Amendment by E. V. Lucas
Charles Grant lived in a good house, and wore fine clothes, and had
a great many pretty toys to play with; yet Charles was seldom happy or
pleased; for he was never good. He did not mind what his mother said to
him, and would not learn to read, though he was now seven years old.
He called the servants names, pinched and beat his little sister
Clara, and took away her playthings, and was not kind and good to her,
as a brother should be. 'Oh, what a sad boy Charles is!' was his
mother's daily bitter exclamation.
His father was a proud, bad man, who let Charles have his own way,
because he was his only son, and he thought him handsome. But how could
anyone be handsome that was so naughty? I am sure that when he was
froward, and put out his lip, and frowned, he looked quite ugly. Mother
told him so, and said that no one was pretty that was not good; but
Charles did not mind his mother, and was so vain he would stand before
the looking-glass half the day, instead of learning his lessons; and
was so silly he would say, 'What a pretty little boy I am! I am glad I
am not a shabby boy, like Giles Bloomfield, our cowboy.' At such times
his mother would say to him: 'I wish, Charles, you were only half as
good as Giles; he is not much older than you, yet he can read in the
Bible quite well; he works hard for his poor mother, and never vexes
her, as you do me; and when he comes home of an evening, he nurses the
baby, and is kind to all his sisters. I dare say he never pinched nor
beat any of them in his life.'
'Oh!' said that wicked Charles, 'I hate him for all that, for he
wears ragged clothes, and has no toys to play with.'
'Oh fie, Charles!' said his mother; 'you are a wicked boy: have not
I often told you that God made the poor as well as the rich, and He
will hate those who despise them? Now, Charles, if God, to punish you
for your pride, were to take away your father and me, and you had no
money to buy food, and your clothes became old and ragged, you would
then be a poor, shabby boy, and worse off than Giles; for you could not
earn your own living, as he does; and you would consequently be starved
to death if God did not take care of you. And if, while you were rich,
you hated the poor, how could you expect God to care for you when you
grew poor, like those you had scorned?'
But Charles, however, was so naughty he would not stay to hear what
his mother said, but ran away into the fields.
Then Charles's mother was so vexed that she could not help crying at
his being such a wicked, proud boy; and she could not sleep all that
night for the grief his conduct had occasioned her. The next day she
was forced to take a long journey, to visit a friend who was very ill,
and who lived in London. She was very sorry to leave her children, for
she knew if Charles behaved naughty when she was with him, he would be
a sad boy indeed when he was left to himself, and had none to correct
him and tell him of his faults.
When the carriage that was to take Mrs. Grant to London drove to the
door, she kissed her children a great many times, and begged that they
would be very good while she was away from them.
'You, my dear Clara, I know, will mind what nurse says to you, and
will try to be good while I am gone; for you know that God will see
everything you do amiss, if I do not; and I hope you will never forget
to say your prayers to Him night and morning.'
Clara kissed her dear mother, and promised that she would attend to
all she said; and her mother was satisfied, for she knew that Clara
never told stories, though she was but a little girl.
Then Mrs. Grant turned to Charles, and said: 'As for you, Charles, I
cannot help feeling great pain at leaving you; for you are such a bad,
wilful boy that I shall not have a happy moment whilst I am away from
you, lest you should do anything amiss. But if you love me, you will
try to be good; and whenever you are about to do anything wrong, say to
yourself, How much this would grieve my poor mother if she knew it!
and how much it will offend God, who does see, and knows, not only
everything I do, but even my most secret thoughts! And He will one day
bring me to an account for all I do or say against His holy will and my
kind parents' commands.'
Charles, who knew he was a bad boy, hung down his head, for he did
not like to be told of his faults.
Then his mother said: 'My dear Charles, do try and be good, and I
will love you dearly.'
'But what will you bring me from London,' said Charles, 'if I am a
good boy? for I never will behave well for nothing.'
'Do you call the love of God and of dear mother nothing?' said
Clara; 'I will behave well, even if mother forgets to bring me the
great wax doll, and the chest of drawers to keep her clothes in, which
she told me about yesterday.'
Mrs. Grant smiled fondly on her little girl, but made no reply to
Charles; and soon the coach drove away from the door.
Charles was very glad when his mother was gone, and he said: 'Now
mother is gone to London, I will do just as I please: I will learn no
ugly lessons, but play all day long. How happy I shall be! I hope
mother may not come for a whole month.'
But Charles soon found he was not so happy as he thought he should
have been; he did not know the reason, but I will tell you why he was
not happy. No one can be happy who is not good, and Charles was so
naughty as to resolve not to obey his kind mother, who loved him so
Charles brought out all his toys to play with, but he soon grew
weary of them, and he kicked them under the table, saying, 'Nasty dull
toys, I hate you, for you do not amuse me or make me happy. I will go
to father, and ask him to give me something to please me that I am not
But father was busy with some friends in the study, and could not
attend to his wants. Charles was a rude, tiresome boy; so he stood by
his father, and shook his chair, and pulled his sleeve, and teazed him
so much that his father at last grew angry, and turned him out of the
Then Charles stood and kicked at the door, and screamed with all his
might, when one of the gentlemen said to him: 'If you were my little
boy, I would give you something to cry for.' So Charles's father told
him if he did not go away, he would come out of the study and whip him.
When Charles heard this, he ran away, for he was afraid of being
beaten; but, instead of playing quietly with his toys, he went and laid
under the great table in the hall and sulked and fretted till
When nurse came to call him to dinner, he said: 'I won't come. Go
away, ugly nurse!'
Then said nurse: 'Master Charles, if you like to punish yourself by
going without your dinner, no one will prevent you, I am sure.'
Then Charles began to cry aloud, and tried to tear nurse's apron;
but nurse told him he was a bad boy, and left him.
Now, when Clara sat down to dinner, she said to nurse: 'Where is
brother Charles? Why is he not here?'
'Miss Clara, he is a naughty child,' said nurse, 'and chooses to go
without his dinner, thinking to vex us; but he hurts no one but himself
with his perverse temper.'
'Then,' said Clara, 'I do not like to dine while Charles goes
without; so I will try and persuade him to come and eat some pie.'
'Well, Miss Clara,' said nurse, 'you may go, if you please; but I
would leave the bad boy to himself.'
When Clara came to Charles, and asked him if he would come and eat
his dinner, he poked out his head, and made such an ugly face that she
was quite frightened at him, and ran away.
Nurse did not take the trouble of calling him to tea; and, though he
was very hungry, he was too sulky to come without being asked; so he
lay under the table, and cried aloud till bedtime. But when it grew
dark, he was afraid to stay by himself, for bad children are always
fearful; so he came upstairs and said in a cross, rude tone of voice:
'Nurse, give me something to eat.'
Nurse said: 'Master Charles, if you had been good, you would have
had some chicken and some apple-pie for your dinner, and bread and
butter and cake for your tea; but as you were such a bad boy, and would
not come to your meals, I shall only give you a piece of dry bread and
a cup of milk, and you do not deserve even that.'
Then Charles made one of his very worst faces, and threw the bread
on the ground, and spilt the milk.
Nurse told him that there were many poor children in the world who
would be glad of the smallest morsel of what he so much despised, and
that the time would come when he might want the very worst bit of it;
and she bade him kneel down and say his prayers, and ask God to forgive
him for having been such a wicked boy all day.
But Charles did not mind what she said, and went crying to bed. Thus
ended the first day of Charles Grant's happiness.
He awoke very early the next morning, and told nurse to get him his
breakfast, for he was very hungry. But nurse said he must wait till
eight o'clock, which was the breakfast hour.
He now found it was of no use sulking, as no one seemed to care for
his tempers; so he looked about for something to eat, but found nothing
but the piece of bread he had thrown on the ground the night before;
and he was glad to eat that, and only wished there had been more of it.
As soon as breakfast was over, Clara brought her books, and began to
learn her lessons, and nurse asked Charles if he would do the same. But
Charles said, 'No, indeed! I do not mean to learn any lessons while
mother is away, for I mean to please myself and be happy.'
'You did as you pleased yesterday, Master Charles,' said nurse; 'yet
I do not think you were so very happy, unless happiness consists in
lying under a table and crying all day, and going without dinner and
tea, merely to indulge a sullen, froward temper.'
Now, Charles hated to be told of his faults, so he left nurse, and
went into the garden to try and amuse himself. When there, instead of
keeping in the walks, as he ought to have done, he ran on the beds,
trampled down the flowers, and pulled the blossoms from the
The gardener's boy earnestly requested Charles not to do so much
mischief; but Charles told him he was a gentleman's son, and would do
as he pleased. So he again ran over the new-raked borders, and pulled
up the flowers; and the poor boy was sadly vexed to see his nice work
Charles did not care for that, and would have behaved still worse,
had not the gardener, who then came up, taken him in his arms, and
carried him into the house, in spite of his kicking and screaming. He
cried for a long time, and made a sad noise; but, finding that no one
paid any regard to him, he became quiet, and went into the nursery, and
asked Clara to come and play with him.
'I cannot come just now, brother Charles,' said she; 'for I want to
finish this frock that I am making for Giles Bloomfield's little
'I am sure,' said Charles, 'if I were you, I would much rather play
than sit still and sew.'
'Not if you knew what pleasure there is in doing good,' said Clara;
'but if you will wait till I have finished it, you shall go with me and
give it to the poor woman, and then you will see how pleased she will
be, and how nicely the baby will look when she is dressed in this
pretty frock, instead of her old faded, ragged one.'
[Illustration: Had not the gardener, who then came up, taken him
in his arms, and carried him into the house, in spite of his kicking
and screaming.Page 142.]
Charles did not know how to amuse himself, so he sat down on his
little stool, and watched his sister while she worked.
When Clara had finished making the frock, she said: 'Thank you, dear
nurse, for cutting out and fixing the frock for me.' So she threw her
arms round nurse's neck, and kissed her cheek; and nurse put on Clara's
tippet and her new bonnet, and walked with Charles and her to Dame
The good woman took the baby out of the cradle, and laid it on
Clara's lap, and Clara had the pleasure of dressing it herself in the
nice new frock; and the baby looked so neat and pretty, and the poor
mother was so pleased, that Clara was much happier than if she had
spent her time in playing or working for her doll.
While Clara was nursing and caressing the baby, Charles went into
the little garden, where he found Giles Bloomfield, who had just
returned from working in the fields, with a beautiful milk-white rabbit
in his arms, which he had taken out of the hutch, and was nursing with
'Oh, what a pretty rabbit!' said Charles. 'Giles, will you sell it
'No, Master Charles,' said Giles, 'I cannot sell my pretty
'And why not?' asked Charles in a fretful tone.
'Because, Master Charles, the old doe, its mother, died when
Snowball was only a week old, and I reared it by feeding it with warm
milk and bran; and it is now so fond of me that I would not part with
it for a great deal.'
So saying, he stroked his pretty favourite, who licked his hand all
over, and rubbed her soft white head against his fingers.
Then Giles said: 'My dear Snowball, I would not sell you for the
'But you shall sell Snowball to me,' said Charles, making one of his
ugly faces. 'I will give you a shilling for her; and if you do not let
me carry her home this very day, I will tell father of you, and he will
turn you out of the cottage.'
When Giles's mother heard Charles say so, she came out of the house,
and said: 'Pray, Giles, let Master Charles have the rabbit.'
'Dear mother,' said Giles, 'Master Charles has a pony and a dog, and
a great many fine toys to play with, and I have only my pretty
Snowball; and it will break my heart to part with her.'
'Then,' said his mother, 'would you rather see your mother and
sisters turned out of doors than part with your rabbit? You know,
Giles, that I had so many expenses with your poor father's illness and
death that I have not paid the rent due last quarter-day; and you know
it is in our landlord's power to turn us into the streets to-morrow.
'Well, mother,' cried Giles, bursting into tears, 'Master Charles
must have the rabbit. But oh!' continued he, 'he does not love you as I
do, my pretty Snowball; he will not feed and take care of you as I have
done, and you will soon die, and I shall never see you again.' And his
tears fell fast on the white head of his little pet as he spoke.
Clara was quite grieved, and begged her naughty brother not to
deprive poor Giles of his rabbit; but Charles was a wicked and covetous
boy; he therefore took Snowball from Giles, and carried her home in his
arms, and put her in a box. He went into the fields and gathered some
green herbs for her to eat, and said: 'I am glad I have got Snowball;
now I shall be quite happy.'
But how could Charles be happy when he had broken God's holy
commandment, which says, 'Thou shalt not covet'? Nurse and Clara told
him so, and begged him to give Snowball back again to Giles. But
Charles said he would not, for he meant to keep her all his life; but
the next morning, when he went into the stable to look at her, he found
her stretched at the bottom of the box. He called her, but Snowball did
not stir; he then took her out of the box to see what ailed her; but
she was quite cold and dead.
Oh dear! how Charles did cry! But it was of no use. He had better
not have taken her away from Giles, for he did not know what to feed
her with, and had given her among the greens he had gathered a herb
called hemlock, which is poisonous and will kill whatever eats of it;
and it had killed poor Snowball.
The coachman told Charles so when he saw how swollen she was, and
Charles cried the more. Giles cried too when he heard what a sad death
poor Snowball had died; but he had been a good dutiful boy in parting
with her when his mother wished it, though it had cost him much pain
and many tears.
Well, Charles's mother was gone a long time, more than a month, and
it would quite shock you to be told how naughty Charles was all that
time; at last a letter came to say she was very ill, and then another
to tell them she was dead.
What would Charles then have given if he had not grieved her so
often with his perverse temper and wicked conduct? He now said when he
saw her again, he would beg her to forgive him; but when Charles did
see his poor mother again she was in her coffin and could not hear him;
and he cried exceedingly, and wished he had been good. Clara, though
she cried as much as Charles for her dear mother, was glad she had
obeyed her, and been so good while she was away.
'And I will always be as good as if dear mother could see me, and
love me for it too,' said she to nurse the day after her mother was
'My dear young lady,' said nurse, 'your mother will see it,
and love you for doing your duty.'
'How can dear mother see me? Her eyes are closed, and she is in the
dark grave,' said Clara.
'But she will see you from heaven, Miss Clara, where she is gone to
receive the reward of her good conduct in this world; for though her
body is in the earth, her spirit is in heaven.'
'And shall I never see my own dear mother again?' said Clara.
'Yes, Miss Clara; if you are good, you will go to heaven when you
die, and become an angel like her.'
'Then,' said Clara, 'I will pray to God to make me good, and when I
am going to do anything wrong I will say to myself, If I do this, I
shall never go to heaven, and see my dear mother when I die.'
'I wish,' said nurse, 'that Master Charles was like you, and would
try to be good.'
But though Charles was sometimes sorry for his bad behaviour, he did
not try to mend, because he thought it was too much trouble to be good,
and said he did not care, because he was the son of a gentleman.
Charles did not know that at this very time his father had spent all
his money, and owed a great many debts to different people; and at last
he ran away that he might not be put in prison; and the people to whom
he owed so much money came and seized his fine house and gardens, and
the coach, and all the furniture, and sold them by auction, to raise
money to pay the debts; so Charles found that, instead of being rich,
he was now very, very poor.
When the auction was over and all the things were sold, and it was
getting quite dark (for it was in the month of November), Clara and
Charles stood in one of the empty parlours, and wondered what they
should do for supper, and where they should sleep that night; for all
the beds were sold, and they saw the servants go away one after
At last nurse came in with her bonnet and cloak, and said: 'Miss
Clara, I am going away to my own cottage, and as you have always been a
kind, good child, you shall go with me, and I will take care of you.'
Then Clara said, 'Thank you; but will you not take Charles also?'
'No,' said nurse; 'he has always been such a proud, bad boy that I
will not take him. I have very little to spare, for I am a poor woman,
and what I have is not more than will keep my own children and you,
Saying this, she got into the cart, and took Clara on her lap, and
one of the footmen got in after her, and drove away from the door.
Charles stood on the step of the door, and looked after them till
they were out of sight; and then he began to cry as if his heart would
break. The servant of the gentleman who had purchased the house came
and locked the door, so Charles could not get in any more, and he sat
down on the stone steps, and covered his face with his hands, and cried
'Unhappy child that I am,' sobbed he; 'what will become of me? Oh,
if I had but been good like Clara, I should have found a friend, as she
has; but no one cares what becomes of me, because I have been so
wicked. I used to despise the poor, and God, to punish me, has made me
It was very cold, and the snow began to fall fast, and it grew quite
dark. Charles rested his head on his knees, and was afraid to look
round; his clothes were almost wet through, and his limbs were benumbed
with cold; he had no place where he could ask shelter, for no one loved
him; and he thought he should be obliged to stay there all night, and
perhaps be frozen to death.
Just then someone softly touched his hand, and said: 'Master
Charles, I have been looking for you for more than an hour.'
Charles looked up; but when he saw it was Giles Bloomfield who had
come to seek him in his distress, he remembered how ill he had behaved
to him, so he hid his face, and began to weep afresh.
Then Giles sat down by him on the steps, and said: 'Dear Master
Charles, you must not stay here. See how fast it snows. You will catch
your death of cold.'
'Yes, I am very cold and hungry,' sobbed Charles, 'but I have no
home now; I have nowhere else to go, and must stay here all night.'
'No, Master Charles,' said Giles, 'you shall come home with me, and
shall share my supper and my bed, though it is not such as you have
been used to; notwithstanding we are very poor, we will do our best to
make you comfortable.'
'Oh, Giles!' said Charles, throwing his arms round Giles's neck, 'I
do not deserve this kindness; I have been such a proud, wicked boy, and
have treated you so ill. I am sure you can never forgive me for having
taken your pretty Snowball; and if you forgive me, I can never
'Dear Master Charles, do not think of that now,' said Giles, taking
both Charles's cold hands in his. 'Indeed, Master Charles, I should
never dare say my prayers if I was so wicked as to bear malice; and,
now you are in distress, I would do anything in my power to serve you.
So pray come home with me, and warm yourself, and get some supper.'
But Charles hid his face on Giles's bosom, and cried the more; at
last he said:
'Giles, I am so ashamed of having behaved so cruelly to you, that I
can never go to your home, and eat the food that you are obliged to
labour so hard for.'
'Master Charles,' said Giles, 'that is because you are so proud.'
'Oh no, no!' sobbed Charles, 'I am not proud now, and I think I
shall never be proud again.' So he kissed Giles, and they both went
home to Dame Bloomfield's cottage together.
When Giles's mother saw Charles, she said: 'Why did did you bring
this proud, cross young gentleman here, Giles?'
Charles, when he heard her say so, thought he should be turned out
again into the cold, and began to cry afresh; but Giles said:
'Dear mother, Master Charles has no home to go to now; he is cold
and hungry; I am sure you will let him stay here, and share my bed and
'He can stay here if he likes,' said Dame Bloomfield; 'but you know,
Giles, we are forced to work hard for what food we have, and I am sure
we cannot afford to maintain Master Charles.'
'Then,' said Giles, 'he shall have my supper to-night; he wants it
more than I do, for he has had no food all day.'
'You may please yourself about that, Giles; but remember, if you
give your food to Master Charles, you must go without yourself.'
'Well,' said Giles, 'I shall feel more pleasure in giving my supper
to Master Charles than in eating it myself.'
So he brought a stool, and, placing it in the warmest corner by the
fire, made Charles sit down, and chafed his cold frozen hands, and
tried to comfort him; for Charles was greatly afflicted when he saw
that everyone hated him; but he knew that it was his own fault, and a
just punishment for his pride and bad conduct.
When Giles brought his basin of hot milk and bread for his supper,
he could not thank him for crying; and he was ashamed to eat it while
Giles went without; but he was so hungry, and the milk looked so nice,
that he did not know how to refuse it; and Giles begged him so
earnestly to eat that at last he did so, and once more felt warm and
Then Giles said to him: 'Now, Master Charles, will you go to bed?
Mine is but a coarse, hard bed, but it is very clean.' So he took the
lamp to show Charles the way to the chamber in which he was to sleep.
Charles was surprised at seeing no staircase, but only a ladder.
Giles laughed when he saw how Charles stared, and he said:
'You have been used to live in a grand house, Master Charles, and
know nothing of the shifts the poor are forced to make.'
Then Charles climbed up the ladder, and Giles showed him a little
room, not much larger than a closet, with no furniture in it, but a
stump bed without any hangings, and covered with a coarse, woollen rug.
Charles Grant had never even seen such a bed before, but he was
thankful that he could get any place to sleep in, out of the cold and
Giles helped Charles to undress, for Charles was so helpless he did
not know how to undress himself. When he was going to step into bed,
'Will you not say your prayers before you go to bed, Master
Charles blushed and hung down his head, for he had been so naughty
that he had not said his prayers for a long time past, and had almost
forgotten what his dear mother had taught him; and he told Giles so at
'Dear, dear!' said Giles, 'I never dare go to bed without saying
Then Charles said: 'I am sorry I have been so naughty as to forget
my prayers; will you teach me yours, and I will never forget them
Then they both knelt down by the side of the little bed, and Giles
taught Charles such prayers as he knew, and Charles went to bed much
happier than he had been for a long time.
Though the bed was hard, and the sheets brown and coarse, Charles
was so weary that he soon fell asleep, and slept so soundly that he did
not awake till it was broad day, and Giles was up and gone to work in
When Charles looked round he thought he had never seen such a shabby
room in his life. There was not so much as a chair or table or carpet
in it; he could see all the thatch and the rafters in the roof, for the
chamber was not even ceiled, but showed the thatch and rafters, and, as
I said before, there was not a single article of furniture in the room,
except the bed. How different from the pretty little chamber in which
Charles used to sleep, with the nice white dimity window-curtains and
hangings and mahogany tent-bed, with such comfortable bedding and
handsome white counterpane! However, he now thought himself very
fortunate that he had any roof to shelter him, or any bed, however
homely it might be, on which he could sleep.
He thought he should like to get up and go downstairs, but he had
always been used to have a servant to dress him, and he did not know
how to dress himself, so while he was considering what he should do
Giles came into the chamber. He had returned to get his breakfast, and
not seeing Charles downstairs he concluded the cause of his absence,
and came to assist him to dress. Charles observed how this matter was
arranged, and resolved to do it for himself the next morning.
When he was dressed they both knelt down by the bedside and said
their prayers, for though Giles had said his at the dawn of day, yet he
never omitted an opportunity of repeating his thanksgivings and praises
to his heavenly Father for the mercies and blessings which he enjoyed
through His grace, for Giles possessed a grateful and contented heart,
which made him look upon that state of life unto which it had pleased
God to call him, as that which was meet and fit for him, so he worked
hard, and ate the bread of labour with cheerfulness and satisfaction.
When Charles and Giles joined the family below Dame Bloomfield set a
porringer of milk and a piece of brown bread for everyone but Charles,
who looked ready to cry, but Giles put his porringer before him, and
gave him another spoon, and said: 'Master Charles, we will eat
together, for there will be enough for both of us.' The tears came into
Charles's eyes, and he whispered: 'Dear Giles, you are very good.' So
these boys eat out of the same porringer, and broke of the same bread.
After breakfast Giles went out to work, and Charles thought it very
dull till he returned to dinner. When Dame Bloomfield gave her children
their dinners there was a dumpling for everyone but Charles; then Giles
cut his dumpling in half, and gave one part to Charles, and eat the
other half himself. Now this was very good of Giles, for he was very
hungry himself, but he could not bear to see Charles sad and hungry
while he was eating, and Giles liked to do good because he knew it was
pleasing to God.
As soon as dinner was over Giles went out to work again, and Charles
was as dull as he had been in the morning, for all the family were at
work in some way or other, and could not spare time to amuse or talk to
him, and he did nothing but sigh and fret to himself till evening, when
Giles came home from work.
Giles's eldest sister made a bright fire, and they all sat round it
and talked and told stories, and Giles nursed the baby, and played with
the other little ones, and seemed quite happy, and so he was, for he
had done his duty, and everyone loved him for being so good.
After supper Giles taught those of his sisters who were old enough
to read and write, and when they had finished learning their tasks
Charles took up the book, and said: 'Giles, will you teach me to read?'
and Giles said: 'Certainly, Master Charles, I will, but I am sure you
must know how to read a great deal better than such a poor boy as I
'I might have done so,' said Charles, 'but, Giles, I was a sad,
naughty, perverse boy, and hated to learn any thing that was good; but
I hope I know better now, and if you will only take the trouble of
teaching me I will try and make up for my lost time.'
So Giles gave Charles a lesson that very night, and every evening
after supper he heard him read and spell what he had learned during the
day, and Charles took such pains that he soon began to read so well
that he used to amuse himself by reading pretty stories, and by
teaching little Betty, one of Giles's youngest sisters, to read.
Still Charles used to be exceedingly hungry, for he had not more
than half the quantity of food he was used to eat, and Giles was hungry
too, and grew pale and thin.
Then Charles said to himself: 'It is not right for me to eat the
bread which poor Giles works so hard to earn; I will try and get my own
living, for why should I not do so, as well as Giles?' So one morning,
when Giles rose, as usual, at five o'clock, Charles got up too. Then
'Why do you rise so early this cold morning, Master Charles?'
'Because I am going out to work with you, Giles, if you will permit
me,' answered Charles.
'Oh, Master Charles, such work as I do is not fit for a young
gentleman like you,' said Giles.
'You must not call me a young gentleman now, for I am only a
poor boy, and poorer than other poor boys, for they can earn their own
living, while I should have been starved to death had not you given me
half of the bread you work so hard for. But I will not be a burthen to
you any longer, but learn to work and get my own living as you do.'
Charles now meant to keep his word, and they both went out into the
fields, and worked together at picking stones off the young crops of
wheat and clover, and before breakfast Giles had picked up two bushels
of stones and Charles one, and the farmer gave them a penny per bushel
for gathering them up.
Then they made haste back to the cottage, and Giles gave his mother
the money he had earned, and Charles did the same, and when the dame
poured out the milk for the family Charles saw that she filled a
porringer for him also, and they had all a good breakfast that morning,
and Charles felt quite happy because he had not eaten the bread of
idleness. So he went out to work with Giles again, and earned twopence
When Dame Bloomfield took up the dumplings Charles saw there was one
for him, and he felt happy that poor Giles had not to deprive himself
of half his food that he might eat.
Charles went out to work every day with Giles, and in the evening he
learned to read and write. He became quite good and gentle, and enjoyed
more happiness than he had experienced in his life before. And why was
Charles happy? I will tell you, my dear children. Because he was no
longer a proud, froward boy as he had been, but was kind and
sweet-tempered to everyone, and did his duty both to God and himself.
The winter passed swiftly away, and the spring came, and the birds
began to sing, and the trees looked green and gay, and the pretty
flowers bloomed in the gardens and covered the meadows all over, and
scented the air with their fragrance, and Charles thought it very
pleasant to work in the fields, and hear the birds sing as they tended
their young, or built their nests among the green boughs or in the
One day Giles said to Charles: 'Master Charles, we cannot work
together in the fields any more; I have got a new employment.'
'But why cannot I work with you?' asked Charles.
'Because, sir, you will not like to work where I am going,' answered
Giles. Charles asked where that was. 'In the garden of the great house,
Master Charles, where you used to live,' said Giles.
Charles looked very sorrowful, and remained silent for some minutes;
at last he said: 'Well, Giles, I will go with you; my clothes are grown
shabby now, and nobody will know me, and if they did I hope I am too
wise to be ashamed of doing my duty, so let us go directly.'
Then Giles took Charles into the garden, and the gardener gave them
each a hoe and a rake, and told them to hoe up the weeds on the flower
borders, and then rake them neatly over, and promised if they worked
well he would give them eightpence per day.
Now this was much pleasanter than picking stones in the field, but
Charles was very sad, and could not refrain from shedding tears when he
thought of the time when he used to play in that very garden, and he
thought, too, of his dear mamma who was dead, and of his sister Clara,
whom he had not seen for so many months, but he worked as hard as he
could, and the gardener praised them both, and he gave them a basket to
put the weeds in, and showed them how to rake the borders smooth.
Just as they had finished the job, and Charles was saying to Giles,
'How neat our work looks!' a little boy, dressed very fine, came into
the garden, and, as he passed them, said: 'I am glad I am a gentleman's
son, and not obliged to work like these dirty boys.'
When Charles thought the little boy was out of hearing, he said to
Giles: 'That little boy is as wicked as I used to be, and I doubt not
but that God will punish him in the same way if he does not mend his
The little boy, who had overheard what Charles said, was very angry,
and made ugly faces, and ran into the newly-raked beds, and covered
them with footmarks. Then Charles said: 'I am sorry for you, young
gentleman, for I see you are not good.'
'How dare you say I am not good?' said this naughty child. 'I am a
great deal better than you, for I am a gentleman, and you are only a
'Yes,' said Charles, his eyes filling with tears as he spoke, 'I am,
indeed, only a poor boy now, but I was once rich like you, and
lived in this very house, and wore fine clothes, and had plenty of toys
and money, and was just as proud and naughty as you are, but God, to
punish me, took away my parents and all those things that I had been so
proud of, and that I had made such a bad use of, and reduced me to a
poor boy, as you see.'
When the little boy heard this he looked very serious, and said: 'I
have been very naughty, but I will do so no more,' and he went into the
house, and never teased Charles or Giles again.
A few months after this, when Charles and Giles were working as
usual in the garden, they saw a gentleman come down one of the walks,
leading by the hand a little girl dressed in a black silk frock and
bonnet trimmed with crape.
'Ah, Giles,' said Charles, 'how like that young lady is to my sister
Clara. I wonder whether I shall ever see my dear sister Clara again.'
'Brother Charles, dear brother Charles, you have not then quite
forgotten your sister Clara,' said the little girl, throwing her arms
round his neck as she spoke.
When Charles saw that it was, indeed, his own dear sister Clara, he
kissed her and cried with joy.
Then he told Clara all that had happened to him since the day they
had parted, and how sorry he had been for all his past conduct, and he
asked her who the gentleman was that had brought her into the garden.
'It is our uncle, dear Charles. You know our dear mother had a
brother who lived in India that she used frequently to talk about.
Well, when he came home, and heard that mother was dead, and we were in
distress, he came to nurse's cottage, and took me home to his house,
and has now come to find you, for he is very good and kind, and loves
us both for our dear mother's sake.'
'And will he take me home too?' said Charles.
'Yes, my boy,' said Charles's uncle, taking him by the hand,
'because you are good and kind, and are no longer cross and proud, as I
heard you used to be. You shall come home with me this very day, if you
please, and I will teach you everything that a young gentleman should
know, and you and Clara shall be my children so long as you continue to
be deserving of my love, and are not unkind, nor despise those who are
beneath you in situation.'
'Indeed, uncle,' said Charles, 'I can now feel for the poor, and I
would rather remain as I am than be rich if I thought I should ever
behave as I used to do.'
'My dear child,' said his uncle, kissing him with great affection,
'continue to think so, and you will never act amiss. The first and
greatest step toward amendment is acknowledging our faults. What is
passed shall be remembered no more, and I doubt not but that we shall
all be happy for the time to come.'
'But, uncle,' said Charles, laying his hand on his uncle's arm, 'I
have something to ask of you.'
'Well, Charles, and what would you have of me?' said his uncle.
Then Charles led Giles to his uncle, and related all he had done for
him; how he had taken him to his own home, and given him half of his
food and his bed, and taught him to read and to work; he, likewise,
told his uncle how ill he had behaved to Giles in depriving him of his
pretty Snowball, and he said: 'Dear uncle, will you allow Giles to
share my good fortune, for I cannot be happy while he is in want, and
he is better than me, for he returned good for evil.'
Then his uncle said: 'Charles, I should not have loved you had you
forgotten your kind friend.' And he asked Giles if he would like to go
to his house and live with him, and spend his time in learning to read
and write, and in improving his mind, instead of hard labour.
'I should like it very much indeed, sir,' said Giles, 'but I cannot
accept your kind offer.'
'And why not, my good little friend?'
'Because, sir,' said Giles, bursting into tears, 'my poor mother and
sisters must go to the workhouse or starve if I did not stay and work
for them, and I could not be happy if I lived in a fine house, and knew
they were in want of a bit of bread to eat.'
'Then,' said the gentleman smiling, 'for your sake they shall never
want anything, for I will put them into a cottage of my own, and will
take care of them, and you shall live with me, and I will love you as
if you were my own child, and remember, Giles, I do this as a reward
for your kindness to Charles when he was unhappy and in great
Charles's uncle was as good as his word, and Giles received the
blessings of a good education, while his mother and sisters were
maintained by the benevolence of his benefactor.
Charles was so careful not to relapse into his former errors that he
became as remarkable for his gentleness and the goodness of his heart
as he had formerly been for his pride and unkindness, and in the
diligent performance of his duty, both to God and man, he proved to his
uncle the sincerity of his amendment.