LITTLE GOODY TWO SHOES
MRS. MARGERY TWO SHOES
THE MEANS BY WHICH SHE ACQUIRED HER LEARNING
AND WISDOM, AND IN CONSEQUENCE THEREOF
HER ESTATE; SET FORTH AT LARGE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE
Who from a state of Rags and Care,
And having Shoes but half a Pair;
Their Fortune and their Fame would fix,
And gallop in a Coach and Six.
AUTHOR OF "A BOOK SELLER OF THE LAST CENTURY," "NOTES ON THE
HISTORY OF BOOKS FOR CHILDREN," ETC.
BY MARION L. PEABODY.
BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO
YOUNG GENTLEMEN AND LADIES
WHO ARE GOOD, OR INTEND TO BE GOOD
IS INSCRIBED BY THEIR OLD FRIEND
"GOOD TWO SHOES" was published in London, in April, 1765, and few nursery books have had a wider circulation, or have retained their position so long. The number of editions that have been published both in England and America is legion, and the book has appeared in mutiliated versions under the auspices of numerous publishing houses.
The authorship of this famous little story has been attributed to Goldsmith by many authorities, conspicuous among whom are Washington Irving and William Godwin. The Misses Bewick, daughters of the celebrated engraver who illustrated an edition of the book for T. Saint, of Newcastle, understood from their father that it was by Oliver Goldsmith.
A group of sixpenny books for children, ingeniously and quaintly named, published by John Newbery, a London publisher, in 1765, most of which were reprinted by Isaiah Thomas, of Worcester Mass., is characterized by a distinct literay flavor; and one of the number, "The Lilliputian Magazine," is attributed in the British Museum Catalogue to Oliver Goldsmith. So strong is the family likeness in all the books that it is difficult not to believe that they were all by the same hand. The title of "Goody Two Shoes," with its quaint phrasing, shows no common genious, and, as Washington Irving says, "bears the stamp of his [Goldsmith's] sly and playful humor." As the book was published in 1765, it is likely that it was written just at the time when Goldsmith was working most industriously in the service
viiiof Newbery (1763-64), at which period he was living near Newbery at Islington, and his publisher was paying for his board and lodging.
There is as little doubt that at about the same time Oliver Goldsmith helped Newbery in putting together the first collection of the Mother Goose Rhymes and Jingles, which was issued under the title of "Mother Goose's Melody," about 1760, and there is something extremely significant in this connection in the fact that the gentle Goldsmith,"who touched nothing that he did not adorn" should by the unerring sympathy of his childlike and simple mind have been the first to select from the lore of the people those songs of the nursery which lie nearest the heart of the mother, and most readily appeal to the child, and that he should have written the first book particularly intended for children, which has become a classic.
This edition of "Goody Two Shoes" is an abridgment from the photographic facsimile of the earliest complete copy, edited by the present writer, who therein discusses fully the question of its authorship (Griffith and Farran, successors to Newbery and Harris, West Corner, St. Paul's Churchyard, London, 1881); his later researches into the history of the book have confirmed him in the belief that it was planned by John Newbery and written by Oliver Goldsmith under his direction.
The drawing of the illustrations in the first edition was of the crudest, and the wood-cutting of the rudest, for they were made before the influence of the Bewicks had given new birth to the art of wood-engraving. The compositions were, however, simple, direct, truthful, and unmistakable. They were not overloaded with details to distract the attention. They were full of action and interest for the little ones, and they were dovetailed into the story so as to form an inseparable part of it, picture and story combining to make an harmonious and organic whole. These original cuts have inspired Miss Peabody in her task of illustrating the present edition, all the desirable elements in them being retained
ixand presented in the more artistic manner which a modern text requires.
Only those parts of the story have been omitted that are unsuitable for the reading of the children of this generation, either because they enforce lessons which the world has long since learned, or contain allustions which are undesirable from present-day points of view. The language has here and there been simplififed and modernized, but nothing has been done which will detract from the value of the tale, or mar the style in which it was written.
"Goody Two Shoes" will always deserve a place among the classics childhood for its literary merit, the purity and loftiness of its tone, and its sound sense, while the whimsical, confidential, affectionate style which the author employs, makes it attractive even to children who have long since passed the spelling-book stage.
BOSTON, MASS., June 1900.
ALL the world must allow that Two Shoes was not her real name. No; her father's name was Meanwell; and he was for many years a well-to-do farmer in the parish where Margery was born; but by the misfortunes which he met with in business, and the wickedness of Sir Timothy Gripe, and a selfish farmer called Graspall, he was ruined.
The case was thus. The parish of Mouldwell, where they lived, had for many ages been let by the Lord of the Manor into twelve different farms, in which the tenants lived comfortably, brought up large families, and carefully supported the poor people who labored for them; until the estate by marriage and by death came into the hands of Sir Timothy.
This gentleman, who loved himself better than all his neighbors, thought it less trouble to write one receipt for his rent than twelve, and farmer Graspall offering to take all the farms as the leases expired, Sir Timothy agreed with him, and in time Graspall became the owner of every farm, except the one occupied by little Margery's father; which he also wanted; for as Mr. Meanwell was a good man, he stood up for the poor at the parish meetings, and was unwilling to have them oppressed by Sir Timothy and this grasping farmer.
The opposition which little Margery's father made to this man's tyranny, gave offence to Sir Timothy, who tried to force him out of his farm; and to oblige him to throw up the lease, ordered both a brick kiln and a dog-kennel to be erected in the farmer's orchard. This was against the law, and a suit was commenced, in which Margery's father got the better. The same offence was again committed three different times, and as many actions brought in, in all of which the farmer had a verdict and costs paid him; but in spite of this, the law was so expensive that farmer Meanwell was ruined in the contest, and obliged to give up all he had to his creditors. This answered the purposes of Sir Timothy, who erected those nuisances in the farmer's orchard with that end in view.
As soon as Mr. Meanwell had called together his creditors, Sir Timothy seized for a year's rent, and turned the farmer, his wife, little Margery, and her brother out of doors, without any of the necessaries of life to support them.
About Little Margery and Her Brother.
CARE and discontent shortened the days of little Margery's father. He was forced from his family, and seized with a violent fever ... of which he died. Margery's poor mother survived the loss of her husband but a few days, and died of a broken heart, leaving Margery and her little brother to the wide world.
It would have excited your pity, and have done your heart good, to have seen how fond these two little ones were of each other, and how, hand in hand, they trotted about. Pray, see them.
They were both very ragged, and though Tommy had two shoes, Margery had but one. They had nothing, poor things, to support them but what they picked from the hedges, or got from the poor people, and they lay every night in a barn such as you see here.
Their relations took no notice of them; no, they were rich, and ashamed to own such a poor little ragged girl as Margery, and such a dirty little curl-pated boy as Tommy. But such wicked folks, who love nothing but money, and are proud and despise the poor never come to any good in the end, as we shall see by and by.
About Mr. Smith.
MR. SMITH was a very worthy clergyman, who lived in the parish where little Margery and Tommy were born; and having a relation come to see him, who was a charitable man, he sent for these children. The gentleman ordered little Margery a new pair of shoes, gave Mr. Smith some money to buy her clothes, and said he would take Tommy and make him a little sailor. He soon had a jacket and trousers made for Tommy, in which he now appears. Pray, look at him.
After some days the gentleman intended to go to London, and take little Tommy with him ... The parting between these two little children was very affecting; Tommy cried, and Margery cried, and they kissed each other a hundred times. At last Tommy thus wiped off her tears with the end of his jacket, and bid her cry no more, for that he would come to her again, when he returned from sea. However, as they were so very fond, the gentleman would not allow them to take leave of each other; but told Tommy he should go to ride with him. Margery thought he would come back at night. When night came, she grew very uneasy about her brother, and after sitting up as late as Mr. Smith would let her, she went crying to bed.
How Little Margery Obtained the Name of Goody Two Shoes, and What Happened in the Parish.
AS soon as little Margery got up in the morning, which was very early, she ran all round the village, crying for her brother; and after some time returned, greatly distressed. However, at this instant, the shoemaker came in with the new shoes, for which she had been measured by the gentleman's order.
Nothing could have helped little Margery bear the loss of her brother more than the pleasure she took in her two shoes. She ran out to Mrs. Smith as soon as they were put on, and stroking down her ragged apron, thus, cried out, "Two shoes, Mame, see two shoes!" And so she behaved to all the people she met, and by that means obtained the name of Goody Two Shoes, though her playmates called her old Goody Two Shoes.
Little Margery was very happy in being with
9Mr. and Mrs. Smith, who were very kind to her, and had agreed to bring her up with their family; but as soon as that tyrant of the parish, Graspall, heard of her being there, he applied first to Mr. Smith, and threatened to make him trouble if he kept her; and after that he spoke to Sir Timothy, who sent Mr. Smith a command by his servant, that he should send back Meanwell's girl to be kept by her relations, and not harbor her in the parish. This so distressed Mr. Smith that he shed tears, and cried, "Lord have mercy on the poor!"
The prayers of the righteous fly upward, and reach unto the throne of Heaven, as will be seen in the sequel.
Mrs. Smith was also greatly concerned at being
10thus obliged to give up poor little Margery. She kissed her and cried; as also did Mr. Smith, but they were obliged to send her away; for the people who had ruined her father could at any time have ruined them.
How Little Margery Learned to Read and by Degrees Taught Others.
LITTLE Margery saw how good and how wise Mr. Smith was, and concluded that this was owing to his great learning; therefore she wanted of all things to learn to read. For this purpose she used to meet the little boys and girls as they came from school, borrow their books, and sit down and read till they returned. By this means she soon got more learning than any of her playmates, and
12laid the following scheme for teaching those who were more ignorant than herself. She found that only the following letters were required to spell all the words in the world; but as some of these letters are large and some small, she with her knife cut out of several pieces of wood ten sets of each of these: —
The usual manner of spelling, or carrying on the game, as they called it, was this: Suppose the word to be spelt was plum pudding, (and who can suppose a better?) the children were placed in a circle, and the first brought the letter P, the next l, the next u, the next m, and so on till the whole was spelt; and if any one brought a wrong letter, he was to pay a fine, or play no more. This was at their play; and every morning she
13used to go round to teach the children with these rattletraps in a basket, as you see in the print.
I once went her rounds with her, and was highly diverted as you may be, if you please to look into the next chapter.
How Little Goody Two Shoes Became a Trotting Tutoress, and How She Taught Her Young Pupils.
It was about seven o'clock in the morning when we set out on this important business, and the first house we came to was farmer Wilson's. See, here it is.
Here Margery stopped, and ran up to the door. Tap, tap, tap.
"Only little Goody Two Shoes." answered Margery, "come to teach Billy."
"Oh, little Goody," says Mrs. Wilson, with pleasure in her face, "I am glad to see you. Billy wants you sadly, for he has learned all his lesson."
Then out came the little boy. "How do, Doody Two Shoes," said he, not able to speak plain. Yet this little boy had learned all his letters; for she threw down this alphabet mixed together thus: —
Now, pray, little reader, take this bodkin, and see if you can point out the letters from these mixed alphabets, and tell how they should be placed as well as little boy Billy.
The next place we came to was farmer Simpson's, and here it is.
"Bow, wow, wow," said the dog at the door.
"Sirrah," said his mistress, "why do you bark at Little Two Shoes? Come in, Madge; here, Sally wants you sadly, she has learned all her lesson."
Then out came the little one.
"So, Madge!" says she.
"So, Sally!" answered the other, "have you learned your lesson?"
"Yes that's what I have," replied the little one in the country manner; and taking the letters she set up these syllables: —
da de di do du, fa fe fi fo fu,
17and gave them their exact sounds as she formed them: after which she set up these: —
af ef if of uf,ag eg ig og ug,
After this, Little Two Shoes taught her to spell words of one syllable. She soon set up pear, plum, top, ball, pin, puss, dog, hog, fawn, buck, doe, lamb, sheep, ram, cow, bull, cock, hen, and many more.
The next place we came to was Gaffer Cook's cottage.
Here a number of poor children were met to learn; who all came round little Margery at once; and, having pulled out her letters she asked the little boy next her what he had for dinner. He
18answered bread (the poor children in many places live very hard). "Well then," said she, "set the first letter." He put up the letter B, to which the next added r, and the next e, the next a, the next d, and it stood thus, Bread.
"And what had you, Polly Comb, for your dinner?" "Apple-pie," answered the little girl; upon which the next in turn set up a great A, the two next each set up a p, and so on till the two words apple and pie were united and stood thus, Apple-pie.
The next had potatoes, the next beef and turnip, which were spelt with many others, till the game of spelling was finished. She then set them to another task, and we went on.
The next place we came to was farmer Thompson's, where there were a great many little ones waiting for her.
"So, little Mrs. Goody Two Shoes," said one of them, "where have you been so long?"
"I have been teaching," said she, "longer than I intended, and am afraid I am come too soon for you now."
"No, but indeed you are not," replied the other, "for I have got my lesson, and so has Sally Dawson, and so has Harry Wilson, and so have we all;" and they capered about as if they were overjoyed to see her.
"Why then," said she, "you are all very good,
21and God Almighty will love you; so let us begin our lessons."
They all huddled round her, and though at the other place they were learning words and syllables, here we had people who were past all that and could form sentences.
Little Margery now set them to compose the following: —
FOR THE CONDUCT OF LIFE.
He that will thrive,
Must rise by five.
He that hath thriv'n,
May lie till seven.
Truth may be blam'd,
But cannot be sham'd.
Tell me with whom you go,
And I'll tell what you do.
A friend in your need
Is a friend indeed.
They ne'er can be wise
Who good counsel despise.
A wise head makes a close mouth.
A lie stands upon one leg, but truth upon two.
A good boy will make a good man.
So deal by them, and give each man his due.
As we were returning home, we saw a gentleman who was very ill, sitting under a shady tree
24at the corner of his rookery. Though ill, he began to joke with little Margery, and said laughingly: —
"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. You see they are going to rest already: do you likewise, and get up with them in the morning; earn, as they do, every day what you eat; eat and drink no more than you earn; and you'll get health and keep it. Why should the rooks build near gentlemen's houses only, but to tell them how to lead a prudent life? They never build over cottages or farm-houses, because they see that these people know how to live without their example.
Taught by the tenants of the grove.’"
The gentleman, laughing, gave Margery sixpence, and told her she was very sensible.
How Little Margery Was Made Principal of a Country College.
MRS. WILLIAMS, who kept a college for instructing little gentlemen and ladies in the Science of A, B, C, was at this time very old and infirm, and wanted to give up teaching. This being told to Sir William Dove, who lived in the parish, 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 favor, 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 her words gave them also a great opinion of Margery.
IN the first part of this work, the young student has read, and I hope with pleasure and improvement, the history of this Lady, while she was known by the name of Little Two Shoes; we are now come to a period of her life when that name was given up and a more dignified one bestowed upon her, I mean that of Mrs. Margery Two Shoes: for she was now President of the A, B, C College, and no one thought of calling her "Two Shoes."
No sooner was she settled in this office, than she did all in her power to promote the welfare and happiness of all her neighbors, and especially of the little ones, in whom she took great delight. All those whose parents could not afford to pay for their education, she taught for nothing but the pleasure she had in their company, for you are to observe that they were very good, or were soon made so by her good management.
Of Her School, Her Ushers or Assistants, and Her Manner of Teaching.
THE school where she taught was that which was before kept by Mrs. Williams. The room was large, 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 to fetch a letter, or to spell a word, when it came to his turn; which not only kept them in health, but fixed the letters and points firmly in their minds.
She had some interesting helpers, and I will tell you how she came by them. Mrs. Margery, you must know, was very humane and compassionate. Her tenderness extended not only to all mankind, but even to the animals, which are God Almighty's creatures as well as we. He made both them and us; and for wise purposes, best known to himself, placed them in this world to live among us; so that they are our fellow-tenants of the globe. How, then, can people dare to torture and destroy God Almighty's creatures? They, as well as you, are capable of feeling pain and of receiving pleasure, and how can you, who
28want to be made happy yourself, delight in making your fellow-creatures miserable?
Do you think the poor birds, whose nest and young ones that wicked boy Dick Wilson, ran away with yesterday, do not feel as much pain as your father and mother would have felt had anyone pulled down their house and run away with you? To be sure they do. Mrs. Two Shoes used to speak of those things, and of naughty boys torturing flies, and whipping horses and dogs, with tears in her eyes. She would never allow any one to come to her school who did so.
One day, as she was going through the next village, she met some wicked boys who had got a young raven, which they were going to torture; 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 is. Do look at him, and remember what Solomon says, "The eye that despiseth his father, and regardeth not the distress
29of his mother, the ravens of the valley shall peck it out, and the young eagles eat it." 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 this Ralph's alphabet: —
He always sat at her elbow, and when any of the children were wrong, she used to call out, "Put them right, Ralph."
Some days after she had rescued 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 leg, in order to let it fly and draw it back again when they pleased; and by this means they tortured the poor animal 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. The pigeon was a very pretty fellow, and she called him Tom. See, here it is.
And as the raven, Ralph, was fond of the large letters, Tom, the pigeon, took care of the small ones, of which he composed this alphabet: —
The neighbors, knowing that Mrs. Two Shoes was very good, made her a present of a little skylark, and a fine bird he is.
Now, as many people even at that time had learned to lie in bed long in the morning, she thought the lark might be of use to her and her pupils and tell them when 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 mother, and the farmer being about to kill it, she
31bought it of him and brought it 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
This lamb she called Will, and a pretty fellow he is; do look at him.
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 little good boy and girl should get by heart: —
Is the way to be healthy, and wealthy, and wise.
A sly rogue, but it is true enough; for those who do not go to bed early cannot rise early;
32and those who do not rise early cannot do much business!
Soon after this, a present was made to Mrs. Margery of little dog Jumper, and a pretty dog he is. Pray, look at him.
"Jumper, Jumper, Jumper!" He was always in a good humor, 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 the College, for he would let nobody go out, or any one come in, without the leave of his mistress. See how he sits — a saucy rogue.
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 at his back, and bring
33it in the morning. See what a fine fellow he is, and how he trudges along!
A Scene of Distress in the School.
IT happened one day, when Mrs. Two Shoes was diverting the children after dinner, as she usually did with some games or stories, that a man arrived with the sad news of Sally Jones's father's being thrown from his horse, and severely injured. The messenger said that he was seemingly dying when he came away. Poor Sally was greatly distressed, as indeed were all the school, for she dearly loved her father, and Mrs. Two Shoes and all the children dearly loved her. All the school were in tears, and the messenger was obliged to return; but before he went, Mrs. Two Shoes, unknown to the children, ordered Tom Pigeon to go home with the man, and bring a letter to inform her how Mr. Jones did. They set out together, and the pigeon rode on the man's head (as you see here), for the man was able to carry the pigeon, though the pigeon was not able to carry the man; if he had been, they would have been there much sooner, for Tom Pigeon was very good, and never stayed on an errand.
Soon after the man was gone the pigeon was missed, and the concern the children were under
37for Mr. Jones and little Sally was in some measure diverted, and part of their attention turned after Tom, who was a great favorite and consequently much bewailed. Mrs. Margery, who knew the great use of teaching children to bear trouble cheerfully, bade them wipe away their tears. She then kissed Sally, saying, "You must be a good girl, and depend upon God Almighty for His blessing and protection; for He is a Father to the fatherless, and defendeth all those who put their trust in Him."
Early the next morning something was heard to flap at the window. "Wow, wow, wow," says Jumper, and attempted to leap up and open the door, at which the children were surprised; but Mrs. Margery, knowing what it was, opened the casement, as Noah did the window of the Ark, and drew in Tom Pigeon with a letter, and see, here it is.
As soon as he was placed on the table, he walked up to little Sally, and dropping the letter,
38cried, "Co, co, coo," as much as to say, "There, read it." Now this poor pigeon had travelled fifty miles to bring Sally this letter, and who would destroy such pretty creatures! — But let us read the letter.
MY DEAR SALLY: God Almighty has been very merciful, and restored your papa to us again, who is now so well as to be able to sit up. I hear you are a good girl, my dear, and I hope you will never forget to praise the Lord for this His great goodness and mercy to us. What a sad thing it would have been if your father had died, and left you, and me, and little Tommy in distress, and without a friend! Your father sends his blessing with mine. — Be good, my dear child, and God Almighty whose blessing is above all things will also bless you.
I am, my dear Sally,
Your ever affectionate mother,
Of the Amazing Sagacity and Instinct of a Little Dog.
SOON after this, a dreadful accident happened in the school. It was on a Thursday morning, I very well remember, when the children having learned their lessons soon, Mrs. Two Shoes had given them leave to play, and they were all running about the school and diverting themselves with the birds and the lamb; at this time the dog, all of a sudden, laid hold of his mistress's apron and endeavored to pull her out of the school. She was at first surprised; however, she followed him to see what he intended. No sooner had he led her into the garden, than he ran back, and pulled out one of the children in the same manner; upon which she ordered them to leave the school immediately. They had not been out five minutes before the top of the house fell in. I should have observed that as soon as they were all in the garden, the dog came leaping round them to express his joy, and when the house was fallen, laid himself down quietly by his mistress. Some of the neighbors who saw the school fall, and who were in great pain for Margery and the little ones, soon spread the news through the village,
40and all the parents, terrified for their children, came crowding around; they had, however, the satisfaction of finding them all safe and upon their knees, with their mistress, giving God thanks for their happy deliverance. You are not to wonder, my dear reader, that this little dog should have more sense than you, or your father, or your grandfather. Though God Almighty has made man the lord of the creation, and endowed him with reason, yet in many respects He has been altogether as bountiful to other creatures of His forming. Some of the senses of other animals are more acute than ours, as we find daily. You would not think Ralph the raven half so wise and so good as he is. Yet when the Prophet Elijah was obliged to fly from Ahab, king of Israel, and hide himself in a cave, the ravens, at the command of God Almighty, fed him every day, and preserved his life.
And the word of the Lord came unto Elijah saying. Hide thyself by the Brook Cherith, that is before Jordan, and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening, and he drank of the brook. Kings B. I. C. 17.
And the pretty pigeon when the world was drowned, and he was confined with Noah in the
41Ark, was sent forth by him to see whether the waters were abated.
And he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground. And the dove came into him in the evening, and lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. Gen. VIII. 8. II.
The downfall of the school was a great misfortune to Mrs. Margery; for she not only lost all her books, but had no place to teach in. Sir William Dove, being informed of this, ordered the house to be built at his own expense, and till that could be done, farmer Grove was so kind as to let her have the use of his large hall. While at Mr. Grove's, which was in the heart of the village, she not only taught the children in the daytime, but the farmer's servants and all the neighbors to read and write in the evening; and it was the custom before they went away to have evening prayers and sing psalms. By this means the people grew extremely regular, the servants were always at home, and more work was done than ever. This gave not only Mr. Grove, but all the neighbors, a high opinion of her good sense and prudent behavior. And she was so much esteemed that most of the differences in the parish were left to her decision.
How Mrs. Margery Was Taken up for a Witch, and What Happened on that Occasion.
AND so it is true? And they have taken up Mrs. Margery then, and accused her of being a witch, only because she was wiser than some of her neighbors!
Mrs. Margery, as we have often said, was always doing good, and thought she could never repay those who had done anything to serve her. This led her to try to help Mr. Grove and the rest of her neighbors. Most of their lands were meadow, and they depended much on their hay, which had been for many years greatly damaged by wet weather; so she invented an instrument to foretell the weather, and by means of this was able to direct them when to mow their grass with safety, and prevent their hay from being spoiled. They all came to her for advice, and got in their hay without damage, while most of that in the neighboring villages was spoiled. This made a great noise in the country, and so provoked were the people in the other parishes that they accused her of being a witch, and sent
43Gaffer Goosecap, a busy fellow in other people's concerns, to find out evidence against her. This wiseacre happened to come to her school when she was walking about with the raven on one shoulder, the pigeon on the other, the lark on her hand, and the lamb and the dog by her side; which indeed made a droll figure, and so surprised the man, that he cried out, "A witch! a witch!"
Upon this she, laughing, answered, "A conjurer! a conjurer!" and so they parted; but it did not end thus, for a warrant was issued against Mrs. Margery, and she was carried to a meeting of the Justices, whither all the neighbors followed her.
At the meeting, one of the justices, who knew little of life, and less of the law, behaved very idly;
44and though nobody was able to prove anything against her, asked whom she could bring to defend her character.
"Whom can you bring against my character, sir?" said she. "There are people enough who would appear in my defence, were it necessary; but I never supposed that any one here could be so weak as to believe there was any such thing as a witch. If I am a witch, this is my charm" (laying a barometer or weather glass on the table). "It is with this," she said, "that I taught my neighbors to know the state of the weather."
All the company laughed, and Sir William Dove, who was on the bench, asked her accusers how they could be so foolish as to think there was any such thing as a witch. "It is true," said he, "many innocent and worthy people have been abused and even murdered on this absurd notion, which is a scandal to our religion, to our laws, to our nation, and to common sense." After this, Sir William gave the court such an account of Mrs. Margery, and her virtue, good sense, and prudent behavior, that the gentlemen present returned her public thanks for the great service she had done the country. One gentleman in particular, I mean Sir Charles Jones, had gained such a high opinion of her, that he offered her a large sum to take the care of his family, and the education of his daughter, which, however, she
47refused. This gentleman, however, sent for her afterward when he had a dangerous fit of illness, and she went, and behaved so prudently in the family, and so tenderly to him and his daughter, that he would not permit her to leave his house, but soon after made her proposals of marriage.
She was truly sensible of the honor he intended her, but, though poor, she would not consent to be made a lady, till he had fully provided for his daughter; for she told him that power was a dangerous thing to be trusted with, and a good man and woman would never throw themselves into the road of temptation.
All things being settled, and the day fixed, the neighbors came in crowds to see the wedding; for they were all glad that one who had been
48such a good little girl, and was become such a virtuous and good woman, was going to be made a lady; but just as the clergyman had opened his book, a gentleman, richly dressed, ran into the church, and cried, "Stop! stop!"
This greatly alarmed the congregation, particularly the intended bride and bridegroom, with whom he wished to speak privately. After they had been talking some little time, the people were greatly surprised to see Sir Charles stand motionless, and his bride cry and faint away in the stranger's arms. This seeming grief, however, was only a prelude to a flood of joy, for, you must know, gentle reader, that this gentleman, so richly dressed, was that identical little boy, whom
49you before saw in the sailor's habit; in short, it was little Tom Two Shoes, Mrs. Margery's brother, who was just come from beyond sea, where he had made a large fortune, and hearing, as soon as he landed, of his sister's intended wedding, had hastened to see that a proper settlement was made on her. He was both able and willing to give her an ample fortune. They soon returned to the altar and were married in tears, but they were tears of joy.
The True Use of Riches.
THE greatest harmony and affection existed between this happy couple. Lady Margery did not forget her old friends: hearing that Mr. Smith was oppressed by Sir Timothy Gripe, the justice, and his friend Graspall, she, with the aid of her brother, defended him, and the cause was tried in Westminster Hall, where Mr. Smith gained a verdict; and it appearing that Sir Timothy had behaved most unjustly, he was struck off the list, and no longer permitted to act as a justice of the peace.
Lady Margery was especially grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, whose family she made happy. She paid great regard to the poor, and made their interest her own. She also always gave to all the young married couples a useful wedding present and was godmother to the children whom she invited to her house once every week. She first taught them, and after the lessons treated them to a supper, gave them such books as they wanted, and then sent them home with her blessing. Nor did she forget them at her death, but left each a legacy. She set apart many acres of land to be planted yearly with