keeper, or turn
away in a huff, as I was inclined to do,
but mentioning she had brought a dress
for Lady Jemima, we were forthwith ad-
mitted. Upon our entrance I could not
help thinking of the fairy tales I had
heard Reginald and Alice read, how Giant
Castles were watched; for no sooner had
we got clear of the dragon that guarded
the gate, than we encountered the miral’s monster of a huge dog; he barked
loud and deep, showed a sullen hostility
toward us, and withal a troublesome curi-
osity, snuffling and smelling at the widow,
in a way that frightened her considerably.
Having satisfied himself, I conclude, as to
her garments, and found treason upon her
person, he néxt applied his nose inquisi-
tively to the basket that carried me and my
fortunes. I actually felt his hot breath
blowing upon me most unpleasantly. It
was a relief to find apples were not in his
line, so we escaped. Next came my Lady
(eZ



“To the back door — ye to the back deer. canto vou. miistress £"
AN APPLE. 7 9

Jemima’s dog, a German spitz, and he at-
tacked the widow’s heels sharply ; in the
rear followed the fat spaniel Zoe, who
snarled and barked huskily ; but she be-
ing both asthmatic and corpulent, soon
gave in. The widow -was going up the
hall-door steps, glad to escape the dogs,
when a tall footman, who was lounging
about the hall reading a newspaper, inter-
rupted himself in the middle of his para-
graph to inquire her business, and with
some importance motioned us away.

‘To the back door— go to the back
door, can’t you, mistress? Such as you
have no business here, I tell you. Fmd
your way as fast as you can round to the
kitchen door; this is no place for tramp-
ers.’ : |

‘What do you mean, sir, by sending
honest folks away from my door in this
manner?’ exclaimed a voice of thunder,
which I soon recognized_as the Admiral’s ;
he had come unawares into the hall. rather think I keep you to show people
80 = £‘THE STORY OF

in, and not to drive them out. Mistress.
indeed! And if you did consider her
business lay with the cook, you might
have shown her the way round with some
civility. I wish I had you on board of
ship, I do not doubt I could show you
your business with a vengeance. Well
ma’am,’ added the hot old Amiral, ‘ never
you mind that puppy; I will show you
the way myself, — yes, yes, I understand,
Lady Jemima’s dress, all right, recom-
mended by my brother Charles; I know
all about it, you have a lame boy. I will
buy the apples, at least Mrs. Parsons will
buy them, and I will pay you for them,’
said he, fumbling in the large liberal
pockets of his ample waistcoat; ‘and in
the meantime here is something to help
you to keep Christmas; and as to you,
sirrah, never you dare drive decent people
from this door, — do you hear?’

Sirrah was a term of endearment, or re-
proach, very much used by the Admiral ;
I never could make out what it meant.
“AN APPLE. 81

Having taken the widow round to the
other door, and flourishing his thick
walking-stick, and whistling up all his
dogs, he proceeded to take his walk before
the widow could find time to thank him.
Mr. James, the tall footman, did not seem
to mind the rating he had received; he
evidently made allowances for the warmth
of an eccentric old gentleman, who knew
so little of the usages of life, and nothing
at all of the footman’s department; but
he so far complied with the Admiral’s
wishes, as complacently to show the widow
along the longest stone passage that I ever
saw, till he ushered us into the house-
keeper's room, Mrs. Parsons’ state-office ;
after which, I have no doubt, he returned
to his Morning Post, in the hall.

The good Admiral, who was much dis-
tinguished in his profession, (he had led a
ship at the battle of the Nile, and at Tra-
falgar,) had married late in life. His wife,
Lady Jemima, was suitable to him in point
of age, being no longer very young; of a
82 oe THE STORY OF

very good. family, she had not much un-
derstanding, but was kind-hearted and
extremely well-bred ; indeed I have heard
it remarked that without a kind heart it
is very difficult to be really well-bred.
‘They had no children, and Lady Jemima
not having much to do, fell into delicate
health. She found that nursing herself
was better than no occupation at all, —
it filed up the time when the Admiral
was at sea, it took her occasionally to
Bath, or the sea-side, it enabled her to
dispense with doing anything she did not
like, nor did it materially imterfere to
prevent her sharing in any amusement
that came in her way; she thus gave
herself a good deal up to the indulgence
of delicate health. Being rather indolent,
and now a confirmed invalid, she relin-
quished the entire management of her
house, her dress, and family, to Mrs. Par-
sons, the housekeeper, and lady’s-maid,
and purse-bearer ; hke Hecate, of ancient
fable, she bore threefold office, and ruled,
_ AN APPLE. — | 83

and knew she ruled, and showed she
ruled, and had not her ‘humor most,—
had not her humor at all, when she
obeyed. It was in the awful presence of
this great power, that poor Widow Jones
now stood in some trepidation. Mrs.
Parsons ruled all but the Admiral; his
occasional voyages broke her sway; she
had to begin it all over again when he
returned from sea.

She was a high woman, no doubt, and
had her faults; but she was a woman of
principle as far as I could know. Widow
Jones told her errand, and was conde-
scendingly told she might wait. I could
not help .peeping through the basket to
look at Mrs. Parsons, —— housekeeper,
lady’s-maid, plenipotentiary, her of the
silk gown. Her voice sounded strange
and loud, so different from my mistress’s,
and from the plaintive subdued tone of
Mrs. Jones, who seemed afraid of offend-
ing the very air she breathed by speaking
before this great woman ; yet, again, her
84 - = THE STORY OF

voice was not so shrill as old cross cook’s,
nor so thin and busy as Nurse Hinton’s.
It was a-voice of pomp and power ; it
bespoke the housekeeper and lady’s-maid
in full; it was such as might be expected
to issue from her spreading jaw and ample
form. She was doling out damask nap-
kins to one maid, dusters to another,
tea and coffee to her of the still-room ;
bunches of keys lay about, numerous as
the drawers and presses that lined the
apartment. Her dress was rich, and who
shall describe her cap? ‘The ornaments
were of complicated intricacy ; hard,
crisp, stiff curls of black hair were
ranged round her highly colored face ;
her eyes had the appearance of black
beads ; and she had a fine large nose
besides.
After half an hour of expectation,
which gave me time thus narrowly to
scan her, Mrs. Parsons at last turned to
the widow, approved of her work so
much that she gave her more, and a set
- AN APPLE. | 85

of. chair-covers to make, which was work
the children ‘could easily accomplish ; and
also agreed to buy the apples. Before I
knew where I was, we all found ourselves
rolled out upon the dresser, with very
little ceremony, and being counted over
in a business-like manner by the dozen,
which was mortifying enough; some were
consigned to airless drawers, others piled
on green china dishes. Mrs. Parsons
seemed struck by the rosy hue of my
cheek, took me up in her large hand,
looked hard at me, a gulf yawned beneath
me !— she dropped me into her pocket,
and all was night! ‘Ah! fatal bloom,’
I exclaimed, ‘fatal bloom that tempted
Mrs. Parsons’ — bloom. of which in my
vanity and folly I had boasted so often:
how little had I dreamed it would have
brought me into such straits !

Such was the confusion of my mind at
this appalling crisis, that I lost all recol-
lection for a time. Alas! imnsensibility
was a boon I could not long enjoy ;
86 = THE STORY OF

recalled to consciousness by the startling
jingle of an impatient bell, Mrs. Parsons
rose to obey the summons of her mistress,
dismissed the Widow Jones, and my re-
turning senses became painfully alive to
the miseries and trials of this my new
position. A stifling sensation of suffoca-
tion oppressed me; heat and want of air
pervaded the housekeeper’s pocket. I
now, also, felt the separation from all
other apples, my own compeers, more
than I could have fancied it possible.
Those apples whose friendship I had not
half cultivated, how should I now have
prized their society !— I, who had looked
down upon them as mere apples; so
puffed up, and so efgrossed had I been
with concerns of mankind, with things
far above me, the knowledge of good and
evil. Ah! what would I not now have
given for the companionship of one golden
pippin, with all its faults; nay, for the
very refuse of the uncultivated hedge —
the poor crab-apple—so longed I for a
(AN APPLE, = si
kindred spirit: who would have had some
sympathy with me, more affinity than I
could feel towards my present compan-
ions.

My reader may wish to know whs were
the tenants of the pocket in which we
were fellow-prisoners. A silver thimble,
a good deal dented in, useful no doubt,
but in this instance it was an individual
of limited capacity, merely used occasion-
ally by Mrs. Parsons when she had to sew
a button on the Admiral’s clothes, and a
string on my lady’s slipper. A purse came
next, which I reckon, from the distension
of its sides, had a good deal in it; but it
was fast and close, so that it lent itself
little to the interchange of words or
thoughts. A paper of needles, sharp
neighbors ; a pair of scissors, curiously
fashioned like a stork. I always remark
how mankind strive to imitate the forms
of nature in their ornaments, toys, and
devices; and clumsily enough they copy
her handiwork. I heard my mistress ob-
88 = - #£‘THE STORY OF
serve, the more closely you look into
nature’s work, the more exquisite you find
the perfection and finish of its minutest
parts; whilst the closer you examine the
work of man, you perceive its numerous
flaws and coarse imperfection.

It required all my philosophy to bear
my present condition with patience, the
points of these odious scissors occasionally
sticking in my sides. Farther yet, there
was a piece of sealing-wax, which, how-
ever, I perceived suffered more even than
I did from the heat of Mrs. Parsons’
pocket, as I perceived it grow sensibly
flatter from the high temperature. “We
had also among us a glass seal, set In
brass, the gift of the absent Mr. Parsons,
who was coxswain on board the Admiral’s
ship. -

I got on pretty well with this medley,
and could have found amusement among
them, but for a paper of cloves — pungent
cloves —_that Mrs. Parsons carried in her
pocket as a remedy for toothache ; the
AN APPLE. 89

smell of this spice really depressed my
spirits, and. filled me with melancholy
thoughts, for cloves are emblems of. death,
among us apples. I tried to cast off these
dark thoughts, and to remember that men
die as well as apples, and that. I had no
right to repine. JI was altogether sad and
strange. Mrs. Parsons went up and down
stairs twenty times, settling and managing
everything and everybody from morning
till night. As she was dressing Lady
Jemima the next day, the Admiral came
in to announce that he had arranged the
party for Christmas; and I was con-
siderably revived by hearing the names of
my good friends.

‘I hope you feel pretty well, my dear,
for I have asked Charles and his wife, and
all the children, and good Nurse Hinton,
to come and spend Christmas here. Par-
sons, you must see to making them all
comfortable : give poor little Frank the
south room. I have only asked the
‘Thompsons and all their children, and the
90. ‘THE STORY: OF

Nevilles, to dine here Christmas-eve qui-
etly ; but I suppose with Charles’s four
young ones, and the three Thompson
boys, and three Nevilles, we shall be able
to make it out pretty well. We must
have snap-dragon, and supper, and any
fun they like,’ said the Admiral, rubbing
his hands in anticipation of a good noisy
party. |

Lady Jemima, very nervous and ailing
all the morning, got almost well at the
sound of all these “doings, and remarked
it was charmingly arranged ; Mrs. Charles
would take all the trouble of the children
off her hands, she knew so well how to
manage them; Parsons could see after
everything else. _ She really thought she
should not mind the fatigue of the sort
of thing, — she dared say she should
enjoy it. She could rest herself and take
her nervous medicine, and nurse up all
the day before, and, with care, she might
be equal to the exertion ; and the Ad-
miral, quite satisfied, left her to finish
dressing.
Mrs. Parsons never rested ; the extent
of this large substantial country-house
added to her -labor, and confused me
sadly. I never knew exactly where I
was ; the number of bed-rooms, drawing-
rooms, parlors, dressing-rooms, bath-rooms,
and offices, which four housemaids were
perpetually kept to clean, astonished me:
and all for two people to livein! I re-
membered the Widow Jones in her one
room, nine~ feet by twelve, where four
souls besides myself and the goldfinch
lived, paying nearly four shillings a-week
for the same; and I know blind Rachel
lived in one room with a family that reck-
oned eleven in number, and I often heard
her say they managed to get on very well,
except when four of the children took the
measles. It did indeed at times appear
to me as if things were rather too un-
evenly divided in this world, particularly
houses.

Christmas-eve came at last; and a busy
woman was Mrs. Parsons that day — as.
92 a THE STORY OF |

busy as any Field-Marshal on the day of
battle — among her mince pies, puddings,
jellies, creams, and cakes.-

My heart beat when I heard the wheels.
of the carriage drive up, and the Admiral
stumping out to meet his brother Charles,
and my dear mistress, the children, and
Nurse Hinton, who was still obliged to
carry Frank; his arm was in a sling.
The Admiral took him from her, for who
so gentle and tender to children, and to
the weak and sick, as the rough old Ad-
miral? for a young child or a sick child
what would he not do 2

He had for some time been stealing
plums and cakes from his own dessert,
against this auspicious day, and stowing
them away in his huge pockets for the
children ; and now having got possession
of Frank, he carried him off to show him
the stables, horses, and kennels, and dogs,
and puppies, followed by Reginald, whilst
my master found his way about the farm
and gardens.
AN APPLE. £983

Mrs. Parsons and I waited on my mis-
tress and the young ladies, and showed
them to their rooms, as Lady Jemima was
saving herself for the evening. I could
not but feel gratified at seeing Nurse
Hinton rustling about in a very good
gown; if not silk it came very near it,
so she was in a placid state of mind,
though quite determined not to evince
any surprise or approbation of the luxu-
ries in the Admiral’s house before Mrs.
Parsons, lest she might fancy her unac-
customed to such profusion of wax can-
dles, and mirrors, and toilettes, — things
which I knew my mistress never had in
her comfortable cottage, for she always
regulated her house with great simplicity
and moderation, according to her present
income, and not to her future expectation.
My master being a younger son, with a
numerous family, it certainly was supposed
that the Admiral, having no children,
would leave his fortune to Reginald, be-

sides handsomely providing for the rest of
) 8
94 | THE STORY OF

them. Nurse Hinton’s private opinion
upon these matters was, that her master
and his children were extremely ill-used
by these arrangements of primogeniture,
and that the Admiral somewhat unjustly
kept them out of their own, as she termed
it; and that they had a stronger claim to
his property in fact than he could urge
in his own favor: the Admiral’s kindness
and affection for his brother and the chil-
dren, she reluctantly accepted as a sort of
apology for such an injury, which showed,
she fancied, some consciousness of the
fact. |

Reginald returned from the stables and
began scampering all over the house,
diving into all Mrs. Parsons’ drawers and
stores, helping her, he called it, but he
certainly helped himself largely to every-
thing. I wonder how she put up with
it, for on company days, the thimble told
me he had observed she had a good deal
of the bereaved tigress about her; even
on common occasions she was none of the
AN APPLE, 95

‘most patient : however, she loved Regi-
nald, and considered he had a lawful right
to be troublesome in his uncle’s house ;
he had, besides, when he returned from
his first voyage, remembered her and
brought her a gaudy Moorish scarf from
Malta, which had firmly established him.
in her favor.

This day he tried her severely; twice
he mislaid her keys, and another act of
turpitude came to light. After dressing
Lady Jemima, who was quite a helpless
person, and could or would do nothing
for herself, Mrs. Parsons proceeded to
dress the dishes for dessert. The best
china was displayed ; and oranges, grapes,
pears, nuts, walnuts, sweetmeats of every
description! how can I tell the varieties
that lay before her? Great was the
matching of dishes, and sorting of sizes.
I heard her, after arranging the pears, call
for the golden pippins, my old acquaint-
ances, and then she asked for the Ribstone
apples to ‘“‘ correspond.” Alas, alas! was
96 | THE STORY OF

I alone to be pent up in a frowsy pocket ?
was I alone to be excluded from the
joys and -honors of this social day? My
bosom swelled with disappointment, the
lifeless companions I had with me in this
detestable pocket aggravated my sufferings
by their utter insensibility. ’Tis true I
was but the perishable apple of a season,
but I felt superior to them, iron, steel,
ivory, — they might indeed outlast me, but
they would not outlive me, they lived not
at all,—— happily for them in this instance,
they could not feel as I did! my anguish
showed me how greatly inferior they were
to me in their still life; and in my pas-
sionate grief I spurned them, — when I
heard the sound of sharp altercation ; the
very pocket I was in shook with Mrs.
Parsons’ motion: Reginald had _ been
among the Ribstones, and had so griev-
ously thinned their ranks, that Mrs. Par-
sons despaired of forming a decent dish
out of their scattered remains !

‘My Ribstones! my best Ribstones
AN APPLE. | 97

gone, gone! I do declare! I have -not
twenty, nay, scarcely a dozen, cried--Mrs.
Parsons, ‘ to form a pyramid! Master
Reginald, master Reginald, how could
you serve me so 2’ -

© Qh, for a voice!’ thought I, ‘a voice,
that I might reply to this pathetic com-
plaint, this touching appeal, and offer
myself and my poor services, and throw
myself into the breach upon this trying
occasion.’

Fortune stood my friend ; as luck would
have it, Mrs. Parsons dived with her fat
hand into her pocket in search of the key
of the apple drawer. As she routed in
the dismal recesses of my dungeon, I
heard her exclaim,— ‘ Upon my word, I
do believe here is another apple!’ What
was her joy, compared to mine! Let no
one, sunk in the depths of the greatest
misery, after this, despair; the darkest
hour is ever before the dawn: what was
her joy to mine when I revisited the day!

Dazzled with the sudden blaze, and


98 THE STORY OF

bewildered with the change of fortune, I
must have fainted, had not the air revived
me. Iwas now put upon the very top
of the pyramid, gently laid upon bright
laurel leaves,—- fresh gathered, such leaves
as had not gladdened my poor heart since
I left the parent tree. These cool and
natural leaves saved me from pride: was
I not in danger, thus translated from the
pocket of captivity -to the- pinnacle of
happiness ? but the green leaves brought
the orchard, and the short hours of past
youth, too vividly before me, and all the
vicissitudes of the life I had experienced.
Sweet and bitter thoughts kept me hum-
ble, and grateful for my release; not im-
properly excited or giddy at this sudden
and unlooked-for elevation.

Humility spared me some subsequent
mortifications, that appeared severely felt
by the golden pippins. Poor little crea-
tures! they had not had the severe but
wholesome schooling, that made me what
IT am; for I observed they were much
AN APPLE. | 99

hurt, when Mrs. Parsons and the footman
placed the dessert on the. side-board, to
find that oranges and grapes took prece-
dence, which, from my general. knowledge
of the world, I considered was perfectly
just, and their privilege as foreigners of
distinction.

The dinner occupied such a length of
time as afforded me full leisure to admire
the Christmas family party. There sat
the good Admiral at the head of his
table, his kind broad face beaming with
good-nature,— and such a double chin,
nay, a treble chin, a true three-decker of
achin! His very laugh sounded fat and
jolly. At the foot of the table sat my
good master, his brother Charles, carving
vigorously. Lady Jemima sat by him,
sweet and civil; her head a little inclin-
ing on one side, and then on the other
side, and agreeing with everything that
everybody said to her: next to her sat
Mr. Neville, the clergyman, poor Johnny’s
friend; then my mistress and Mrs. Thomp-
100 _—s's§s THE STORY OF

son ; opposite sat Captain Thompson and
Mrs. Neville ; and mixed in among them
all were the children — nine of them alto-
gether, as well as I could reckon.

Captain Thompson was an old chum
of the Admiral’s; he had sailed many
voyages with him, and as he was not so
successful or prosperous as he deserved to
be, the Admiral had given him a small
house and a little land, near the village
where he had himself settled, and the
Captain had become quite a great man in
parish business: he took in a newspaper,
and had an army and a navy list, and was
the great referee in all military and naval
questions for miles round.

There are few small country towns or
villages, I believe, unprovided with some
retired army or navy officer, especially
dedicated to politics, news, and parish
affairs. ‘The Admiral had assisted Captain
Thompson in educating his eldest boy, and
had promised to purchase his commission
for him. It was no wonder the Admiral
AN APPLE. — 101

looked round with such satisfaction on all
the happy faces about him.

‘There was a great deal of laughing ead
talking, and such a noise of knives and
forks, and clatter of plates, as almost stun-
ned me: the most wonderful thing I be-
held was the quantity of food on the
table ; to one of my moderate habits, con-
tent to sip the dew, it was surprising.

There was a large vessel full of thick
brown liquid, very hot, called mock-turtle
soup; then:a great boiled fish, a monster
of the deep, with large open eyes, such as
I had never seen before, only heard folks
talk of, was put upon the table; then,
such a mass of roasted beef; then a large
bird, a turkey they called it, but I should
not have known it, as its feathers were
pulled off, which altered its natural ap-
pearance ; these were the great giants of
the dinner; but there were many, many
dishes at the side, with various prepara-
tions of food; and when I hoped it was

over, there came up a sort of second din-
9
102 THE STORY OF

ner, a second course they called it, and
they all had to begin to eat again, which
must have been very fatiguing. I was
really painfully shocked at seeing a miser-
able hare served up; roasted quite brown,
its ears scorched up; it showed its teeth
terribly, as if it had died in great pain.
I think the guests felt it to be so, for they
were obliged to have some currant jelly to
enable them to eat of it. As to enumerat-
ing the puddings and the pies, and sweet
things that followed, I shall not attempt
it. Curiously enough, just as the fumes
of all this food were rising around me, I
cannot imagine what it could be that
brought the Widow Jones, and her one
dish of potatoes, fried in dripping, before
my mind’s eye. When the dessert was
finally put upon the table, I had great
advantages for hearing all the conversa-
tion that passed round me; and I was
much amused.

The Admiral told a number of good
stories. He told them particularly well,
AN APPLE, 103

om having told them evidently very
often before; and we felt sure they must
be all true, for Captain ‘Thompson. was
there to vouch for them. There was a
further advantage in the repetition, since
the children knew exactly where the jokes
lay, and when to laugh. .

Reginald, -impudently enough, called
these stories his uncle’s long yarns, which
IT understood to be the sea phrase denoting
endless recital. I felt I was a little given
to indulge in the same weakness, so I
could excuse it in the dear good Admi-
ral. I watched my mistress putting some
grapes and biscuits aside. I guessed what
she was doing, and longed to be of the
party ; the plate was going up to Frank,
who was not well enough to play with
the others, and to Bertha, who was too
young. |

‘The Admiral gave the Queen’s health,
for he was a loyal old officer. The ladies
retired to the drawing-room ; the children
rushed to play in the hall. My dear
104 ‘THE STORY OF

mistress had to assist Lady Jemima in her
basket-work. She always began it, and
often finished it for her, generally. doing a
good large bit in the middle of any piece
she had in hand.

The gentlemen closed round the fire to
discuss politics, and talk of their farms,
and crops, sheep, and bullocks. Captain
Thompson was a dead hand at the poor-
rates; it was wearying to me. One thing
I gathered from the general conversation,
namely, that the Admiral, Reginald, and
one of the little Thompsons, were to go
to sea in a few days, and that Lady
Jemima was to spend the winter at Bath.
So soon to part again with Reginald was
painful to me.

The gentlemen joined Lady Jemima,
and had coffee; but I was so engaged
with sad reflections as scarcely to perceive
that the servants were clearing away the
things, and were making sundry pre-
parations for the sports of the evening.
The dessert was carried away, all but the
AM Avena - 105

golden pippins and ourselves; we were,
by Mrs. Parsons’ particular desire, re-
placed wpon the side-board ; a deal table
and a tub of cold water were brought in,
after the Turkey carpet had been rolled
aside. Whilst all this was going on, we
heard peals of laughter ringing through
the hall, and the boys shouting as they
played at blind-man’s-buff. The Admiral
and my master were playing as heartily
as the best of them. Mr. Neville sat
with Lady Jemima, and I missed Alice;
she had slipped up-stairs to sit with
Frank.

The merriment waxed fast and. furious,
and presently the whole troop burst into
the dining-room, ‘following the leader,’
who was my master; and a fine dance he
led them, in and out, and over chairs and
tables, like hounds after a hare: I cer-
tainly saw fine sport now. Comparative
peace being restored, a large pan of al-
monds and raisins was put upon the deal
table, the candles were put away, a screen
106 | THE STORY OF

was placed before the fire, and as I won-
dered why we were left in the dark, the
Admiral came in, carrying a taper anda
bottle of brandy, which he poured all
over the almonds and raisins, then set
light to the spirits, and all the large dish
was on fire; such beautiful blue flames
were kindled, licking the pan round like
fiery tongues, then darting and curling
up like snakes, lighting all the room
fitfully, and casting a lurid glare on the
children’s faces, as they danced round it.
The fun then began: such dashing at the
burning almonds, such snatching at the
raisins dropping liquid fire, as they threw
them about with their fingers tipped by
blue flames ; such screaming — half fright,
and half pleasure. NReginald’s hand was
never out of the dish, —— scattering fire in
every direction, till the dish was empty.
Candles reappeared, and the noise sub-
sided for a while. Mrs. Parsons now
entered, carrying a_ bullet-pudding, and
a large kitchen knife— a horrid instru-
AN APPLE. oe 310%

ment! I never see a: knife without. feeling
a cold ‘chill running through me! the
knife is in reality the natural enemy of
the apple: I always sympathized with
a king called James, of whom I heard
mistress tell the children; King James
never could bear the sight of ‘ cold steel ’
from his birth. It is a very. natural
feeling.

To return to the belletssnddings it
was formed in the shape of a solid, well-
pressed pyramid of dry flour, on the con-
ical top of which was placed a leaden
bullet, or a boy’s marble; each child, by
turns, cuts a slice of the flour down, and
the child whose cut brings down the
bullet, is bound to hunt for-it in the dish
in which it has buried itself as it fell,
and to bring it out with his teeth! At
first they cut boldly enough; but as the
pyramid diminished, and got undermined,
and the bullet began to topple over, the
children became more cautious. Thompson
brought it down, and a fine figure he was
108 « PHE STORY OF

when he found the bullet, his hair, face,
and eyelashes all powdered, like a rat in a
meal-tub. I was laughing fit to kill my-
self, at the drollery of this sport, when I
saw the table and dish taken away,
and a great wooden tub—a washing-tub,
put into the middle of the room; I heard
a shout raised of ‘Now for the apples!
now for the apples!’ re-echoed from all
sides. I felt agitated, I knew not why.
Reginald seizing both dishes of apples,
hurried us to the brink of the tub. I just
remember the flash of the lights gleaming
in the dark, cold water beneath me, —
when, without the slightest warning, he
plunged us all headlong in! The shock,
the surprise were overwhelming for some
seconds; but after a while, finding the
cold freshness of the sparkling waters
rather agreeable than otherwise, and hav-
ing always been a hardy apple of my kind
in the summer showers, I rallied; and
entering into the merriment of those
around me, I bobbed and danced about
AN APPLE. ~ 409:

with very considerable spirit, while the
children. were. trying to catch us in their
mouths, without being allowed to use
their hands. I gave the young creatures
some trouble in this sport, bobbing
against their fresh, wet faces, till they
were tired. with laughing. I-saw them
catch a pippin or two that had not my
activity in eluding the foe. However, as
all things must have an end, when I saw
my friend, Reginald, trying his chance,
and boldly diving after me, I felt I could
not fall into better hands; I no longer
avoided him, I yielded, and he drew me
out by the stalk, in triumph, with his
teeth !

This ended the frolics; the party was
all thoroughly tired out, as if it had
been work instead of play, and it was
ten o’clock.

Reginald wiped my face and his own,
and slipped me into his jacket-pocket.
I cannot say I much lhked the thoughts
of another pocket, but I really was so
110 THE STORY OF

fatigued with the romps of the evening,
I was not sorry to rest anywhere; and
indeed the atmosphere of this slight
prison was cool and airy compared to
poor Mrs. Parsons’ profound. retreat. The
children had some refreshment, and an
orange and biscuit were soon sent to join.
me. I made room for them as well as I
could ; the pocket was none of the largest,
and I had found already established in it
before I came, a hasty penknife, some
twine, a few copper caps, and some little
shots in full possession.

There was a good deal of taking leave
among the party; Reginald stuffed all the
boys’ pockets with oranges and apples, and
almonds and raisins; they all went away
declaring they never had spent a pleasanter
evening. I heard them joking and laugh-
ing all the way down stairs, even till they
were all crammed into the Admiral’s car-
riage ; for he always sent these neighbors
home in the family coach. Lady Jemima,
who had not stirred from the sofa, and
- AN APPLE. ~ | AW

whose wine and water, and biscuits, had
been brought to her, was. quite surprised
to find how well she had borne such a
fatiguing evening; she was hardly tired at
all, which was really wonderful, particu-
larly when she saw the Admiral lying back,
panting in-his great chair, quite done up,
but so pleased at the success of his party !
Reginald talked over all the sport, and
then wishing them good-night, stole up-
stairs to the nursery:

The night-lamp was shedding a. dim,
gentle light in the half-darkened room;
Nurse Hinton was down at supper; Little
Bertha was asleep in the white cot; her
new wax doll, stark and stiff, lay in the
child’s soft, round arms; Alice was sitting
by Frank’s bed, her head half lying on
his pillow, patting him to rest: no sooner
did he hear Reginald’s step, than he start-
ed up, and all hope of sleep was over, and
Alice gave the matter up. Reginald sat
at the foot of the bed, and told Frank all
they had been doing, giving him a vivid
112 | THE STORY OF

description of the Admiral, when he was
cutting about in the height of blind-man’s-
buff, holding up the wide skirts of his
eoat, lest the enemy should take an unfair
advantage of him. ‘Then emptying his
pocket, he gave the orange to Alice: pull-
ing me out, he laid me and the biscuit on
the white counterpane, before Frank. I
seldom felt happier than when thus again
surrounded with these dear creatures in
theix quiet room.

Frank took me up, and carrying me
gladly to his mother, I for a moment —
only a moment — felt the pressure of a row
of sharp little white teeth, but before any
incision could be made upon my un-
fortunate peel, Alice hastily interposed.
‘Not to-night, Frank, it is so late, do
not eat Reginald’s apple to-night; it will
make you ill: try and keep this apple;
perhaps this very apple grew in our
orchard, who knows? try and keep it,
let us see how long you can _ keep
AN APPLE. 113

‘Reginala’s apple. Be content with these
grapes, they are better for you to-night.’

I certainly had a narrow escape this
time, if I may judge by the reluctance I
saw in Frank’s eyes, as he gave me up.
‘Well, I will not eat it; but Reginald,
just put it on the chimney-piece, where
I may see it.’

This was done, and then my mistress
came up; she chased away Alice and
Reginald to their beds. She soon ar-
ranged Frank’s pillow, put the biscuit by
him for the morning, gave him his barley-
water, and he settled to sleep with her
hand under his cheek.

Nurse Hinton by this time having
terminated her supper, came up to bed,
previously to which she considered it in-
cumbent on her to go through a number
of arrangements, and fidgeted to such a
degree, that I saw even my mistress was
tired of looking at her, and evinced some
impatience. Nurse having concluded her
manceuvres by inadvertently throwing
114 THE STORY OF

down two: books, besides the poker and
tongs, in her zeal to be particularly quiet,
this seemed to satisfy her, and she finally
disappeared within the curtains of her
bed. My mistress continued to soothe
Frank, who was rather restless. Nothing
was now heard except the ticking of the
clock near us on the chimney-piece: the
regularly drawn breath soon told us the
child slept. It was some time before my
mistress could disengage her hand from
beneath the boy’s head; she hung over
him to be quite sure the sleep was. sound ;
then kissing: Bertha, took the hard doll
out of her half-reluctant arms, trimmed
the lamp, and glided out of the room.

I was enjoying the refreshing coolness
of the room, when Nurse Hinton’s slum-
bers became obvious; from the dark
depths of her feather-bed proceeded a
sonorous snore, deep and long, then rising
to a shrill whistling cadence: the sound
was somewhat awful and mysterious, but
did not wake the children; custom had
‘AN APPLE. ~ - FR

‘made the noise familiar to them as to
others, for did any one ever hear ®f a
nurse that did not snore, I wonder a

Christmas morning came in, not clad
in ‘amice grey,’ but bright, clear, frosty,
brisk, and cheerful. The children were
dressed right early, for it was a busy day.
I was aware there was some particular
business on hand, for my mistress and the
Admiral had many cogitations EORCLACE
the preceding day.

Frank was soon ready to go down
stairs, he insisted on putting me into his
pocket —a tight fit this time; however
I had it all to myself, so I was pretty
comfortable. I had still activity enough
to .enjoy anything that enabled me to see
more of the world; so down we went
together. Frank had his arm still in the
sling, more from precaution than neces-
sity, to prevent his using it too freely;
and when we came into the large high
vaulted kitchen, I saw a sight that pleased
me indeed. On the long table were ranged
116 ss THE STORY OF

twelve baskets well filled, with a piece of
beef® a loaf, carrots, turnips, and ‘onions,
flanked by a.jug of soup and a can of
beer: under each basket on the floor lay
a bag of coals and a stone of potatoes:
this was the Christmas gift for twelve
poor families, one of which was Widow
Jones. .

The Admiral, Reginald, and Frank
distributed these comforts. Alice and
Mary gave buns to the children that
accompanied the mothers, who came to
receive their share of these good things.
Among the rest, Susan and Jane stepped
out of the crowd, and in a low voice
asked Reginald if he would be so good as
to present a small parcel they held .up
towards him to the Admiral, and accept
the other parcel for himself. ‘They ran
back as if very glad to have got rid of
their message, and were soon busy helping
their mothers to carry home the basket
and the potatoes. The kitchen-table was
soon cleared, and the family returned to
AN APPLE. | | 117

the breakfast-room that was all decked
out with holly and ivy. On opening the
Admiral’s parcel, it was found to contain
a watch-stand, very beautifully carved, and
ornamented with an anchor and cable.
It was very plain that Johnny had got his
tools, and had made good use of them.
He sent a ruler for Reginald, and added
a small model of a boat for Frank, oars
and rudder complete. It must have been
a pleasant labor to the lame boy, as by
the dim rushlight he fashioneg these toys
for his benefactors, and worked early and
late to get them done against Christmas-
day. ‘The Admiral and the boys were
pleased, but I question whether the poor
boy had not the purest enjoyment, in
laboring so hard to show some small part
of his gratitude.

The family then prepared for church.
Frank and I returned to the nursery. It
was then I perceived the great change
that three months had wrought in the

boy; no longer the idle, restless child —
10
118 ss THE STORY OF

no longer ‘little Francis’ delighting to
drive the geesé, and riding on the gates,
and running wild. You might now call
him the little scholar: he had mastered
his book, and loved reading. It is well
known that among our own tribes, a
fruit-tree will sometimes produce a pro-
fusion of leaves, but prove barren of fruit,
from some superabundance of ill-directed
sap.. Some accident, some casual injuty
will correct this, and cause this very tree
to produce druit of the best quality: this
was the case with Frank; as his body
suffered, so much had his mind gained.
I was now falling into the ‘sere and
yellow leaf,’ and felt the weight of days.
I therefore enjoyed this improvement,
and the quietness of my little master’s
present way of life quite suited my sober
age. ,

This Christmas-day was a happy one
with my dear friends, they felt they were
together. Yet, when there is a parting
at hand, like a cloud it darkens the day
AN APPLE. | oe 119

and weighs pen. the — It was sad
that. they must so soon lose Reginald.
My dear mistress and Alice could scarcely
look at him without its bringing the tears
into their eyes, which they would brush
away, and laugh and talk to conceal their
feelings. Reginald and Mary were de-
termined to put away sad _. thoughts,
enjoying the present with all their might,
as it slipped along so fast. My good
master was‘grave, trying to give Reginald
advice and counsel.

The Admiral was busy, and in right
good spirits: Nothing he liked better
than going to sea, after a year or so at
home, for he loved his profession. Lady
Jemima felt his going, but then she meant
to try the Bath waters, and give them a
fair chance whilst he was away; and she
began packing, which consisted in putting
up her jewel-cases and work-box; more,
Mrs. Parsons did not trust her to do.
The family was to break up on the 28th
of December. The Admiral would leave
120 ‘THE sTORY OF

Lady Jemima at Bath that He might see
her comfortably settled in a good house,
from whence he and Reginald were to
‘proceed to Plymouth and sail early in
January. My master and mistress in-
tended to return for the winter to the
Cottage.

I saw Alice hemming pocket-handker-
chiefs, Mary marking shirts and _ socks.
Tears would sometimes drop and dim
their shining needles as they plied them,
and if Reginald came into the room, they
would stoop their faces quite down, till
their long curls touched their work, lest
he should see these tears; they seemed
intent on marking the large R No. 2 and
No. 3, for they would not sadden him on
any account. I felt for their troubles.
The trunk was brought into the nursery
to be packed: my mistress would not let
any one do that but herself. I saw her
on her knees, laying the httle shirts and
waistcoats smooth, and putting in the
books and pencils. Sometimes, when
AN APPLE, | yal

nobody was by, she would kiss the boy’s
clothes, as if they werg part of himself,
and with such a look, that truly I blessed.
myself that I was nothing but an old
apple, and was spared such wringing of
the heart. The 28th of December came
round at last; and yet too soon, indeed,
for all of us. Breakfast was silent, and
when they did eat, it seemed to choke
them: there was but little to say, for
there was but one thought amongst them,
poor things, and that was 4 thought they
dared. not utter —‘ Farewell.’

The Admiral alone seemed nothing loth,
and rubbed his hands, and walked up and
down the hall with his creaking boots,
delighted at the bustle of getting under
weigh.

The carriage, topped up with imperials,
came round; Lady Jemima, wrapped up
in skins and furs so as to be scarcely
visible, came down; a lined basket was
ready for her feet ; shawls and pillows for
her back were carried into the coach, and
122 TEE STORY: OF

she was at last housed warmly in the
vehicle. Mrs. Parsons next got in, with
an ample. cloak, a covered. basket, a bag,
and a bandbox, and something more tied
up in a handkerchief. She kept up a
running fire of directions to the servants
she was leaving behind, as she stowed
away these ill-shaped parcels in the car-
riage. The Admiral, whose patience was
ebbing fast, could stand no more: he
bundled her in at last, banged the door
himself, and tarned the handle securely,
rather to the surprise of the footman,
James; and nothing more was seen of
Mrs. Parsons’ ample form. Her last words
too were lost as she settled down into Her
place, opposite Lady Jemima.

Where was Reginald? He soon ap-
peared, with swelled, tearful eyes. He
wrang his father’s hand, and making: an
effort, jumped cheerily up, and joined his
uncle on the coach-box : his last look was
a long one up at the windows; and as
all was right, — they set off.
| AN APPLE. a 123

To part: is hard ‘to those. who go, but
how much ‘worse to those they leave be-
hind! JI heard my master blow his nose
a good deal; and, taking his hat, he trudg-
ed off to the fields: we saw no more of
him for a long time. Men wrestle best
with such pain as parting alone and un-
seen: my poor mistress was sitting on
Reginald’s deserted bed, her face buried in
the pillow his dear head had lain upon:
some of his old things lay about, looking
sad and disordered. Alice stood at the
window, straining her eyes to catch one
last look of the carriage as it turned off
the road.

Mary sat by sobbing, as if she never
had believed he really would go away.
Frank looked very grave, end Bertha
wondered and seemed scared as she saw
poor Nurse Hinton weeping all the while
she was washing up the breakfast things
wiping her eyes in her apron. Children
always wonder at the tears of the old.
It was a slow, melancholy morning, so very
124 ‘THE STORY OF

long, too! My mistress did not indulge
her grief long, but soon strove to recover
her outward composure. The meeting at
dinner was sad enough; all there but one,
and that one’s habitual place empty !
After dinner, Alice and Mary retraced
every spot where they had been together
so lately, that they even found the trace
of his footsteps still marked upon the
walks, still pressed upon the grass; the
dogs followed mournfully, with hanging
ears, whining and downcast, as if they
knew their masters were gone. It was
well for us that we soon left the hall, and
returned to the cottage; it raised our
spirits a little: I had my own share of
grief, if not so violent, more hopeless : —
they might look upon that joyous face
again, I knew I never should see Reginald
any more; my short span of life precluded
the idea, whilst they had years before
them. We left the great house, lately so
bright with joy, now empty, cold, desolate,
and deserted ; driving off, we arrived by
AN APPLE. / 125

tea-time at the cottage. Again I saw
myself in sight of my native orchard, like
Cardinal Wolsey, coming to lay my bones
among the trees of my youth! In the
evening, as Frank sat on my mistress’s
lap, who seemed to seek comfort in draw-
ing the children more nearly round her,
he appeared to guess and understand
where her thoughts were, and drawing
me out of his little pocket, he exclaim-
ed, —
‘Mamma, I think I will keep this apple
for ever! Do you remember the night,
Christmas-eve, when Reginald gave me
this apple? he had fished it out of the
tub, and laid it on my bed. I will never
eat it, mamma, I will really keep it for
ever, I quite love it now.’

My feelings here quite overpowered
me; I had never been so affected in my
life, and I longed for the speech of man,
to tell the dear child how deeply I felt
his kindness; but words could not have
expressed my feelings: that I, a poor

1}
126 THE STORY OF |

apple, should be so prized, was too “much
for me! |

‘Mamma, how can I keep it? I should
like to keep this apple till Reginald comes
home again !’

‘IT am afraid, Frank,’ said his mother,
‘that is impossible; no apple can be kept
two years.’

‘Could not I keep the seeds, as I do
peas and beans, in the garden 2’

‘Yes, Frank, you can do that; and
some day you and Reginald may eat
apples from the seed you planted, added
my mistress.

Frank then got a French box his aunt
had given him; it was partly made of
glass, and a great deal of gilding about
it; it had been full of sugar-plums, which
had soon disappeared. In this light,
cheerful cell I was placed, with some
more of his treasures — a small ivory top,
a silver pencil-case; and as Frank had
learned to write round text-hand, nothing
would serve him but getting a piece of


AN: APPLE. : - 4127

paper, which Alice ruled, and he wrote
upon it the following inscription : >—

‘ This apple was given to me by my brother
Reginald, on Christmas-eve, December
. 24th, 1800, to keep.’

This being put round my stalk, the lid
was closed. As it was bed-time, Nurse
Hinton took Frank up to the nursery ;
he put the box under his pillow that
night. The next morning I was placed
on a high bracket over the chimney-piece,
for fear.any accidents should happen to
my box; and it was pleasant to me to
find that through the glass of my her-
mitage I could descry the brown gnarled
boughs of my parent tree waving in the
breeze. I was soothed by the regular
ticking of the nursery watch; the sound
has a moral in it, and tells of waning
hours. I see the children pass to and fro ;
nay, they occasionally looked in on me as
I stand on my bracket. My hours are
spent in quiet and meditation.

Frank not recovering his bloom, my
128 = #£=°'THE STORY OF |

mistress had to take him to Bath on a visit
to Lady Jemima, and Alice is left to take
care of my master, her sister, and me.
And well she discharges her duty; even the
cross coek is ruled by her: she is very like
my dear mistress, both gentle and firm.

I find my health failing a good deal;
I am not half the size I was, and I en-
deavour to prepare myself for my ap-
proaching dissolution. How great are the
vicissitudes I have seen! how has death
threatened me!— death by the tooth or
by the knife!—-how wonderfully I have
escaped ! for seldom does the apple elude
a violent death. And although we have
not in England those frightful periods of
mortality which prevail in Scotland and
Treland on the 1st of November, miscalled
Hallow-e’en, a dark remnant of super-
stitious barbarism, more ‘ honored in the
breach than in the observance, (as the
immortal Shakespeare has it,) which
sweeps off thousands of us in the senseless
orgics of a night; yet in happy England
AN APPLE. 129

even, apples are “surrounded with danger
and with death. . Reason told me it was
the lot of apples as well as men, fo die.
Again something whispered to me that
man has that other far world to which he
looks in his darkest hour, and I was sad.

It was in one of these moods that
Frank’s words recurred to me— plant this apple :’ and might not my seeds
grow 2

It is needless to describe the revulsion
this reflection produced in my mind: the
idea raised me from joyless apathy, nay,
from sullen despair; it took possession of
me; I forgot all past trials and present
troubles, solitude, confinement, the decay
of age, — all were forgotten. I should live
again! my ambition, ‘that last infirmity
of noble minds,’ delighted itself in think-
ing upon the rising plants, trees, sweet
blossoms —-a countless multitude: to live
again! and again! until this round world
was no more. I blessed the thought of
death, that showed me immortality, and no
130 THE STORY OF

longer envied men their higher destinies
so much; for I too should in a manner
live again, which is their precious privilege.
From these high thoughts of the future, I
humbly hope I have learned contentment
in my present lot, patience, and resigna-
tion, — the great lessons such thoughts
should teach; and may my saplings shel-
ter the children of those who sheltered me,
and whom I have loved so long and faith-
fully : such is my prayer.



As my readers may wish to know a few
particulars touching the last hours and
end of the apple, whose memoirs they have
just concluded, I subjoin such as I have
been enabled to collect in the cottage
where she ended her days.

Early in May, 1801, Frank, quite restor-
ed to health, returned from Bath with his
mother. One day, taking down his glass
box off the bracket, he opened it; some
AN APPLE. | - 181

light dust flew out, and he found a brown-
ish, wrinkled husk, nearly reduced to pow-
der; a paper was attached to it, yellow
-and much defaced, but 6n which he deci-
phered the following words >—‘ This apple
was given to me on Christmas-eve, by my
brother Reginald, December 24th, 1800,
to keep.’

Remembering his own wish to plant
this apple, he immediately sought for the
pips, and his sister and he sowed them
in a flower-pot: only three came up, which,
in due time, after being properly grafted,
were transplanted ; one replaced the old
gnarled tree, in the south orchard, which
had been blown down in a severe gale;
another was planted in the garden of the
great house; the third was put in Mr.
Neville’s orchard, at the parsonage.

Frank grew up a scholar, as the apple
had foretold ; and being seriously disposed,
went into the Church, and succeeded Mr.
Neville at the parsonage.

The Admiral, having lost Lady Jemima,
1382 | THE STORY OF

who died at Bath, requested his brother
Charles and his sister-in-law to live with
him at the great house, that he might be
enlivened by the society of his cheerful
nieces, Mary and Bertha; the cottage was
given up to young Thompson, who, having
distinguished himself in the army, and got
his majority on the field, came home, and
married steady little Alice. |

Reginald has also risen fast in his pro-
fession, and has a ship, having been posted
young. Often, when he returns to spend
Christmas with the Admiral and his parents,
he recurs to that Christmas-eve when he
bobbed for apples just two days before
they sailed ; ttle imagining that the lineal
descendants of that very apple he gave to
little Frank on that self-same night, are
piled on the dish before him!

Mrs. Parsons never left Bath after Lady

Jemima died, — ‘Othello’s occupation was
gone’ — she lived there upon an annuity,

with Zoe, the fat spaniel. The Widow
Jones 1s no more, but she lived to see
AN APPLE. 138

Johnny become an eminent carver in
wood; he being constantly employed in
ornamental work for various cathedrals
and private galleries. He has already
realized such an income as secures the
comfort and independence of his two
sisters, Susan and Jane, who. live with
him; his own health has never been good,
so that he requires their tender care.
Never do these three persons celebrate
Christmas, without remembering the des-
titution they suffered in the winter of
1800; and they endeavor to relieve the
needy around them, in remembrance of
the mercies shown to them. Blind Rachel
found shelter with them until she died.
Nurse Hinton lived to a great age, —
Frank read the funeral service over her
only two years ago. Cook lives in the
village, and continues so well and hearty,
that she was, I am credibly informed,
heard very lately scolding the boys soundly
for making a noise when school breaks
up. Stephen is butler to the Admiral.
12
134 | THE STORY OF AN APPLE.

Having thus fully accounted. for all the
personages mentioned in this story, I beg
the kind indulgence of my readers in favor

of this Winter’s Tale.
Tse Eprror.

~ THE END.