« PreviousContinue »
and so has Harry Wilson, and so have we all.” And they capered about as if they were overjoyed to see her. then,” says she, “you are all very good ; so let us begin our lessons.”
As we were returning home, we saw a gentleman, who was very ill, sitting under a shady tree at the corner of the rookery. Though ill, he began to joke with little Margery, and said, laughing, “So, Goody Two-Shoes, they tell me you are a cunning little baggage; pray, can you tell me what I shall do to get well ?” “ Yes, sir," says she ; " go to bed when your rooks do, and get up with them in the morning ; earn as they do every day what you eat, and eat and drink no more than you earn, and you'll get health and keep it.” The gentleman, laughing, gave Margery sixpence, and told her she was a sensible hussey.
There was in the same parish a Mrs. Williams, who kept a college for instructing little gentlemen and ladies in the science of A B C, who was at this time very old and infirm, and wanted to decline this important trust. This being told to Sir Williarn Dove, he sent for Mrs. Williams, and desired she would examine little Two-Shoes, and see whether she was qualified for the office. This was done, and Mrs. Williams made the following report in her favour: namely, that little Margery was the best scholar, and had the best head and the best heart of any one she had examined. All the country had a great opinion of Mrs. Williams, and this character gave them also a great opinion of Mrs. Margery, for so we must now call her.
The room in which Mrs. Margery taught her scholars was
very large and spacious, and as she knew that nature intended children should be always in action, she placed her different letters or alphabets all round the school, so that every one was obliged to get up and fetch a letter, or to spell a word, when it came to their turn; which not only kept them in health, but fixed the letters firmly in their minds.
One day, as Mrs. Margery was going through the next village, she met with some wicked boys who had got a young
raven, which they were going to throw at.
She wanted to get the poor creature out of their cruel hands, and therefore gave
them a penny for him, and brought him home. She called his name Ralph, and a fine bird he was.
Now this bird she taught to speak, to spell, and to read; and as he was particularly fond of playing with the large letters, the children used to call them Ralph's alphabet.
Some days after she had met with the raven, as she was walking in the fields, she saw some naughty boys who had taken a pigeon and tied a string to its legs, in order to let it Ay and draw it back again when they pleased ; and by this means they tortured the poor bird with the hopes of liberty and repeated disappointment. This pigeon she also bought, and taught him how to spell and read, though not to talk. He was a very pretty fellow, and she called him Tom. And as the raven Ralph was fond of the large letters, Tom the pigeon took care of the small ones.
The neighbours knowing that Mrs. Two-Shoes was very good, as, to be sure, nobody was better, made her a present of a little skylark. She thought the lark might be of use to her and her pupils, and tell them when it was time to get up. " For he that is fond of his bed, and lies till noon, lives but half his days, the rest being lost in sleep, which is a kind of death."
Some time after this a poor lamb had lost its dam, and the farmer being about to kill it, she bought it of him, and brought him home with her to play with the children, and teach them when to go to bed; for it was a rule with the wise men of that age (and a very good one, let me tell you) to “ Rise with the lark, and lie down with the lamb.” This lamb she called Will, and a pretty fellow he was.
No sooner was Tippy, the lark, and Will, the ba-lamb, brought into the school, than that sensible rogue Ralph, the raven, composed the following verse, which every good little boy and girl should get by heart :
“ Early to bed, and early to rise,
Is the way to be healthy, wealthy, and wise." Soon after this, a present was made to Mrs. Margery of a little dog, whom she called Jumper. He was always in a good humour, and playing and jumping about, and therefore he was called Jumper. The place assigned for Jumper was that of keeping the door, so that he may be called the porter of a college, for he would let nobody go out nor any one come in, without leave of his mistress.
Billy, the ba-lamb, was a cheerful fellow, and all the children were fond of him ; wherefore Mrs. Two-Shoes made it a rule that those who behaved best should have Will home with them at night, to carry their satchel or basket on his back, and bring it in the morning.
It was about this time that a farmer stopped one evening at Mrs. Margery's gate, and, to her great surprise, pulled out a letter, which, he said, the postman at the town had given him for her. Margery jumped for joy, for she knew the letter was from her brother Tommy. He had written from India to tell her he was quite well, that he was getting some money, and that as soon as he had sufficient he meant to return to England to see his dear sister. This letter was a source of great comfort to Margery, and she read it very often.
Mrs. Margery, as we have frequently observed, was always
doing good, and thought she could never sufficiently gratify those who had done anything to serve her. These generous sentiments naturally led her to consult the interest of her neighbours; and as most of their lands were meadow, and they depended much on their hay, which had been for many years
greatly damaged by the wet weather, she contrived an instrument to direct them when to mow their
grass with safety, and prevent their hay being spoiled. They all came to her for