BLTC Press Titles

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My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse

Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian

The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting

The hedge of thorns

by Mrs. Sherwood (Mary Martha)


My father was by trade a gardener, and was employed in various gentlemen's families in the neighbourhood; he was also the parish clerk—a man much beloved in the country, being endowed with a mind as lovely as the flowers which he was employed to cultivate; for he was, as I have no doubt, early chosen of God, and precious in his sight, and enabled, by the power of his Holy Spirit, to overcome, in a great measure, the original depravity of his nature, and to seek "whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report." Our house was exceedingly old, and so low, that the thatch at the back of it sloped nearly down to the side of the bank which rose above it: it was, however, roomy, and at the front was a porch of carved wood, with a bench on each side, and a space between, sufficiently large to admit my mother's spinning-wheel.

The cottage stood in a large garden, where, besides every kind of useful vegetable, were a beautiful woodbine, which had crept all over the porch, and two rows of flowers on each side of the straight path which led to the garden wicket.

There were snow drops and crocuses in their season, marigolds, daffodils, pinks and pansies, violets and polyanthuses, and there grew the heart's-ease in her fairest proportions.

In this sweet retirement, under the care of poor but pious parents, I was brought up; and every means were '—1, both of salutary chastisement and pious instruction, to train me up in the way I should go. (Prov. xxii. 6.) My parents fulfilled their duty in an exemplary manner towards me; the greater, therefore, indeed will be my condemnation if, in the end of days, I am not found standing in my lot. (Dan. xii. 12.)

The first event in my fife which made any impression on me, was the birth of a little sister, when 1 was in my fifth year: it was on a Sunday, in the month of June. I was playing in the porch, when my father, dressed in his best clothes, came smiling to me, bringing something wrapped carefully up in my mother's red cloak, and stooping down, he opened the cloak, and showed me a little sister.

I remember kissing her soft hands; and from that time my little sister became the object of my tenderest love, and I waited with anxious expectation the happy time when she would be able to play with me in the porch. She received at her christening the name of Anna Bella, joining in one the names of her two grandmothers; but I always called her my little Bell.

At length the long-wished-for period arrived when my little Sell could play with me in the porch, and I was trusted to take her out into the garden and lane s then what store of small shells and coloured pebbles did I find for her, and how happy I was when I had taught her to repeat her first prayer! When little Bell was about four years old, a school was opened in the village, which was nearly half a mile distant from us, by a person of small fortune, but superior education, who, being a holy woman, was willing to give herself up to teaching the poor. The name of this excellent person was Waring; she was considerably advanced in years, but was still active. My parents were desirous that we should benefit by Mrs. Waring's instructions; my mother undertook to take in washing, in order to make up the money which might be laid out in schooling.

O how little do children know what parents sometimes endure for their sake!

otherwise they would bless every affliction which might lead them to show piety at home, and to requite their parents, for that is acceptable to God. (1 Tim. v. 4.)

We were accordingly sent to school; and as the distance was considerable, We used to carry our dinners with us in a basket, and did not return till the evening: when we always found our tender mother ready to give us our suppers, and our dear father to talk to us about God, and to hear me read the Bible.

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