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The Governess [The Little Female Academy] by Sarah Fielding

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This Etexst prepared by Pat Pflieger

by Sarah Fielding

There lived in the northern parts of England, a gentlewoman who
undertook the education of young ladies; and this trust she
endeavoured faithfully to discharge, by instructing those
committed to her care in reading, writing, working, and in all
proper forms of behaviour. And though her principal aim was to
improve their minds in all useful knowledge; to render them
obedient to their superiors, and gentle, kind, and affectionate to
each other; yet did she not omit teaching them an exact neatness
in their persons and dress, and a perfect gentility in their whole

This gentlewoman, whose name was Teachum, was the widow of a
clergyman, with whom she had lived nine years in all the harmony
and concord which forms the only satisfactory happiness in the
married state. Two little girls (the youngest of which was born
before the second year of their marriage was expired) took up a
great part of their thoughts; and it was their mutual design to
spare no pains or trouble in their education.

Mr. Teachum was a very sensible man, and took great delight in
improving his wife; as she also placed her chief pleasure in
receiving his instructions. One of his constant subjects of
discourse to her was concerning the education of children: so
that, when in his last illness his physicians pronounced him
beyond the power of their art to relieve him, he expressed great
satisfaction in the thought of leaving his children to the care of
so prudent a mother.

Mrs. Teachum, though exceedingly afflicted by such a loss, yet
thought it her duty to call forth all her resolutions to conquer
her grief, in order to apply herself to the care of these her dear
husband's children. But her misfortunes were not here to end:
for within a twelvemonth after the death of her husband, she was
deprived of both her children by a violent fever that then raged
in the country; and, about the same time, by the unforeseen
breaking of a banker, in whose hands almost all her fortune was
just then placed, she was bereft of the means of her future

The Christian fortitude with which (through her husband's
instructions) she had armed her mind, had not left it in the power
of any outward accident to bereave her of her understanding, or to
make her incapable of doing what was proper on all occasions.
Therefore, by the advice of all her friends, she undertook what
she was so well qualified for; namely, the education of children.
But as she was moderate in her desires, and did not seek to raise
a great fortune, she was resolved to take no more scholars than
she could have an eye to herself without the help of other
teachers; and instead of making interest to fill her school, it
was looked upon as a great favour when she would take any girl.
And as her number was fixed to nine, which she on no account would
be prevailed on to increase, great application was made, when any
scholar went away, to have her place supplied; and happy were they
who could get a promise for the next vacancy.

Mrs. Teachum was about forty years old, tall and genteel in her
person, though somewhat inclined to fat. She had a lively and
commanding eye, insomuch that she naturally created an awe in all
her little scholars; except when she condescended to smile, and
talk familiarly to them; and then she had something perfectly kind
and tender in her manner. Her temper was so extremely calm and
good, that though she never omitted reprehending, and that pretty
severely, any girl that was guilty of the smallest fault
proceeding from an evil disposition; yet for no cause whatsoever
was she provoked to be in a passion; but she kept up such a
dignity and authority, by her steady behavior, that the girls
greatly feared to incur her displeasure by disobeying her
commands; and were equally pleased with her approbation, when they
had done anything worthy her commendation.

At the time of the ensuing history, the school (being full)
consisted of the nine following young ladies:


The eldest of these was but fourteen years old, and none of the
rest had yet attained their twelfth year.


It was on a fine summer's evening when the school-hours were at an
end, and the young ladies were admitted to divert themselves for
some time, as they thought proper, in a pleasant garden adjoining
to the house, that their governess, who delighted in pleasing
them, brought out a little basket of apples, which were intended
to be divided equally amongst them; but Mrs. Teachum being hastily
called away (one of her poor neighhours having had an accident
which wanted her assistance), she left the fruit in the hands of
Miss Jenny Peace, the eldest of her scholars, with a strict charge
to see that every one had an equal share of her gift.

But here a perverse accident turned good Mrs. Teachum's design of
giving them pleasure into their sorrow, and raised in their little
hearts nothing but strife and anger: for, alas! there happened to
be one apple something larger than the rest, on which the whole
company immediately placed their desiring eyes, and all at once
cried out, 'Pray, Miss Jenny, give me that apple.' Each gave her
reasons why she had the best title to it: the youngest pleaded
her youth, and the eldest her age; one insisted on her goodness,
another from her meekness claimed a title to preference; and one,
in confidence of her strength, said positively, she would have it;
but all speaking together, it was difficult to distinguish who
said this, or who said that.

Miss Jenny begged them all to be quiet, but in vain; for she could
not be heard: they had all set their hearts on that fine apple,
looking upon those she had given them as nothing. She told them
they had better be contented with what they had, than be thus
seeking what it was impossible for her to give to them all. She
offered to divide it into eight parts, or to do anything to
satisfy them; but she might as well have been silent; for they
were all talking and had no time to hear. At last as a means to
quiet the disturbance, she threw this apple, the cause of their
contention, with her utmost force over a hedge into another
garden, where they could not come at it.

At first they were all silent, as if they were struck dumb with
astonishment with the loss of this one poor apple, though at the
same time they had plenty before them.

But this did not bring to pass Miss Jenny's design: for now they
all began again to quarrel which had the most right to it, and
which ought to have had it, with as much vehemence as they had
before contended for the possession of it; and their anger by
degrees became so high, that words could not vent half their rage;
and they fell to pulling of caps, tearing of hair, and dragging
the clothes off one another's backs: though they did not so much
strike, as endeavour to scratch and pinch their enemies.

Miss Dolly Friendly as yet was not engaged in the battle; but on
hearing her friend Miss Nanny Spruce scream out, that she was hurt
by a sly pinch from one of the girls, she flew on this sly
pincher, as she called her, like an enraged lion on its prey; and
not content only to return the harm her friend had received, she
struck with such force, as felled her enemy to the ground. And
now they could not distinguish between friend and enemy; but
fought, scratched, and tore, like so many cats, when they extend
their claws to fix them in their rival's heart.

Miss Jenny was employed in endeavouring to part them.

In the midst of this confusion appeared Mrs. Teachum, who was
returning in hopes to see them happy with the fruit she had given
them; but she was some time there before either her voice or
presence could awaken them from their attention to the fight; when
on a sudden they all faced her, and fear of punishment began now a
little to abate their rage. Each of the misses held in her right
hand, fast clenched, some marks of victory; for they beat and were
beaten by turns. One of them held a little lock of hair torn from
the head of her enemy; another grasped a piece of a cap, which, in
aiming at her rival's hair, had deceived her hand, and was all the
spoils she could gain; a third clenched a piece of an apron; a
fourth, of a frock. In short, everyone unfortunately held in her
hand a proof of having been engaged in the battle. And the ground
was spread with rags and tatters, torn from the backs of the
little inveterate combatants.

Mrs. Teachum stood for some time astonished at the sight; but at
last she enquired of Miss Jenny Peace, who was the only person
disengaged, to tell her the whole truth, and to inform her of the
cause of all this confusion.

Miss Jenny was obliged to obey the commands of her governess;
though she was so good natured that she did it in the mildest
terms; and endeavoured all she could to lessen, rather than
increase, Mrs. Teachum's anger. The guilty persons now began all
to excuse themselves as fast as tears and sobs would permit them.

One said, 'Indeed, madam, it was none of my fault; for I did not
begin; for Miss Sukey Jennett, without any cause in the world (for
I did nothing to provoke her), hit me a great slap in the face,
and made my tooth ache; the pain DID make me angry; and then,
indeed, I hit her a little tap; but it was on her back; and I am
sure it was the smallest tap in the world and could not possibly
hurt her half so much as her great blow did me.'

'Law, miss!' replied Miss Jennett, 'how can you say so? when you
know that you struck me first, and that yours was the great blow,
and mine the little tap; for I only went to defend myself from
your monstrous blows.'

Such like defences they would all have made for themselves, each
insisting on not being in fault, and throwing the blame on her
companion; but Mrs. Teachum silenced them by a positive command;
and told them, that she saw they were all equally guilty, and as
such would treat them.

Mrs. Teachum's method of punishing I never could find out. But
this is certain, the most severe punishment she had ever inflicted
on any misses, since she had kept a school, was now laid on these
wicked girls, who had been thus fighting, and pulling one another
to pieces, for a sorry apple.

The first thing she did was to take away all the apples; telling
them, that before they had any more instances of such kindness
from her, they should give her proofs of their deserving them
better. And when she had punished them as much as she thought
proper, she made them all embrace one another, and promise to be
friends for the future; which, in obedience to her commands, they
were forced to comply with, though there remained a grudge and
ill-will in their bosoms; every one thinking she was punished
most, although she would have it, that she deserved to be punished
least; and they continued all the sly tricks they could think on
to vex and tease each other.


The next morning Miss Jenny Peace used her utmost endeavours to
bring her schoolfellows to be heartily reconciled, but in vain:
for each insisted on it, that she was not to blame; but that the
whole quarrel arose from the faults of others. At last ensued the
following dialogue between Miss Jenny Peace and Miss Sukey
Jennett, which brought about Miss Jenny's designs; and which we
recommend to the consideration of all our young readers.

MISS JENNY. Now pray, Miss Sukey, tell me, what did you get by
your contention and quarrel about that foolish apple?

MISS SUKEY. Indeed, ma'am, I shall not answer you; I know that
you only want to prove, that you are wiser than I, because you are
older. But I don't know but some people may understand as much at
eleven years old as others at thirteen: but, because you are the
oldest in the school, you always want to be tutoring and
governing. I don't like to have more than one governess; and if I
obey my mistress, I think that is enough.

MISS JENNY. Indeed, my dear, I don't want to govern you, nor to
prove myself wiser than you; I only want that instead of
quarrelling, and making yourself miserable, you should live at
peace and be happy. Therefore, pray do answer my question,
whether you get anything by your quarrel?

MISS SUKEY. No I cannot say I got anything by it: for my
mistress was angry, and punished me; and my hair was pulled off,
and my clothes torn in the scuffle; neither did I value the apple;
but yet I have too much spirit to be imposed on. I am sure I had
as good a right to it as any of the others; and I would not give
up my right to anyone.

MISS JENNY. But don't you know, Miss Sukey, it would have shown
much more spirit to have yielded the apple to another, than to
have fought about it? Then indeed you would have proved your
sense; for you would have shown, that you had too much
understanding to fight about a trifle. Then your clothes had been
whole, your hair not torn from your head, your mistress had not
been angry, nor had your fruit been taken away from you.

MISS SUKEY. And so, miss, you would fain prove, that it is wisest
to submit to everybody that would impose upon one? But I will not
believe ii, say what you will.

MISS JENNY. But is not what I say true? If you had not been in
the battle, would not your clothes have been whole, your hair not
torn, your mistress pleased with you, and the apples your own?

Here Miss Sukey paused for some time: for as Miss Jenny was in
the right and had truth on her side, it was difficult for Miss
Sukey to know what to answer. For it is impossible, without being
very silly, to contradict truth; and yet Miss Sukey was so
foolish, that she did not care to own herself in the wrong; though
nothing could have been so great a sign of her understanding.

When Miss Jenny saw her thus at a loss for an answer, she was in
hopes of making her companion happy; for, as she had as much good
nature as understanding, that was her design. She therefore
pursued her discourse in the following manner:

MISS JENNY. Pray, Miss Sukey, do answer me one question more.
Don't you lie awake at nights, and fret and vex yourself, because
you are angry with your school-fellows? Are not you restless and
uneasy, because you cannot find a safe method to be revenged on
them, without being punished yourself? Do tell me truly, is not
this your case?

MISS SUKEY. Yes it is. For if I could but hurt my enemies,
without being hurt myself, it would be the greatest pleasure I
could have in the world.

MISS JENNY. Oh fie, Miss Sukey! What you have now said is
wicked. Don't you consider what you say every day in your
prayers'? And this way of thinking will make you lead a very
uneasy life. If you would hearken to me, I could put you into a
method of being very happy, and making all those misses you call
your enemies, become your friends.

MISS SUKEY. You could tell me a method, miss? Do you think I
don't know as well as you what is fit to be done? I believe I am
as capable of finding the way to be happy, as you are of teaching

Here Miss Sukey burst into tears, that anybody should presume to
tell her the way to be happy.

MISS JENNY. Upon my word, my dear, I don't mean to vex you; but
only, instead of tormenting yourself all night in laying plots to
revenge yourself, I would have you employ this one night in
thinking of what I have said. Nothing will show your sense so
much, as to own that you have been in the wrong. Nor will
anything prove a right spirit so much. as to confess your fault.
All the misses will be your friends, and perhaps follow your
example. Then you will have the pleasure of having caused the
quiet of the whole school; your governess will love you; and you
will be at peace in your mind, and never have any more foolish
quarrels, in which you all get nothing but blows and uneasiness.

Miss Sukey began now to find, that Miss Jenny was in the right,
and she herself in the wrong; but yet she was so proud she would
not own it. Nothing could be so foolish as this pride; because it
would have been both good and wise in her to confess the truth the
moment she saw it. However, Miss Jenny was so discreet as not to
press her any farther that night; but begged her to consider
seriously on what she had said, and to let her know her thoughts
the next morning and then left her.

When Miss Sukey was alone she stood some time in great confusion.
She could not help seeing how much hitherto she had been in the
wrong; and that thought stung her to the heart. She cried,
stamped, and was in as great an agony as if some sad misfortune
had befallen her. At last, when she had somewhat vented her
passion by tears, she burst forth into the following speech:

'It is very true what Miss Jenny Peace says; for I am always
uneasy. I don't sleep in quiet because I am always thinking,
either that I have not my share of what is given us, or that I
cannot be revenged on any of the girls that offend me. And when I
quarrel with them, I am scratched and bruised; or reproached. And
what do I get by all this? Why, I scratch, bruise, and reproach
them in my turn. Is not that gain enough? I warrant I hurt them
as much as they hurt me. But then indeed, as Miss Jenny says, if
I could make these girls my friends, and did not wish to hurt
them, I certainly might live a quieter, and perhaps a happier,
life. But what then, have I been always in the wrong all my
lifetime? for I always quarrelled and hated everyone who had
offended me. Oh! I cannot bear that thought! It is enough to
make me mad! when I imagined myself so wise and so sensible, to
find out that I have been always a fool. If I think a moment
longer about it, I shall die with grief and shame. I must think
myself in the right; and I will too. But, as Miss Jenny says, I
really am unhappy; for I hate all my schoolfellows; and yet I dare
not do them any mischief; for my mistress will punish me severely
if I do. I should not so much mind that neither; but then those I
intend to hurt will triumph over me, to see me punished for their
sakes. In short, the more I reflect, the more I am afraid Miss
Jenny is in the right; and yet it breaks my heart to think so.'

Here the poor girl wept so bitterly, and was so heartily grieved,
that she could not utter one word more; but sat herself down,
reclining her head upon her hand, in the most melancholy posture
that could be; nor could she close her eyes all night, but lay
tossing and raving with the thought how she should act, and what
she should say to Miss Jenny the next day.

When the morning came, Miss Sukey dreaded every moment, as the
time drew nearer when she must meet Miss Jenny. She knew it would
not be possible to resist her arguments; and yet shame for having
been in fault overcame her.

As soon as Miss Jenny saw Miss Sukey with her eyes cast down, and
confessing, by a look of sorrow, that she would take her advice,
she embraced her kindly; and, without giving her the trouble to
speak, took it for granted, that she would leave off quarreling,
be reconciled to her schoolfellows, and make herself happy.

Miss Sukey did indeed stammer out some words, which implied a
confession of her fault; but they were spoke so low they could
hardly be heard; only Miss Jenny, who always chose to look at the
fairest side of her companions' actions, by Miss Sukey's look and
manner guessed her meaning.

In the same manner did this good girl, Jenny, persuade, one by
one, all her schoolfellows to be reconciled to each with sincerity
and love.

Miss Dolly Friendly, who had too much sense to engage the battle
for the sake of an apple, and who was provoked to strike a blow
only for friendship's sake, easily saw the truth of what Miss
Jenny said; and was therefore presently convinced, that the best
part she could have acted for her friend, would have been to have
withdrawn her from the scuffle.


After Miss Jenny had completed the good work of making all her
companions friends, she drew them round her in a little arbour, in
that very garden which had been the scene of their strife, and
consequently of their misery; and then spoke to them the following
speech; which she delivered in so mild a voice, that it was
sufficient to charm her hearers into attention, and to persuade
them to be led by her advice, and to follow her example in the
paths of goodness.

'My dear friends and schoolfellows, you cannot imagine the
happiness it gives me to see you thus all so heartily reconciled.
You will find the joyful fruits of it. Nothing can show so much
sense as thus to own yourselves in fault; for could anything have
been so foolish as to spend all your time in misery, rather than
at once to make use of the power you have of making yourselves
happy? Now if you will use as many endeavours to love as you have
hitherto done to hate each other, you will find that every one
amongst you, whenever you have anything given you, will have
double, nay, I may say eight times (as there are eight of you) the
pleasure, in considering that your companions are happy. What is
the end of quarrels, but that everyone is fretted and vexed, and
no one gains anything! Whereas by endeavouring to please and love
each other, the end is happiness to ourselves, and joy to everyone
around us. I am sure, if you will speak the truth, none of you
have been so easy since you quarrelled, as you are now you are
reconciled. Answer me honestly, if this is not truth.'

Here Miss Jenny was silent, and waited for an answer. But the
poor girls, who had in them the seeds of goodwill to each other,
although those seeds were choked and overrun with the weeds of
envy and pride; as in a garden the finest strawberries will be
spoiled by rank weeds, if care is not taken to root them out;
these poor girls, I say, now struck with the force of truth, and
sorry for what they had done, let drop some tears, which trickled
down their cheeks, and were signs of meekness, and sorrow for
their fault. Not like those tears which burst from their swollen
eyes, when anger and hatred choked their words, and their proud
hearts laboured with stubbornness and folly; when their skins
reddened, and all their features were changed and distorted by the
violence of passion, which made them frightful to the beholders,
and miserable to themselves;-- No! Far other cause had they now
for tears, and far different were the tears they shed; their eyes,
melted with sorrow for their faults, let fall some drops, as
tokens of their repentance; but, as soon as they could recover
themselves to speak, they all with one voice cried out, 'Indeed,
Miss Jenny, we are sorry for our fault, and will follow your
advice; which we now see is owing to your goodness.'

Miss Jenny now produced a basket of apples, which she had
purchased out of the little pocket-money she was allowed, in order
to prove, that the same things may be a pleasure or a pain,
according as the persons to whom they are given are good or bad.

These she placed in the midst of her companions, and desired them
to eat, and enjoy themselves; and now they were so changed, that
each helped her next neighbour before she would touch any for
herself; and the moment they were grown thus good natured and
friendly, they were as well-bred, and as polite, as it is possible
to describe.

Miss Jenny's joy was inexpressible, that she had caused this happy
change; nor less was the joy of her companions, who now began to
taste pleasures, from which their animosity to each other had
hitherto debarred them. They all sat looking pleased on their
companions; their faces borrowed beauty from the calmness and
goodness of their minds; and all those ugly frowns, and all that
ill-natured sourness, which when they were angry and cross were
but too plain in their faces, were now entirely fled; jessamine
and honeysuckles surrounded their seats, and played round their
heads, of which they gathered nosegays to present each other with.
They now enjoyed all the pleasure and happiness that attend those
who are innocent and good.

Miss Jenny, with her heart overflowing with joy at this happy
change, said, 'Now, my dear companions, that you may be convinced
what I have said and done was not occasioned by any desire of
proving myself wiser than you, as Miss Sukey hinted while she was
yet in her anger, I will, if you please, relate to you the history
of my past life; by which you will see in what manner I came by
this way of thinking; and as you will perceive it was chiefly
owing to the instructions of a kind mamma, you may all likewise
reap the same advantage under good Mrs. Teachum, if you will obey
her commands, and attend to her precepts. And after I have given
you the particulars of my life, I must beg that every one of you
will, some day or other, when you have reflected upon it, declare
all that you can remember of your own; for, should you not be able
to relate anything worth remembering as an example, yet there is
nothing more likely to amend the future part of anyone's life,
than the recollecting and confessing the faults of the past.'

All our little company highly approved of Miss Jenny's proposal,
and promised, in their turns, to relate their own lives; and Miss
Polly Suckling cried out, 'Yes indeed, Miss Jenny, I'll tell all
when it comes to my turn; so pray begin, for I long to hear what
you did, when you was no bigger than I am now.' Miss Jenny then
kissed little Polly, and said she would instantly begin.

But as in the reading of any one's story, it is an additional
pleasure to have some acquaintance with their persons; and as I
delight in giving my little readers every pleasure that is in my
power; I shall endeavour, as justly as I can, by description, to
set before their eyes the picture of this good young creature:
and in the same of every one of our young company, as they begin
their lives.


Miss Jenny Peace was just turned of fourteen, and could be called
neither tall nor short of her age; but her whole person was the
most agreeable that can be imagined. She had an exceeding fine
complexion, with as much colour in her cheeks as is the natural
effect of perfect health. Her hair was light brown, and curled in
so regular and yet easy a manner, as never to want any assistance
from art. Her eyebrows (which were not of that correct turn as to
look as if they were drawn with a pencil) and her eyelashes were
both darker than her hair; and the latter being very long, gave
such a shade to her eyes as made them often mistaken for black,
though they were only a dark hazel. To give any description of
her eyes beyond the colour and size, which was perfectly the
medium, would be impossible; except by saying they were expressive
of everything that is amiable and good; for through them might be
read every single thought of the mind; from whence they had such a
brightness and cheerfulness, as seemed to cast a lustre over her
whole face. She had fine teeth, and a mouth answering to the most
correct rules of beauty; and when she spoke (though you were at
too great a distance to hear what she said) there appeared so much
sweetness, mildness, modesty and good nature, that you found
yourself filled more with pleasure than admiration in beholding
her. The delight which everyone took in looking on Miss Jenny was
evident in this, that though Miss Sukey Jennett and Miss Patty
Lockit were both what may be called handsomer girls (and if you
asked any persons in company their opinion, they would tell you
so) yet their eyes were a direct contradiction to their tongues,
by being continually fixed on Miss Jenny; for, while she was in
the room, it was impossible to fix them anywhere else. She had a
natural ease and gentility in her shape; and all her motions were
more pleasing, though less striking than what is commonly acquired
by the instruction of dancing masters.

Such was the agreeable person of Miss Jenny Peace, who, in her
usual obliging manner, and with an air pleasing beyond my power to
express, at the request of her companions began to relate the
history of her life, as follows:


'My father dying when I was but half a year old, I was left to the
care of my mamma, who was the best woman in the world, and to
whose memory I shall ever pay the most grateful honour. From the
time she had any children, she made it the whole study of her life
to promote their welfare, and form their minds in the manner she
thought would best answer her purpose of making them both good and
happy; for it was her constant maxim, that goodness and happiness
dwelt in the same bosoms, and were generally found to life so much
together, that they could not easily be separated.

'My mother had six children born alive; but could preserve none
beyond the first year, except my brother, Harry Peace, and myself.
She made it one of her chief cares to cultivate and preserve the
most perfect love and harmony between us. My brother is but a
twelvemonth older than I; so that, till I was six years old (for
seven was the age in which he was sent to school) he remained at
home with me; in which time we often had little childish quarrels;
but my mother always took care to convince us of our error in
wrangling and fighting about nothing, and to teach us how much
more pleasure we enjoyed whilst we agreed. She showed no
partiality to either, but endeavoured to make us equal in all
things, any otherwise than that she taught me I owed a respect to
my brother as the eldest.

'Before my brother went to school, we had set hours appointed us,
in which we regularly attended to learn whatever was thought
necessary for our improvement; my mamma herself daily watching the
opening of our minds, and taking great care to instruct us in what
manner to make the best use of the knowledge we attained.
Whatever we read she explained to us, and made us understand, that
we might be the better for our lessons. When we were capable of
thinking, we made it so much a rule to obey our parent, the moment
she signified her pleasure, that by that means we avoided many
accidents and misfortunes; for example: my brother was running
one day giddily round the brink of a well; and if he had made the
least false step, he must have fallen to the bottom, and been
drowned; my mamma, by a sign with her finger that called him to
her, preserved him from the imminent danger he was in of losing
his life; and then she took care that we should both be the better
for this little incident, by laying before us how much our safety
and happiness, as well as our duty, were concerned in being

'My brother and I once had a quarrel about something as trifling
as your apple of contention; and, though we both heartily wished
to be reconciled to each other, yet did our little hearts swell so
much with stubbornness and pride, that neither of us would speak
first; by which means we were so silly as to be both uneasy, and
yet would not use the remedy that was in our own power to remove
that uneasiness. My mamma found it out, and sent for me into her
closet, and said, "She was sorry to see her instructions had no
better effect on me; for," continued she, "indeed, Jenny, I am
ashamed of your folly, as well as wickedness, in thus contending
with your brother" A tear, which I believe flowed from shame,
started from my eyes at this reproof; and I fixed them on the
ground, being too much overwhelmed with confusion to dare to lift
them up on mamma. On which she kindly said, "She hoped my
confusion was a sign of my amendment. That she might indeed have
used another method, by commanding me to seek a reconciliation
with my brother; for she did not imagine I was already so far gone
in perverseness, as not to hold her commands as inviolable; but
she was willing, for my good, first to convince me of my folly."
As soon as my confusion would give me leave to speak, on my knees
I gave her a thousand thanks for her goodness, and went
immediately to seek my brother. He joyfully embraced the first
opportunity of being reconciled to me; and this was one of the
pleasantest hours of my life. This quarrel happened when my
brother came home at a breaking-up, and I was nine years old.

'My mamma's principal care was to keep up a perfect amity between
me and my brother. I remember once, when Harry and I were playing
in the fields, there was a small rivulet stopped me in my way. My
brother, being nimbler and better able to jump than myself, with
one spring leaped over, and left me on the other side of it; but
seeing me uneasy that I could not get over to him, his good nature
prompted him to come back and to assist me; and, by the help of
his hand, I easily passed over. On this my good mamma bid me
remember how much my brother's superior strength might assist me
in his being my protector; and that I ought to return to use my
utmost endeavours to oblige him; and that then we should be mutual
assistants to each other throughout life. Thus everything that
passed was made use of to improve my understanding and amend my

'I believe no child ever spent her time more agreeably than I did;
for I not only enjoyed my own pleasures, but also those of others.
And when my brother was carried abroad, and I was left at home,
that HE was pleased, made me full amends for the loss of any
diversion. the contentions between us (where our parent's
commands did not interfere) were always exerted in endeavours each
to prefer the other's pleasures to our own. My mind was easy and
free from anxiety; for as I always took care to speak truth, I had
nothing to conceal from my mamma, and consequently had never any
fears of being found in a lie. For one lie obliges us to tell a
thousand others to conceal it; and I have no notion of any
conditions being so miserable, as to live in a continual fear of
detection. Most particularly, my mamma instructed me to beware of
all sorts of deceit; so that I was accustomed, not only in words
to speak truth, but also not to endeavour by any means to deceive.

'But though the friendship between my brother and me was so
strongly cultivated, yet we were taught, that lying for each
other, or praising each other when it was not deserved, was not
only a fault, but a very great crime; for this, my mamma used to
tell us, was not love, but hatred; as it was encouraging one
another in folly and wickedness. And though my natural
disposition inclined me to be very tender of everything in my
power, yet was I not suffered to give way even to THIS in an
unreasonable degree. One instance of which I remember.

'When I was about eleven years old, I had a cat that I had bred up
from a little kitten, that used to play round me, till I had
indulged for the poor animal a fondness that made me delight to
have it continually with me wherever I went; and, in return for my
indulgence, the cat seemed to have changed its nature, and assumed
the manner that more properly belongs to dogs than cats; for it
would follow me about the house and gardens, mourn for my absence,
and rejoice at my presence. And, what was very remarkable, the
poor animal would, when fed by my hand, lose that caution which
cats are known to be possessed of, and eat whatever I gave it, as
if it could reflect that I meant only its good, and no harm could
come from me.

'I was at last so accustomed to see this little Frisk (for so I
called it) playing round me, that I seemed to miss part of myself
in its absence. But one day the poor little creature followed me
to the door; when a parcel of schoolboys coming by, one of them
catched her up in his arms, and ran away with her. All my cries
were to no purpose; for he was out of sight with her in a moment,
and there was no method to trace his steps. The cruel wretches,
for sport, as they called it, hunted it the next day from one to
the other, in the most barbarous manner; till at last it took
shelter in that house that used to be its protection, and came and
expired at my feet.

'I was so struck with the sight of the little animal dying in that
manner, that the great grief of my heart overflowed at my eyes,
and I was for some time inconsolable.

'My indulgent mamma comforted without blaming me, till she thought
I had sufficient time to vent my grief; and then, sending for me
into her chamber, spoke as follows:

'"Jenny, I have watched you ever since the death of your little
favourite cat; and have been in hopes daily, that your lamenting
and melancholy on that account would be at an end. But I find you
still persist in grieving, as if such a loss was irreparable.
Now, though I have always encouraged you in all sentiments of good
nature and compassion; and am sensible, that where those
sentiments are strongly implanted, they will extend their
influence even to the least animal; yet you are to consider, my
child, that you are not to give way to any passions that interfere
with your duty; for whenever there is any contention between your
duty and your inclinations, you must conquer the latter, or become
wicked and contemptible. If, therefore, you give way to this
melancholy, how will you be able to perform your duty towards me,
in cheerfully obeying my commands,and endeavouring, by your lively
prattle and innocent gaiety of heart, to be my companion and
delight? Nor will you be fit to converse with your brother, whom
(as you lost your good papa when you were too young to know that
loss) I have endeavoured to educate in such a manner, that I hope
he will be a father to you, if you deserve his love and
protection. In short, if you do not keep command enough of
yourself to prevent being ruffled by every accident, you will be
unfit for all the social offices of life, and be despised by all
those whose regard and love are worth your seeking. I treat you,
my girl, as capable of considering what is for your own good; for
though you are but eleven years of age, yet I hope the pains I
have taken in explaining all you read, and in answering all your
questions in search of knowledge, has not been so much thrown
away, but that you are more capable of judging, than those unhappy
children are, whose parents have neglected to instruct them. And
therefore, farther to enforce what I say, remember, that repining
at any accident that happens to you, is an offence to that God to
whom I have taught you daily to pray for all the blessings you can
receive, and to whom you are to return humble thanks for every

'"I expect therefore, Jenny, that you now dry up your tears, and
resume your usual cheerfulness. I do not doubt but your obedience
to me will make you at least put on the appearance of cheerfulness
in my sight. But you will deceive yourself, if you think that is
performing your duty; for if you would obey me as you ought, you
must try heartily to root from your mind all sorrow and
gloominess. You may depend upon it, this command is in your power
to obey; for you know I never require anything of you that is

'After my mamma had made this speech, she went out to take a walk
in the garden, and left me to consider of what she had said.

'The moment I came to reflect seriously, I found it was indeed in
my power to root all melancholy from my heart, when I considered
it was necessary, in order to perform my duty to God, to obey the
best of mothers, and to make myself a blessing and a cheerful
companion to her, rather than a burden, and the cause of her
uneasiness, by my foolish melancholy.

'This little accident, as managed by my mamma, has been a lesson
to me in governing my passions ever since.

'It would be endless to repeat all the methods this good mother
invented for my instruction, amendment, and improvement. It is
sufficient to acquaint you, that she contrived that every new day
should open to me some new scene of knowledge; and no girl could
be happier than I was during her life. But, alas! when I was
thirteen years of age, the scene changed. My dear mamma was taken
ill of a scarlet fever. I attended her day and night whilst she
lay ill, my eyes starting with tears to see her in that condition;
and yet I did not dare to give my sorrows vent, for fear of
increasing her pain.'

Here a trickling tear stole from Miss Jenny's eyes. She
suppressed some rising sobs that interrupted her speech, and was
about to proceed in her story, when, casting her eyes on her
companions, she saw her sorrow had such an effect upon them all,
that there was not one of her hearers who could refrain from
shedding a sympathising tear. She therefore thought it was more
strictly following her mamma's precepts to pass this part of her
story in silence, rather than to grieve her friends; and having
wiped away her tears, she hastened to conclude her story; which
she did as follows:

'After my mamma's death, my Aunt Newman, my father's sister, took
the care of me; but being obliged to go to Jamaica, to settle some
affairs relating to an estate she is possessed of there, she took
with her my Cousin Harriet, her only daughter, and left me under
the care of the good Mrs. Teachum till her return. And since I
have been here, you all know as much of my history as I do

As Miss Jenny spoke these words, the bell summoned them to supper
into the presence of their governess, who having narrowly watched
their looks ever since the fray, had hitherto plainly perceived,
that though they did not dare to break out again into an open
quarrel, yet their hearts had still harboured unkind thoughts of
one another. She was surprised NOW, as she stood at a window in
the hall that overlooked the garden, to see all her scholars walk
towards her hand in hand, with such cheerful countenances, as
plainly showed their inward good humour. And as she thought
proper to mention to them her pleasure in seeing them thus
altered, Miss Jenny Peace related to her governess all that had
passed in the arbour, with their general reconciliation. Mrs.
Teachum gave Miss Jenny all the applause due to her goodness,
saying, she herself had only waited a little while, to see if
their anger would subside, and love take its place in their
bosoms, without her interfering again; for THAT she certainly
should otherwise have done, to have brought about what Miss Jenny
had so happily effected.

Miss Jenny thanked her governess for her kind approbation, and
said, that if she would give them leave, she would spend what time
she was pleased to allow them from school in this little arbour,
in reading stories, and such things as she should think a proper
and innocent amusement.

Mrs. Teachum not only gave leave, but very much approved of this
proposal; and desired Miss Jenny, as a reward for what she had
already done, to preside over these diversions, and to give her an
account in what manner they proceeded. Miss Jenny promised in all
things to be guided by good Mrs. Teachum. And now, soon after
supper, they retired to rest, free from those uneasy passions
which used to prevent their quiet; and as they had passed the day
in pleasure, at night they sunk in soft and sweet repose.



Early in the morning, as soon as Miss Jenny arose, all her
companions flocked round her; for they now looked on her as the
best friend they had in the world; and they agreed, when they came
out of school, to adjourn into their arbour, and divert themselves
till dinner-time; which they accordingly did. When Miss Jenny
proposed, if it was agreeable to them to hear it, to read them a
story which she had put in her pocket for that purpose; and as
they now began to look upon her as the most proper person to
direct them in their amusements, they all replied, What was most
agreeable to her would please them best. She then began to read
the following story, with which we shall open their first day's


A great many hundred years ago, the mountains of Wales were
inhabited by two giants; one of whom was the terror of all his
neighbours and the plague of the whole country. He greatly
exceeded the size of any giant recorded in history; and his eyes
looked so fierce and terrible, that they frightened all who were
so unhappy as to behold them.

The name of this enormous wretch was Barbarico. A name which
filled all who heard it with fear and astonishment. The whole
delight of this monster's life was in acts of inhumanity and
mischief; and he was the most miserable as well as the most wicked
creature that ever yet was born. He had no sooner committed one
outrage, but he was in agonies till he could commit another; never
satisfied, unless he could find an opportunity of either torturing
or devouring some innocent creature. And whenever he happened to
be disappointed in any of his malicious purposes, he would stretch
his immense bulk on the top of some high mountain, and groan, and
beat the earth, and bellow with such a hollow voice, that the
whole country heard and trembled at the sound.

The other giant, whose name was Benefico, was not so tall and
bulky as the hideous Barbarico. He was handsome, well
proportioned, and of a very good-natured turn of mind. His
delight was no less in acts of goodness and benevolence than the
other's was in cruelty and mischief. His constant care was to
endeavour if possible to repair the injuries committed by this
horrid tyrant, which he had sometimes an opportunity of doing; for
though Barbarico was much larger and stronger than Benefico, yet
his coward mind was afraid to engage with him, and always shunned
a meeting; leaving the pursuit of any prey, if he himself was
pursued by Benefico: nor could the good Benefico trust farther to
this coward spirit of his base adversary, than only to make the
horrid creature fly; for he well knew that a close engagement
might make him desperate; and fatal to himself might be the
consequence of such a brutal desperation; therefore he prudently
declined any attempt to destroy this cruel monster, till he should
gain some sure advantage over him.

It happened on a certain day, that as the inhuman Barbarico was
prowling along the side of a craggy mountain overgrown with
brambles and briery thickets, taking most horrid strides, rolling
his ghastly eyes around in quest of human blood, and having his
breast tortured with inward rage and grief, that he had been so
unhappy as to live one whole day without some act of violence, he
beheld, in a pleasant valley at a distance, a little rivulet
winding its gentle course through rows of willows mixed with
flowery shrubs. Hither the giant hasted; and being arrived, he
gazed about to see if in this sweet retirement any were so unhappy
as to fall within his power; but finding none, the disappointment
set him in a flame of rage, which, burning like an inward furnace,
parched his throat. And now he laid him down on the bank, to try
if in the cool stream, that murmured as it flowed, he could
assuage or slack the fiery thirst that burnt within him.

He bent him down to drink; and at the same time casting his
baleful eyes towards the opposite side, he discovered within a
little natural arbour formed by the branches of a spreading tree,
within the meadow's flowery lawn, the shepherd Fidus and his loved

The gloomy tyrant no sooner perceived this happy pair, than his
heart exulted with joy; and, suddenly leaping up on the ground, he
forgot his thirst, and left the stream untasted. He stood for a
short space to view them in their sweet retirement; and was soon
convinced that, in the innocent enjoyment of reciprocal affection,
their happiness was complete. His eyes, inflamed with envy to
behold such bliss, darted a fearful glare; and his breast swelling
with malice and envenomed rage, he with gigantic pace approached
their peaceful seat.

The happy Fidus was at that time busy in entertaining his loved
Amata with a song which he had that very morning composed in
praise of constancy; and the giant was now within one stride of
them, when Amata, perceiving him, cried out in a trembling voice,
'Fly, Fidus, fly, or we are lost for ever; we are pursued by the
hateful Barbarico!' She had scarce uttered these words, when the
savage tyrant seized them by the waist n either hand, and holding
up to his nearer view, thus said: 'Speak, miscreants; and, if you
would avoid immediate death, tell me who you are, and whence
arises that tranquility of mind, which even at a distance was
visible in your behaviour.'

Poor Fidus, with looks that would have melted the hardest heart,
innocently replied, that they were wandering that way without
designing offence to any creature on earth. That they were
faithful lovers; and, with the consent of all their friends and
relations, were soon to be married; therefore he entreated him not
to part them.

The giant now no sooner perceived, from the last words of the
affrighted youth, what was most likely to give them the greatest
torment, than with a spiteful grin which made his horrible face
yet more horrible, and in a hollow voice, as loud as thunder, he
tauntingly cried out, 'Ho-hoh! You'd not be parted, would you?
For once I'll gratify thy will, and thou shalt follow this thy
whimpering fondling down my capatious maw.' So saying, he turned
his ghastly visage on the trembling Amata who, being now no longer
able to support herself under his cruel threats, fainted away, and
remained in his hand but as a lifeless corpse. When lifting up
his eyes towards the hill on the opposite side, he beheld Benefico
coming hastily towards him. This good giant having been that
morning informed that Barbarico was roaming in the mountains after
prey, left his peaceful castle, in hopes of giving protection to
whatever unfortunate creature should fall into the clutches of
this so cruel a monster.

Barbarico, at the sight of the friendly Benefico, started with
fear; for although in bulk and stature he was, as we have said,
the superior: yet that cowardice, which ever accompanies
wickedness, now wrought in him in such a manner that he could not
bear to confront him, well knowing the courage and fortitude that
always attend the good and virtuous; and therefore instantly
putting Fidus into the wallet that hung over his shoulder, he
flung the fainting Amata, whom he took to be quite expired, into
the stream that ran hard by, and fled to his cave, not daring once
to cast his eyes behind him.

The good Benefico perceiving the monster's flight, and not
doubting but he had been perpetrating some horrid mischief,
immediately hastened to the brook; where he found the
half-expiring Amata floating down the stream, for her clothes had
yet borne her up on the surface of the water. He speedily stepped
in,and drew her out, and taking her in his arms, pressed her to
his warm bosom; and in a short space perceiving in her face the
visible marks of returning life, his heart swelled with kind
compassion, and he thus bespoke the tender maid: 'Unhappy damsel,
lift up thy gentle eyes, and tell me by what hard fate thou hast
fallen into the power of that barbarous monster, whose savage
nature delights in nothing but ruin and desolation. Tremble not
thus, but without fear or terror behold one who joys in the
thought of having saved thee from destruction, and will bring thee
every comfort his utmost power can procure.'

The gentle Amata was now just enough recovered to open her eyes:
but finding herself in a giant's arms, and still retaining in her
mind the frightful image of the horrid Barbarico, she fetched a
deep sigh, crying out in broken accents, 'Fly, Fidus, fly;' and
again sunk down upon the friendly giant's breast. On hearing
these words, and plainly seeing by the anguish of her mind that
some settled grief was deeply rooted at her heart, and therefore
despairing to bring her to herself immediately, the kind Benefico
hastened with her to his hospitable castle; where every imaginable
assistance was administered to her relief, in order to recover her
lost sense, and to reconcile her to her wretched fate.

The cruel Barbarico was no sooner arrived at his gloomy cave, than
he called to him his little page; who, trembling to hear the
tyrant now again returned, quickly drew near to attend his stern
commands: when drawing out of the wallet the poor Fidus, more
dead than alive, the monster cried out, 'Here, caitiff, take in
charge this smoothed-faced miscreant; and, d'ye hear me? see that
his allowance be no more than one small ounce of mouldy bread and
half a pint of standing water, for each day's support, till his
now blooming skin be withered, his flesh be wasted from his bones,
and he dwindle to a meagre skeleton.' So saying he left them, as
he hoped, to bewail each other's sad condition. But the unhappy
Fidus, bereft of his Amata, was not to be appalled by any of the
most horrid threats; for now his only comfort was the hopes of a
speedy end to his miserable life, and to find a refuge from his
misfortunes in the peaceful grave. With this reflection the
faithful Fidus was endeavouring to calm the inward troubles of his
mind, when the little page, with looks of the most tender
compassion, and in gentle words, bid him be comforted, and with
patience endure his present affliction; adding that he himself had
long suffered the most rigorous fate, yet despaired not but that
one day would give them an opportunity to free themselves from the
wicked wretch, whose sole delight was in others' torments. 'As to
his inhuman commands,' continued he, 'I will sooner die than obey
them; and in a mutual friendship perhaps we may find some
consolation, even in this dismal cave.'

This little page the cruel Barbarico had stolen from his parents
at five years old; ever since which time he had tortured and
abused him, till he had now attained the age of one-and-twenty.
His mother had given him the name of Mignon; by which name the
monster always called him, as it gratified his insolence to make
use of that fond appellation whilst he was abusing him, only when
he said Mignon he would in derision add the word Dwarf; for, to
say the truth, Mignon was one of the least men that was ever seen,
though at the same time one of the prettiest: his limbs, though
small, were exactly proportioned; his countenance was at once
sprightly and soft; and whatever his head thought, or his heart
felt, his eyes by their looks expressed; and his temper was as
sweet as his person was amiable. Such was the gentle creature
Barbarico chose to torment. For wicked giants, no less than
wicked men and women, are constantly tormented at the appearance
of those perfections in another, to which they themselves have no

The friendship and affection of Fidus and Mignon now every day
increased; and the longer they were acquainted, the mere delight
they took in each other's company. The faithful Fidus related to
his companion the story of his loved Amata, whilst the tender
Mignon consoled his friend's inward sorrows, and supplied him with
necessaries, notwithstanding the venture he run of the cruel
tyrant's heavy displeasure. The giant ceased not every day to
view the hapless Fidus, to see if the cruelty of his intentions
had in any degree wrought its desired effect; but perceiving in
him no alteration, he now began to be suspicious that the little
Mignon had not punctually obeyed his savage command. In order
therefore to satisfy his wicked curiosity, he resolved within
himself narrowly to watch every occasion these poor unhappy
captives had of conversing with each other. Mignon, well knowing
the implacable and revengeful disposition of this barbarous
tyrant, had taken all the precautions imaginable to avoid
discovery; and therefore generally sought every opportunity of
being alone with Fidus, and carrying him his daily provisions at
those hours he knew the giant was most likely to be asleep.

It so befell that, on a certain day, the wicked giant had, as was
his usual custom, been abroad for many hours in search of some
unhappy creature on whom to glut his hateful inhumanity; when,
tired with fruitless roaming, he returned to his gloomy cave,
beguiled of all his horrid purposes; for he had not once that day
espied so much as the track of man, or other harmless animal, to
give him hopes even to gratify his rage or cruelty; but now raving
with inward torment and despair, he laid him down upon his iron
couch, to try if he could close his eyes and quiet the tumultuous
passions of his breast. He tossed and tumbled and could get no
rest, starting with fearful dreams, and horrid visions of
tormenting furies.

Meanwhile the gentle Mignon had prepared a little delicate repast,
and having seen the monster lay himself at length, and thinking
now that a fit occasion offered in which to comfort and refresh
his long-expecting friend, was hastening with it to the cell where
the faithful Fidus was confined. At the fatal moment the giant,
rearing himself up on his couch, perceived the little Mignon just
at the entrance of the cell; when calling to him in a hollow
voice, that dismally resounded through the cave, he so startled
the poor unhappy page, that he dropped the cover from his
trembling hand and stood fixed and motionless as a statue.

'Come hither, Mignon, caitiff, dwarf,' said then the taunting
homicide: but the poor little creature was so thunderstruck he
was quite unable to stir one foot. Whereat the giant, rousing
himself from off his couch, with one huge stride reached out his
brawny arm, and seized him by the waist; and, pointing to the
scattered delicates, cried out, 'Vile miscreant! is it thus thou
hast obeyed my orders? Is this the mouldy bread and muddy water,
with which alone it was my command thou shouldst sustain that puny
mortal? But I'll--' Here raising him aloft, he was about to dash
him to the ground, when suddenly revolving in his wicked thoughts,
that if at once he should destroy his patient slave, his cruelty
to him must also have an end, he paused--and then recovering, he
stretched out his arm, and bringing the little trembler near his
glaring eyes, he thus subjoins: 'No; I'll not destroy thy
wretched life; but thou shalt waste thy weary days in a dark
dungeon, as far remote from the least dawn of light as from thy
loved companion. And I myself will carefully supply you both so
equally with mouldy bread and water, that each by his own
sufferings shall daily know what his dear friend endures.' So
saying, he hastened with him to his deepest dungeon; and having
thrust him in, he doubly barred the iron door. And now again
retiring to his couch, this new-wrought mischief, which greatly
gratified his raging mind, soon sunk him down into a sound and
heavy sleep. The reason this horrid monster had not long ago
devoured his little captive (for he thought him a delicious
morsel) was, that he might never want an object at hand to gratify
his cruelty. For though extremely great was his voracious hunger,
yet greater still was his desire of tormenting; and oftentimes
when he had teased, beat, and tortured the poor gentle Mignon, so
as to force from him tears, and sometimes a soft complaint, he
would, with a malicious sneer, scornfully reproach him in the
following words: 'Little does it avail to whine, to blubber, or
complain; for, remember, abject wretch,

I am a giant, and I can eat thee:
Thou art a dwarf, and thou canst not eat me.'

When Mignon was thus alone, he threw himself on the cold ground,
bemoaning his unhappy fate. However, he soon recollected that
patience and resignation were his only succour in this distressful
condition; not doubting but that, as goodness cannot always
suffer, he should in time meet with some unforeseen deliverance
from the savage power of the inhuman Barbarico.

Whilst the gentle Mignon was endeavouring to comfort himself in
his dungeon with these good reflections, he suddenly perceived, at
a little distance from him, a small glimmering light. Immediately
he rose from the ground, and going towards it, found that it shone
through a little door that had been left at jar, which led him to
a spacious hall, wherein the giant hoarded his immense treasures.
Mignon was at first dazzled with the lustre of so much gold and
silver, and sparkling jewels as were there heaped together. But
casting his eyes on a statue that was placed in the middle of the
room, he read on the pedestal, written in very small letters, the
following verses:

Wouldst thou from the rage be free
Of the tyrant's tyranny,
Loose the fillet which is bound
Twice three times my brows around;
Bolts and bars shall open fly,
By a magic sympathy.
Take him in his sleeping hour;
Bind his neck and break his pow'r.
Patience bids, make no delay:
Haste to bind him, haste away.

Mignon's little heart now leapt for joy, that he had found the
means of such a speedy deliverance; and eagerly climbing up the
statue, he quickly unbound the magic fillet; which was no sooner
done, but suddenly the bolts and bars of the brazen gates through
which the giant used to pass to this his treasury, were all
unloosed, and the folding-doors of their own accord flew open,
grating harsh thunder on their massy hinges. At the same instant,
stretched on his iron couch in the room adjoining to the hall, the
giant gave a deadly groan. Here again the little Mignon's
trembling heart began to fail; for he feared the monster was
awakened by the noise, and that he should now suffer the cruellest
torments his wicked malice could invent. Wherefore for a short
space he remained clinging round the statue, till he perceived
that all again was hushed and silent; when, getting down, he
gently stole into the giant's chamber, where he found him still in
a profound sleep.

But here, to the great mortification of Miss Jenny's attentive
hearers, the hour of entertaining themselves being at an end, they
were obliged to leave the poor little Mignon in the greatest
distress and fright lest the giant should awake before he could
fulfil the commands of the oracle, and to wait for the remainder
of the story till another opportunity.

In the evening, as soon as school was over, the little company
again met in their arbour, and nothing could be greater than their
impatience to hear the event of Mignon's hazardous undertaking.
Miss Dolly Friendly said that if the poor little creature was
destroyed, she should not sleep that night. But they all joined
in entreating Miss Jenny to proceed; which she did in the
following manner:


Now, thought Mignon, is the lucky moment to fulfil the
instructions of the oracle. And then cautiously getting up the
side of the couch, with trembling hands he put the fillet round
the monster's neck, and tied it firmly in a threefold knot; and
again softly creeping down, he retired into a corner of the room
to wait the wished event. In a few minutes the giant waked; and
opening his enormous eyes, he glared their horrid orbs around (but
without the least motion of his head or body) and spied the little
Mignon where he lay, close shrinking to avoid his baleful sight.

The giant no sooner perceived his little page at liberty, but his
heart sorely smote him, and he began to suspect the worst that
could befall; for, recollecting that he had carelessly left open
the little door leading from the dungeon to the great hall wherein
was placed the fatal magic statue, he was now entirely convinced
that Mignon had discovered the secret charm on which his power
depended; for he already found the magic of the fillet round his
neck fully to operate, his sinews all relax, his joints all
tremble; and when he would by his own hand have tried to free
himself, his shivering limbs he found refused obedience to their
office. Thus bereft of all his strength, and well nigh
motionless, in this extremity of impotence he cast about within
himself by what sly fraud (for fraud and subtlety were now his
only refuge) he best might work upon the gentle Mignon to lend his
kind assistance to unloose him. Wherefore with guileful words and
seeming courtesy, still striving to conceal his cursed condition,
he thus bespake his little captive:

'Come hither Mignon; my pretty gentle boy, come near me. This
fillet thou has bound around my neck, to keep me from the cold,
gives me some pain. I know thy gentle nature will not let thee
see thy tender master in the least uneasiness, without affording
him thy cheerful aid and kind relief. Come hither, my dear child,
I say, and loose the knot which in thy kind concern (I thank thee
for thy care) thou hast tied so hard, it somewhat frets my neck.'

These words the insidious wretch uttered in such a low trembling
tone of voice, and with such an affectation of tenderness, that
the little page, who had never before experience from him any such
kind of dialect, and but too well knew his savage nature to
believe that anything but guile or want of power could move him to
the least friendly speech, or kind affection, began now strongly
to be persuaded that all was as he wished, and that the power of
the inhuman tyrant was at an end. He knew full well, that if the
giant had not lost the ability of rising from the couch, he should
ere now too sensibly have felt the sad effects of his malicious
resentment, and therefore boldly adventured to approach him, and
coming near the couch, and finding not the least effort in the
monster to reach him, and from thence quite satisfied of the
giant's total incapacity of doing farther mischief, he flew with
raptures to the cell where Fidus lay confined.

Poor Fidus all this time was quite disconsolate; nor could he
guess the cause why his little friend so long had kept away; one
while he thought the giant's stern commands had streightened him
of all subsistence; another while his heart misgave him for his
gentle friend, lest unawares his kind beneficence towards him had
caused him to fall a sacrifice to the tyrant's cruel resentment.
With these and many other like reflections the unhappy youth was
busied, when Mignon, suddenly unbarred the cell, flew to his
friend, and eagerly embraced him, cried out, 'Come Fidus, haste,
my dearest friend; for thou and all of us are from this moment
free. Come and behold the cruel monster, where he lies, bereft of
all his strength. I cannot stay to tell thee now the cause; but
haste, and thou shall see the dreadful tyrant stretched on his
iron couch, deprived of all his wicked power. But first let us
unbar each cell, wherein is pent some wretched captive, that we
may share a general transport for this our glad deliverance.'

The faithful Fidus, whose heart had known but little joy since he
had lost his loved Amata, now felt a dawning hope that he might
once more chance to find her, if she had survived their fatal
separation; and, without one word of answer, he followed Mignon to
the several cells, and soon released all the astonished captives.

Mignon first carried them to behold their former terror, now, to
appearance, almost a lifeless corpse; who on seeing them all
surround his couch, gave a most hideous roar, which made them
tremble, all but the gentle Mignon, who was convinced of the
impotence of his rage, and begged them to give him their
attendance in the hall; where they were no sooner assembled than
he showed them the statue, read them the oracle, and told them
every circumstance before related.

They now began to bethink themselves of what method was to be
taken to procure their entire liberty; for the influence of the
magic fillet extended only to the gates of the hall; and still
they remained imprisoned within the dismal cave; and though they
knew from the oracle, as well as from what appeared, that the
monster's power was at an end, yet still were they to seek the
means of their escape from this his horrid abode. At length
Mignon again ascended the couch to find the massy key, and spying
one end of it peep out from under the pillow, he called to Fidus,
who first stepped up to his friend's assistance; the rest by his
example quickly followed; and now, by their united force, they
dragged the ponderous key from under the monster's head; and then
descending they all went to the outer door of the cave, where,
with some difficulty, they set wide open the folding iron gates.

They now determined to dispatch a messenger to the good Benefico
with the news, which they knew would be so welcome to him and all
his guests, and with one voice agreed that Fidus should bear the
joyful tidings; and then returned to observe the monster, and to
wait the coming of Benefico. The nimble Fidus soon reached the
giant's dwelling, where, at a little distance from the castle, he
met the good Benefico with a train of happy friends, enjoying the
pleasures of the evening, and the instructive and cheerful
conversation of their kind protector. Fidus briefly told his
errand; and instantly Benefico, with all his train, joyfully
hastened to behold the wonders he had related; for now many hearts
leapt for joy, in hopes of meeting some friend of whom they had
been bereft by the cruelty of the savage Barbarico.

They were not long before they arrived at the horrid cave, where
Benefico, proceeding directly to the monster's chamber, suddenly
appeared to him at the side of his couch. Barbarico, on seeing
him, gave a hideous yell, and rolled his glaring eyes in such a
manner as expressed the height of rage and envious bitterness.

Benefico, turning to all the company present, thus spoke, 'How
shall I enough praise and admire the gentle Mignon for having put
in my power to justice on this execrable wretch, and freeing you
all from an insufferable slavery, and the whole country from their
terror?' Then reaching the monster's own sword, which hung over
his couch, his hand yet suspended over the impious tyrant, he thus
said, 'Speak, wretch, if yet the power of speech is left thee; and
with thy latest breath declare, what advantage hast thou found of
all thy wicked life?'

Barbarico well knew that too bad had been that life, to leave the
least room for hope of mercy; and therefore, instead of an answer,
he gave another hideous yell, gnashing his horrid teeth, and again
rolling his ghastly eyes on all around.

Benefico seeing him thus impenitent and sullen, lifted on high the
mighty sword, and with one blow severed his odious head from his
enormous body.

The whole assembly gave a shout for joy; and Benefico holding in
his hand the monster's yet grinning head, thus addressed his
half-astonished companions: 'See here, my friends, the proper
conclusion of a rapacious cruel life. But let us hasten from this
monster's gloomy cave; and on the top of one of our highest
mountains, fixed on a pole, will I set up this joyful spectacle,
that all the country round may know themselves at liberty to
pursue their rural business or amusements, without the dread of
any annoyance from a devouring vile tormentor. And when his
treasures, which justly all belong to the good patient Mignon, are
removed, we will shut up the mouth of this abominable dwelling;
and, casting on the door a heap of earth, we'll hope, in time,
that both place and remembrance of this cruel savage may in time
be lost.'

Every one readily cried out, that to Benefico, the good Benefico,
alone belonged the tyrant's treasures; that Benefico should ever
be, as heretofore, their governor, their father, and their kind

The beneficent heart of the good giant was quite melted with this
their kind confidence and dependence upon him, and assured them,
he should ever regard them as his children: and now, exulting in
the general joy that must attend the destruction of this savage
monster, when the whole country should find themselves freed from
the terror his rapine and desolation, he sent before to his
castle, to give intelligence to all within that happy place of the
grim monster's fall, and little Mignon's triumph; giving in charge
to the harbinger of these tidings, that it should be his first and
chiefest care to glad the gentle bosom of a fair disconsolate (who
kept herself retired and pent up within her own apartment) with
the knowledge that the inhuman monster was no more; and that
henceforth sweet peace and rural innocence might reign in all
their woods and groves. The hearts of all within the castle
bounded with joy, on hearing the report of the inhuman monster's
death, and the deliverance of all his captives, and with speedy
steps they hastened to meet their kind protector; nor did the
melancholy fair one, lest she should seem unthankful for the
general blessing, refuse to join the train.

It was not long after the messenger that Benefico, and those his
joyful friends, arrived: but the faithful Fidus alone, of all
this happy company, was tortured with the inward pangs of a sad
grief he could not conquer, and his fond heart remained still
captivated to a melting sorrow: nor could even the tender
friendship of the gentle Mignon quite remove, though it
alleviated, his sadness; but the thoughts of his loved lost amata
embittered every joy, and overwhelmed his generous soul with

When the company from the castle joined Benefico, he declared to
them in what manner their deliverance was effected; and, as a
general shout of joy resounded through the neighbouring mountains,
Fidus, lifting up his eyes, beheld in the midst of the multitude,
standing in a pensive posture, the fair disconsolate. Her tender
heart was at the instant overflowing in soft tears, caused by a
kind participation of their present transport, yet mixed with the
deep sad impression of a grief her bosom was full fraught with.
Her face, at first, was almost hid by her white handkerchief, with
which she wiped away the trickling drops, which falling, had
bedewed her beauteous cheeks: but as she turned her lovely face
to view the joyful conquerors, and to speak a welcome to her kind
protector, what words can speak the raptures, the astonishment,
that swelled the bosom of the faithful youth, when in this fair
disconsolate he saw his loved, his constant, his long-lost Amata!
Their delighted eyes in the same instant beheld each other, and,
breaking on each side from their astonished friends, they flew
like lightning into each other's arms.

After they had given a short account of what had passed in their
separation, Fidus presented to his loved Amata the kind, the
gentle Mignon, with lavish praises of his generous friendship, and
steady resolution, in hazarding his life by disobeying the
injunctions of the cruel tyrant. No sooner had Amata heard the
name of Mignon, but she cried out, 'Surely my happiness is now
complete, and all my sorrows, by this joyful moment, are more than
fully recompensed; for, in the kind preserver of my Fidus, I have
found my brother. My mother lost her little Mignon when he was
five years old; and pining grief, after some years vain search,
ended her wretched life.'

The generous hearts of all who were present shared the raptures of
the faithful Fidus, the lovely Amata, and gentle Mignon, on this
happy discovery; and in the warmest congratulations they expressed
their joy.

Benefico now led all the delighted company into his castle, where
freedom was publicly proclaimed; and every one was left a liberty
either to remain there with Benefico, or, loaded with wealth
sufficient for their use, to go where their attachments or
inclinations might invite them.

Fidus, Amata, and the little Mignon, hesitated not one moment to
declare their choice of staying with the generous Benefico.

The nuptials of the faithful Fidus, and his loved Amata, were
solemnized in the presence of all their friends.

Benefico passed the remainder of his days in pleasing reflections
on his well-spent life.

The treasures of the dead tyrant were turned into blessings by the
use they were now made of: little Mignon was loved and cherished
by all his companions. Peace, harmony and love reigned in every
bosom; dissension, discord, and hatred were banished from this
friendly dwelling; and that happiness, which is the natural
consequence of goodness, appeared in every cheerful countenance
throughout the castle of the good Benefico; and as heretofore
affright and terror spread itself from the monster's hateful cave,
so now from this peaceful castle was diffused tranquility and joy
through all the happy country round.

Thus ended the story of the two giants: and Miss Jenny being
tired with reading, they left the arbour for that night, and
agreed to meet there again the next day.

As soon as they had supped, Mrs. Teachum sent for Miss Jenny Peace
into her closet, and desired an exact account from her of this
their first day's amusement, that she might judge from thence how
far they might be trusted with the liberty she had given them.

Miss Jenny showed her governess the story she had read;and said,
'I hope, madam, you will not think it an improper one; for it was
given me by my mamma; and she told me, that she thought it
contained a very excellent moral.'

Mrs. Teachum, having looked it over, thus spoke: 'I have no
objection, Miss Jenny, to your reading any stories to amuse you,
provided you read them with the proper disposition of mind not to
be hurt by them. A very good moral may indeed be drawn from the
whole, and likewise from almost every part of it; and as you had
this story from your mamma, I doubt not but you are very well
qualified to make the proper remarks yourself upon the moral of it
to your companions. But here let me observe to you (which I would
have you communicate to your little friends) that giants, magic,
fairies, and all sorts of supernatural assistances in a story, are
only introduced to amuse and divert: for a giant is called so
only to express a man of great power; and the magic fillet round
the statue was intended only to show you, that by patience you
will overcome all difficulties. Therefore, by no means let the
notion of giants or magic dwell upon your minds. And you may
farther observe, that there is a different style adapted to every
sort of writing; and the various sounding epithets given to
Barbarico are proper to express the raging cruelty of his wicked
mind. But neither this high-sounding language, nor the
supernatural contrivances in this story, do I so thoroughly
approve, as to recommend them much to your reading; except, as I
said before, great care is taken to prevent your being carried
away, by these high-flown things, from that simplicity of taste
and manners which it is my chief study to inculcate.'

Here Miss Jenny looked a little confounded; and, by her down-cast
eye, showed a fear that she had incurred the disapprobation, if
not the displeasure, of her governess: upon which Mrs. Teachum
thus proceeded:

'I do not intend by this, my dear, to blame you for what you have
done; but only to instruct you how to make the best use of even
the most trifling things: and if you have any more stories of
this kind, with an equal good moral, when you are not better
employed, I shall not be against your reading them; always
remembering the cautions I have this evening been giving you.'

Miss Jenny thanked her governess for her instructions, and kind
indulgence to her, and promised to give her an exact account of
their daily amusements; and, taking leave, retired to her rest.


That Miss Jenny's meeting with her companions in the morning,
after school, she asked them how they liked the history of the
giants? They all declared they thought it a very pretty diverting
story. Miss Jenny replied, though she was glad they were pleased,
yet she would have them look farther than the present amusement:
'for,' continued she, 'my mamma always taught me to understand what
I read; otherwise, she said, it was to no manner of purpose to read
ever so many books, which would only stuff my brain, without being
any improvement to my mind.'

The misses all agreed, that certainly it was of no use to read,
without understanding what they read; and began to talk of the
story of the giants, to prove they could make just remarks on it.

Miss Sukey Jennett said, 'I am most pleased with that part of the
story where the good Benefico cuts off the monster's head, and
puts an end to his cruelty, especially as he was so sullen he
would not confess his wickedness; because, you know, Miss Jenny,
if he had had sense enough to have owned his error, and have
followed the example of the good giant, he might have been happy.'

Miss Lucy Sly delivered the following opinion: 'My greatest joy
was whilst Mignon was tying the magic fillet round the monster's
neck, and conquering him.'

'Now I (said Miss Dolly Friendly) am most pleased with that part
of the story, were Fidus and Amata meet the reward of their
constancy and love, when they find each other after all their

Miss Polly Suckling said, with some eagerness, 'My greatest joy
was in the description of Mignon; and to think that it should be
in the power of that little creature to conquer such a great

Miss Patty Lockit, Miss Nanny Spruce, Miss Betty Ford, and Miss
Henny Fret, advanced no new opinions; but agreed some to one, and
some to another, of those that were already advanced. And as
every one was eager to maintain her own opinion, an argument
followed, the particulars of which I could never learn: only thus
much I know, that it was concluded by Miss Lucy Sly, saying, with
an air and tone of voice that implied more anger than had been
heard since the reconciliation, that she was sure Miss Polly
Suckling only liked that part about Mignon, because she was the
least in the school; and Mignon being such a little creature, put
her in mind of herself.

Miss Jenny Peace now began to be frighted, lest this contention
should raise another quarrel; and therefore begged to be heard
before they went any farther. They were not yet angry enough to
refuse hearing what she had to say: and then Miss Jenny desired
them to consider the moral of the story, and what use they might
make of it, instead of contending which was the prettiest part:
'For otherwise,' continued she, 'I have lost my breath in reading
to you; and you will be worse, rather than better, for what you
have heard. Pray observe, that Benefico's happiness arose entirely
from his goodness: he had less strength, and less riches, than
the cruel monster; and yet, by the good use he made of what he
possessed, you see how he turned all things to his advantage. But
particularly remember, that the good little Mignon, in the moment
that he was patiently submitting to his sufferings, found a method
of relieving himself from them, and of overcoming a barbarous
monster, who had so cruelly abused him.

'Our good governess last night not only instructed me in this
moral I am now communicating to you, but likewise bid me warn you
by no means to let the notion of giants or magic to dwell upon
your minds; for by a giant is meant no more than a man of great
power; and the magic fillet round the head of the statue was only
intended to teach you, that by the assistance of patience you may
overcome all difficulties.

'In order therefore to make what you read of any use to you, you
must not only think of it thus in general, but make the
application to yourselves. For when (as now) instead of improving
yourselves by reading, you make what you read a subject to quarrel
about, what is this less than being like the monster Barbarico,
who turned his very riches to a curse? I am sure it is not
following the example of Benefico, who made everything a blessing
to him. Remember, if you pinch and abuse a dog or cat, because it
is in your power, you are like the cruel Monster, when he abused
the little Mignon, and said,

I am a giant, and I can eat thee;
Thou art a dwarf, and thou canst not eat me.

'In short, if you will reap any benefit from this story towards
rendering you happy, whenever you have any power, you must follow
the example of the giant Benefico, and do good with it: and when
you are under any sufferings, like Mignon, you must patiently
endure them till you can find a remedy: then, in one case, like
Benefico, you will enjoy what you possess; and, in the other, you
will in time, like Mignon, overcome your sufferings: for the
natural consequence of indulging cruelty and revenge in the mind,
even where there is the highest power to gratify it, is misery.'

Here Miss Sukey Jennet interrupted Miss Jenny, saying, that she
herself had experienced the truth of that observation in the
former part of her life: for she never had known either peace or
pleasure, till she had conquered in her mind the desire of hurting
and being revenged on those who she thought did not by their
behaviour show the same regard for her, that her own good opinion
of herself made her think she deserved. Miss Jenny then asked
her, if she was willing to lead the way to the rest of her
companions, by telling her past life? She answered, she would do
it with all her heart; and, by having so many and great faults to
confess, she hoped she should, by her true confessions, set them
an example of honesty and ingenuity.


Miss Sukey Jennett, who was next in years to Miss Jenny Peace, was
not quite twelve years old; but so very tall of her age, that she
was within a trifle as tall as Miss Jenny Peace; and, by growing so
fast, was much thinner: and though she was not really so well
made, yet, from an assured air in her manner of carrying herself,
she was called much the genteelest girl. There was, on first view,
a great resemblance in their persons. Her face was very handsome,
and her complexion extremely good; but a little more inclined to
pale than Miss Jenny's. Her eyes were a degree darker, and had a
life and fire in them which was very beautiful: but yet her
impatience on the least contradiction often brought a fierceness
into her eyes, and gave such a discomposure to her whole
countenance, as immediately took off your admiration. But her
eyes had now, since her hearty reconciliation with her companions,
lost a great part of their fierceness; and with great mildness,
and an obliging manner, she told her story as follows:


'My mamma died when I was so young that I cannot remember her; and
my papa marrying again within half a year after her death, I was
chiefly left to the care of an old servant, that had lived many
years in the family. I was a great favourite of hers, and in
everything had my own way. When I was but four years old, if ever
anything crossed me, I was taught to beat it, and be revenged of
it, even though it could not feel. If I fell down and hurt
myself, the very ground was to be beat for hurting the sweet
child: so that, instead of fearing to fall, I did not dislike it;
for I was pleased to find, that I was of such consequence, that
everything was to take care that I came by no harm.

'I had a little playfellow, in a child of one of my papa's
servants, who was to be entirely under my command. This girl I
used to abuse and beat, whenever I was out of humour; and when I
had abused her, if she dared to grumble, or make the least
complaint, I thought it the greatest impudence in the world; and,
instead of mending my behaviour to her, I grew very angry that she
should dare to dispute my power: for my governess always told
her, that she was but a servant's girl, and I was a gentleman's
daughter; and that therefore she ought to give way to me; for that
I did her great honour in playing with her. Thus I thought the
distance between us was so great, that I never considered that she
could feel: but whilst I myself suffered nothing, I fancied
everything was very right; and it never once came into my head,
that I could be in the wrong.

'This life I led till I came to school, when I was eleven years
old. Here I had nobody in my power; for all my schoolfellows
thought themselves my equals: so that I could only quarrel,
fight, and contend for everything: but being liable to be
punished, when I was trying to be revenged on any of my enemies,
as I thought them, I never had a moment's ease or pleasure, till
Miss Jenny was so good to take the pains to convince me of my
folly, and made me be reconciled to you, my dear companions.'

Here Miss Sukey ceased; and Miss Jenny smiled with pleasure, at
the thoughts that she had been the cause of her happiness.

Mrs. Teachum being now come into the arbour, to see in what manner
her little scholars passed their time, they all rose up and do her
reverence. Miss Jenny gave her an account how they had been
employed; and she was much pleased with their innocent and useful
entertainment; but especially with the method they had found out
of relating their past lives. She took little Polly Suckling by
the hand, and bidding the rest follow, it being now dinner time,
she walked towards the house, attended by the whole company.

Mrs. Teachum had a great inclination to hear the history of the
lives of all her little scholars: but she thought, that being
present at those relations might be a balk to the narration, as
perhaps they might be ashamed freely to confess their past faults
before her; and therefore, that she might not be any bar in this
case to the freedom of their speech, and yet might be acquainted
with their stories (though this was not merely a vain curiosity,
but a desire by this means to know their different dispositions),
she called Miss Jenny Peace to her parlour after dinner, and told
her, she would have her get the lives of her companions in
writing, and bring them to her; and Miss Jenny readily promised to
obey her commands.

In the evening our little company again met in their charming
arbour; where they were no sooner seated, with that calmness and
content which now always attended them, than the cries and sobs of
a child, at a little distance from their garden, disturbed their

Miss Jenny, ever ready to relieve the distressed, ran immediately
to the place whence the sound seemed to come, and was followed by
all her companions: when, at a small distance from Mrs. Teachum's
garden-wall, over which from the terrace our young company looked,
they saw, under a large spreading tree, part of the branches of
which shaded a seat at the end of that terrace, a middle-aged
woman beating a little girl, who looked to be about eight years
old, so severely, that it was no wonder her cries had reached
their arbour.

Miss Jenny could not forbear calling out to the woman, and begging
her to forbear: and little Polly Suckling cried as much as the
girl, and desired she might not be beat any more. The woman, in
respect to them, let the child go; but said, 'Indeed, young
ladies, you don't know what a naughty girl she is: for though you
now see me correct her in this manner, yet am I in all respects
very kind to her, and never strike her but for lying. I have
tried all means, good and bad, to break her of this vile fault;
but hitherto all I have done has been in vain: nor can I ever get
one word of truth out of her mouth. But I am resolved to break
her of this horrid custom, or I cannot live with her: for though
I am but poor, yet I will breed up my child to be honest, both in
word and deed.'

Miss Jenny could not but approve of what the poor woman said.
However, they all joined in begging forgiveness for the girl this
time, provided she promised amendment for the future: and then
our little society returned to their arbour.

Miss Jenny could not help expressing her great detestation of all
lying whatsoever; when Miss Dolly Friendly, colouring, confessed
she had often been guilty of this fault, though she never scarcely
did it but for her friend.

Here Miss Jenny, interrupting her, said, that even that was no
sort of excuse for lying; besides that the habit of it on any
occasion, even with the appearance of a good intention, would but
too likely lead to the use of it on many others: and as she did
not doubt, by Miss Dolly's blushing, that she was now very
sensible of the truth of what she had just been saying, she hoped
she would take this opportunity of obliging them with the history
of her past life: which request she made no hesitation to grant,
saying, the shame of her past faults should by o means induce her
to conceal them.


Miss Dolly Friendly was just turned of eleven years of age. Her
person was neither plain nor handsome: and though she had not
what is properly called one fine feature in her face, yet the
disposition of them were so suitable to each other, that her
countenance was rather agreeable than otherwise. She had
generally something very quiet, or rather indolent, in her look,
except when she was moved by anger; which seldom happened, but in
defense of some favourite or friend; and she had then a fierceness
and eagerness which altered her whole countenance: for she could
not bear the least reflection or insult on those she loved. This
disposition made her always eager to comply with her friends'
requests; and she immediately began, as follows:


'I was bred up, till I was nine years of age, with a sister, who
was one year younger than myself. The chief care of our parents
was to make us love each other; and, as I was naturally inclined
to have very strong affections, I became so fond of my sister
Molly, which was her name, that all my delight was to please her;
and this I carried to such a height, that I scrupled no lies to
excuse her faults: and whatever she did, I justified, and thought
right, only because she did it.

'I was ready to fight her quarrels, whether right or wrong; and
hated everybody that offended her. My parents winked at whatever
I did in defence of my sister; and I had no notion that any thing
done for her could be unreasonable. In short, I made it my study
to oblige and please her, till I found at last it was out of my
power; for she grew so very humoursome, that she could not find
out what she had most mind to have; and I found her always
miserable; for she would cry only because she did not know her own

'She never minded what faults she committed, because she knew I
would excuse her; and she was forgiven in consideration of our
friendship, which gave our parents great pleasure.

'My poor little sister grew very sickly, and she died just before
I came to school: but the same disposition still continued; and
it was my friend's outcries of being hurt, that drew me into that
odious quarrel, that we have all now repented.'

Here Miss Dolly Friendly ceased; and Miss Jenny said, she hoped
Miss Dolly would remember, for the rest of her life, what HER good
mamma had always taught her; namely, that it was not the office of
friendship, to justify or excuse our friend when in the wrong; for
that was the way to prevent their ever being in the right: that
it was rather hatred, or contempt, than love, when the fear of
another's anger made us forego their good, for the sake of our own
present pleasure; and that the friends who expected such flattery
were not worth keeping.

The bell again summoned our little company to supper: but, before
they went in, Miss Dolly Friendly said, if Miss Jenny approved of
it, she would the next morning read them a story given her by an
uncle of hers, that, she said, she was sure would please her, as
its subject was friendship. Miss Jenny replied, that she was
certain it would be a great pleasure to them all, to hear any
story Miss Dolly thought proper to read them.


As soon as school was over in the morning, our little company were
impatient to go into the arbour, to hear Miss Dolly's story: but
Mrs. Teachum told them they must be otherwise employed; for their
writing-master, who lived some miles off; and who was expected in
the afternoon, was just then come in, and begged that they would
give him their attendance, though out of school-time; because he
was obliged to be at home again before the afternoon, to meet a
person who would confer some favour on him, and would be highly
disobliged should he not keep his appointment: 'And I know (said
Mrs. Teachum) my little dears, you would rather lose your own
amusement, than let any one suffer a real inconvenience on your
accounts.' They all readily complied, and cheerfully set to their
writing; and in the afternoon Mrs. Teachum permitted them to leave
off work an hour sooner than usual, as a reward for their
readiness to lose their amusement in the morning: and being met
in their arbour, Miss Dolly read as follows:


Caelia and Chloe were both left orphans, at the tender age of six
years. Amanda their aunt, who was very rich, and a maiden, took
them directly under her care, and bred them up as her own
children. Caelia's mother was Amanda's sister; and Chloe's father
was her brother; so that she was equally related to both.

They were left entirely unprovided for; were both born on the same
day; and both lost their mothers on the day of their birth: their
fathers were soldiers of fortune; and both killed in one day, in
the fame engagement. But their fortunes were not more similar
than their persons and dispositions. They were both extremely
handsome; and in their Childhood were so remarkable for liveliness
of parts, and sweetness of temper, that they were the admiration
of the whole country where they lived.

Their aunt loved them with a sincere and equal affection, and took
the greatest pleasure imaginable in their education, and
particularly to encourage that love and friendship which she with
pleasure perceived between them. Amanda being (as was said) very
rich, and having no other relations, it was supposed that these
her nieces would be very great fortunes; and as soon as they
became women, they were addressed by all the men of fortune and no
fortune round the neighbourhood. But as the love of admiration,
and a desire of a large train of admirers, had no place in their
minds, they soon dismissed, in the most civil and obliging manner,
one after another, all these lovers.

The refusing such numbers of men, and some such as by the world
were called good offers, soon got them the name of jilts; and by
that means they were freed from any farther importunity, and for
some years enjoyed that peace and quiet they had long wished.
Their aunt, from being their mother and their guardian, was now
become their friend. For, as she endeavoured not in the least to
force their inclinations, they never kept anything concealed from
her; and every action of their lives was still guided by her
advice and approbation.

They lived on in this way, perfectly happy in their own little
community, till they were about two-and-twenty years old when
there happened to be a regiment quartered in the neighbouring
town, to which their house was nearly situated; and the
lieutenant-colonel, a man about four-and-thirty years old, hearing
their names, had a great desire to see them. For when he was a
boy of sixteen, he was put into the Army under the care of Chloe's
father, who treated him with the greatest tenderness; and (in that
fatal engagement in which he lost his life) received his death's
wound by endeavouring to save him from being taken by the enemy.
And gratitude to the memory of so good a friend was as great an
inducement to make him desire to see his daughter, as the report
he had heard both of hers and her cousin's great beauty.

Sempronius (for so this Colonel was called) was a very sensible,
well-bred, agreeable man; and from the circumstances of his former
acquaintance, and his present proper and polite behaviour, he soon
became very intimate in the family. The old lady was particularly
pleased with him; and secretly wished, that before she died she
might be so happy as to see one of her nieces married to
Sempronius. She could not from his behaviour see the least
particular liking to either, though he showed an equal and very
great esteem and regard for both.

He in reality liked them both extremely; and the reason of making
no declaration of love was, his being so undetermined in any
preference that was due to either. He saw plainly that he was
very agreeable to both; and with pleasure he observed, that they
made use of none of those arts which women generally do to get
away a disputed lover: and this sincere friendship which
subsisted between them raised in him the highest degree of love
and admiration. However he at last determined to make the
following trial:

He went first to Chloe, and (finding her alone) told her, that he
had the greatest liking in the world to her cousin; and had really
a mind to propose himself to her: but as he saw a very great
friendship between them, he was willing to ask her advice in the
matter; and conjured her to tell him sincerely, whether there was
anything in Caelia's temper (not discoverable by him) which as a
wife would make him unhappy? He told her, that, if she knew any
such thing, it would be no treachery, but rather kind in her to
declare it, as it would prevent her friend's being unhappy; which
must be the consequence, in marriage, of her making him so.

Chloe could not help seeing very plainly, that if Caelia was
removed she stood the very next in Sempronius's favour. Her lover
was present--her friend was absent--and the temptation was too
strong and agreeable to be resisted. She then answered, that
since he insisted upon the truth, and had convinced her that it
was in reality acting justly and kindly by her friend, she must
confess, that Caelia was possessed (though in a very small degree)
of what she had often heard him declare most against of anything
in the world; and that was, an artfulness of temper, and some few
sparks of envy.

Chloe's confused manner of speaking, and frequent hesitation, as
unwilling to pronounce her friend's condemnation (which, as being
unused to falsehood, was really unaffected) he imputed to
tenderness and concern for Caelia; but he did not in the least
doubt, but on his application to her he should soon be convinced
of the truth of what Chloe had said.

He then went directly to the arbour at the end of the garden, and
there to his wish he found Caelia quite alone; and he addressed
her exactly in the same manner concerning her cousin, as he had
before spoke to Chloe concerning her. Caelia suddenly blushed
(from motives I leave those to find out who can put themselves in
her circumstances) and then fetched a soft sigh, from the thought
that she was hearing a man she loved declare a passion of which
she was not the object. But after some little pause, she told
him, that if Chloe had any faults, they were to her yet
undiscovered, and she really and sincerely believed her cousin
would make him extremely happy. Sempronius then said, that of all
other things, TREACHERY and ENVY were what he had the greatest
dislike to: and he asked her, if she did not think her cousin was
a little tainted with these?--Here Caelia could not help
interrupting, and assuring him, that she believed her totally free
from both. And, from his casting on her friend an aspersion which
her very soul abhorred, forgetting all rivalship, she could not
refrain from growing quite lavish in her praise. 'Suppose then
(said Sempronius) I was to say the same to your cousin concerning
my intentions towards you as I have to you concerning her, do you
think she would say as many fine things in your praise as you have
done in hers?'

Caelia answered, that she verily believed her cousin would say as
much for her as she really deserved; but whether that would be
equal to what with justice she could say of Chloe, her modesty
left her in some doubt of.

Sempronius had too much penetration not to see the real and true
difference in the behaviour of these two women, and could not help
crying out, 'O Caelia! your honest truth and goodness in every
word and look are too visible to leave me one doubt of their
reality. But, could you believe it? this friend of yours is
false. I have already put her to the trial, by declaring to her
my sincere and unalterable passion for you. When, on my
insisting, as I did to you, upon her speaking the truth, she
accused you of what nothing should now convince me you are guilty
of. I own, that hitherto my regard, esteem, and love, have been
equal to both; but now I offer to the sincere, artless, and
charming Caelia, my whole heart, love, and affection, and the
service of every minute of my future life; and from this moment I
banish from my mind the false and ungrateful Chloe.'

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