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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Little Dog Trusty; The Orange Man; and
the Cherry Orchard; Being the Tenth Part of Early Lessons (1801), by Maria  Edgeworth

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Title: The Little Dog Trusty; The Orange Man; and the Cherry Orchard; Being the Tenth Part of Early Lessons (1801)

Author: Maria  Edgeworth

Release Date: May 21, 2011 [EBook #36178]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE LITTLE DOG TRUSTY; THE ***




Produced by Charlene Taylor, Joseph Cooper, David E. Brown,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
http://www.pgdp.net






EARLY LESSONS.

PART X.

PRICE SIX-PENCE.

 

 

THE

LITTLE DOG TRUSTY;

THE

ORANGE MAN;

AND THE

CHERRY ORCHARD:

 

BEING THE TENTH PART OF

EARLY LESSONS.

BY THE AUTHOR OF THE PARENT'S
ASSISTANT, SIX VOLUMES.

 

LONDON:

PRINTED FOR J. JOHNSON,

NO. 72, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD,

By H. Bryer, Bridewell-Hospital, Bridge-Street.

 

1801.


[1]

THE

LITTLE DOG TRUSTY;

OR,

THE LIAR AND THE BOY OF TRUTH.

 

Very, very little children must not read this story; for they cannot understand it: they will not know what is meant by a liar and a boy of truth.

Very little children, when they are asked a question, say "yes,"[2] and "no," without knowing the meaning of the words; but you, children, who can speak quite plain, and who can tell, by words, what you wish for, and what you want, and what you have seen, and what you have done; you who understand what is meant by the words "I have done it," or "I have not," you may read this story; for—you can understand it.

Frank and Robert were two little boys, about eight years old.

Whenever[3] Frank did any thing wrong, he always told his father and mother of it; and when any body asked him about any thing which he had done or said, he always told the truth; so that every body who knew him, believed him: but nobody who knew his brother Robert, believed a word which he said, because he used to tell lies.

Whenever he did any thing wrong, he never ran to his father and mother to tell them of[4] it; but when they asked him about it, he denied it, and said he had not done the things which he had done.

The reason that Robert told lies was, because he was afraid of being punished for his faults, if he confessed them. He was a coward, and could not bear the least pain; but Frank was a brave boy, and could bear to be punished for little faults: his mother never punished him so much for such little faults, as she did Robert[5] for the lies which he told, and which she found out afterward.

One evening, these two little boys were playing together, in a room by themselves; their mother was ironing in a room next to them, and their father was out at work in the fields, so there was nobody in the room with Robert and Frank; but there was a little dog, Trusty, lying by the fire-side.

Trusty was a pretty playful [6]little dog, and the children were very fond of him.

"Come," said Robert to Frank, "there is Trusty lying beside the fire asleep; let us go and waken him, and he will play with us."

"O yes, do, let us," said Frank. So they both ran together, towards the hearth, to waken the dog.

Now there was a basin of milk standing upon the hearth; and the little boys did not see where-abouts it stood; for [7]it was behind them: as they were both playing with the dog, they kicked it with their feet, and threw it down; and the basin broke, and all the milk ran out of it over the hearth, and about the floor; and when the little boys saw what they had done, they were very sorry, and frightened; but they did not know what to do: they stood for some time, looking at the broken basin and the milk, without speaking.

[8]Robert spoke first.

"So, we shall have no milk for supper to-night," said he; and he sighed——

"No milk for supper!——why not?" said Frank; "is there no more milk in the house?"

"Yes, but we shall have none of it; for, do not you remember, last Monday, when we threw down the milk, my mother said we were very careless, and that the next time we did so, we should[9] have no more; and this is the next time; so we shall have no milk for supper to-night."

"Well, then," said Frank, "we must do without it, that's all: we will take more care another time; there's no great harm done; come, let us run and tell my mother. You know she bid us always tell her directly when we broke any thing; so come," said he, taking hold of his brother's hand.

[10]"I will come, just now," said Robert; "don't be in such a hurry, Frank—Can't you stay a minute?" So Frank staid; and then he said, "Come now, Robert." But Robert answered, "Stay a little longer; for I dare not go yet—I am afraid."

Little boys, I advise you, never be afraid to tell the truth; never say, "Stay a minute," and, "Stay a little longer," but run directly, and tell of what you have done[11] that is wrong. The longer you stay, the more afraid you will grow, till at last, perhaps, you will not dare to tell the truth at all.—Hear what happened to Robert.

The longer he staid, the more unwilling he was to go to tell his mother that he had thrown the milk down; and at last he pulled his hand away from his brother, and cried, "I won't go at all; Frank, can't you go by yourself?"

[12]"Yes," said Frank, "so I will; I am not afraid to go by myself: I only waited for you out of good-nature, because I thought you would like to tell the truth too."

"Yes, so I will; I mean to tell the truth when I am asked; but I need not go now, when I do not choose it:—and why need you go either?—Can't you wait here?—Surely my mother can see the milk when she comes in."

[13]Frank said no more; but, as his brother would not come, he went without him. He opened the door of the next room, where he thought his mother was ironing; but when he went in, he saw that she was gone; and he thought she was gone to fetch some more clothes to iron. The clothes, he knew, were hanging on the bushes in the garden; so he thought his mother was gone there; and he ran after her, to tell what had happened.

[14]Now whilst Frank was gone, Robert was left in the room by himself; and all the while he was alone, he was thinking of some excuses to make to his mother; and he was sorry that Frank was gone to tell her the truth. He said to himself, "If Frank and I both were to say, that we did not throw down the basin, she would believe us, and we should have milk for supper. I am very sorry Frank would go to tell her about it."

[15]Just as he said this to himself, he heard his mother coming down stairs—"Oh ho!" said he to himself, "then my mother has not been out in the garden, and so Frank has not met her, and cannot have told her; so now I may say what I please."

Then this naughty, cowardly boy, determined to tell his mother a lie.

She came into the room; but when she saw the broken[16] basin, and the milk spilled, she stopped short, and cried; "So, so!—What a piece of work is here!—Who did this, Robert?"

"I don't know, ma'am," said Robert, in a very low voice.

"You don't know, Robert!—tell me the truth—I shall not be angry with you, child—You will only lose the milk at supper; and as for the basin, I would rather have you break all the basins I[17] have, than tell me one lie.—So don't tell me a lie.—I ask you, Robert, did you break the basin?"

"No, ma'am, I did not," said Robert; and he coloured as red as fire.

"Then, where's Frank?—did he do it?"

"No mother, he did not," said Robert; for he was in hopes, that when Frank came in, he should persuade him to say that he did not do it.

[18]"How do you know," said his mother, "that Frank did not do it?"

"Because—because—because, ma'am," said Robert, hesitating, as liars do for an excuse—"because I was in the room all the time, and I did not see him do it."

"Then how was the basin thrown down? If you have been in the room all the time, you can tell."

Then Robert, going on from one lie to another, answered,[19]

"I suppose the dog must have done it."—

"Did you see him do it?" says his mother.

"Yes," said this wicked boy.

"Trusty, Trusty," said his mother, turning round; and Trusty, who was lying before the fire, drying his legs, which were wet with the milk, jumped up, and came to her. Then she said, "Fie! fie! Trusty!" and she pointed to[20] the milk.—"Get me a switch out of the garden, Robert; Trusty must be beat for this."

Robert ran for the switch, and in the garden he met his brother: he stopped him, and told him, in a great hurry, all that he had said to his mother; and he begged of him not to tell the truth, but to say the same as he had done.

"No, I will not tell a lie," said Frank.—"What! and is Trusty to be beat!—He did[21] not throw down the milk, and he shan't be beat for it—Let me go to my mother."

They both ran toward the house—Robert got first home, and he locked the house-door, that Frank might not come in. He gave the switch to his mother.

Poor Trusty! he looked up as the switch was lifted over his head; but he could not speak, to tell the truth. Just as the blow was falling upon[22] him, Frank's voice was heard at the window.

"Stop, stop! dear mother, stop!" cried he, as loud as ever he could call; "Trusty did not do it—let me in—I and Robert did it—but do not beat Robert."

"Let us in, let us in," cried another voice, which Robert knew to be his father's; "I am just come from work, and here's the door locked."

Robert turned as pale as ashes when he heard his father's[23] voice; for his father always whipped him when he told a lie.

His mother went to the door, and unlocked it.

"What's all this?" cried his father, as he came in; so his mother told him all that had happened;—how the milk had been thrown down; how she had asked Robert whether he had done it; and he said that he had not, nor that Frank had not done it,[24] but that Trusty, the dog, had done it; how she was just going to beat Trusty, when Frank came to the window and told the truth.

"Where is the switch with which you were going to beat Trusty?" said the father.

Then Robert, who saw, by his father's look, that he was going to beat him, fell upon his knees, and cried for mercy, saying, "Forgive me this time, and I will never tell a lie again."

[25]But his father caught hold of him by the arm—"I will whip you now," said he, "and then, I hope, you will not." So Robert was whipped, till he cried so loud with the pain, that the whole neighbourhood could hear him.

"There," said his father, when he had done, "now go to supper; you are to have no milk to-night, and you have been whipped. See how liars are served!" Then, turning to Frank, "Come here, and[26] shake hands with me, Frank; you will have no milk for supper; but that does not signify; you have told the truth, and have not been whipped, and every body is pleased with you. And now I'll tell you what I will do for you—I will give you the little dog Trusty, to be your own dog. You shall feed him, and take care of him, and he shall be your dog; you have saved him a beating; and, I'll answer for it, you'll be a good[27] master to him. Trusty, Trusty, come here."

Trusty came; then Frank's father took off Trusty's collar—"To-morrow I'll go to the brazier's," added he, "and get a new collar made for your dog: from this day forward he shall always be called after you, Frank!——And, wife, whenever any of the neighbours' children ask you why the dog Trusty is to be called Frank, tell them this story of our two boys:[28] let them know the difference between a liar and a boy of truth."


[29]

THE

ORANGE MAN;

OR,

THE HONEST BOY AND THE THIEF.

 

Charles was the name of the honest boy; and Ned was the name of the thief.

Charles never touched what was not his own: this is being an honest boy.

Ned often took what was not his own: this is being a thief.

[30]Charles's father and mother, when he was a very little boy, had taught him to be honest, by always punishing him when he meddled with what was not his own: but when Ned took what was not his own, his father and mother did not punish him; so he grew up to be a thief.

Early one summer's morning, as Charles was going along the road to school, he met a man leading a horse, which was laden with panniers.

[31]The man stopped at the door of a public-house which was by the road side; and he said to the landlord, who came to the door, "I won't have my horse unloaded; I shall only stop with you whilst I eat my breakfast.—Give my horse to some one to hold here on the road, and let the horse have a little hay to eat."

The landlord called; but there was no one in the way; so he beckoned to Charles, who was going by, and begged him to hold the horse.

[32]"Oh," said the man, "but can you engage him to be an honest boy? for these are oranges in my baskets; and it is not every little boy one can leave with oranges."

"Yes," said the landlord, "I have known Charles from the cradle upwards, and I never caught him in a lie or a theft; all the parish knows him to be an honest boy; I'll engage your oranges will be as safe with him as if you were by yourself."

[33]"Can you so?" said the orange man; "then I'll engage, my lad, to give you the finest orange in my basket, when I come from breakfast, if you'll watch the rest whilst I am away."—

"Yes," said Charles, "I will take care of your oranges."

So the man put the bridle into his hand, and he went into the house to eat his breakfast.

Charles had watched the horse and the oranges about[34] five minutes, when he saw one of his school-fellows coming towards him. As he came nearer, Charles saw that it was Ned.

Ned stopped as he passed, and said, "Good-morrow to you, Charles; what are you doing there? whose horse is that? and what have you got in the baskets?"

"There are oranges in the baskets," said Charles; "and a man, who has just gone into the inn, here, to eat his[35] breakfast, bid me take care of them, and so I did; because he said he would give me an orange when he came back again."

"An orange!" cried Ned; "are you to have a whole orange?—I wish I was to have one! However, let me look how large they are." Saying this, Ned went towards the pannier, and lifted up the cloth that covered it. "La! what fine oranges!" he exclaimed, the moment he saw[36] them: "Let me touch them, to feel if they are ripe."

"No," said Charles, "you had better not; what signifies it to you whether they are ripe, you know, since you are not to eat them. You should not meddle with them; they are not yours—You must not touch them."

"Not touch them! surely," said Ned, "there's no harm in touching them. You don't think I mean to steal them, I suppose." So Ned put his[37] hand into the orange-man's basket, and he took up an orange, and he felt it; and when he had felt it, he smelled it. "It smells very sweet," said he, "and it feels very ripe; I long to taste it; I will only just suck one drop of juice at the top." Saying these words, he put the orange to his mouth.

Little boys, who wish to be honest, beware of temptation; do not depend too much upon yourselves; and remember,[38] that it is easier to resolve to do right at first, than at last. People are led on, by little and little, to do wrong.

The sight of the oranges tempted Ned to touch them; the touch tempted him to smell them; and the smell tempted him to taste them.

"What are you about, Ned?" cried Charles, taking hold of his arm. "You said, you only wanted to smell the orange; do, put it down, for shame!"

[39]"Don't say for shame to me," cried Ned, in a surly tone; "the oranges are not yours, Charles!"

"No, they are not mine; but I promised to take care of them, and so I will:—so put down that orange!"

"Oh, if it comes to that, I won't," said Ned, "and let us see who can make me, if I don't choose it;—I'm stronger than you."

"I am not afraid of you for all that," replied Charles,[40] "for I am in the right." Then he snatched the orange out of Ned's hand, and he pushed him with all his force from the basket.

Ned, immediately returning, hit him a violent blow, which almost stunned him.

Still, however, this good boy, without minding the pain, persevered in defending what was left in his care; he still held the bridle with one hand, and covered the basket with his other arm, as well as he could.

[41]Ned struggled in vain, to get his hands into the pannier again; he could not; and, finding that he could not win by strength, he had recourse to cunning. So he pretended to be out of breath and to desist; but he meant, as soon as Charles looked away, to creep softly round to the basket, on the other side.

Cunning people, though they think themselves very wise, are almost always very silly.

[42]Ned, intent upon one thing, the getting round to steal the oranges, forgot that if he went too close to the horse's heels, he should startle him. The horse indeed, disturbed by the bustle near him, had already left off eating his hay, and began to put down his ears; but when he felt something touch his hind legs, he gave a sudden kick, and Ned fell backwards, just as he had seized the orange.

Ned screamed with the[43] pain; and at the scream all the people came out of the public house to see what was the matter; and amongst them came the orange-man.

Ned was now so much ashamed, that he almost forgot the pain, and wished to run away; but he was so much hurt, that he was obliged to sit down again.

The truth of the matter was soon told by Charles, and as soon believed by all the people present who knew[44] him: for he had the character of being an honest boy; and Ned was known to be a thief and a liar.

So nobody pitied Ned for the pain he felt. "He deserves it," says one. "Why did he meddle with what was not his own?"—"Pugh! he is not much hurt, I'll answer for it," said another. "And if he was, it's a lucky kick for him, if it keeps him from the gallows," says a third. Charles was the only[45] person who said nothing; he helped Ned away to a bank: for brave boys are always good-natured.

"Oh, come here," said the orange-man, calling him; "come here, my honest lad! what! you got that black eye in keeping my oranges, did you?—that's a stout little fellow," said he, taking him by the hand, and leading him into the midst of the people.

Men, women, and children,[46] had gathered around, and all the children fixed their eyes upon Charles, and wished to be in his place.

In the mean time, the orange-man took Charles's hat off his head, and filled it with fine China oranges. "There, my little friend," said he, "take them, and God bless you with them! If I could but afford it, you should have all that is in my basket."

Then the people, and especially[47] the children, shouted for joy; but as soon as there was silence, Charles said to the orange-man, "Thank'e, master, with all my heart; but I can't take your oranges, only that one I earned; take the rest back again: as for a black eye, that's nothing! but I won't be paid for it; no more than for doing what's honest. So I can't take your oranges, master; but I thank you as much as if I had them." Saying these words,[48] Charles offered to pour the oranges back into the basket; but the man would not let him.

"Then," said Charles, "if they are honestly mine, I may give them away;" so he emptied the hat amongst the children, his companions. "Divide them amongst you," said he; and without waiting for their thanks, he pressed through the crowd, and ran towards home. The children all followed him, clapping[49] their hands, and thanking him.

The little thief came limping after. Nobody praised him, nobody thanked him; he had no oranges to eat, nor had he any to give away. People must be honest, before they can be generous. Ned sighed as he went towards home; "And all this," said he to himself, "was for one orange; it was not worth while."

No: it is never worth while to do wrong.

[50]Little boys who read this story, consider which would you rather have been, the honest boy, or the thief.


[51]

THE

CHERRY ORCHARD.

 

Marianne was a little girl of about eight years old; she was remarkably good-tempered; she could bear to be disappointed, or to be contradicted, or to be blamed, without looking or feeling peevish, or sullen, or angry.—Her parents, and her school-mistress and[52] companions, all loved her, because she was obedient and obliging.

Marianne had a cousin, a year younger than herself, named Owen, who was an ill-tempered boy; almost every day he was crying, or pouting, or in a passion, about some trifle or other; he was neither obedient nor obliging.—His playfellows could not love him; for he was continually quarrelling with them; he would never, either when[53] he was at play or at work, do what they wished; but he always tried to force them to yield to his will and his humour.

One fine summer's evening, Marianne and Owen were setting out, with several of their little companions, to school. It was a walk of about a mile from the town in which their fathers and mothers lived to the school-house, if they went by the high-road; but there was another[54] way, through a lane, which was a quarter of a mile shorter.

Marianne, and most of the children, liked to go by the lane, because they could gather the pretty flowers which grew on the banks, and in the hedges; but Owen preferred going by the high-road, because he liked to see the carts and carriages, and horsemen, which usually were seen upon this road.

Just when they were setting[55] out, Owen called to Marianne, who was turning into the lane.

"Marianne," said he, "you must not go by the lane to-day; you must go by the road."

"Why must not I go by the lane to-day?" said Marianne; "you know, yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, we all went by the high-road, only to please you; and now let us go by the lane, because we want to gather[56] some honey-suckles and dog-roses, to fill our dame's flower-pots."

"I don't care for that; I don't want to fill our dame's flower-pots; I don't want to gather honey-suckles and dog-roses; I want to see the coaches and chaises on the road; and you must go my way, Marianne."

"Must! Oh, you should not say must," replied Marianne, in a gentle tone.

"No, indeed!" cried one[57] of her companions, "you should not; nor should you look so cross: that is not the way to make us do what you like."

"And, besides," said another, "what right has he always to make us do as he pleases?—He never will do any thing that we wish."

Owen grew quite angry when he heard this; and he was just going to make some sharp answer, when Marianne, who was good-natured, and always[58] endeavoured to prevent quarrels, said, "Let us do what he asks, this once; and I dare say he will do what we please the next time—We will go by the high-road to school, and we can come back by the lane, in the cool of the evening."

To please Marianne, whom they all loved, they agreed to this proposal. They went by the high-road; but Owen was not satisfied, because he saw that his companions did not comply for his sake; and as[59] he walked on, he began to kick up the dust with his feet, saying, "I'm sure it is much pleasanter here than in the lane; I wish we were to come back this way—I'm sure it is much pleasanter here than in the lane: is not it, Marianne?"

Marianne could not say that she thought so.

Owen kicked up the dust more and more.

"Do not make such a dust, dear Owen," said she; "look[60] how you have covered my shoes and my clean stockings with dust."

"Then, say, it is pleasanter here than in the lane. I shall go on, making this dust, till you say that."

"I cannot say that, because I do not think so, Owen."

"I'll make you think so, and say so too."

"You are not taking the right way to make me think so: you know that I cannot think this dust agreeable."

[61]Owen persisted; and he raised continually a fresh cloud of dust, in spite of all that Marianne or his companions could say to him.—They left him, and went to the opposite side of the road; but wherever they went, he pursued—At length they came to a turnpike-gate, on one side of which there was a turn-stile; Marianne and the rest of the children passed, one by one, through the turn-stile, whilst Owen was emptying his shoes of dust. When this was[62] done, he looked up, and saw all his companions on the other side of the gate, holding the turn-stile, to prevent him from coming through.

"Let me through, let me through," cried he, "I must and will come through."

"No, no, Owen," said they, "must will not do now; we have you safe; here are ten of us; and we will not let you come through till you have promised that you will not make any more dust."

[63]Owen, without making any answer, began to kick, and push, and pull, and struggle, with all his might; but in vain he struggled, pulled, pushed and kicked; he found that ten people are stronger than one.—When he felt that he could not conquer them by force, he began to cry; and he roared as loud as he possibly could.

No one but the turnpike-man was within hearing; and he stood laughing at Owen.

Owen tried to climb the[64] gate; but he could not get over it, because there were iron spikes at the top.

"Only promise that you will not kick up the dust, and they will let you through," said Marianne.

Owen made no answer, but continued to struggle till his whole face was scarlet, and till both his wrists ached: he could not move the turn-stile an inch.

"Well," said he, stopping short, "now you are all of[65] you joined together; you are stronger than I; but I am as cunning as you."

He left the stile, and began to walk homewards.

"Where are you going? You will be too late at school, if you turn back and go by the lane," said Marianne.

"I know that, very well; but that will be your fault, and not mine—I shall tell our dame, that you all of you held the turn-stile against[66] me, and would not let me through."

"And we shall tell our dame why we held the turn-stile against you," replied one of the children; "and then it will be plain that it was your fault."

Perhaps Owen did not hear this; for he was now at some distance from the gate. Presently he heard some one running after him—It was Marianne.

"Oh, I am so much out of[67] breath with running after you!—I can hardly speak!—But I am come back," said this good-natured girl, "to tell you that you will be sorry if you do not come with us; for there is something that you like very much, just at the turn of the road, a little beyond the turnpike-gate."

"Something that I like very much!—What can that be?"

"Come with me, and you shall see," said Marianne;[68] "that is both rhyme and reason—Come with me, and you shall see."

She looked so good-humoured, as she smiled and nodded at him, that he could not be sullen any longer.

"I don't know how it is, cousin Marianne," said he; "but when I am cross, you are never cross; and you can always bring me back to good-humour again, you are so good-humoured yourself—I wish I was like you—But[69] we need not talk any more of that now—What is it that I shall see on the other side of the turnpike-gate?—What is it that I like very much?"

"Don't you like ripe cherries very much?"

"Yes; but they do not grow in these hedges."

"No; but there is an old woman sitting by the road-side, with a board before her, which is covered with red ripe cherries."

"Red ripe cherries! Let us[70] make haste then," cried Owen. He ran on, as fast as he could; but as soon as the children saw him running, they also began to run back to the turn-stile; and they reached it before he did; and they held it fast as before, saying, "Promise you will not kick up the dust, or we will not let you through."

"The cherries are very ripe," said Marianne.

"Well, well, I will not kick up the dust—Let me through," said Owen.

[71]They did so, and he kept his word; for though he was ill-humoured, he was a boy of truth; and he always kept his promises—He found the cherries looked red and ripe, as Marianne had described them.

The old woman took up a long stick, which lay on the board before her. Bunches of cherries were tied with white thread to this stick; and as she shook it in the air, over[72] the heads of the children, they all looked up with longing eyes.

"A halfpenny a bunch!—Who will buy? Who will buy? Who will buy?—Nice ripe cherries!" cried the old woman.

The children held out their halfpence; and "Give me a bunch," and "give me a bunch!" was heard on all sides.

"Here are eleven of you," said the old woman,[73] "and there are just eleven bunches on this stick." She put the stick into Marianne's hand, as she spoke.

Marianne began to untie the bunches; and her companions pressed closer and closer to her, each eager to have the particular bunches which they thought the largest and the ripest.

Several fixed upon the uppermost, which looked indeed extremely ripe.

"You cannot all have this[74] bunch," said Marianne; "to which of you must I give it? You all wish for it."

"Give it to me, give it to me," was the first cry of each; but the second was, "Keep it yourself, Marianne; keep it yourself."

"Now, Owen, see what it is to be good-natured, and good-humoured, like Marianne," said Cymon, the eldest of the boys, who stood near him—"We all are ready to give up the ripest cherries to[75] Marianne; but we should never think of doing so for you, because you are so cross and disagreeable."

"I am not cross now; I am not disagreeable now," replied Owen; "and I do not intend to be cross and disagreeable any more."

This was a good resolution; but Owen did not keep it many minutes.—In the bunch of cherries which Marianne gave to him for his share, there was one which, though red[76] on one side, was entirely white and hard on the other.

"This cherry is not ripe; and here's another that has been half eaten away by the birds.—Oh, Marianne, you gave me this bad bunch on purpose—I will not have this bunch."

"Somebody must have it," said Cymon; "and I do not see that it is worse than the others; we shall all have some cherries that are not so good as the rest; but we shall not[77] grumble and look so cross about it as you do."

"Give me your bad cherries, and I will give you two out of my fine bunch, instead of them," said the good-natured Marianne.

"No, no, no!" cried the children; "Marianne, keep your own cherries."

"Are not you ashamed, Owen?" said Cymon—"How can you be so greedy?"

"Greedy!—I am not greedy," cried Owen, angrily;[78] "but I will not have the worst cherries; I will have another bunch."

He tried to snatch another bunch from the stick.—Cymon held it above his head.—Owen leaped up, reached it, and when his companions closed round him, exclaiming against his violence, he grew still more angry; he threw the stick down upon the ground, and trampled upon every bunch of the cherries in his fury, scarcely knowing what he did, or what he said.

[79]When his companions saw the ground stained with the red juice of their cherries, which he had trampled under his feet, they were both sorry and angry.

The children had not any more halfpence; they could not buy any more cherries; and the old woman said that she could not give them any.

As they went away sorrowfully, they said, "Owen is so ill-tempered, that we will[80] not play with him, or speak to him, or have any thing to do with him."

Owen thought that he could make himself happy without his companions; and he told them so.—But he soon found that he was mistaken.

When they arrived at the school-house, their dame was sitting in the thatched porch before her own door, reading a paper that was printed in large letters—"My dears," said[81] she to her little scholars, "here is something that you will be glad to see; but say your lessons first—One thing at a time—Duty first, and pleasure afterwards——Which ever of you says your lesson best, shall know first what is in this paper, and shall have the pleasure of telling the good news."

Owen always learned his lessons very well, and quickly: he now said his lesson better than any of his companions said[82] theirs; and he looked round him with joy and triumph; but no eye met his with pleasure; nobody smiled upon him, no one was glad that he had succeeded: on the contrary, he heard those near him whisper, "I should have been very glad if it had been Marianne who had said her lesson, because she is so good-natured."

The printed paper, which Owen read aloud, was as follows:

[83]"On Thursday evening next, the gate of the cherry-orchard will be opened; and all who have tickets will be let in, from six o'clock till eight.—Price of tickets, six-pence."

The children wished extremely to go to this cherry orchard, where they knew that they might gather as many cherries as they liked, and where they thought that they should be very happy, sitting down under the trees, and eating[84] fruit—But none of these children had any money; for they had spent their last halfpence in paying for those cherries which they never tasted—those cherries which Owen, in the fury of his passion, trampled in the dust.

The children asked their dame what they could do to earn six-pence a piece; and she told them, that they might perhaps be able to earn this money by plaiting straw for hats, which they had all been[85] taught to make by their good dame.

Immediately the children desired to set to work.

Owen, who was very eager to go to the cherry orchard, was the most anxious to get forward with the business: he found, however, that nobody liked to work along with him; his companions said, "We are afraid that you should quarrel with us—We are afraid that you should fly into a passion about the straws, as you did[86] about the cherries; therefore we will not work with you."

"Will not you? then I will work by myself," said Owen; "and I dare say that I shall have done my work long before you have any of you finished yours; for I can plait quicker and better than any of you."

It was true that Owen could plait quicker and better than any of his companions; but he was soon surprised to find that his work did not go on so fast as theirs.

[87]After they had been employed all the remainder of this evening, and all the next day, Owen went to his companions, and compared his work with theirs.

"How is this?" said he; "how comes it, that you have all done so much, and I have not done nearly so much, though I work quicker than any one of you, and I have worked as hard as I possibly could?—What is the reason[88] that you have done so much more than I have?"

"Because we have all been helping one another, and you have had no one to help you: you have been obliged to do every thing for yourself."

"But still, I do not understand how your helping one another can make such a difference," said Owen: "I plait faster than any of you."

His companions were so busy at their work, that they did not listen to what he was saying—He[89] stood behind Marianne, in a melancholy posture, looking at them, and trying to find out why they went on so much faster than he could—He observed that one picked the outside off the straws; another cut them to the proper length; another sorted them, and laid them in bundles; another flattened them; another (the youngest of the little girls, who was not able to do any thing else) held the straws ready for those who[90] were plaiting; another cut off the rough ends of the straws when the plaits were finished; another ironed the plaits with a hot smoothing-iron; others sewed the plaits together. Each did what he could do best, and quickest; and none of them lost any time in going from one work to another, or in looking for what they wanted.

On the contrary, Owen had lost a great deal of time in looking for all the things that he wanted; he had nobody[91] to hold the straws ready for him as he plaited; therefore he was forced to go for them himself, every time he wanted them; and his straws were not sorted in nice bundles for him; the wind blew them about; and he wasted half an hour, at least, in running after them. Besides this, he had no friend to cut off the rough ends for him; nor had he any one to sew the plaits together; and though he could plait[92] quickly, he could not sew quickly; for he was not used to this kind of work. He wished extremely for Marianne to do it for him. He was once a full quarter of an hour in threading his needle, of which the eye was too small—Then he spent another quarter of an hour in looking for one with a larger eye; and he could not find it at last, and nobody would lend him another—When he had done[93] sewing, he found that his hand was out for plaiting; that is, he could not plait so quickly after his fingers had just been used to another kind of work; and when he had been smoothing the straws with a heavy iron, his hand trembled afterwards for some minutes, during which time he was forced to be idle; thus it was that he lost time by doing every thing for himself; and though he lost but few minutes or seconds[94] in each particular, yet, when all these minutes and seconds were added together, they made a great difference.

"How fast, how very fast, they go on! and how merrily!" said Owen; as he looked at his former companions—"I am sure I shall never earn sixpence for myself before Thursday; and I shall not be able to go to the cherry-orchard—I am very sorry that I trampled on your cherries; I am very[95] sorry that I was so ill-humoured—I will never be cross any more."

"He is very sorry, that he was so ill-humoured; he is very sorry that he trampled on our cherries," cried Marianne; "do you hear what he says; he will never be cross any more."

"Yes, we hear what he says," answered Cymon; "but how can we be sure that he will do as he says."

"Oh," cried another of his[96] companions, "he has found out at last that he must do as he would be done by."

"Aye," said another; "and he finds that we who are good-humoured and good-natured to one another, do better even than he who is so quick and so clever."

"But if, besides being so quick and so clever, he was good-humoured and good-natured," said Marianne, "he would be of great use to us; he plaits a vast deal[97] faster than Mary does, and Mary plaits faster than any of us—Come, let us try him, let him come in amongst us."

"No, No, No," cried many voices; "he will quarrel with us; and we have no time for quarrelling—We are all so quiet and happy without him!—Let him work by himself, as he said he would."

Owen went on, working by himself; he made all the[98] haste that he possibly could; but Thursday came, and his work was not nearly finished—His companions passed by him with their finished work in their hands—Each, as they passed, said, "What, have not you done yet, Owen?" and then they walked on to the table where their Dame was sitting ready to pay them their sixpences.

She measured their work, and examined it; and when she saw that it was well[99] done, she gave to each of her little workmen and workwomen the sixpence which they had earned, and she said, "I hope, my dears, that you will be happy this evening."

They all looked joyful; and as they held their sixpences in their hands they said, "If we had not helped one another, we should not have earned this money; and we should not be able to go to the cherry-orchard."

[100]"Poor Owen!" whispered Marianne to her companions, "look how melancholy he is, sitting there alone at his work!—See! his hands tremble, so that he can scarcely hold the straws; he will not have nearly finished his work in time, he cannot go with us."

"He should not have trampled upon our cherries; and then perhaps we might have helped him," said Cymon.

[101]"Let us help him, though he did trample on our cherries," said the good-natured Marianne,—"He is sorry for what he did, and he will never be so ill-humoured or ill-natured again—Come, let us go and help him—If we all help, we shall have his work finished in time, and then we shall all be happy together."

As Marianne spoke, she drew Cymon near to the corner where Owen was sitting;[102] and all her companions followed.

"Before we offer to help him, let us try whether he is now inclined to be good-humoured, and good-natured."

"Yes, yes, let us try that first," said his companions.

"Owen, you will not have done time enough to go with us,"—said Cymon.

"No, indeed," said Owen, "I shall not; therefore I may as well give up all thoughts of it—It is my own fault, I know."

[103]"Well, but as you cannot go yourself, you will not want your pretty little basket; will you lend it to us to hold our cherries?"

"Yes, I will with pleasure," cried Owen, jumping up to fetch it:

"Now he is good-natured, I am sure," said Marianne.

"This plaiting of yours is not nearly so well done as ours," said Cymon, "look how uneven it is."

[104]"Yes, it is rather uneven, indeed," replied Owen.

Cymon began to untwist some of Owen's work; and Owen bore this trial of his patience with good temper.

"Oh, you are pulling it all to pieces, Cymon," said Marianne; "this is not fair."

"Yes, it is fair," said Cymon; "for I have undone only an inch; and I will do as many inches for Owen as he pleases, now that I see he is good-humoured."

[105]Marianne immediately sat down to work for Owen; and Cymon and all his companions followed her example—It was now two hours before the time when the cherry-orchard was to be opened; and during these two hours, they went on so expeditiously, that they completed the work.

Owen went with them to the cherry-orchard, where they spent the evening all together very happily—As he was sitting under a tree with his[106] companions eating the ripe cherries, he said to them,—"Thank you all, for helping me; I should not have been here now eating these ripe cherries, if you had not been so good-natured to me—I hope I shall never be cross to any of you again, whenever I feel inclined to be cross, I will think of your good-nature to me, and of THE CHERRY-ORCHARD."

 

 

Printed by H. Bryer, Bridewell-Hospital, Bridge-Street.


TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:

 

Obvious errors have been corrected as follows:

Page   36: your's changed to yours
Page   39: your's changed to yours
Page   61: childen changed to children
Page   96: good natured changed to good-natured
Page 103: your's changed to yours and in changed to is

Punctuation has been corrected without note.






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