The May Queen by Unknown
"Mother," said Frederick Stanley, "is it
not wrong to treat servants unkindly?"
"What makes you ask that question?" answered
his Mother. "What can have put that
into your head?"
"Nothing—I don't know," replied he, looking
at his sister Kate, who was sitting near him,
working a pair of slippers.
Mrs. Stanley saw that there was something
on their mind, so she laid down her book, and
tried to draw it out. She began,—
"What is the reason that your little Scottish
friend Jessie has not been here lately? I thought
that you, Kate, could not take a walk with any
pleasure without her, and Fred has become quite
a beau since her arrival. I am afraid you have
done or said something to offend her."
"Fred," said Kate,—who was two years
younger than her brother, and much smaller,
and had a great respect for him,—"Fred, do
you tell Mother."
Fred gave his trousers a little pull, shook the
hair away from his face, half laughed, and did
not speak a word; but Kate, like a real little
woman, could not keep the secret a moment
"We have had a quarrel, Mother; that's
"'A quarrel! that's all!'" said her Mother.
"That's a great deal too much; but what did
you find to quarrel about?"
"Why, Mother," answered Fred, getting
over his bashfulness, now that the secret was
out, "it was all about treating servants with
"Well done!" exclaimed his Mother. "Let
us hear what you had to say upon the subject."
"I said it was a shame to abuse those who
were poorer than we were; that in God's eyes all
were equal. I could not bear to hear Jessie say
that she had her own servant at home, and when
this servant did anything to displease her, she
would pinch and slap her. I told her she was a
downright wicked girl!"
"Oh, shocking! shocking!" said Mrs. Stanley.
"And, my sweet little Kate, did you too
stand up for kindness to servants?"
"I did all I could, dear Mother," she replied,
"but Fred did the most."
"Well, tell me, what else did you say?"
"I told her," said Fred, hesitating a little,
"that here we said, 'if you please,' and 'thank
you,' when a servant did anything for us, and
that she had better go back to Scotland, and not
stay another day in a place where she was deprived
of the pleasure of pinching people."
"Oh, Frederick! Frederick! how could a
boy of your politeness be so rude to a young
lady? That was a great mistake."
Frederick looked mortified, and Kate hung
her head. "But what happened after that?"
asked Mrs. Stanley.
"Oh, she was so angry that she went away,
and we have not seen her since. I am very
sorry; but it can't be helped now."
"No," said Kate, "we can't help it now."
"But, my dear children," said their Mother,
"I think you owe Jessie an apology."
"I have no objection," said Fred, after reflecting
a moment, "if you think I have been so
very impolite; but it will do no good."
"Well," said Mrs. Stanley, "it must be done.
Perhaps I can assist you in making up the quarrel.
Next Thursday, you know, is the first of
May. You shall have a little party, and Jessie
shall be Queen of May. That will be certain to
"Jessie! Queen!" exclaimed Kate. "She
will not, Mother. Jessie will not come; I am
sure she will not come. I do not believe she
will ever speak to us again."
"I tell you she will come," said her Mother;
"and she will be Queen. I will manage it for
"Ah, well, Mother," said Fred, looking at
his sister, "you don't know Jessie as well as we
do. She won't forgive us so easily."
Company now came in, and the children went
to their studies. In the afternoon Mrs. Stanley
sent a polite invitation to Jessie and her parents
to pass the next Thursday evening at her house;
and as they were sitting at the tea-table, the
answer was returned.
"There," said Mrs. Stanley, "one point is
gained; they will all come."
"They may come," said Frederick, "but she
won't be civil to us, I know."
The next day was spent in preparing the
crown, throne, and flowers, &c., and Frederick
set himself to work to learn by heart some lines
his Mother had written for the occasion.
Thursday evening arrived, and the children,
though afraid of Jessie's cold looks, were in
good spirits. Kate came into the parlour, and
found Fred before a large glass, making his
speech, and practising the most graceful bows
"Goodness!" she exclaimed, "how light and
beautiful the room looks! Oh, Fred, I hope we
shall have a pleasant time."
The arrival of the company now interrupted
them, and when nearly all had come, Mrs. Stanley
told her plan with regard to Jessie; and this
important matter was just settled, when that
young lady and her parents entered.
Jessie, not knowing the honour awaiting her,
was very stiff and grave in her salutations. Her
large dark eyes were turned away from Fred and
Kate, yet an expression about her pretty mouth
seemed to say,—
"I am not so very angry as you think."
"She looks like a Queen, does not she?" whispered
Fred to his sister.
"She is stiff enough, at any rate," said
"I wonder whom she will choose for her
King?" said Fred.
"I am sure I don't know," answered Kate,
looking round. "I suppose the biggest boy."
"Dear me!" said Fred, "I forget that
I must go out until it is time for the Address;"
and he left the room, to wait his Mother's
Refreshments were now handed round the
room, and many a sly glance was cast upon the
unconscious Jessie, who was still looking very
grave, and almost cross, till, at a hint from his
Mother, Fred made his appearance, and with
blushing face, but firm voice, pronounced the
"O valiant knights, and ladies fair!
I'm very glad to see you here;
Your happy looks and eyes so bright,
Have quite inspired me to-night.
Though I'm unused to courtly ways,
My choice from you will meet with praise.
Our English land, so brave and free,
Where waves the flag of liberty,
Can yet, while all our hearts approve,
The Scottish stranger fondly love.
(No looks of grave distrust are seen,)
Fair Jessie! I proclaim you Queen!
And kneeling lowly at your feet,
To be your knight I do entreat.
Now deign to say, what happy one
Amongst us all shall share your throne?"
Fred rose from his knees, and awaited Jessie's
Her anger was all gone, but she was so surprised
that she looked down, and did not say a
"Well," thought Fred, "I knew she would
act so. I suppose everybody is laughing at me."
"Jessie," said her Mother, "speak quickly.
Whom will you have for King?"
Jessie blushed, and smiled, and whispered in
a soft little voice, "Frederick."
Astonished and delighted by this kindness,
Fred again knelt down, then rising, he took
her little white hand, and led her in triumph,
followed by all the company, to the next room,
where a splendid throne had been erected. A
beautiful crown of flowers was placed on Jessie's
head, and gave new beauty to her soft and curling
brown hair. Frederick also had a handsome
crown. Sceptres were placed in their hands, and
then they arranged their court. Kate was made
a Duchess, at which she grew quite dignified;
there were plenty of Earls and Countesses, and
the sweet little maids of honour and the pages
stood behind the throne.
They then formed a procession, to return to
the parlour, and in an instant a march burst forth
from a band of music which had been concealed
for the purpose.
At this unexpected event, his Majesty jumped
so high that his crown tumbled off, and the
Queen was in such a delightful agitation that
she could not confine her steps to a walk, and so
the King and the Queen, and the Duchess, and
all the maids of honour and pages, ran helter-skelter,
as fast as they could, and took places for
Never were merrier hearts or brighter eyes
than now leaped and shone in that little party.
The Queen was the gayest of all, and the King
was nearly out of his wits with joy, to find himself
and Jessie once more friends. Little Kate
got so tired of being a Duchess that she skipped
about like a little fairy; and all the lords and
ladies, and maids of honour and pages, were so
merry and so full of innocent fun, that they
looked a great deal more like little children.
And so the happy evening concluded, to the
satisfaction of all.
The next morning, Mrs. Stanley asked her
children if they had had a pleasant party.
"Oh, yes!" they both answered; "it was
perfectly delightful; and Jessie was as pleasant
as she could be, and seemed to have forgotten all
about the quarrel."