Part 3 out of 3
who was a very plain girl, to set up for a beauty, and to behave
in a manner which would render her contemptible, even if she had
that beauty her own vanity made her imagine herself possessed of.
Miss Nanny Spruce said, 'She was greatly rejoiced that she had
seen her folly; for she could very well remember when she had the
same vanity of dress and superiority of station with Lady Caroline,
though she had not, indeed, a title to support it; and in what
manner, she said, she would tell them in the story of her life.
THE DESCRIPTION OF MISS NANNY SPRUCE.
Miss Nanny Spruce was just nine years old, and was the very
reverse of Patty Lockit, in all things; for she had little limbs,
little features, and such a compactness in her form, that she was
often called the little fairy. She had the misfortune to be lame
in one of her hips; but by good management, and a briskness and
alacrity in carrying herself, it was a very small blemish to her,
and looked more like an idle childish gait, than any real defect.
THE LIFE OF MISS NANNY SPRUCE.
'My delight,' said Miss Nanny Spruce, 'ever since I can remember,
has been in dress and finery; for whenever I did as I was bid, I
was promised fine coats, ribbons, and laced caps; and when I was
stubborn and naughty, then my fine things were all to be locked
up, and I was to wear only an old stuff coat; so that I thought
the only reward I could have was to be dressed fine and the only
punishment was to be plainly dressed. By this means I delighted
so much in fine clothes, that I never thought of anything but when
I should have something new to adorn myself in; and I have sat
whole days considering what should be my next new coat; for I had
always my choice given me of the colour.
'We lived in a country parish, my papa being the only gentleman,
so that all the little girls in the parish used to take it as a
great honour to play with me. And I used to delight to show them
my fine things, and to see that they could not come at any but
very plain coats. However, as they did not pretend to have
anything equal with me, I was kind enough to them. As to those
girls whose parents were so very poor that they went in rags, I
did not suffer them to come near me.
'Whilst I was at home, I spent my time very pleasantly, as no one
pretended to be my equal; but as soon as I came to school, where
other misses were as fine as myself, and some finer, I grew very
miserable. Every new coat, every silver ribbon, that any of my
schoolfellows wore, made me unhappy. Your scarlet damask, Miss
Betty Ford, cost me a week's pain; and I lay awake, and sighed and
wept all night, because I did not dare to spoil it. I had several
plots in my head, to have dirtied it, or cut it, so as to have
made it unfit to wear; by some accident my plots were prevented;
and then I was so uneasy, I could not tell what to do with myself;
and so afraid, lest any body should suspect me of such a thing,
that I could not sleep in peace, for fear I should dream of it,
and in my sleep discover it to my bedfellow. I would not go
through the same dreads and terrors again for the world. But I am
very happy now, in having no thoughts but what my companions may
know; for since that quarrel, and Miss Jenny Peace was so good as
to show me what I'm sure I never thought of before, that is, that
the road to happiness is by conquering such foolish vanities, and
the only way to be pleased is to endeavour to please others, I
have never known what it was to be uneasy.'
As soon as Miss Nanny had finished speaking, Miss Betty Ford said,
that she heartily forgave her all her former designs upon her
scarlet coat; but, added she, Lady Fanny Delun put me no less in
mind of my former life, than Lady Caroline did you of yours; and
if Miss Jenny pleases, I will now relate it.
THE DESCRIPTION OF MISS BETTY FORD.
Miss Betty Ford was of the same age with Miss Nanny Spruce, and
much of the same height, and might be called the plainest girl in
the school; for she had nothing pleasing either in her person or
face, except an exceeding fair skin, and tolerable good black
eyes; but her face was ill-shaped and broad, her hair very red,
and all the summer she was generally very full of freckles; and
she had also a small hesitation in her speech. But without
preamble, she began her life as follows.
THE LIFE OF MISS BETTY FORD.
'My life,' said Miss Betty Ford, 'has hitherto passed very like
that of Miss Nanny Spruce, only with this difference, that as all
her thoughts were fixed on finery, my head ran on nothing but
beauty. I had an elder sister, who was, I must own, a great deal
handsomer than me; and yet, in my own mind, at that time, I did
not think so, though I was always told it was not for me to
pretend to the same things with pretty Miss Kitty (which was the
name of my sister); and in all respects she was taken so much more
notice of than I was, that I perfectly hated her, and could not
help wishing that, by some accident, her beauty might be spoiled:
whenever any visitors came to the house, their praises of her gave
me the greatest vexation; and as I had made myself believe I was a
very great beauty, I thought that it was prejudice and ill-nature
in all around me, not to view me in that light. My sister Kitty
was very good natured; and though she was thus cried up for her
beauty, and indulged most on that account, yet she never insulted
me, but did all in her power to oblige me. But I could not love
her, and sometimes would raise lies against her, which did not
signify, for she could always justify herself. I could not give
any reason for hating her, but her beauty, for she was very good;
but the better she was, I thought the worse I appeared. I could
not bear her praises without teasing and vexing myself. At last,
little Kitty died of a fever, to my great joy, though, as
everybody cried for her, I cried too for company, and because I
would not be thought ill-natured.
'After Kitty's death, I lived tolerably easy, till I came to
school. Then the same desire of beauty returned, and I hated all
the misses who were handsomer than myself, as much as I had before
hated my sister, and always took every opportunity of quarrelling
with them, till I found my own peace was concerned, in getting the
better of this disposition; and that, if I would have any content,
I must not repine at my not being so handsome as others.'
When Miss Betty Ford ceased, Miss Jenny said, 'Indeed, my dear, it
is well you had not at that time the power of the eagle in the
fable; for your poor sister might then, like the peacock, have
said in a soft voice, "You are, indeed, a great beauty; but it
lies in your beak and your talons, which make it death to me to
Miss Betty Ford rejoiced, that her power did not extend to enable
her to do mischief, before she had seen her folly. And now this
little society, in good humour and cheerfulness, attended their
kind governess's summons to supper; and then, after the evening
prayers, they retired to their peaceful slumbers.
THE EIGHTH DAY.
Early in the morning, after the public prayers which Mrs. Teachum
read every day, our little company took a walk in the garden
whilst the breakfast was preparing.
The fine weather, the prospects round them, all conspired to
increase their pleasure. They looked at one another with delight;
their minds were innocent and satisfied; and therefore every
outward object was pleasing in their sight.
Miss Jenny Peace said, she was sure they were happier than any
other society of children whatever, except where the same harmony
and love were preserved, as were kept up in their minds: 'For
(continued she) I think now, my dear companions, I can answer for
you all, that no mischievous, no malicious plots disturb the
tranquility of your thoughts; plots, which in the end, constantly
fall on the head of those who invent them, after all the pains
they cost in forming, and endeavouring to execute.'
Whilst Miss Jenny Peace was talking, Miss Dolly Friendly looked at
her very earnestly. She would not interrupt her; but the moment
she was silent, Miss Dolly said, 'My dear Miss Jenny, what is the
matter with you? your eyes are swelled, and you look as if you had
been crying. If you have any grief that you keep to yourself, you
rob us of the share we have a right to demand in all that belongs
'No, indeed (answered Miss Jenny), I have nothing that grieves me;
though, if I had, I should think it increased, rather than lessened,
by your being grieved too; but last night, after I went upstairs, I
found amongst my books the play of the Funeral, or, Grief-a-la-mode;
where the faithful and tender behaviour of a good old servant, who
had long lived in his lord's family, with many other passages in the
play (which I cannot explain, unless you knew the whole story) made
me cry, so that I could hardly stop my tears.'
'Pray, Miss Jenny, let us hear this play, that had such an effect
on you,' was the general request; and Miss Jenny readily promised,
when they met in their arbour, to read it to them.
They eagerly ran to their arbour as soon as school was over, and
Miss Jenny performed her promise, and was greatly pleased to find
such a sympathy between her companions and herself; for they were
most of them affected just in the same manner, and with the same
parts of the play, as had before affected her.
By the time they had wiped their eyes, and were rejoicing at the
turn at the end of the play, in favour of the characters with
which they were most pleased, Mrs. Teachum entered the arbour, and
inquired what they had been reading. Miss Jenny immediately told
her, adding, 'I hope, Madam, you will not think reading a play an
improper amusement for us; for I should be very sorry to be guilty
myself, or cause my companions to be guilty, of any thing that
would meet with your disapprobation.' Mrs. Teachum answered, that
she was not at all displeased with her having read a play, as she
saw by her fear of offending, that her discretion was to be
trusted to. 'Nay (continued this good woman), I like that you
should know something of all kinds of writings, where neither
morals nor manners are offended; for if you read plays, and
consider them as you ought, you will neglect and despise what is
light and useless, whilst you will imprint on your mind's every
useful lesson that is to be drawn from them. I am very well
acquainted with the play you have been reading; but that I may see
whether you give the proper attention to what you have heard, I
desire, my little girls, that one of you will give me an account
of the chief incidents in the play, and tell me the story, just as
you would do to one of your companions that had happened to have
Here they all looked upon Miss Jenny Peace, as thinking her the
most capable of doing what their governess required. But Mrs.
Teachum, reading their thoughts in their looks, said, 'I exclude
Miss Jenny in this case; for as the play was of her choosing to
read to you, I doubt not but she is thoroughly enough acquainted
with every part of it; and my design was to try the memory and
attention of some of the others.'
They all remained silent, and seemed to wait for a more particular
command, before any one would offer at the undertaking; not
through any backwardness to comply with Mrs. Teachum's request,
but each from a diffidence of herself to perform it.
Miss Jenny Peace then said, that she had observed a great
attention in them all; and she did not doubt but every one was
able to give a very good account of what they had heard. 'But, as
Miss Sukey Jennet is the eldest, I believe, madam, (continued
she), if you approve it, they will all be very ready to depute her
as their speaker.'
Each smiled at being so relieved by Miss Jenny; and Mrs. Teachum,
taking Miss Sukey Jennet by the hand, said, 'Come, my dear, throw
off all fear and reserve; imagine me one of your companions, and
tell me the story of the play you have been reading.'
Miss Sukey, thus encouraged by her kind governess, without any
hesitation, spoke in the following manner:
'If I understand your commands, madam, by telling the story of the
play, you would not have me tell you the acts and scenes as they
followed one another for that I am afraid I can hardly remember,
as I have heard it only once but I must describe the chief people
in the play, and the plots and contrivances that are carried on
Mrs. Teachum nodded her head, and Miss Sukey thus proceeded:
'There is an old Lord Brumpton, who had married a young wife, that
had lived with him some years, and by her deceitful and cunning
ways had prevailed with him to disinherit his only son Lord Hardy
(who was a very sensible good young man) and to leave him but a
shilling. And this Lord Brumpton was taken in a fit, so that all
the house thought he was dead, and his lady sent for an undertaker,
one Mr. Sable, to bury him. But coming out of his fit, when nobody
but this Mr. Sable, and an old servant, called Trusty, were by, he
was prevailed upon by the good old Trusty to feign himself still
dead (and the undertaker promises secrecy) in order to detect the
wickedness of his wife, which old Trusty assures him is very great;
and then he carries his lord where he overhears a discourse between
the widow (as she thinks herself) and her maid Tattleaid; and he
bears his once beloved wife rejoicing in his supposed death, and in
the success of her own arts to deceive him. Then there are two young
ladies, Lady Charlotte and Lady Harriet Lovely, to whom this Lord
Brumpton was guardian; and he had also left them in the care of this
wicked woman. And this young Lord Hardy was in love with Lady
Charlotte; and Mr. Camply, a very lively young gentleman, his friend,
was in love with Lady Harriet and Lady Brumpton locked the two young
ladies up, and would not let them be seen by their lovers. But
there at last they contrived, by the help of old Trusty, who had
their real guardian's consent for it, both to get away; and Lady
Harriet married Mr. Camply directly; but Lady Charlotte did not
get away so soon, and so was not married till the end of the play.
This Mr. Camply was a very generous man, and was newly come to a
large fortune; and in the beginning of the play he contrives, in a
very genteel manner, to give his friend Lord Hardy, who very much
wanted it, three hundred pounds; but he takes care to let us know,
that my lord had formerly, when he waited his assistance, been
very kind to him. And there at last, when Lady Brumpton finds out
that the two young ladies are gone, she goes away in a rage to
Lord Hardy's lodgings, and in an insulting manner she pays all due
legacies, as she calls it, that is, she gives Lord Hardy the
shilling, which, by her wicked arts, was all his father had left
him; and she was insulting the young ladies, and glorying in her
wickedness, when honest old Trusty came in, and brought in old
Lord Brumpton, whom they imagined to be dead, and all but Lady
Brumpton were greatly overjoyed to see him alive; but when he
taxed her with her falsehood, she defied him, and said that she
had got a deed of gift under his hand, which he could not revoke,
and she WOULD enjoy his fortune in spite of him. Upon which they
all looked sadly vexed, till the good old Trusty went out and came
in again, and brought in a man called Cabinet, who confessed
himself the husband to the pretended Lady Brumpton, and that he
was married to her half a year before she was married to my Lord
Brumpton; but as my lord happened to fall in love with her, they
agreed to keep their marriage concealed, in order that she should
marry my lord, and cheat him in the manner she had done; and the
reason that Cabinet came to confess all this was, that he looked
into a closet and saw my lord writing, after he thought he was
dead, and, taking it for his ghost, was by that means frightened
into this confession, which he first made in writing to old
Trusty, and therefore could not now deny it. They were all
rejoiced at this discovery, except the late pretended Lady
Brumpton, who sneaked away with Cabinet her husband; and my Lord
Brumpton embraced his son, and gave his consent, that he should
marry Lady Charlotte; and they were all pleased and happy.'
Here Miss Sukey ceased, and Mrs. Teachum told her she was a very
good girl, and had remembered a great deal of the play. 'But
(said she) in time, with using yourself to this way of repeating
what you have read, you will come to a better manner, and a more
regular method of telling your story, which you was now so intent
upon finishing, that you forgot to describe what sort of women
those two young ladies were, though, as to all the rest, you have
been particular enough.'
'Indeed, madam, (said Miss Sukey), I had forgot that, but Lady
Charlotte was a very sensible, grave young lady, and lady Harriet
was extremely gay and coquettish; but Mr. Camply tells her how
much it misbecomes her to be so and she having good sense, as well
as good nature, is convinced of her folly, and likes him so well
for his reproof, that she consents to marry him.'
Mrs. Teachum, addressing herself to them all, told them, that this
was a method she wished they would take with whatever they read;
for nothing so strongly imprinted anything on the memory as such a
repetition; and then turning to Miss Jenny Peace, she said, 'And
now, Miss Jenny, I desire you will speak freely what you think is
the chief moral to be drawn from the play you have just read.'
Miss Jenny being thus suddenly asked a question of this nature,
considered some time before she gave an answer; for she was
naturally very diffident of her own opinion in anything where she
had not been before instructed by some one she thought wiser than
herself. At last, with a modest look, and an humble voice, she
said, 'Since, madam, you have commanded me to speak my sentiments
freely, I think by what happened to each character in this play,
the author intended to prove what my good mamma first taught me,
and what you, madam, since have so strongly confirmed me in;
namely, that folly, wickedness, and misery, all three, as
constantly dwell together, as wisdom, virtue, and happiness do.'
''Tis very true (answered Mrs. Teachum); but this moral does not
arise only from the happy turn in favour of the virtuous characters
in the conclusion of the play, but is strongly inculcated, as you
see all along, in the peace of mind that attends the virtuous, even
in the midst of oppression and distress, while the event is yet
doubtful, and apparently against them; and, on the contrary, in the
confusion of mind which the vicious are tormented with, even whilst
they falsely imagine themselves triumphant.'
Mrs. Teachum then taking the book out of Miss Jenny's hands, and
turning to the passage, said, 'How does Lady Brumpton show us the
wretched condition of her own mind, when she says,
'"How miserable 'tis to have one one hates always about one! And
when one can't endure one's own reflections upon some actions, who
can bear the thoughts of another upon them?"
'Then with what perturbation of mind does she proceed, to wish it
was in her power to increase her wickedness, without making use
enough of her understanding, to see that by that means she would
but increase her own misery.
'On the other hand, what a noble figure does Lord Hardy make, when,
by this wicked woman's contrivances, he thinks himself disinherited
of his whole fortune, ill-treated, and neglected by a father, he
never had in thought offended! He could give an opportunity to a
sincere friend, who would not flatter him, to say,
'No; you are, my lord, the extraordinary man, who, on the loss of
an almost princely fortune, can be master of a temper that makes
you the envy rather than pity, of your more fortunate, not more
'This is a fine distinction between fortunate and happy; and
intimates this happiness must dwell in the mind, and depends upon
no outward accidents.
'Fortune, indeed, is a blessing, if properly used; which Camply
shows, when by that means he can assist and relieve his worthy
'With what advantage does Lady Charlotte appear over her sister,
when the latter is trifling and dancing before the glass, and the
'"If I am at first so silly as to be a little taken with myself, I
know it is a fault, and take pains to correct it."
'And on Lady Harriet's saying, very giddily, that it was too soon
for her to think at that rate, Lady Charlotte properly adds,
'"They that think it too soon to understand themselves, will very
soon find it too late."
'In how ridiculous a light does Lady Harriet appear, while she is
displaying all that foolish coquetry! And how different a figure
does she make, when she has got the better of it?
'My Lady Brumpton, when alarmed with the least noise, breaks out
into all the convulsive starts natural to conscious guilt.
'"Ha! what noise is that--that noise of fighting?--Run, I say.--
Whither are you going?--What, are you mad?--Will you leave me
alone?--Can't you stir?--What, you can't take your message with
you!--Whatever 'tis, I suppose you are not in the plot, not you--
nor that now they're breaking open my house for Charlotte--Not
you.--Go see what's the matter, I say; I have nobody I can trust.--
One minute I think this wench honest, and the next false.-- Whither
shall I turn me?"
'This is a picture of the confused, the miserable mind of a close,
malicious, cruel, designing woman, as Lady Brumpton was, and as
Lady Harriet very properly calls her.
'Honesty and faithfulness shine forth in all their lustre, in the
good old Trusty. We follow him throughout with anxious wishes for
his success, and tears of joy for his tenderness. And when he
finds that he is likely to come at the whole truth, and to save
his lord from being deceived and betrayed into unjustly ruining
his noble son, you may remember that he makes this pious
All that is ours, is to be justly bent;
And Heaven in its own time will bless th' event.
'This is the natural thought that proceeds from innocence and
goodness; and surely this state of mind is happiness.
'I have only pointed out a few passages, to show you, that though
it is the nature of comedy to end happily, and therefore the good
characters must be successful in the last act; yet the moral lies
deeper, and is to be deduced from a proof throughout this play,
that the natural consequence of vice is misery within, even in the
midst of an apparent triumph; and the natural consequence of
goodness is a calm peace of mind, even in the midst of oppression
'I have endeavoured, my little dears, to show you, as clearly as I
can, not only what moral is to be drawn from this play, but what
is to be sought for in all others; and where that moral is not to
be found, the writer will have it to answer for, that he has been
guilty of one of the worst of evils; namely, that he has clothed
vice in so beautiful a dress, that, instead of deterring, it will
allure and draw into its snares the young and tender mind. And I
am sorry to say, that too many of our dramatic performances are of
this latter cast; which is the reason, that wise and prudent
parents and governors in general discourage in very young people
the reading of plays. And though by what I have said (if it makes
a proper impression) I doubt not but you will all have a just
abhorrence of such immoral plays, instead of being pleased with
them, should they fall in your way; yet I would advise you rather
to avoid them, and never to read any but such as are approved of;
and recommended to you by those who have the care of your education.'
Here good Mrs. Teachum ceased, and left her little scholars to
reflect on what she had been saying; when Miss Jenny Peace
declared, for her part, that she could feel the truth of her
governess's observations; for she had rather be the innocent Lord
Hardy, though she was to have but that one shilling in the world
which was so insolently offered him as his father's last legacy,
than be the Lady Brumpton, even though she had possessed the
fortune she so treacherously endeavoured to obtain.
'Nay (said Miss Dolly Friendly) I had rather have been old Trusty,
with all the infirmities of age, following my Lord Hardy through
the world, had his poverty and distress been ever so great, than
have been the malicious Lady Brumpton, in the height of her
beauty, surrounded by a crowd of lovers and flatterers.'
Miss Henny Fret then declared how glad she was that she had now no
malice in her mind; though she could not always have said so, as
she would inform them in the history of her past life.
THE DESCRIPTION OF MISS HENNY FRET.
Miss Henny Fret was turned of nine years old. She was very
prettily made, and remarkably genteel. All her features were
regular. She was not very fair, and looked pale. Her upper lip
seemed rather shorter than it should be; for it was drawn up in
such a manner, as to show her upper teeth; and though this was in
some degree natural, yet it had been very much increased by her
being continually on the fret for every trifling accident that
offended her, or on every contradiction that was offered to her.
When you came to examine her face, she had not one feature but
what was pretty; yet, from that constant uneasiness which appeared
in her countenance, it gave you so little pleasure to look at her,
that she seldom had common justice done her, but had generally
hitherto passed for a little insignificant plain girl, though her
very face was so altered since she was grown good natured, and had
got the better of that foolish fretfulness she used to be
possessed of, that she appeared from her good-humoured smiles
quite a different person; and, with a mild aspect, thus began her
THE LIFE OF MISS HENNY FRET.
'I had one brother,' said Miss Henny, 'as well as Miss Jenny
Peace; but my manner of living with him was quite the reverse to
that in which she lived with her brother. All my praise or blame
was to arise from my being better or worse than my brother. If I
was guilty of any fault, it was immediately said, "Oh! fie, miss!
Master George (that was my brother's name) would not be guilty of
such a thing for the world." If he was carried abroad, and I
stayed at home, then I was bemoaned over, that poor Miss Henny was
left at home, and her brother carried abroad. And then I was
told, that I should go abroad one of these days, and my brother be
left at home so that whenever I went abroad, my greatest joy was,
that he was left at home; and I was pleased to see him come out to
the coach-door with a melancholy air that he could not go too. If
my brother happened to have any fruit given him, and was in a
peevish humour, and would not give me as much as I desired, the
servant that attended me was sure to bid me take care, when I had
anything he waited, not to give him any. So that I thought, if I
did not endeavour to be revenged of him, I should show a want of
spirit, which was of all things what I dreaded most. I had a
better memory than my brother, and whenever I learnt anything, my
comfort was to laugh at him because he could not learn so fast; by
which means I got a good deal of learning, but never minded what I
learnt, nor took any pains to keep it; so that what I was eager to
learn one day, to show George how much I knew more than he, I
forgot the next. And so I went on learning, and forgetting as
fast as I learnt; and all the pains I took served only to show
that I COULD learn.
'I was so great a favourite, that I was never denied any thing I
asked for; but I was very unhappy for the same reason that Miss
Dolly Friendly's sister was so; and I have often sat down and
cried, because I did not know what I would have, till at last I
own I grew so peevish and humoursome, that I was always on the
fret, and harboured in my mind a kind of malice that made me fancy
whatever my brother got, I lost; and in this unhappy condition I
lived, till I came to school, and here I found that other misses
wanted to have their humours as well as myself. This I could not
bear, because I had been used to have my own will, and never to
trouble myself about what others felt. For whenever I beat or
abused my brother, his pain did not make me cry; but I believe it
was thinking wrong made me guilty of these faults; for I don't
find I am ill-natured; for now I have been taught to consider that
my companions can feel as well as myself, I am sorry for their
pain, and glad when they are pleased, and would be glad to do
anything to oblige them.'
Here Miss Henny ceased, and Miss Jenny Peace then told her how
glad she was to hear that she had subdued all malice in her mind,
adding, 'These weeds, my dear, unless early plucked up, are (as I
have heard our good governess observe upon a like occasion) very
apt to take such deep root, as to choke every good seed around
them; and then who can tell whether, with the same opportunities,
they might not become Lady Brumptons before the end of their
Little Polly Suckling remembered that all the company had told the
story of their past lives, except herself; and she thought she
would not be left out; but yet she had a mind to be asked to tell
it, hoping that her companions thought her of consequence enough
not to leave her out of any scheme; therefore, addressing herself
to Miss Jenny, she said she thought it was very pleasant to hear
anybody tell the history of their own lives. Miss Jenny saw her
meaning, and answered, 'So it is, my little dear; and now, if you
please, you shall oblige us with relating the history of yours.'
Polly smiled at this request, and said she was ready to comply.
THE DESCRIPTION OF MISS POLLY SUCKLING.
Miss Polly Suckling was just turned of eight years old, but so
short of her age, that few people took her to be above five. It
was not a dwarfish shortness; for she had the most exact
proportioned limbs in the world, very small bones, and was as fat
as a little cherub. She was extremely fair, and her hair quite
flaxen. Her eyes a perfect blue, her mouth small, and her lips
quite plump and red. She had the freshness of a milkmaid; and
when she smiled and laughed, she seemed to show an hundred
agreeable dimples. She was, in short, the very picture of health
and good-humour, and was the plaything and general favorite of the
THE LIFE OF MISS POLLY SUCKLING.
'Now,' said little Polly, 'I will tell you all my whole history.
I hardly remember anything before I came to school, for I was but
five years old when I was brought hither.
'All I know is, that I don't love quarrelling, for I like better
to live in peace and quietness. But I have been always less than
any of my companions, ever since I have been here; and so I only
followed the example of the rest; and as I found they contended
about everything, I did so too. Besides, I have been always in
fear that my schoolfellows wanted to impose on me, because I was
little; and so I used to engage in every quarrel, rather than be
left out, as if I was too little to give any assistance; but,
indeed, I am very glad now we all agree, because I always came by
the worst of it. And, besides, it is a great pleasure to me to be
loved, and every Miss is kind and good to me, and ready to assist
me whenever I ask them. And this is all I know of my whole life.'
When little Polly ceased, she was kissed and applauded by the
whole company, for the agreeable simplicity of her little history.
And thus ended the eighth day's amusement.
THE NINTH DAY.
Miss Jenny rose early in the morning, and, having collected the
lives of her companions (which she had wrote down each day, as
they related them) she carried them, after morning school,
according to her promise, to her governess.
Mrs. Teachum, when she had perused them, was much pleased; and
said that she perceived, by the manner in which her scholars had
related their lives, how much they were in earnest in their design
of amendment. 'For (continued she) they have all confessed their
faults without reserve; and the untowardly bent of their minds,
which so strongly appeared before the quarrel, has not broke out
in these their little histories; but, on the contrary, they all
seem, according to their capacities, to have endeavoured at
imitating your style, in the account you gave of your own life. I
would have you continue to employ your leisure hours in the manner
you have lately done, only setting apart a proper time for
exercise; and today I will dispense with your attendance in the
school-room and indulge you this afternoon in another walk, either
to the dairy house, or to the cherry-garden, whichever you all
agree on. But as I shall not go with you myself, and shall only
find a servant to take care of you, I hope to hear from you, Miss
Jenny, so good an account of the behaviour of your little friends
and companions, that I shall have no cause to repent my indulgence.'
Miss Jenny Peace respectfully took leave of her governess, and
hastened to the arbour, where her little friends were met, in
expectation of her coming. She told them how well pleased their
governess was with them all, for the ingenuous confession of their
faults in their past lives; and she then declared Mrs. Teachum's
kind permission to them to take another walk that afternoon.
As no one had at present any story to read or relate, they
employed their time till dinner, some in walking and running about
the garden; others in looking after and tending some plant or
flower, that they had taken particularly under their care, which
Mrs. Teachum both permitted and encouraged them in, whilst Miss
Jenny Peace, Miss Sukey Jennett, and Miss Dolly Friendly, remained
in the arbour, the two latter asking a thousand questions of the
former, both concerning all the instructions she had ever learned
from her mamma, and by what means they should best be able to
preserve that friendship and happiness, which had of late
subsisted amongst them; saying, how pleased their friends and
relations would be, to see such a change in their temper and
behaviour, and how much they should be beloved by every one.
When they met at dinner, Mrs. Teachum asked them, whether they had
determined upon the choice she had given them in their afternoon's
walk; and they were all desirous of going to the dairy house; for
little Polly said, she longed to see the good-humoured old woman
again, and, indeed, she would not now say anything to her of her
shaking head, or her grey hair. Mrs. Teachum was pleased, that
little Polly so gratefully remembered the old woman, who had been
so kind to her; and readily consented to their choice, and
approved of their determination.
Being soon equipped for their walk, they set out, attended by two
maidservants; and as soon as they arrived, the good old woman
expressed the highest joy on seeing them, and told little Polly,
that she should have plenty of cream and strawberries, for her
daughter had been that day in the wood, and had brought home three
baskets of very fine ones. Mrs. Nelly, her daughter, said very
crossly, that she supposed there would be fine work amongst them,
now their governess was not with them; but 'twas her mother's way,
to let all children be as rude as they pleased. Miss Sukey
Jennett, with some indignation in her look, was going to answer
her; but Miss Jenny Peace, fearing she would say something less
mild than she wished, gave her a nod; and, turning to the young
woman, with great modesty and temper, thus said: 'You shall see,
Mrs. Nelly, that our good governess's instructions are of more
force with us, than to lose all their effect when we are out of
her presence; and I hope you will have no cause, when we go away,
to complain of the ill behaviour of any of us.'
The good old woman declared she never saw such sweet-tempered
children in all her life; and after they had eat their
strawberries and cream, and were loaded with pinks and roses by
the good woman's bounty (for they did not gather one without her
permission), they took their leave with the utmost civility, and
Miss Jenny handsomely rewarded the old woman for her good cheer.
Mrs. Nelly herself was so pleased with their regular and
inoffensive behaviour, that she could not help telling Miss Jenny,
that she, and all her companions, had, indeed, behaved as well as
if their governess had been with them: on which Miss Jenny (as
they were walking home) observed to Miss Sukey Jennett (whom she
had prevented from making any reply to Mrs. Nelly's speech how
much better it was to gain another's good will by our own
endeavours to be obliging, than to provoke them to be more cross,
by our angry answers and reproaches.
When this little company, employed in pleasing talk and lively
observations, were come within about a mile of Mrs. Teachum's
house, and within view of a nobleman's fine seat, Miss Jenny said,
that the next time their governess permitted them to walk out, she
would ask her leave, that they might go and see that fine house;
for some time ago she had told them, that they should go thither
when the family were absent. Mrs. Wilson, the housekeeper, who by
chance was walking that way, and heard what Miss Jenny said, came
up to them, and told Miss Jenny that her lord and lady were now
both absent, having set out, one for London, and the other for
another fine seat, forty miles off, that very morning; and as she
knew them to be Mrs. Teachum's well-regulated family, they should
be welcome to see the house and gardens now, if they liked it.
Miss Jenny thanked her, and said, as it was near two hours sooner
than their governess expected them home, she would accept of her
kind offer. The housekeeper led them through an avenue of tall
elm-trees into this magnificent house, in which were many spacious
apartments, furnished with the utmost grandeur and elegance. Some
of the rooms were adorned with fine pictures, others were hung
with tapestry almost as lively as those paintings, and most of the
apartments above stairs were furnished with the finest sorts of
needle-work. Our little company were struck into a sort of silent
wonder and admiration at the splendid appearance of everything
around them; nor could they find words to express the various
reflections that passed in their minds, on seeing such a variety
of dazzling gaudy things: but when they came to the needlework,
Miss Jenny could not help smiling, to see how every one seemed
most fixed in attention upon that sort of work, which she herself
was employed in, and she saw in every face a secret wish, that
their own piece of work might be finished with equal neatness and
perfection. The housekeeper was greatly pleased to see them so
much delighted, and answered all their questions concerning the
stories that were represented in the pictures and tapestry as
fully as the time would permit; but Miss Jenny, being fearful of
exceeding the hour in which they would be expected home, told them
they must not now stay any longer, but if their governess would
give them leave, and it would not be troublesome to Mrs. Wilson,
they would come another time. She answered, that it was so far
from being troublesome, that she never had more pleasure in her
life, than to see so many well-behaved young ladies, who all
seemed not only pleased with what they saw, but doubly delighted,
and happy, in seeing each other so; and for her part, she could
wish they were to stay with her all their lives; and, in short,
they should not go till they had been in her room, and eat some
sweetmeats of her own making. The good woman seemed to take so
much delight in giving them any pleasure, that Miss Jenny could
not refuse accepting her offer; and, when they were all in her
room, Polly Suckling said, 'Well, this is a most charming house; I
wish we could all live here for ever. How happy must the lord and
lady of this fine place be!'
'Indeed, my little Polly,' said Miss Jenny, 'you may be very much
mistaken; for you know our good governess has taught us, that
there is no happiness but in the content of our own minds; and
perhaps we may have more pleasure in viewing these fine things,
than the owners have in the possession of them.'
'It is very true,' said the housekeeper, 'for my lord and lady
have no delight in all this magnificence; for, by being so
accustomed to it, they walk through all these apartments, and
never so much as observe or amuse themselves with the work, the
pictures, or anything else, or if they observe them at all, it is
rather with a look that denotes a sort of weariness, at seeing the
same things continually before them, than with any kind of
pleasure.' And then, with a deep sigh, she added, 'You are,
indeed, young lady, perfectly in the right, when you say grandeur
and happiness do not always go together.' But turning off the
discourse, Mrs. Wilson forced them to take as many dried
sweetmeats as they could carry away with them, and insisted upon
their promise (with Mrs. Teachum's consent) that they should come
another time to see the gardens. They then took their leave with
many thanks, and the greatest civility; and discoursed all the way
home, on the fine things they had seen. Miss Betty Ford said,
that the fine gilding, and so many glittering looking-glasses,
made her think herself in Barbarico's great hall, where he kept
all his treasure.
'No,' says Miss Nancy Spruce, 'it was not half so much like that,
as it was like Brunetta's fine castle; and I could not help
thinking myself the Princess Hebe, and how much I should have been
pleased with such a fine place at first, just as she was.'
'Indeed,' says Miss Betty Ford, 'you are in the right of it, Miss
Nanny; for 'twas much more like the description of Brunetta's
castle, than what I said myself.'
Miss Jenny was pleased to hear Miss Betty so ready to own herself
mistaken; and said to Miss Nanny Spruce, 'I am glad, my dear, to
find that you so well remember what you read; for it is by
recalling frequently into our memories the things we have read,
that they are likely to be of any service to us.'
Being now come home, they entered into the presence of their
governess with that pleasure, and proper confidence, which ever
attends innocence and goodness; and Mrs. Teachum received them
with a pleasing smile.
Miss Jenny gave her governess a faithful account of all that had
passed, with the agreeable entertainment they had accidentally met
with, of seeing Lord X--'s fine house, and the great civility of
Mrs. Wilson, 'Which I hope, madam,' said Miss Jenny, 'I did not do
wrong in accepting.' 'You did very properly, my dear,' said Mrs.
Teachum, 'for when any person is willing to oblige you, without
any inconvenience to themselves, it is always right to accept
their offer, as you thereby gratify them, by putting it in their
power to give you pleasure.'
Miss Jenny then with great cheerfulness and freedom, told her
governess all that had paled in conversation, both in their walk
to the dairy house, and at Lord X--'s, what little Polly had said
in the housekeeper's room, as also Mrs. Wilson's answer; and said,
by Mrs. Wilson's downcast look, she was afraid that poor Lord X--
and his lady were not so happy as might be wished. 'But,'
continued she, 'I did not ask Mrs. Wilson any questions, because
you have taught me, madam, carefully to avoid the least appearance
of impertinent curiosity.'
'You was very right, my dear,' said Mrs. Teachum, 'in asking no
farther questions; nor would she, I dare say, as she is a prudent
woman, have gratified you if you had; for though the unhappy story
is too well known all over the country, yet it would have been
very unbecoming in one of the family to have published it.' Mrs.
Teachum saw in her little scholars' eyes, a secret wish of knowing
what this story was; and, after a short pause, she said, 'Since I
find you disposed, my good girls, to make the proper use of what
you hear, I will indulge your curiosity.
'Lord X-- and his lady have been married seven years; Lord X-- is
the wretchedest creature breathing, because he has no children,
and therefore no heir to his title and large estate. He was
naturally of a haughty impetuous temper, and impatient of any the
least disappointment; and this disposition not being subdued in
his youth, has led him into all sort of excesses. His lady is not
much better tempered than himself, and valuing herself highly upon
her beauty, and the large fortune she brought him, greatly resents
his sometimes insolent, and always neglectful usage of her. They
have hitherto lived on in the most jarring, disputing manner, and
took no care to conceal their quarrels from the world; but at last
they have agreed to part by consent, and the different journeys
they this morning took, I suppose, was with an intent of final
'That grandeur and happiness do not always go together (as Mrs.
Wilson observed to you) is seen by this story, which I was the
more willing to tell you, as it was a proper introduction to a
fable I have been collecting together from others, for your use.
You know that all my endeavours to make you good, are only
intended to make you happy; and if you thoroughly reflect upon the
truth of this maxim, which I so often endeavour to inculcate, you
will doubtless reap no small advantage from it.'
Here Mrs. Teachum ceased speaking, and, giving Miss Jenny Peace a
paper, she bid her read it aloud; which she did, and it contained
the following fable:
THE ASSEMBLY OF THE BIRDS.
In ancient days, there was a great contention amongst the birds,
which, from his own perfections, and peculiar advantages, had the
strongest title to happiness; and at last they agreed to refer the
decision of the debate to the eagle.
A day was appointed for their meeting; the eagle took his seat,
and the birds all attended to give in their several pleas.
First spoke the parrot. Her voice so dearly resembling human
speech, and which enabled her to converse with such a superior
race, she doubted not (she said) would have its just weight with
the eagle, and engage him to grant a decree in her favour; and to
this plea she also added, that she dwelt in a fine cage adorned
with gold, and was fed every day by the hands a fair lady.
'And pray, Mrs. Poll,' said the eagle, 'how comes it, since you
fare so sumptuously, that you are so lean and meagre, and seem
scarcely able to exert that voice you thus make your boast of?'
'Alas!' replied the parrot, 'poor Poll's lady has kept her bed
almost this week; the servants have all forgot to feed me; and I
am almost starved.' 'Pray observe,' said the eagle, 'the folly of
such pride! Had you been able to have conversed only with your
own kind, you would have fared in common with them; but it is to
this vaunted imitation of the human voice, that you owe your
confinement, and consequently (though living in a golden cage)
your dependence upon the will and memory of others, even for
common necessary food.'
Thus reproved, the parrot, with shame, hastily retired from the
Next stood forth the daw, and, having tricked himself in all the
gay feathers he could muster together, on the credit of these
borrowed ornaments, pleaded his beauty, as a title to the
preference in dispute. Immediately the birds agreed to divest the
silly counterfeit of all his borrowed plumes; and, more abashed
than the parrot, he secretly slunk away.
The peacock, proud of native beauty, now flew into the midst of
the assembly. He displayed before the sun his gorgeous tail.
'Observe (said he) how the vivid blue of the sapphire glitters in
my neck; and when thus I spread my tail, a gemmy brightness
strikes the eye from a plumage varied with a thousand glowing
colours.' At this moment, a nightingale began to chant forth his
melodious lay; at which the peacock, dropping his expanded tail,
cried out, 'Ah what avails my silent unmeaning beauty, when I am
so far excelled in voice by such a little russet-feathered wretch
as that!' And, by retiring, he gave up all claim to the
The nightingale was so delighted with having got the better of the
peacock, that he exerted his little voice, and was so lost in the
conceit of his own melody, that he did not observe a hawk, who
flew upon him, and carried him off in his claws.
The eagle then declared, 'That as the peacock's envy had taken
away all his claim, so no less had the nightingale's self-conceit
frustrated all his pretensions; for those who are so wrapped up in
their own perfections, as to mind nothing but themselves, are
forever liable to all sorts of accidents.' And, besides, it was
plain, by the exultation the nightingale expressed on his imagined
glory over the peacock, that he would have been equally dejected
on any preference given to another.
And now the owl, with an affected gravity, and whooting voice,
pleaded his well-known wisdom; and said, 'He doubted not but the
preference would be granted to him without contest, by all the
whole assembly for what was so likely to produce happiness as
The eagle declared, 'That, if his title to wisdom could be proved,
the justice of his claim should be allowed; and then asked him,
how he could convince them of the truth of what he had advanced?'
The owl answered, 'That he would willingly appeal to the whole
assembly for their decision in this point; for he was positive
nobody could deny his great superiority as to wisdom.' Being
separately asked, they most of them declared, that they knew no
one reason, either from his words or actions, to pronounce him a
wise bird; though it was true, that by an affected solemnity in
his looks, and by frequent declarations of his own, that he was
very wife, he had made some very silly birds give him that
character; but, since they were called upon to declare their
opinions, they must say, that he was ever the object of contempt
to all those birds who had any title to common understanding. The
eagle then said, 'He could by no means admit a plea, which as
plainly appeared to be counterfeit, as were the jay's borrowed
feathers.' The owl, thus disappointed, flew away, and has ever
since shunned the light of the sun, and has never appeared in the
daytime, but to be scorned and wondered at.
It would he endless to repeat all the several pleas brought by the
birds, each desiring to prove, that happiness ought to be his own
peculiar lot. But the eagle observing that the arguments made use
of to prove their point were chiefly drawn from the disadvantages
of others, rather than from any advantage of their own, told them,
'There was too much envy and malice amongst them, for him to
pronounce any of them deserving or capable of being happy; but I
wonder,' says he, 'why the dove alone is absent from this
meeting?' 'I know of one in her nest hard by,' answered the
redbreast, 'shall I go and call her?' 'No,' says the eagle,
'since she did not obey our general summons, 'tis plain she had no
ambition for a public preference; but I will take two or three
chosen friends, and we will go softly to her nest, and see in what
manner she is employing herself; for from our own observations
upon the actions of any one, we are more likely to form a judgment
of them, than by any boasts they can make.'
The eagle was obeyed, and, accompanied only by the linnet, the
lark, the lapwing, and the redbreast for his guide, he stole
gently to the place where the dove was found hovering over her
nest, waiting the return of her absent mate; and, thinking herself
[*] While o'er her callow brood she hung,
She fondly thus address'd her young:
'Ye tender objects of my care,
Peace! peace! ye little helpless pair.
Anon! he comes, your gentle sire,
And brings you all your hearts require;
For us, his infants and his bride,
For us, with only love to guide,
Our lord assumes an eagle's speed,
And, like a lion, dares to bleed:
Nor yet by wintry skies confin'd,
He mounts upon the rudest wind,
From danger tears the vital spoil,
And with affection sweetens toil.
Ah! cease, too vent'rous, cease to dare;
In thine, our dearer safety spare.
From him, ye cruel falcons stray;
And turn, ye fowlers, far away,
--All-giving Pow'r, great source of life,
Oh! hear the parent, hear the wife:
That life thou lendest from above,
Though little, make it large in love.
Oh! bid my feeling heart expand
To ev'ry claim on ev'ry hand,
To those, from whom my days I drew,
To these in whom those days renew,
To all my kin, however wide,
In cordial warmth as blood allied.
To friends in steely fetters twin'd
And to the cruel not unkind;
But chief the lord of my desire,
My life, myself, my soul, my sire,
Friends, children, all that wish can claim,
Chaste passion clasp, and rapture name.
Oh! spare him, spare him, gracious Pow'r:
Oh! give him to my latest hour,
Let me my length of life employ,
To give my sole enjoyment joy.
His love let mutual love excite;
Turn all my cares to his delight,
And ev'ry needless blessing spare,
Wherein my darling wants a share.
--Let one unruffled calm delight
The loving and belov'd unite;
One pure desire our bosoms warm;
One will direct, one wish inform;
Through life one mutual aid sustain;
In death one peaceful grave contain.'
While, swelling with the darling theme,
Her accents pour'd an endless stream.
The well-known wings a sound impart
That reach'd her ear, and touch'd her heart.
Quick dropp'd the music of her tongue,
And forth, with eager joy, she sprung.
As swift her ent'ring consort flew,
And plum'd, and kindled at the view.
Their wings, their souls, embracing, meet,
Their hearts with answ'ring measure beat,
Half lost in sacred sweets, and bless'd
With raptures felt, but ne'er express'd.
Strait to her humble roof she led
The partner of her spotless bed;
Her young, a flutt'ring pair, arise,
Their welcome sparkling in their eyes,
Transported, to their sire they bound,
And hang, with speechless action, round.
In pleasure wrapt, the parents stand,
And see their little wings expand;
The sire his life sustaining prize
To each expecting bill applies;
There fondly pours the wheaten spoil,
With transport giv'n, though won with toil;
While, all collected at the sight,
And silent through supreme delight,
The fair high heav'n of bliss beguiles,
And on her lord and infants smiles.
[*] These verses are a quotation from that tender fable of the
Sparrow and the Dove, in the 'Fables for the Female Sex.'
The eagle now, without any hesitation, pronounced the dove to be
deservedly the happiest of the feathered kind; and however
unwilling the rest of the birds were to assent to the judgment
given, yet could they not dispute the justice of the decree.
Here Miss Jenny ceased reading, and all the little company
expressed by their looks, that they were overjoyed at the eagle's
determination; for they had all in their own minds forestalled the
eagle's judgment, of giving the preference to the dove. 'Now, my
good children,' said Mrs. Teachum, 'if you will pass through this
life with real pleasure, imitate the dove; and remember, that
innocence of mind, and integrity of heart, adorn the female
character, and can alone produce your own happiness, and diffuse
it to all around you.'
Our little company thanked their governess for her fable; and,
just at that instant, they heard a chariot drive into the court,
and Mrs. Teachum went out to see what visitor could be arrived so
late in the evening; for it was near eight o'clock.
They all remained in the room where their governess left them; for
they had been taught never to run out to the door, or to the
windows, to look at any strangers that came, till they knew
whether it was proper for them to see them or not.
Mrs. Teachum soon returned with a letter open in her hand, and
remained some little time silent; but cast on every one round such
a tender and affectionate look, a tear almost starting from her
eye, that the sympathising sorrow seemed to spread through the
whole company, and they were all silent, and ready to cry, though
they knew not for what reason. 'I am sorry, my little dears,'
said Mrs. Teachum, 'to give your tender bosoms the uneasiness I
fear the contents of this letter will do, as it will deprive you
of that your hearts so justly hold most dear.' And, so saying,
she delivered to Miss Jenny Peace, the following letter:--
'To Miss Jenny Peace.
'Monday night, June 24.
'My dear niece,--I arrived safe at my own house, with your cousin
Harriet, last Saturday night, after a very tedious voyage by sea,
and a fatiguing journey by land. I long to see my dear Jenny as
soon as possible, and Harriet is quite impatient for that
'I have ordered my chariot to be with you tomorrow night; and I
desire you would set out on Wednesday morning, as early as your
inclination shall prompt you to come to
'Your truly affectionate aunt,
'I have writ a letter of thanks to your kind governess, for her
care of you.'
It is impossible to describe the various sensations of Miss
Jenny's mind, on the reading this letter. Her rising joy at the
thoughts of seeing her kind aunt safely returned from a long and
tedious voyage, was suppressed by a sorrow, which could not be
resisted, on parting with such dear friends, and so good a
governess; and the lustre which such a joy would have given to her
eye, was damped by rising tears. Her heart for some time was too
full for utterance. At last, turning to her governess, she said,
'And is the chariot really come, to carry me to my dear aunt?'
Then, after a pause, the tears trickling down her cheeks, 'And
must I so soon leave you, madam, and all my kind companions?'
Mrs. Teachum, on seeing Miss Jenny's tender struggles of mind, and
all her companions at once bursting into tears, stood up, and left
the room, saying, 'She would come to them again after supper.'
For this prudent woman well knew, that it was in vain to contend
with the very first emotions of grief on such an occasion, but
intended, at her return, to show them how much it was their duty
and interest to conquer all sorts of extravagant sorrow.
They remained some time silent, as quite struck dumb with concern,
till at last Miss Dolly Friendly, in broken accents, cried out,
'And must we lose you, my dear Miss Jenny, now we are just settled
in that love and esteem for you, which your goodness so well
Miss Jenny endeavoured to dry up her tears, and then said,
'Although I cannot but be pleased, my dear companions, at every
mark of your affection for me; yet I beg that you would not give
me the pain to see that I make so many dear friends unhappy. Let
us submit cheerfully to this separation (which, believe me, is as
deeply felt by me as any of you) because it is our duty so to do;
and let me entreat you to be comforted, by reflecting, how much my
good aunt's safe return must be conducive to my future welfare;
nor can you be unhappy, while you continue with so good a
governess, and persist in that readiness to obey her, which you
have lately shown. She will direct who shall preside over your
innocent amusements in my place. I will certainly write to you,
and shall always take the greatest delight in hearing from each of
you, both while you continue here, and when your duty and
different connections shall call you elsewhere. We may some, and
perhaps all, of us, happen often to meet again; and I hope a
friendship, founded on so innocent and so good a foundation as
ours is, will always subsist, as far as shall be consistent with
our future situations in life.'
Miss Jenny's friends could not answer her but by sobs and tears;
only little Polly Suckling, running to her, clung about her neck,
and cried, 'Indeed, indeed, Miss Jenny, you must not go; I shall
break my heart, if I lose you: sure we shan't, nor we can't, be
half so happy, when you are gone, though our governess was ten
times better to us than she is.'
Miss Jenny again entreated them to dry up their tears, and to be
more contented with the present necessity; and begged, that they
would not let their governess see them so overwhelmed in sorrow on
her return; for she might take it unkindly, that they should be so
afflicted at the loss of one person, while they still remained
under her indulgent care and protection.
It was with the utmost difficulty, that Miss Jenny refrained from
shedding tear for tear with her kind companions; but as it was her
constant maxim to partake with her friends all her pleasure, and
to confine her sorrows as much as possible within her own bosom,
she chose rather to endeavour, by her own cheerfulness and
innocent talk, to steal insensibly from the bosoms of her little
companions half their sorrow; and they begin to appear tolerably
After supper, Mrs. Teachum returned; and, seeing them all striving
who should most conceal their grief, for fear of giving uneasiness
to the rest, yet with a deep dejection fixed in every countenance,
and little Polly still sobbing behind Miss Jenny's chair, she was
so moved herself with the affecting scene, that the tears stole
from her eyes; and the sympathising company once more eased their
almost bursting hearts, by another general flow of melting sorrow.
'My dear children,' said Mrs. Teachum, 'I am not at all surprised
at your being so much concerned to part with Miss Jenny. I love
her myself with a motherly affection (as I do all of you, and
shall ever continue to do so while you so well deserve it); and I
could wish, for my own sake, never to part with her as long as I
live; but I consider, that it is for her advantage, and I would
have you all remember, in her absence, to let her example and
friendship fill your hearts with joy, instead of grief. It is now
pretty late in the evening, and as Miss Jenny is to set out very
early in the morning, I must insist upon shortening your pain (for
such is your present situation), and desire you would take your
leave of this your engaging friend.'
They none of them attempted to speak another word, for their
hearts were still too full for utterance; and Miss Jenny took
every one by the hand as they went out of the room, saluted them
with the tenderest affection, mingling tears with those which
flowed from every streaming eye; and, wishing them all happiness
and joy till their next meeting, they all, with heavy hearts,
retired to rest.
Miss Jenny returned the warmest and most grateful acknowledgments
to her good governess, for all her care of her; and said, 'I shall
attribute every happy hour, madam, that I may hereafter be blessed
with, to your wise and kind instruction, which I shall always
remember with the highest veneration, and shall ever consider you
as having been to me no less than a fond and indulgent mother.'
Mrs. Teachum kept Miss Jenny in the room with her no longer than
to assure her how sincerely she should regret her absence, and
confessed how much of the regularity and harmony of her school she
owed to her good example, for sweetness of temper, and conformity
THE END OF THE NINTH DAY.
THE CONCLUSION OF THE HISTORY OF MRS. TEACHUM, &C.
Although Miss Jenny Peace did not return any more to school; yet
she ever gratefully remembered the kindness of her governess, and
frequently corresponded with all her companions. And as they
continued their innocent amusements and meetings in the arbour,
whenever the weather would permit, there was no day thought to be
better employed than that in which they received a letter from
their absent instructive friend, whose name was always mentioned
with gratitude and honour.
Mrs. Teachum continued the same watchful care over any young
persons who were entrusted to her management; and she never
increased the number of her scholars, though often entreated so to
do. All quarrels and contentions were banished her house; and if
ever any such thing was likely to arise, the story of Miss Jenny
Peace's reconciling all her little companions was told to them; so
that Miss Jenny, though absent, still seemed (by the bright
example which she left behind her) to be the cement of union and
harmony in this well-regulated society. And if any girl was found
to harbour in her breast a rising passion, which it was difficult
to conquer, the name and story of Miss Jenny Peace soon gained her
attention, and left her without any other desire than to emulate
Miss Jenny's virtues.
In short, Mrs. Teachum's school was always mentioned throughout
the country, as an example of peace and harmony; and also by the
daily improvement of all her girls, it plainly appeared how early
young people might attain great knowledge, if their minds were
free from foolish anxieties about trifles, and properly employed
on their own improvement; for never did any young lady leave Mrs.
Teachum, but that her parents and friends were greatly delighted
with her behaviour, as she had made it her chief study to learn
always to pay to her governors the most exact obedience, and to
exert towards her companions all the good effects of a mind filled
with benevolence and love.