Ellen and George by E. V. Lucas
or, The Game at Cricket
'Sit down, Ellen,' said Mrs. Danvers to a lovely little girl of
seven years of age, who was constantly jumping up to the window,
instead of continuing to look at the book she was holding in her hand,
but Ellen continued to look anywhere rather than at her book, and her
mother began to feel angry.
The sun shone very brightly; it was a fine day in the month of June,
and little Ellen thought it very hard that she was obliged to sit in
the house instead of running about the fields with her brother George.
George was at home for the holidays; he was a fine boy of about nine
years of age, and very fond of his sister Ellen; he would very often
leave his companions to play with Ellen at quieter games than such as
he engaged in with them, and Ellen was delighted when he would thus
indulge her; but on this morning George was with a party of young lads,
somewhat older than himself, who were engaged in a game of cricket, and
poor Ellen was obliged to go through her morning's task without him.
'Should you not like to go and see George play by-and-by?' said Mrs.
'I should like it very much, mother,' replied Ellen in a tone of
'Then mind your book now,' said her mother, 'and we will afterwards
walk down to the cricket-field together. Father will be at home then,
perhaps, and we shall have a nice walk together.'
For a few minutes Ellen looked in her book; she was very fond of her
father and of walking out with him, but not even this promised scheme
of pleasure could prevent her eyes from wandering every five minutes to
the window, and at length a shout from the boys, who were in the field
adjoining the house, entirely overcame her resolution, and again she
made a sudden spring to the window.
The book was a sad drawback to Ellen's happiness, for she never
looked in it unless obliged, and her mother had always great difficulty
in fixing her attention on it when she wished to do so.
Mrs. Danvers rose from her seat, and quietly lowered the venetian
blind, and Ellen again stole back to her seat. She looked out of the
corner of one of her little blue eyes to see if her mother was angry,
and again for a few minutes was very assiduous. Presently the room door
opened, and a servant entered to say that a poor woman wished to speak
to his mistress. Mrs. Danvers desired that the woman should be shown
into the room, and she entered, leading in her hand a little girl about
the age of Ellen. Ellen's eyes were immediately diverted from her book,
but her mother on this occasion said nothing.
The poor woman came to entreat assistance for her sick husband, who
was unable to go to his work, and for her little girl, who had cut her
finger very badly. The child's finger was covered with a piece of rag,
which was soaked with blood, and tears streaming from her eyes showed
that she was in pain.
'How was the finger cut?' said Mrs. Danvers.
'In helping father cut a piece of wood to mend Charley's hayfork,'
replied the child. 'Father fell down in a fit, and let the knife fall
upon my finger.'
'It is a bad cut,' said Mrs. Danvers. 'Run, Ellen, and ask Sarah for
some rag, and we will tie it up for her.'
Ellen was out of the room in a minute, for she liked running about
and waiting upon anyone in distress. Indeed, Ellen was on the whole a
good little girl, though she could not be made to like either her book
or her work. She soon returned with the rag, and Mrs. Danvers tied up
the little girl's finger, and gave her a nice slice of cake to divert
her attention from the pain she was suffering.
'Is it painful now?' said Mrs. Danvers.
'No, madam,' replied the child, but she still continued to cry.
'Then do not cry any more, and it will be soon well.'
'Mary does not cry so much about the pain, madam,' said the poor
woman, 'as because you see it is her thimble finger;' and she held the
little girl's hand up.
Ellen thought this could be no very great misfortune, but Ellen was
a silly little girl to think so, and so she was convinced when the poor
woman said that Mary did needlework enough to keep her in shoes, and
with the pennies she got by reading her book well at school she had
bought two nice pinafores out of her own money.
Ellen looked a little foolish and hung her head. The poor woman and
the industrious little girl left the room after Mrs. Danvers had
promised to call on the sick man in the evening, and Ellen again took
up her book.
'I am afraid you will never get any pennies for reading well,' said
Mrs. Danvers in a few minutes, for again Ellen's eyes were off her
book. The kitten had frisked into the room; it was playing with a cork
under the sofa, and Ellen laughed aloud as she saw it turn round, and
over and over.
'If you like the kitten better than George,' said Mrs. Danvers, 'you
may continue looking at it, and stay at home and read when your father
and I go out into the fields by-and-by.'
'Then pray, mother, put the kitten out of the room,' said Ellen.
Mrs. Danvers did so, and again Ellen seated herself on her little stool
with her book.
Ellen now really applied to her book, for she was very much afraid
of being left at home when her father and mother went out for their
walk. It was very little trouble to her to learn when she gave her
attention to her lessons, and at length she got over them very
creditably and without another word of reproof from mother.
'Now, Ellen,' said Mrs. Danvers, when the book was closed, 'if you
had attended to your lessons at once it would have been over long
since, and by this time you might have finished your work, and have
been running in the field or garden. It is twelve o'clock, but I must
have this handkerchief hemmed before you move.'
'Oh dear,' said Ellen, with a most sorrowful look, 'I thought I
should have gone out now. What a happy boy George is. Oh dear, I wish I
was a boy, and then I should be running about all day, and should not
be obliged to work.'
'You would not be obliged to work with your needle, Ellen,' said
Mrs. Danvers, as she turned down the hem of the handkerchief, 'but you
would have a great many things to learn much harder than you have now,
and which would take you a great deal of time to get by heart unless
you were more attentive than you frequently are.'
'Oh, I am sure I could learn them, mother,' answered Ellen;
'besides, George has nothing to donothing but to play and amuse
himself all day long.'
'This is not the case when George is at school, I can tell you,
Ellen,' replied Mrs. Danvers, 'nor is it always the case, you know, at
home, and I much question whether the days that George sits down with
his father for a few hours after breakfast are not happier days
generally than those which he spends exactly in the manner he himself
'Oh, I think he is generally laughing and merry,' said Ellen, 'when
he sets off after breakfast into the hayfield, or the cricket meadow;
much more so than when he walks with his grave face and his book under
his arm into father's study.'
'And I very well remember, Ellen,' replied Mrs. Danvers, 'that this
merry mood of his, which you think so delightful, has more than once
ended in a flood of tears before night, while, on the contrary, I think
the grave study countenance is generally turned into lasting smiles by
dinner-time. But if you continue chatting the work will never be done.
Sit quietly, and be industrious for half an hour, and then we will go
into the garden together, and see if the gardener has any strawberries
for us; I dare say George's companions will like some strawberries and
milk after their game.'
While Ellen is attending to her mother's directions, and
industriously performing the task required of her; we will take a view
of George and his young companions, and see whether or not he is likely
to be tired of his day of idleness.
George had got up very early in the morning to prepare the wickets
for the game of cricket, which had been proposed to him by several lads
living in the neighbourhood. If the young reader is a little girl and
not a cricket player herself, she must ask her brothers or cousins to
describe to her what are wickets, and if neither of these are near her
she must ask her father, who will no doubt be very happy to give her
the desired information. George had been awake very early indeed, but
as he had had a strict injunction never to be out of doors before the
gardener and groom were at their work, he had lain in bed till he heard
the stable-door opened, and then, hastily jumping up and dressing
himself, had said his prayers, and was downstairs before the clock
struck five. He then went to what he called his toolhouse, which was a
little shed by the side of the greenhouse, where the gardeners kept
their watering-pots, and where he had a box containing a hammer, a saw,
and a plane adapted to the use of young hands, and a small box
containing nails. He had also here a repository of pieces of wood
thrown aside by the carpenter, and old sides and covers of boxes, which
were no longer of any service for the uses for which they were
designed, and here it was that George's day of pleasure commenced. He
hammered and chopped and sawed like any workman toiling for his bread
till eight o'clock, which was the hour for breakfast, when, being
somewhat hot and tired, he was not very sorry to hear the summons to a
good plateful of bread and butter, and a fine sweet draught of new
milk. Young spirits are soon refreshed, and George did not sit long at
his breakfast; the meal was soon despatched, and George again was out
of doors and in his toolhouse. Hither Ellen had accompanied him for a
few minutes to see the wickets completed, and, when finished, she had
left him, longing to make one of the party who were now assembling to
their play, and with whom she left him to return into the house, and
join her mother in the drawing-room.
[Illustration: Hither Ellen accompanied him to see the wickets
The boys soon began to play, and for some time the game went on very
wellall was high good humour; but George was the least of the party,
and not having played so frequently, and not being so strong, did not
get as many notches as many of his companions. At school he had been
more accustomed to play with less boys, and perhaps with boys even less
than himself, where he was the best player of the set, and he could not
help feeling mortified now that he found himself the worst player, and
not being able to keep in at all against boys who played with so much
more skill than he did. Sometimes he would not have minded this, but
the day was very hot, George had risen early, began to be tired, and,
as the truth must be told on these occasions, rather cross and pettish.
Several games had been played, all of which had been won by the set of
boys of the side opposite to that of George, for as four of the lads
with whom he played were good players, and the fifth, Tom Fletcher, a
much better player than George, the consequence was that Tom and his
two companions were always on the successful side. One of the best
players, Charles Wilson, then proposed to make an alteration in the
sides; he asked George to come over to him and his companions, and let
Tom Fletcher take his place; 'And then we shall see,' he added, 'which
plays the best, you or Tom.'
'Oh, you think you know already,' said George, not in the best of
humours, and throwing down his bat. 'I don't want to play at all, and I
know I go for nothing.'
'The young man is up,' said Wilson's companion, Stevens. 'Never
mind, let him go; we shall do very well without him,' and he was taking
up the discarded bat; but Wilson, who was a very good-natured boy,
'We do not think you go for nothing, George; but it is not likely
you should play so well as we do, who are so much bigger than you, or
than Tom Fletcher, who lives with a bat in his hand, and always plays
amongst the great boys. I only wanted to make the game more even, for
it is very tiresome for one party always to win, and the others to
lose. Come, let us play on again as we were, and perhaps you may be
more lucky. Come, Tom, take up the bat.'
Stevens looked very angry, and was about to make some provoking
reply; but the other boys reminded him that they were playing in Mr.
Danvers' ground, and there was no ground like his in the neighbourhood,
so the ball was again bowled, and the bat once more sent it whirling
back through the long field.
'Well done, little fellow!' said Wilson, as George again took the
bat, and gave a pretty good hit. 'Well done; you'll soon play very
well. Tom, take care of yourself, and mind your play, or we shall lose
a game against them now.'
'Not if you mind your play,' replied the sharp Tom Fletcher, who saw
that Wilson in bowling favoured George, and gave him balls that he
could hardly help hitting. George exerted himself to the uttermost, and
really did play better than he had done before; but his party would not
have got the game but for the good-nature of Wilson, who did not put
out his best play, and whose party for the first time were losers.
Wilson was not right in doing this, because, even in a game of cricket,
he ought to have been true to his side, and played his best. It was
practising deceit, and deceit is never to be practised harmlessly.
Neither was George much gratified by his success, for he felt he had
gained it in a childish manner, and it would have been more honest to
have lost the game. Tom Fletcher and Stevens were both extremely angry,
and both declared they would not be beat in that way to please the
humours of any young pet. Tom said he would be matched singly against
George, and the other two boys agreed it would be the fairest way, and
also for them to be matched against Stevens and Wilson, and then they
should see where all the strength lay. Everybody agreed to this, and
the two younger boys were to have the first game. Tom was to give
George two notches to begin with, to which George had no objection, as
Tom was allowed to be a very capital player for his age, and the two
young antagonists commenced their game. For some time they went on
pretty evenly. Tom was very cool and cautious, and George, who put out
all his strength, got several notches, and continued ahead of his
rival. It almost seemed doubtful whether George was not a better player
than he had been taken for, and as the lads who were looking on cried
out, 'Now, George,' 'Now, Tom,' George seemed to have as good a chance
of the game as Tom. But Tom was not fagged as George was, nor was he so
hasty in his temper. He was not at all moved at the show of adverse
fortune against him, while George was in a complete agitation, and on
the very first reverse so put out that he bit his lip with anger, and
flung at the bowler with great violence the ball which he had missed.
It took the direction of Tom Fletcher's eyebrow, narrowly escaping his
eye, and the boy put up his hand in agony to his enlarged forehead.
'Oh, I am very sorry, Tom,' said George, who had most
unintentionally done the mischief.
'Oh, I don't mind a bit,' replied Tom, who was a very hardy boy.
'Stand to your bat, man.' And with one hand held to his aching head, he
bowled sharply with the other, and dashed away the wickets.
'It is hardly fair play, for he was off his guard,' said one of the
'If Tom could bowl with that black eye,' said Stevens, 'I think
George has no right to complain.'
'I don't complain,' said George, throwing down his bat. 'It's my own
fault; I was in a passion. The game is yours, Tom.'
'No, the game is not mine yet, George,' said Tom, 'even if you go
out now, for though you sent the ball in a passion, I had no right to
take you in as I did. I was in a passion, too, or I should not have
bowled upon you so sharp. Come, give me your hand, and then take up the
bat, man, and we will see what we can do.'
'Then take back your two notches to set against the black eye,' said
George, giving his hand. Tom, however, would not agree to this, and it
was at length settled that they should go on as if nothing had
happened. George took up the bat, and Tom returned to the bowling
place. George's notches increased rapidly, but it was evident the cause
of this was in Tom's eye, which by this time was almost closed, though
the spirited boy did not once complain of pain. George requested him
not to go on, but he persisted in bowling till his opponent threw down
the bat, declaring it was not fair play, and he did not want to beat in
that mean way.
All the boys agreed that George was right, and it was determined
that the two young ones should defer their trial of skill till Tom had
recovered the use of his eye, and the bigger boys then commenced their
It was at this period of the day that Mrs. Danvers and Ellen, after
having taken a walk round the garden, and collected plenty of
strawberries and cherries from the gardener, arrived in the
cricket-field to inquire if the lads wished for any refreshment. George
felt ashamed, as he remembered Tom Fletcher's eye, and the good-natured
boy stepped forwards to speak to Mrs. Danvers, and draw attention from
Tom to himself. The accident, however, could not be concealed; and
though Tom declared that it was nothing, Mrs. Danvers was sure that he
must be suffering great pain, and begged of him to go into the house
and have his eye bathed. Fletcher replied that he had better go home,
for his mother had a lotion that cured all sorts of bruises; and saying
that he would be up in the cricket-field again before the other game
was over, he bounded over the stile that separated one field from the
next, and was out of sight in a minute. The other lads, who were just
beginning their game, took some fruit of Mrs. Danvers, but declined at
present going into the house; and after standing a few minutes with
Ellen to look at the players, Mrs. Danvers persuaded George to
accompany her into the house, for she saw that he was not very
comfortable, and the day was intensely hot.
As they walked along, Mrs. Danvers said nothing about the black eye,
for she thought that it had happened through some hastiness of George.
She found by his manner he was ashamed of himself for something, and
she knew, as he was an honest boy, that when he was in a little better
humour than he appeared at present he would relate to her everything
that had passed. On arriving in the house, Mr. Danvers met them, and
requested Mrs. Danvers to walk down into the village to see the poor
man who had fallen down in a fit, and inquire if he wanted any
assistance. Mrs. Danvers immediately complied, and recommending George
to amuse himself with his sister during the rest of the morning, she
left the house, and took the road to the village.
'John has not taken that donkey home,' said Mrs. Danvers, as they
passed through a small field where there was one picking in the hedges.
'No,' replied Mr. Danvers, 'but I wish he would do so, for the
animal only destroys the beauty of the hedges, and endeavours to make
ugly gaps in them. It is not at all fit for the children to ride.' And
they proceeded in their walk.
As soon as his father and mother were gone, George threw himself
upon the carpet on his back, for he was very tired, very cross, and
'Oh dear, what a tiresome day this is!' said he, as he rolled over
on the carpet. 'I wish it was over and bedtime was come.'
'Why, you have done nothing but play all day,' said Ellen. Now Ellen
felt as brisk and as merry as she had done the very earliest part of
the morning, and could not help wondering what could be the matter with
George that he was not equally so.
'It is so hotso very hot,' said George. The kind little Ellen took
her stool, and, standing on tiptoe, and reaching up to the top of the
blinds, at the risk of her neck, at length succeeded in pulling them
down, and prevented the sun from shining into George's eyes.
'Oh, how dark you have made the room, child,' said George.
'I thought you would like to have the sun shut out, George,' said
the affectionate little Ellen, with a tear starting into her eyes,
because George would not be pleased with her.
George saw the tear, and was vexed with himself that he had caused
it; but at present he was not sufficiently subdued to say he was sorry,
and he continued to roll upon the carpet backwards and forwards, till
he rolled over against a small rose-wood cabinet which stood in one
corner of the apartment. The slender fabric shook, and down rolled a
beautiful little vase, which had been sent for Mrs. Danvers by a
particular friend, and on which both the children knew she set a great
value. George started up, and he and Ellen looked at each other. The
vase was broken into twenty pieces. Ellen burst into tears, and George
looked very sorrowful; but the vase was broken, and could not be
restored. At this moment the door was opened, and a little favourite
terrier dog bounded into the room, and began to play amongst the
scattered fragments. He was followed by a servant, from whom he had
made his escape, for she had been ordered to wash the dog, and the dog
had resisted, and ran away from the bath designed for him.
'Why, what a piece of work is here,' said the servant. 'Pompey, you
little tiresome thing; now to come bouncing in here, and making all
this mischief. What will mistress say when she sees her china broken,
and all through you, you little tiresome puppy?'
George and Ellen looked at each other for a moment. Had they not
been well instructed to abhor a lie, and speak the truth, the
temptation was a strong one, and they might have yielded to it; but
they knew that although they might deceive the servant, there was One
who could not be deceived, and by an instantaneous movement of honesty
they both at once exclaimed:
'It was not poor Pompey, Ann; it was' Here Ellen stopped,
unwilling to accuse her brother; but George with great firmness added:
'It was I, Ann.'
'Well, it's a sad business,' said Ann, 'but I dare say my mistress
will not be very angry. I am sure I should not have known but what it
was Pompey;' and in saying this Ann, who was herself a good
well-principled girl, silently resolved that her mistress should
certainly know how the young gentleman and lady 'scorned,' as she said,
'to tell a lie.'
Pompey was now removed, and George and Ellen were again left
together. Ellen picked up the broken pieces, and then asked George if
he had not better go and dress himself. 'His nice clean trousers,' she
said, 'were quite green and dirty from rubbing about upon the grass,
and the flue of the carpet was come off upon his jacket.' George,
however, was not yet quite himself, though he was very much softened by
the last misfortune. Ellen then asked him if she should get some quiet
play for himmaps, puzzles, or bricks? But nothing would go right with
George this day; all Ellen's efforts to amuse him were in vain, and at
length he resolved upon going out of doors again. Ellen reminded him
that mother had recommended him to stay indoors.
'Yes, but she did not order me,' said George; 'besides, I think I
ought to go down and ask how Tom Fletcher is, for I gave him that
horrible blow in his face.'
'But you could not help it, I am sure,' said Ellen.
'I did not do it on purpose,' said George, 'but I did it in a
passion, and that is as bad.'
'Oh, this unlucky day,' said Ellen, 'and this morning I thought you
so happy, but I think you had better stay till evening before you go
down to Mr. Fletcher's. I am sure mother thought you had better stay
quiet this morning, and mother is always so kind.'
George felt all this, and went out of the room, and returned into it
several times, from irresolution and dissatisfaction with himself. He
kissed Ellen, and told her not to mind his being cross, upon which she
threw her arm across his shoulder, and entreated him to sit quietly at
home, and not to go out and heat himself and make himself uncomfortable
just as he was beginning to get cool.
George seemed to long to stay with Ellen, and even when he got to
steps which led from the hall into the pleasure-grounds, he went very
slowly down, dragging one leg after the other, half inclined to return,
but at this moment that frisking little Pompey came by looking very
bright and clean after his washing, and he jumped upon George, and
invited him to play. George then gave him a call, and they bounded
together over the fields and hedges, and were very soon lost to the
sight of Ellen, who returned into the house, and could scarcely refrain
from shedding tears.
George passed with his frolicsome companion through the same field
where Mr. and Mrs. Danvers had noticed the donkey browsing in the
hedges, and the animal was still browsing, and picking up nettles and
flowers, and enjoying his freedom. George might just as well have
walked quietly through the field, and have left the poor donkey to his
repast, but he was in a very odd sort of a humour still, and thought it
would be very good fun to have a little scamper round the field upon
the donkey's back. He had heard his father and mother say that the
donkey had never been properly broken in, and that he was not fit to be
ridden, but George thought that if he could ride a pony, which he
sometimes did, he certainly could ride a donkey, and at any rate he was
determined to try. He went back to the stable therefore to ask the
groom for a halter, but the groom was not in the stable, unfortunately,
or he would have known better, it is to be hoped, than to have
encouraged the young gentleman in what he knew to be wrong. So George
helped himself to an old piece of rope which he found under the
cartshed, and, taking a small hunting-whip of his own, returned to the
field with the intention of having a good ride. He had some difficulty
in catching the animal, which was better pleased to graze at liberty
than to be confined, and have a burthen put upon his back. It must be
owned, nevertheless, that it was not a very heavy burthen preparing for
him, nothing compared to the great weights many, many poor donkeys are
compelled to toil under, and never stopping to rest, perhaps, from
morning till night. Still, the donkey had rather been left in the
hedges, and many a race round and round the field did he give George,
and many a time did he kick up his hinder legs in defiance before
George at length succeeded in throwing the halter over his head. The
mighty feat, however, was, after repeated failures, accomplished, and
George felt not a little satisfied when he found himself safely seated
on the animal. He certainly was seated, but as to riding, it was what
the donkey seemed resolved he should not do, and there he continued to
sit, perfectly still and quiet, for some minutes, for although the
animal had shown great fleetness and alacrity when George was
attempting to stop him, it was very different now George was
endeavouring to make him go on. George kicked as hard as he could kick
with both his heels, and flogged with all his might, but the stubborn
beast would not stir an inch. He then got off his back, and led him
into the road, which he had some difficulty in accomplishing, and when
there he would not go a bit better than in the field. He had no
preference to the turnpike road, and George, after fatiguing himself,
and getting into a violent heat by beating and thumping the animal's
impenetrable skin, considered that he had better get him back again
into the field, and there leave him. But here again the stubborn beast
perplexed him; he would not budge an inch, no, not even when George
pulled and dragged him by the halter till his arms ached so much he was
obliged to desist. Now what was to be done? The donkey was not his
father's; it was borrowed. If he left it on the road it would be lost
or stolen, and as to riding it or leading it away it seemed entirely
impossible. He was standing in not a very happy mood, and leaning
against the donkey's neck, when a butcher's boy came jogging along upon
his shaggy and bareboned pony.
'Do you want to get him on, sir?' said the boy.
'Yes, but he won't stir,' said George.
'Oh, trust me to making him stir,' replied the hatless,
greasy-haired lad. 'Get upon his back, sir, and I'll send him on for
George was upon his back in a minute, but with all the famed prowess
of the butcher's boy as a donkey driver, and with all George's renewed
thumps and kicks, the animal would not move from the spot where he had
fixed himself. The butcher's boy was quite in a rage, and he was
venting his spleen upon the stubbornness of all donkeys, and of this
donkey in particular, when the sudden sound of a horn made both the
donkey and the pony prick up their ears. In a few moments a stage coach
was in sight, and in a few more the horn and the rattling wheels
approached with great velocity towards the two equestrians. George
would have jumped off to save himself from being run over, but the
donkey saved him for the present the trouble. All his energies were
suddenly roused, and he darted forward in a pelting gallop; the
butcher's pony did the same. Away they both flew before the leaders of
the stage, scarcely distancing them by a horse's length, and all the
passengers thought that mischief was inevitable. A gentleman on the box
begged the coachman to pull in, but the coachman seemed to enjoy the
fun, and only whipped on his horses. The pony and the donkey were still
galloping furiously, both their riders keeping their seats. Butchers'
boys always seem glued to their saddles, so that there appeared nothing
astonishing in Jem Rattle's not getting a fall; but how George, without
his saddle, and not much accustomed to riding, sat so long was
something more remarkable. Whether he might have got to the end of his
race without accident if his father and mother had not now appeared by
the side of the road it is impossible to say; but certain it is that
the sight of them diverted the attention which had before been entirely
given to keeping his eye steadily before him. At the same instant the
donkey gave a little curve out of the line in which he had been going,
and most providential was it that he did so, for by this inclination
George was thrown sufficiently to the right of the road to clear the
wheels of the coach. The pony had given in some few minutes before, and
the donkey, having once checked himself, stopped suddenly, and stood
quietly by the roadside as if nothing had happened. The gentleman on
the box now insisted upon the coachman's drawing up, to see if the
young gentleman had sustained any injury; and Mr. and Mrs. Danvers, in
a state of harassing alarm, also hastened to approach the spot.
Mr. and Mrs. Danvers were more alarmed than George was hurt; he
certainly got a few bruises, but he received no serious injury. He
immediately jumped on his legs, and relieved the anxiety of his
parents, when, after Mr. Danvers had thanked the gentleman for his kind
interference, and joined with him in condemning the coachman for not
having before checked his horses, the coach drove on, and George joined
his father and mother. The butcher boy was commissioned, with the
promise of a shilling, to bring back the donkey to Mr. Danvers' field,
and George looked not a little foolish as he began his walk home by the
side of his father.
'I thought you had been remaining quietly at home, George,' said
'And certainly, if you had been out,' added Mr. Danvers, 'you had no
business to have been riding that donkey. You must have heard me say
that it was not fit to be ridden, for it is always playing tricks of
some sort. And you may be very thankful that you did not get either a
broken limb or a severe blow on your head.'
George made no reply, but he burst into tears, for his ill-humour
had now entirely given way to sorrow; and he continued crying as he
walked by the side of his father.
'I am afraid you have too much indulgence,' said Mr. Danvers, 'and
too much liberty in disposing of your time; you are not the happier for
it, you see. When left to yourself to amuse yourself as you please the
whole day, you almost constantly get into some trouble or other before
the day is over. In future I shall take care that your time is better
employed than in riding races with butchers' boys, and trying to tame
Here George tried to put his father right as to his riding with the
butcher's boy being entirely accidental; but his sobs prevented his
speaking articulately, and they had nearly arrived at home before Mr.
and Mrs. Danvers could exactly understand how the accident had
'And how came Fletcher by his black eye?' said Mr. Danvers.
'Oh, that was done in a passion,' replied George. 'I was tired
before I began to play, and I did not like to be beat by a boy so near
my own size.'
'And how would you have felt,' said Mr. Danvers, 'had you deprived
your companion of the sight of his eye, which was very near being the
case? Accidents of this sort have sometimes happened from
cricket-balls; but this, instead of accidental, would have been the
consequence of pettish ill-humour. I shall allow no more cricket for
some days; indeed, I fear it will be some days before Fletcher will be
well enough to play; and certainly I shall allow no more whole days of
'I wish you would not, father,' said George, 'for they always end
unhappily; and you have not heard all the unhappiness of this.'
George was endeavouring to commence his relation of the broken vase,
when the lads from the cricket-field, who had just finished their game,
approached to bid Mr. and Mrs. Danvers a good-morning, and inquire of
their young companion why he and Tom Fletcher had not again joined
them. In pity to the confusion visibly stamped on George's countenance,
Mr. Danvers undertook to explain the cause of their absence, and begged
that they themselves would come, whenever it was pleasant to them, to
play in his field. As to Tom, he thought he would not be able to play
again within a week; but on that day se'nnight, if his eye was well
enough to allow of his playing, Mr. Danvers would himself take a part
in the game, and he invited all the party to take tea and refreshments
after its conclusion. The boys seemed delighted with this proposition,
and took their leave, when George accompanied his father and mother
into the house, where they were joined by little Ellen. The accident of
the broken vase was related, at which Mrs. Danvers expressed great
regret; but her vexation was accompanied with the pleasing reflection
that the word of her children might be taken without scruple, for the
good-natured Ann was not easy till she had informed her mistress of all
that she knew respecting the accident.
From this day, Ellen never wished that she was a boy to do nothing
but play from morning till night. She saw, in the example of her
brother George, that idleness generally leads to mischief, and
consequently to unhappiness; and she felt how necessary it was to have
performed her duty well before she could enjoy her play.