A PLACE FOR EVERY ONE.
A PLACE FOR EVERY ONE.
C. E. B.,
AUTHOR OF WORK FOR ALL;" "CHARLIB AND BWALTB,"
"RICH AND POOR," ETO. ETC.
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS,
THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE.
IT was a happy day at Ashgrove Farm
on which Mrs. Elwood presented her hus-
band with a daughter For thirteen years
had the worthy couple been married, and
all things gone on prosperously with them.
Riches increased, and so did the universal
respect in which they were held by their
neighbours; for Mr. Elwood was a liberal
man, as well as a clever farmer, and was
always ready to dispense to his poorer
neighbours some of the comforts which so
abundantly surrounded his own dwelling.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Elwood were great
favourites at the Hall with the squire and
his lady. At the yearly entertainment
given by them to their tenants, none were
more cordially welcomed by the host and
Ashgrove Farm; or,
hostess. Indeed, the special notice which
Mrs. Wentworth devoted to Mrs. Elwood,
sometimes excited a good deal of jealousy
amongst certain ladies, who had put them-
selves to no small amount of trouble and
expense in order to appear in what they
and their dressmakers thought was fashion-
able attire-whereas good Mrs. Elwood
came simply dressed in her Sunday gown.
She was, consequently, perfectly at her ease
as to her external appearance, whilst others
were in some trepidation as to the effect
likely to be produced by the finery so
rarely worn, and in which they felt far from
comfortable. Our worthy farmer's wife
knew no such troubles. Her gown fitted
her as well at the farm as at the Hall, and
her delicately white cap, with its modest
trimming of white satin ribbon, was the
same shape that she had worn for years,
without giving any consideration to the
fact that it was no longer new.
Not, however, but that some of her friends
had tried to improve "her style," as they
called her mode of dress. Pretty little
Mrs. Langton, of Acton Heath, a young
A Place for Every One.
wife of a year's standing, and to whom Mrs.
Elwood: had shown much matronly kind-
ness, came in one day and saw a cap lying
unfinished on the table.
Now Mrs. Langton had been brought up
in London, and moreover, had brought
thence on her marriage a very gay and
abundant trousseau; she was therefore re-
garded by her country neighbours as rather
a standard of fashion.
She was not a little proud of the dis-
tinction, it must be owned; but she was
extremely good-natured, and always ready
either to lend her patterns or give her advice
any one to whom they might be useful.
Her intimacy with Mrs. Elwood encouraged
her to ask who was her milliner ?
"My milliner My dear Mrs. Langton,
I never had one in my life "
Did you not order this cap of one ? "
"Why, I bought the back of it in the
market, of an old woman who has made
them for years ; and I plaited up the front,
and put it on and trimmed it myself."
"But it isn't in the fashion, Mrs. Elwood;
they don't wear them plaited all round the
Ashgrove Farm; or,
face; and no one ever hears of such a thing
as tying on a cap now-a-days."
How in the world, then, am I to keep
it on my head ?"
"It should be pinned on at the two sides;
I can't show you how with your cap, it's
so stiff, and so unlike the right shape. If
you will let me, I will make you one that I
know you will like."
"But the pins might fall out, and then
my cap would come tumbling off! I don't
think a dozen of them would make me feel
They are not common pins that are used,
but very large gold ones which fasten into
the hair. I have a pair; which I shall be
glad to lend you; I will send them with the
cap, and you must promise to wear them."
So saying, little Mrs. Langton hurried home,
full of her scheme for making her dear kind
friend Mrs. Elwood a head-dress that would
cause her good-humoured face to look almost
handsome, she was sure.
And the next evening it arrived in a
band-box. When Mrs. Elwood lifted out
the smart-looking affair, made of lace and
A Place for Every One.
fringe, shaped so as just to cover the back
of the head, with a pair of large gold balls
peeping out at the sides, she almost dropped
it, from dismay at thinking it had been
made for her.
"Dear a me to think of all the trouble
poor Mrs. Langton must have had over it;
and yet wear it I can't, that's certain,"
said she to herself. But the thought of
appearing ungrateful vexed her, so she re-
solved just to put it on. for a moment, that
she might be able to say she knew from
experience it did not suit. She was in a
little parlour which opened out of the
kitchen. There was an old-fashioned glass
over the mantel-piece, very high up; but, by
standing on a stool she could make use of
it: it was the first time in her life she had
so elevated herself, except for the purpose
of dusting it. Having removed her neat
every-day cap, and taken the other in her
hand, she examined it attentively, by way
of ascertaining how it was to be put on;
and at length had succeeded in arranging it
and the pins, as she supposed was intended,
when suddenly a loud Halloa fi-om a
10 Ashgrove Farm; or,
voice at the door, made her start so violently
that one of the pins fell out, and catching
in the fringe on the head-dress, hung
dangling from it, as she turned hastily
round, with a half-ashamed, half-amused
look, to explain to her husband what she
was about. It was no half amusement
with him, however. The farmer could
enjoy a joke thoroughly, when it came in
his way; and to catch his sober plain-
dressing Susan rigging out her head in this
guise, and standing on a stool to look at
herself, was to him something so perfectly
ludicrous, that his mirth knew no bounds.
One peal of laughter succeeded another so
boisterously, that poor Mrs. Elwood became
terrified lest her maids should mistake the
unusual sounds, and, coming to see what
was the matter, be spectators also of her
apparent folly. But in vain she tugged at
the delicate fabric of lace, fringe, and
flowers The pin which had remained in
its place seemed as if it never meant to
quit it again, so firmly had it become fixed
in her hair ; and she was compelled to ask
her husband's assistance in getting it dis-
A Place for Every One. 11
entangled! His clumsy fingers did not
much improve matters, and her looks of
dismay only causing fresh bursts of
laughter, she at length seized her scissors,
and respecting neither head-dress nor hair,
cut both away from her head. Then,
snatching up her own cap, she tied it under
her chin, resolving she never again would
try on new fashions to please anybody.
As for the farmer, he had not forgotten his
joke when seed-sowing time came on.
Putting his head in at the window, he
"Susan, suppose you were to bring your
stool, and stand in the field with that head-
gear on for an hour or two ? The birds are
uncommon troublesome to-day, and want
scaring off sadly "
So this was Mrs. Elwood's first and last
attempt at trying new fashions ; and in her
husband's and Mrs. Wentworth's eyes, at
all events, the plain cap with its white
ribbons suited her best, and set off her
pleasant features to the most advantage.
Year after year had passed on, till, as we
have before said, thirteen had been num-
12 A sh grove Farm; or,
bered since their marriage ; and the secret
hope both had cherished that they might
have a family had passed away, when the
joyful event took place announced at the
opening of the chapter, and which we left
in rather an unceremonious manner.
It is possible that Farmer Elwood might
have preferred a son, to take his place some
day in the farm ; but this is mere conjecture,
for no one ever heard him say so, nor would
anybody have judged that such was the case,
who saw his look of happiness on being told
his wife was doing well, and that the little
girl was as fine a baby as was ever born.
Perhaps a doubt as to the truth of the latter
part of the assertion crossed his mind, when
the novel sight of the little new-born creature
first met his eye; but there was true
fatherly tenderness mixed in the amazement
with which he bent over it and touched its
soft cheek with his great rough fingers,
saying, 1 don't suppose I know much
about how fine babies' ought to look, but
I hope she'll grow different to that after a
A Place for Every One.
FARMER ELWOOD was right in his conjec-
ture that his little Mary, as she was chris-
tened, would grow different-looking to what
she was when he first gazed lovingly, but
not admiringly, upon he- features. A
prettier child could not be seen in the whole
neighbourhood, nor a happier one, as she
trotted by her father's side about the farm,
or rode before him on horseback amongst
the fields and lanes. Certainly, no little
girl ever passed a pleasanter childhood than
herself, or one more free from nursery and
school-room restraints. A difficulty arose
when she was about six years old, as to
how she was to be taught to read and
write. Her mother undertook it, but soon
found that either she did not possess the
art of teaching, or Mary that of learning;
for no progress was made. The farmer
himself, seeing how things stood, made a
14 Ashgrove Farm; or,
few attempts at gaining her attention, so
far as to make her master her letters ; but
as the lesson was sure to end in a game of
romps before it was fairly begun, the
results were of course still unfavorable.
There was a village school; but, to her
father's proposal one day that sheshould
be sent there, Mrs. Elwood objected that
she should not like her to be so much
thrown with the village children. At last,
an arrangement was made with the school-
mistress that she should come over to the
farm, every day, after her scholars were
dismissed, and commence the work of
'education in earnest. The plan answered
tolerably well; and, by the time she was
ten years and a half old, Mary was by
no means deficient in such simple learn-
ing as could be given her by her instruc-
One evening, about this time, a conver-
sation passed between Mr. and Mrs. Elwood
which we will repeat, as it had an influence
on their daughter's future life. The little
girl was asleep in bed. The farmer sat in
his easy chair, smoking by the fireside in
A Place for Every One. 15
the parlour before mentioned, whilst his
wife sat opposite, engaged in trimming one
of those very caps to which she had so
long before sworn eternal friendship. Mrs.
Elwood broke a silence of some duration,
"I've been thinking, John, that we
ought to begin and consider about giving
our Mary a genteel education."
"What sort of a one is that, Susan ? I
don't quite understand."
"Why, such as is given at boarding-
schools for young ladies, where they learn
music and drawing, and French and dancing.
I called on Mrs. Parker last market-day,
and saw her two daughters, who are just
come home from school. She showed me
their drawings. I don't understand much
about it, but they looked to me as good as
what one sees in the shops. Then, Mrs.
Parker says, they play and sing beauti-
".But do you think, Susan, our Mary
will ever want these sort of things ? To
be sure, she may be asked to a dance now
and then, for the matter of learning that;
16 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
but if she drew a dozen pictures a week,
there would be no one to see them but
you and me; and I'd rather look at a
living horse or cow any day, than a lilceness
"Well; but there's the French and
music. Mrs. Parker says all young ladies
learn foreign languages now-a-days, and
that at the school where her girls go, near
London, they never are allowed to speak
English except on Sundays, till at last
French comes so easy to them they talk
better in that than their own tongue."
Mercy on us, Susan What should we
do if our little Mary went to school, and
came back talking that outlandish jabber
like the Misses Wentworth's governess ?
No, no, wife; depend upon it, God gave
her that tongue of hers to chatter English
with, not French, else she'd have been
born on the other side the water."
"And the music; wouldn't you have
her learn that either?"
Why, where would be the good of it,
when we've .got no piano ?"
"But one might be bought, surely; the
A Place for Every One.
money would be well laid out in giving
her such an amusement."
This was a new idea to the good-natured
farmer, and touched him on a weak point.
ie could withhold nothing from his child
that would give her pleasure.
Mrs. Elwood saw that she had gained
an advantage. She knew it by her hus-
band making no other reply than shaking
out his pipe, replenishing it from the box
on the mantel-piece, and then settling him-
self again in his chair, as if to continue
You see, John," she resumed, after a
pause, we've got but this one, and there's
no need for her to be busying herself all
day long, when she grows up, as I do: so
why shouldn't she go to boarding-school,
and learn to be a lady We can afford
it well enough."
Yes ; it's not the cash that's wanting,"
replied the farmer ; "and there'll be a
pretty penny for her some day when we
are gone, if things go on as they have
"That's just what Mrs. Parker was
18 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
saying to me. Says she, 'Mary's your
only child, Mrs. Elwood: why, people say
she'll be quite an heiress; and, if so, she
may marry a gentleman some day; so you
ought to bring her up like a lady.'"
Farmer Elwood was silent, and puffed
away at his pipe, watching his wife's
fingers as she dexterously stitched some
little white bows between the lace frills of
Susan," said he, at last, do you re-
member years ago my catching you standing
on the stool in your brown stuff dress,
with that queer thingamabob stuck on
your head by two great gilt knobs ?"
"To be sure I do, quite well, John; my
hair has never grown as long as the rest
where I cut it off in such a hurry: but
whatever makes you think about it now ?"
Because, somehow, it seems to me
something like what we are talking about.
I shall never forget what a rum figure
you cut when I came in, with all that
finery sticking above your plain dress.
Now, don't you think that if we bring
up our Mary to live in this farmhouse of
A Place for Every One. 19
ours, which must be her home for some
years, at all events-by sending her to a
fine school to cram her with accomplish-
ments, as they are called, we are doing
somewhat as you did then? Sha'n't we
be putting useless finery into her mind,
which we might be glad to pull out some
day, but which we shall find has got stuck
in as firmly as your gold knob was; and
will become her as ill, mayhap ?"
Mrs. Elwood did not immediately reply.
Two thoughts were struggling for the
mastery in her mind: the one was, that
there was a good deal of plain sense in her
honest husband's remarks; the other, that
Mary had a pretty face, and would some
day have a pretty fortune; and, if she
were only brought up as a lady, might
have a chance of becoming one in course of
time.- This last was by far the pleasantest
idea of the two ; and as we are all natu-
rally inclined to be most hospitable to
those we like best, so the good woman
quickly banished the disagreeable reflection,
and allowed the other to take full posses-
sion of her imagination. No one who saw
20 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
Mrs. Elwood in her active discharge of
daily duties, her simple dress, and perfect
contentment with her lot, would have sup-
posed her liable to the weakness of castle-
building. It was one that had lain dormant
hitherto : perhaps the extreme unselfishness
of her nature had been partly the cause;
for on herself she had, from a child, never
been in the habit of wasting thought: the
pleasure and happiness of others had always
come before her own. But, when unselfish-
ness and want of judgment are combined
in a character, it is apt to lead a person
into errors in the latter particular; espe-
cially when affection steps in to bias it.
Thus it was with our simple-minded, warm-
hearted farmer's wife; and so she rejected
the really clear though rough-set mirror
placed before her by her husband after the
first glance, and preferred using the less
true, but more gilded one, of her own
I don't see it as you do, John," said
she, at last. If we had a troop of boys
and girls to bring up and provide for, it
would be different; but, as Mrs. Parker
A Plcae for Every One. 21
was saying, it's right that parents should
try to do the best for their children; and
I'm sure our Mary promises to grow up fit
to be the wife of a gentleman some day."
"Aye, Susan; there's what you women
always go contriving about-how to get
your daughters well married. To think,
now, of,you setting your brain to work on
the subject when Mary's only ten years old!"
If we wait till she's grown up before
we settle what sort of an education she's
to have, John, she'll never be fit to marry
any one; that's certain."
Then the question now is, whether she
wouldn't be better to be brought up as the
likely-to-be wife of a well-to-do farmer,
like her mother before her, rather than for
the possible chance of catching some young
fellow in the shape of a gentleman, whose
friends will look down on her, whilst he
spends whatever money she may chance to
have ? "
That isn't a nice way of putting it,
John ; I wish you wouldn't talk so. How-
ever, since you are against it, you shall
have your own way, and bring her up as
22 Aslgrove Farm; or,
you think best. Perhaps you are right
and I am wrong about it, after all."
Now, notwithstanding our real and sin-
cere liking for good Mrs. Elwood, we must
be honest enough to confess to our readers
that this concluding speech, so exactly
what sounds like being subject to our
husbands," was simply a cunning and
somewhat masterly move to win the game
she thought she was playing for Mary's
good. She knew well, by experience in
simpler affairs, that there was no method
of gaining her own point like that of
seeming to yield it. Mr. Elwood loved
and looked up to Lis wife. In all do-
mestic matters she was an oracle to the
neighbourhood, and with these only she
had hitherto had to do. As a wife, mother,
and mistress, her husband considered her
perfect. When, therefore, she so submis-
sively left this matter to his judgment, he
instantly felt as if he were intruding on
her particular province. Although he might
have claimed his right to share the govern-
nment of it with her, had she resisted; yet
to have it thus meekly yielded to him,
A Place for Every One.
without one cross look or word, melted
his heart, and warped his better judgment
at the same moment.
"No, no, Susan," said he, rising to lay
down his finished pipe; I didn't say you
are 'wrong;' for, after all, women must
know best about girls; so you settle it as
you like. Find a school, and I'll pay the
bills for anything you want her taught.
So that you don't learn music and drawing,
and French jabbering, Mary may try her
hand at what you please. But I tell you
what; Susan: I wonder whether they'll
make her, in the end, as useful and dear a
wife to another man as you are to me !
I doubt whether even our Mary will match
her mother!" And the rough but affec-
tionate farmer stooped from his six feet
height, and kissed away the tear that his
loving speech had brought glistening to his
24 A shgrove Farm; or,
THE result of the foregoing conversation
was, that Mrs. Elwood again called on
Mrs. Parker to consult with her about
Mary's education. That lady, who was the
wife of a thriving tanner in the neighbour-
hood, had great notions of the importance
of bringing up girls genteelly, as she called
it, and had acted upon them by sending
her daughters to what she considered a
fashionable school, where they were learn-
ing all those accomplishments which, she
had persuaded Mrs. Elwood, were indis-
pensable for her own child. She so strongly
recommended this seminary, that it was
finally decided upon for Mary; especially
as the Misses Parker would, Mrs. Elwood
considered, feel naturally somewhat inte-
rested in a companion coming from their
own neighbourhood. The prospect of part-
ing with her was, however, so painful,
A Place for Every One.
when a consultation took place as to the
time of her going, and the child herself
was in such distress at the idea of leaving
her father and mother, that they both
agreed to defer the evil moment for ano-
ther five months, which would bring her
to the age of eleven years. She would
thus commence school life after the Mid-
From the time that Mr. Elwood and his
wife had discussed the subject together, in
the conversation related in the last chapter,
he had never again attempted to oppose
the plan of sending Mary to school; and
had gradually reconciled himself to the
prospect of parting with her. Not but
that lie would have gladly fallen into any
scheme that could have kept her at home.
Mrs. Wentworth often noticed Mary, even
occasionally asking her to spend an after-
noon with her children; and was always
pleased with the bright-looking, happy little
girl, whose hair was as soft and plain
white frock as spotless as her own young
daughter's, though the fashion of the ar-
rangement of them was somewhat different.
26 AsJlgrove .FCarmi; or,
She had on one occasion asked her parents
what they proposed doing about her edu-
cation, and had suggested the idea of look-
ing out for a sensible governess, who could
instruct her in all things necessary, and
who would be a companion to her in her
The farmer's face lighted up at the
thought of keeping his child ; and he looked
anxiously at his wife's countenance, in
hopes of seeing that she also liked the
proposal. But Mrs. Parker had so tho-
roughly convinced her Mary ought to go
to school, and associate with young ladies,
that she at once informed Mrs. Wentworth
of the decision they had made, adding that
she had been fortunate in hearing of a very
good seminary near London, where she
was told they had excellent masters for
The expression of Mrs. Wentworth's
countenance puzzled her rather. She ex-
pected that she would at once allow the
advantages of such a plan; but, although
the squire's lady was too well bred to say
anything, it was impossible not to see
A Place for Every One.
there was a doubt in her mind as to the
wisdom of the scheme ; so much so, that
it left a feeling of something like dis-
comfiture over Mrs. Elwood for a little
while. She had often been much gratified
by observing that her child was evidently
a favourite at the Hall; and, probably, if a
peep were taken into some of the hidden
and weakest recesses of the mother's heart,
we should see that her castles in the air
had sometimes arisen to the height of
wondering whether a knowledge of music
and dancing, and such things, might not
make her fit to associate pretty constantly
with the young ladies at the Hall, when
she and they should all be grown up It
is, perhaps, hardly generous thus to bring
worthy Mrs. Elwood's hidden foibles to
the light. If all mothers were as unfairly
dealt with, it may be doubtful, however,
whether they could stand the scrutiny as
well even as she could do.
It was a happy thing for the farmer that
the exciting and busy time of haymaking
prevented his having leisure to remember
often how near the day was approaching
28 Ashgrove Farm; or,
that was to take away his child, she who,
he used sometimes laughingly to say, carried
sunshine enough about with her to ripen a
whole field of corn. Mary herself also
enjoyed this season far too much to have
time to fret over the approaching separation.
She was as busy as a bee in her own
way in the hayfield, dressed in a large
holland pinafore and sun-bonnet of the
same material, made by Mrs. Elwood's
careful hands-for she had had a hint from
Mrs. Parker that Mary's complexion was
showing the effects of constant exposure
to the air, and spoke of the care that was
taken of her own girls in this respect at the
Misses Stanley's seminary. Mrs. Elwood
remembered the pale-looking young ladies
whose sallow skins she had often thought
marred any beauty they might otherwise
have possessed, and wondered secretly of
what nature was the care that had pro-
duced such poor effects !
It was unusually fine weather, and the
hay crops were enough to gladden the
heart of any farmer as they were carried in
from the fields, scenting the air with their
A Place for Every One.
delicious fragrance. Mary, according to
custom, was seated in glory on the top of
the last load, and was joining in the full
chorus sung by the men, women, and
children who, some riding, some following,
were accompanying it home.
As it entered the farmyard, a fly was
seen standing at the door of the house,
from which Mrs. Parker and her daughters
alighted. They were met at the entrance
by Mrs. Elwood, who was busy super-
intending the preparations for the early
supper about to be given to the haymakers
in the kitchen; for Farmer Elwood always
ended his affairs in a hospitable manner.
Before we proceed it may be as well to
give the reader an insight into the motive
which caused Mrs. Parker and her daughters
to call at the farm on this particular evening.
Mrs. Parker looked upon herself, and was
generally looked on by her friends in the
neighbourhood, as a person of some im-
portance. Much more so than her husband,
who was a plain quiet sort of man. His
perseverance and steadiness during life had
gradually brought him into the prosperous
30 Ashgrove Ft arm ; or,
condition of one who could afford to build
a villa in the suburbs of the market town
of Dalemoor, at a considerable distance from
his own tanpits. This had been for years
the object of his wife's ambition. Whether
her gentility or her olfactory nerves were
most offended by the vicinity of their
former small house to her husband's
business, we cannot say ; but certain it is
she gave him no peace on the subject. He,
however, being a prudent man, turned a
deaf ear to her entreaties for another abode
till he knew he could well afford it. Her
next object was to carry out the notions we
have seen she. possessed with respect to a
fashionable education for her children, and,
in consequence, they were sent to the school
before named, with strict injunctions to the
Misses Stanley to take care that accomplish-
ments of all sorts were principally attended
to, together with a due regard to their
manners, carriage, &c. The eldest Miss
Parker was now considered nearly finished,
and in such a manner that her mother was
fully satisfied no young lady of their
acquaintance in the town of Dalemoor
A Place for Every One. 31
could rival her in certain things in which
she was pronounced by her governesses to
excel. Assuredly also the Misses Parker
were gradually acquiring notions of refine-
ment, as their mother called them, which
made their father sometimes wonder whether
their schoolmistresses had any peculiar ideas
on the subject of the tanning trade, which
they were imparting to their pupils. All
allusion to this business seemed strictly
forbidden in the house if any stranger were
present. Even Mr. Parker himself found
he must keep silence on such matters at
Laurel Villa, as their suburban house was
called. In vain he reminded his wife that
but for this despised business, she would
have had no Laurel Villa, nor the means
of sending their girls to a London school.
He found that he was expected to be a
tanner one part of the day, and a gentle-
man the other; and as habit had made the
former character infinitely the most easy to
him, he spent very little of his time at his
" country abode," as the clerk at the tan-
pits had been instructed to call Laurel
Villa. The servants at that residence were
32 AshJgrove Farm ; or,
with equal care taught to reply to any
inquiries there for their master, that he
was then at his "town house," that name
being given to the dismantled abode the
family had formerly lived in, where one
room was left furnished for Mr. Parker's
accommodation during the day. It will
be readily understood that between Mrs.
Elwood and Mrs. Parker there was not much
in common to draw them together. Business
between their husbands had first made them
acquainted in days gone by, when Mrs.
Parker's residence in a small house and an
unpleasant neighbourhood made her only
too glad to accept an occasional invitation
to the farm to spend the day with her
children. Mrs. Elwood, in her turn, also
would sometimes step in to see Mrs. Parker
Son market days, and take an early dinner,
or carry a present of new-laid eggs and
fresh butter. Beyond this, they had little
intercourse, and it became still less frequent
when the Parkers removed from the town.
They still, however, met from time to time;
and when Mrs. Elwood began to feel the
want of advice respectinr her child's educa-
A Place for Every One.
tion, it seemed to her that there was no
one so capable of giving it as the mother of
three great girls, who must already have
studied the subject. Mrs. Parker was
ready enough to advise, and enter into Mrs.
Elwood's anxiety. She was by no means
above taking an interest in little Mary
Elwood. She knew that although her
parents were but plain simple people, they
were held in universal respect. They
tenanted one of Squire Wentworth's best
farms, and she was aware that Mary had
been asked to the Hall to play with his
children. She did not see, therefore, why
she should not go to the same school, and
be brought up in the same manner as her
own girls. She even thought it might be
an advantage to them in some respects, to
have her as an acquaintance after they
were all grown up. Her daughters felt
She is so old fashioned looking,
mamma," exclaimed Miss Parker, "and so
badly dressed. Her frocks come almost to
her heels, and her thick walking boots look as
34 Asligro ye Faram; or,
if they were made for her to follow her
"And she always calls her parents
'father' and 'mother,' instead of 'papa '
and 'mamma,'" said Miss Olivia, the second
daughter; "only think how vulgar that
would sound to the girls at school."
Besides," said Miss Parker, I think it
would be very disagreeable to have a girl
from the neighbourhood, who would tell
the others all she knows about us."
I am sure, my dear, for that matter," re-
plied her mother, there is nothing she can
possibly tell which we should mind. Your
father is respected by everybody, and we
never have a bill running on at any shop
What is there she could say against
Oh, nothing of that sort, mamma, of
course; but, you see, we have always kept
it a secret that our papa is a tanner. There
was no need to tell them, so the girls think
he is a gentleman living at his own place.
Some of them at Miss Stanley's hold them-
selves very high, because their fathers are
A Place for Every One. 35
private gentlemen, or else in a profession,
and they keep apart from those whose
parents are in trade."
It will soon be known that Mary El-
wood's father is only a farmer," said Miss
Olivia. "She is too young to conceal it.
Helen would have let out about papa long
ago, if we had not watched her, and she
knew how angry we should be with her if,
when she was asked what he was, she had
replied anything except that 'he was a
It won't do for us to seem to know or
care much about Mary Elwood, if she goes,"
said Miss Parker; "so pray, mamma, do
not let her parents send her there be-
cause they think we shall look after her.
Helen, too, had better understand, from the
first, that she is not to make a friend of
her. I am afraid she will want to, for
they are so nearly of an age, and they have
always seemed so pleased to be together
when she has been asked to the farm."
"Really, girls," said Mrs. Parker, "you
have brought up difficulties which never
entered my head! I have said everything
36 .As7grove Farm; or,
I could to persuade Mrs. Elwood to send
her child to Miss Stanley's school. How
could I ever have supposed you would dis-
like it so ? She might just as well have
gone somewhere else. But it's too late
now; they have decided, long ago, to send
her to Clapham."
"What a pity we were not at home
when it was first talked about," said Miss
Olivia; "but perhaps it is not too late.
If Mrs. Evlood has not fairly arranged
with the Misses Stanley to send her, you
might think of some reason for advisipg
another school instead."
"That would be no easy matter," re-
plied her mother ; but as I want to call
at Ashgrove, we may as well go to-day;
and, at all events, we can give her a hint
about getting Mary's dresses made some-
what more fashionably. So send and order
a fly, and we will start after dinner."
Is Helen to go, mamma ?" asked Miss
Parker, doubtfully, as a young girl of about
eleven, or rather more, entered the room at
that moment. "Perhaps it would be better
A Place for Every One.
Go where ? asked the child ; and, on
being told, she exclaimed, Oh, do let me
go, too-pray do, mamma! I like Mary
Elwood so much, and it will be charming
to have a run in the hayfields, and see the
"It would be a pity to leave her at
home," said Mrs. Parker; "and, for my
own part, I can see no reason for it. You
may go, my dear," she added, to the de-
lighted child; "so you had better keep
yourself quiet now, in the heat of the day,
that you may not be tired when you get
And please to remember, Helen," said
her sister, that you are not to go romping
about with Mary Elwood, as you did the
last time you were at Ashgrove. I declare
I felt quite ashamed of you. Any one
would have thought you were a farmer's
daughter yourself, and had always lived
amongst hayricks and poultry."
I am sure I wish I did said Helen,
in an under tone, but sufficiently loud for
her sister to hear, and, consequently, admi-
nister a sharp rebuke.
38 Ashgrove Farm; or,
After dinner, the two elder sisters went
to dress themselves for their visit, and de-
sired Helen to do the same, Miss Parker
telling her the dress she was to wear, and
naming what she knew would make her
look the greatest contrast possible to Mary
Poor Helen was in despair, well aware
that there would be no comfort or fun for
her, under such circumstances. It was use-
less to remonstrate with her sister ; but she
was her mother's favourite, and to her she
"Mamma! Sophy says I am to put on
my last new muslin frock with all those
flounces, and my best hat with the blue
feathers. I know I shall spoil them Do tell
her this dress will do; it was clean on this
morning, and is scarcely rumpled !" And
Helen shook out the nice tidy-looking lilac
gingham she was wearing, and turned her-
self round to show her mother how well it
looked on all sides.
Mrs. Parker could not but agree that she
thought it might do, and Helen was pro-
:eeding to suggest that her large brown
A Place for Every One. 39
everyday hat would look best with it, when
she was interrupted by her elder sister's
entrance, in a state of considerable indigna.
tion at her authority being set aside, even
for her mother's.
Helen, feeling there was no safety but
in flight, darted out, saying, as she passed
Mamma says I need. not change my
frock." Then, quickly putting on the
brown hat, she ran into the garden, to let
it be seen from the windows she was dressed
and ready to start, hoping that even Sophy
would scarcely have the barbarity to call
her in again.
But Helen did not quite know Sophy, if
she thought she would yield her point, espe-
cially where her authority over her young
sister was concerned; she being precisely
at the age when a girl is most tenacious
about the exercise of it. An argument had
ensued with her mother, which had ended
as such arguments generally did, viz. in the
daughter gaining her wish. Mrs. Parker
was beginning to find that peace was too
often only to be obtained by yielding her
40 Ashgrove Farm; or,
own will. In this instance she had the
vexation of seeing from her window her
weakness rewarded by Sophy seizing the
mortified Helen by the hand, and carrying
her off in triumph to be decked out.
It was therefore rather a smart than a
happy party that entered the fly, half an
hour later, and, after a somewhat lengthy
arrangement of skirts and flounces, started
on their drive to Ashgrove Farm.
A Place for Every One.
WE left Mrs. Elwood receiving her visitors
at the entrance to her house, somewhat dis-
concerted, it must be owned, at their unex-
pected appearance on such a busy occasion.
She, however, led them into her parlour,
and, having seated them, was hospitably
promising that tea should be brought in as
soon as the labourers were seated at supper,
when the approach of the hay-cart, with its
merry sounds, attracted every one to the
window. Being wide open, it gave a full
view of the whole scene, from the figure of
Mary, sitting perched on her elevated seat,
to the broad handsome face of the farmer,
who was riding his grey mare by the side
of the cart, and dividing his admiration,
as his eye glanced upwards, between his
daughter and the hay.
"It is the last load that is being carried
home," said Mrs. Elwood; so they are
42 Ashgrove Farm; or,
singing and rejoicing over it. And, seel
there's Mary, the happiest of theri all!"
And the fond mother kissed her hand to
her, as they drove along the road in front
of the window, on their way to the yard.
"Is that Miss Elwood seated on the top
of the cart ?" asked Miss Parker, in a tone
of voice into which she contrived to throw
a pretty considerable touch of amazement.
This was quite lost on Mrs. Elwood,
"Yes that is Mary, in the sun bonnet.
You see I have taken your advice, and pro-
tected her complexion," she added, to Mrs.
"And do you not object to her mixing
with all those people, and riding in that
manner in a hay-cart? asked Mrs.
"Oh, dear,- no She has always ridden
home with the last cart-load, since she was
two years old. Her father is there, you
see, to take care of her : and there is not
a man or woman about would let her come
to any harm."
"No bodily harm,- perhaps," said Miss
A Place for Every One.
Parker, with an attempted air at dignity
and womanhood, and laying a peculiar
stress on the second word of her sentence.
Mrs. Elwood did not hear her. She had
stretched her head out of window to look
at the arrival of the cart at its destination.
"There she goes !" she exclaimed. Her
father has taken her down as easily as if
she were a fairy springing into his arms.
Now, ladies, they are all coming in to their
supper, and if you will excuse me for a few
minutes, I shall be back again directly I
have seen them seated."
So saying she quitted the room, leaving
the Misses Parker to comment without
restraint on the scene they had just wit-
nessed to their mother, who, knowing what
their opinion would be, and that she had
been instrumental in causing the young
heroine of the hay-cart to be sent to Elm
House Seminary, was feeling slightly in the
position of a culprit.
Well, mamma, what do you think of
Mary now ? exclaimed Sophy, as soon as
the door was closed behind Mrs. Elwood.
,' Is she fit to be one of the young ladies at
44 Asygrove Farm; or,
Elm House School, and to be looked upon
as an acquaintance of ours ? "
I certainly wonder her mother suffers
a girl of her age to get on a hay-cart,"
replied Mrs. Parker. But you must
remember she has been used to it all her
life. That kind of thing will be broken
off by her going to school."
"I suppose living with girls like our-
selves would make her something of a lady
in time," remarked Miss Olivia ; but I
would rather not be thought to know much
about her if she goes to Clapham."
Helen, who had till this moment been
silently dividing her thoughts between the
delights of riding on the top of the hay
like Mary, and her wonder at where could
be the great harm of it, here broke in with
an indignant exclamation of-
"Oh, Olivia why should we not know
Mary at school? I am sure she is nicer
than almost any girl there, and much more
Be good enough to hold your tongue,
Helen," said Miss Parker. "Really, mamma,"
she added, "you spoil that child till she
A Place for Every One.
gets most insufferably forward and inter-
You must not interrupt your sisters'
conversation, my love," said her mother,
feeling she was expected to administer a
rebuke to Helen. You know little girls
should be seen, but not heard."
At this moment the door opened, and
Mrs. Elwood entered, bringing in Mary.
She had taken off her sun-bonnet, and
her soft golden-coloured curls, hastily
smoothed by her mother's hands, clustered
in beautiful profusion round her head and
throat. No other change had been made
in her dress since she had descended from
the hay-cart than taking off her large hol-
land pinafore, which had kept her pretty
blue print dress perfectly clean and fresh.
A fairer picture of a simple country child
could not have been seen as she advanced
rather timidly to speak to the elder ladies;
but her face lighted up with pleasure on
seeing Helen. Mrs. Parker secretly admired
her very much, and glanced at her daughters
to see what might be their impression; but
having merely exchanged the necessary
46 Ashgrove Farm; or,
civilities, they had turned away, and were
looking out of window.
"Tea will be in immediately," said Mrs.
Elwood. Perhaps you will like to come
and take off your bonnets ; and after tea
Helen might go with Mary to see the cows
Helen's delight at the proposal was a
little damped by the warning look given
her by her elder sister. Whether it meant
she was not to go, or only that she was to
take care of her dress, she did not clearly
understand. Preferring ignorance to know-
ledge in this case, she contrived to keep at
a distance from her till they re-entered the
parlour, and seated herself as far as possible
from her at tea, so as to be between her
mother and Mary. Mrs. Elwood was con-
scious of the presence of a certain degree
of restraint over her visitors, which she
could not account for, and was wondering
whether the fault lay in herself or in them,
when the good-humoured farmer entered,
bidding them his usual hearty welcome.
Good evening, ladies. Glad to see you
all, though you'll have to excuse things
A Place for Every One.
being in the rough on such a merry-making
day. Ha! Miss Helen pity you didn't
come a little sooner, and you could have had
a ride through the field on the top of the
hay with Mary. Never mind, perhaps we
can find some other sport after tea."
We shall have to be returning soon, shall
we not, mamma ?" asked Sophy, anxious
to give her mother an opportunity of pre-
venting it. But Mrs. Parker felt Helen's
hand steal into her own, and a succession of
eloquent squeezes spoke her anxiety the
other way. So she compromised the mat-
ter by saying they could not stay very
long, but there would be time for the
children to go out together for a little
"Why, the evenings are the best part
of the day now," said the farmer; "and if
you stayed till ten o'clock you couldn't get
into the dark, for as bright a moon as ever
shone will be up by then. Besides, you
ought to wait a bit, so as to let the young
folks have a talk together, for I suppose
Mary has lots of questions to ask about
school. Eh, Mary? what say you? Ar'n't
48 AshlIgrove Farm ; or,
you longing, now, to know how many les-
sons the Miss Stanleys will give you ?"
This speech introduced the subject that
some of the party were pondering how to
commence, and a look from Sophy prompted
Mrs. Parker to say,-
Have you decided where Mary is to go
to school ?"
Oh, quite," replied Mrs. Elwood.
"After your high account of Elm House
Seminary we had no wish to inquire any
further ; so I wrote to Miss Stanley, taking
the liberty of using your name, as you were
good enough to propose. I have had one
or two letters from her, and she is fully ex-
pecting Mary in about a fortnight. I sup-
pose, young ladies, you will be returning
at the same time ?"
"It's a good long journey," said Mr.
Elwood; only the railway laughs at dis-
tances. So will Mary when she sees how
quickly she flies from Dalemoor to London,
and from London to Dalemoor," he added,
encouragingly, as he saw the tears start into
his little girl's eyes at the mention of her
A Place for Every One. 49
"Do your daughters travel alone ?" asked
Mrs. Elwood, "when they go and return ?"
"They do now," replied Mrs. Parker.
"Their papa took them the first time they
"I mean to take Mary myself," said
the farmer. "I shouldn't know how to
think about her if I hadn't seen the house
she'll be living in. Now, suppose we make
a party, and go all together. If we could
coax my wife there to come too, we should
just fill a carriage, and we'll take good care
of your young folks, and give them safe up
into Miss Stanley's own hands. No chance
of their being able to run away from me.
Well, Miss Parker, what say you?"
But that young lady's countenance, as
he turned to her, expressed anything but
pleasure or good humour. He caught her,
moreover, in the middle of making a sign
to her mother, which, as far as he could
judge from the frown and slight shake of
the head that accompanied it, meant she
did not wish her to accept his offer. His
blunt straightforward character made him
at once exclaim,-
50 Ashgrow Farm; or,
Ha! so you don't want me? You
think now you are so nearly grown up you
can manage for yourself best ? I suppose
young ladies at school like to feel they are
their own mistresses during the journey
there, at all events; and what's more, I
think if I were a schoolboy I should feel
just the same."
My girls don't find any difficulty in the
journey," said Mrs. Parker, seeing she must
say something, and greatly relieved that
Mr. Elwood had no suspicion of the real
cause of her daughter's unwillingness to
travel with him. "We cannot exactly fix
the day at present, but we are much obliged
to you all the same."
During the last part of this conversation
Helen and Mary had slipped off together,
and were in a few minutes followed by .the
farmer, whose presence was required by his
The prim gravity with which the two
children had been sitting at table was a
great contrast to the hop, skip, and jump
with which both flew to fetch their hats
the moment they escaped from the parlour.
A Place for Every One. 51
"We shall just be in time to see the cows
milked if we go directly," said Mary; "but
I hope you have thick shoes on, for it is
very dirty where they stand."
She looked in dismay as she spoke at
the slight drab-coloured boots that Helen
"Those would be wet through directly.
Shall I lend you a pair of mine ? We are
just about the same size. I will fetch
them in a moment." She was hastening
away for the purpose when the sight of her
sister's bonnet lying on the bed reminded
Helen that she had better not remain in
quarters where her liberty might be inter-
fered with at any minute. She begged Mary,
therefore, to let her go with her to get them,
saying she could put them on anywhere.
The boots were in Mary's own room,
with which Helen was so delighted, she
almost forgot she was going to see the
cows. It certainly was as pleasant an
apartment as any young girl could desire
to possess. Its broad sash window looked
out on the hayfields, and the roses that
clustered around it scented the room with
52 A shgrove Farm; or,
their fragrance. There was a low window
seat in which Mary said she often sat and
worked, or learnt her lessons for the school-
mistress. The hangings of the bed and
window were of dimity, so snowy white
that even Helen's child's eye was struck
with it. A pretty writing-desk stood on a
small mahogany table which, Mary told her,
was a present from her father in return for
the first letter she had ever written him when
he went away from home. He had brought
her this back with him, filled with paper and
pens and everything for writing. Then
there was a carved bookcase hanging against
the wall, a present also from her father, who
had had it made out of some curious oak
carving that had lain in a lumber-room for
years. The books that partly filled it
were mostly given her by her mother, but
there were several that were gifts from
Mrs. Wentworth and her children, with
her name written in them by Mrs. Went-
worth's own hand. And there was a very
handsome Bible lying on the bottom shelf,
with gilt clasps and a gilt rim all round the
edges. This, Mary told Helen, was given
A Place for Every One. 53
her by her godmother when she was chris-
tened; but she had never seen her because
she lived far away in Australia with her hus-
band. One other thing attracted Helen's
admiration. This was a splendid array of
peacock's feathers, so arranged on the wall
over the looking-glass as to appear exactly
like the tail of that magnificent bird when
Mary promised to save all she could find
in future for Helen, that she might orna-
ment her own room in a similar manner.
"I sleep in Sophy's room at home," said
Helen rather sadly, "and I'm sure she
wouldn't let me stick them up on her wall;
and at school we are not allowed to put up
any pictures even in the bedrooms. But I
know where I might have them," she ex-
claimed, as a sudden thought struck her;
"papa would, I know, let me have a pea-
cock's tail on the wall of his room in
Dalemoor by the tan-pits; so do save them
for me, Mary."
The boots fitted very well, and Helen
felt the comfort of them when they got to
54 Ashgrove Farmv; or,
the place where numbers of cows were
being milked. An old woman after a time
brought her stool close to where the girls
were standing, and placed it by the side of
a fine animal who had been suffering Helen
to stroke her nose and ears. She longed to
try and milk her, and ventured to ask
Mary whether the woman would allow it;
but on being appealed to, the old lady
replied, with a look of extreme contempt
at Helen's frock, that "it wasn't no use
her trying, for the cow would never give
out its milk to any one dressed in such a
fashion as that !" Poor Helen was deeply
mortified at the speech, and longed to
tell the old woman that she hated the
blue flounces, and wanted not to come
in them. She did say something of the
sort to Mary as they went away soon
after, who sympathized warmly with her
for having to wear such nice things.
"Are your best dresses made with
flounces, Mary?" asked Helen.
No, I never had a flounce in my life, I
am sure; I have tucks, though, in some of
A Placefor Every One. 55
my white frocks, but I hardly ever wear
"Shall you like going to school, Mary?"
"No, I am very sorry indeed to leave
home, only I am glad you will be there.
Shall we be much together ?"
SI hope so. We are so nearly of an
age that I dare say we shall both be in the
same classes, and as we are about of a height
we shall do to walk together, for we are
all paired by our sizes when we go out."
"What do you mean?" asked Mary,
opening her blue eyes to their fullest ex-
"Why," replied Helen, laughing at her
amazement, I mean that when we take a
walk we are ranged by the teachers two
and two together. The tallest pair of girls
go first, and then the next, and so on, till it
comes down to little Alice and Frances
Neville, who are not more than seven and
eight years old. You must take care and
not walk too near or too far away from
the pair in front, or the teachers will come
to tell you not to break the ranks."
But do you really mean," asked Mary,
56 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
" that you never go into the fields and have
a good scamper ?"
Helen burst out laughing.
"Oh, Mary!" said she, "it sounds so
funny to hear you ask such a question.
Why, even in the garden we are not
allowed to run races, because Miss Stanley
says it's vulgar and unladylike to run."
Then I must learn to walk," sighed
Mary, who had rarely done such a thing
for ten minutes at a time without diverging
with a skip or a jump to one side or an-
other. "I do hope you and I shall be put
together, Helen; we can at least have good
"But it must all be in French," said
Helen. "No one must speak English, or
she is fined, and there is a lesson given
for every fine."
"French Why, I have never learnt a
word. How can I talk it ?"
"Oh, but you will begin directly you
get there, and you will soon pick up a few
sentences. The way the girls manage (for
they none of them know much about it) is,
they chatter English in a low tone, and
A Place for Every One. 57
then, when they see Madame or a teacher
coming, they begin to talk French till she
is out of hearing again."
"Helen," said poor Mary, "I don't think
I shall like school at all."
"I am afraid you won't much," said
Helen, "but Sophy and Olivia do, I think,
at least they like the dancing days, and
the party before the breaking up."
"I shall not care for the party, but I
shall like the breaking up," said Mary;
"anything to get home again."
"Don't let us talk any more about
school," said Helen, "we shall soon have
enough of it. Will you show me your
They ran to the place where Mary had
a pigeon-house and a few special favourites
of hler own. Two pairs were just hatched
which she was anxious to show Helen;
but she could nowhere find a short ladder
by which she was often in the habit of
going up to peep at them.
It must be in the yard," said she. "I
think it was brought for us to come down
from the hay-cart. There is another way
58 AshJgrove Fagrm; or,
you may get at them, though, if only you
can climb. You see, the pigeon-house is
placed close to a pear-tree; I have several
times climbed into it, and then from that
it is as easy as possible to lean forward and
peep into the hole nearest you."
I could do it," said Helen, "if I man-
aged to get up to the first branch; but
how is that to be done ?"
Oh, we can place a wheelbarrow, and
a flower-pot inside that, to stand on." And
Mary ran off to put her plans into exe-
"Now, Helen, you have only to get on
the flower-pot, and lay hold of that branch
whilst you place your foot on the one below,
and it will pull you up; and after that
it is as easy as possible."
Helen's good will in the matter was
greater than her experience, and her first
attempt was rather clumsy. She did not
feel secure on the flower-pot, which only
comfortably admitted one foot at a time,
and she could not balance herself without
Mary's help. When, at length, she managed
to place her foot on the branch, she was
A Place for Every One.
afraid to draw up the other after it, and the
attitude being anything but comfortable to
remain in, she was obliged to give it up,
and jump to the ground, before beginning
her efforts afresh.
I will go up first, and show you how,"
said Mary; and, springing upon the pot,
and from that to the branch, she was in
another second peeping into the nest.
There they are !" she exclaimed; "such
funny ugly-looking little creatures What
a good thing their mother is away "
"Oh, I must see them! Let me try
again cried Helen. "I shall manage it
now I have seen you get up."
Mary descended as easily and swiftly as
she had ascended, and Helen proved herself
an apt pupil this time, having profited by
watching her teacher's movements. She was
soon in the tree, peering with delighted eyes
at the young pigeons.
But, alas! poor Helen Voices were
heard approaching, and her name was called
by Sophy. Better would it have been had
she remained where she was than to com-
mence her descent so hastily as she did,
60 Ashgrove Farm; or,
under circumstances ill calculated to assist
her in the difficulty of the undertaking. As
the party of ladies from the house turned
the corner, they were just in time to see
Helen's leg and foot, with a thick dirty boot
upon it, dangling from the tree, and making
frantic efforts to gain a resting-place.
Failing in its search, and conscious there
was not a moment to lose, she abandoned
all attempts to find the flower-pot, made a
dash at the ground, and down came feet,
legs, body, and head, caught, at the last
moment of their peril, by the sturdy arms
of the farmer, so as to save her from a fall
which might have been serious.
But although she escaped without injury,
her fragile blue muslin was less fortunate.
The branches of the pear-tree seemed as if
they had conspired to rid her of the hated
flounces. Out of five, only one remained
uninjured and properly attached to the
skirt; and poor Helen had to endure a
merciless series of jokes from the farmer
about the finery which had already been
the source of so much annoyance to her.
Mrs. Parker was too thankful to find her
A Place for Every One.
child unhurt to be displeased, though her
daughters' indignation was extreme; but
they kept it within bounds before Mr. and
You should have taken the ladder,
Mary," said Mrs. Elwood. "Helen is not
accustomed to climbing."
"We could not find it, mother," replied
Mary; and I thought it was such an easy
tree. Helen wanted so to see the pigeons."
"But I'm afraid we interrupted her
view," said the farmer, "judging by the
haste with which she came down. Never
mind, Miss Helen Don't be ashamed of
going up a tree. Why, my Mary, there,
climbs like a squirrel. I wouldn't give a fig
for a girl that always runs on the ground.
You shall have a look at the pigeons,
though, from the top of a new sort of
So saying, the sturdy farmer whipped up
the astonished Helen from the ground, and
with one hoist of his powerful arms he
placed her-torn flounces, thick boots, and
all-upon his shoulder; then, stepping to
the pigeon-house, gave her such a close and
62 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
right good view of the young birds, as
made the mother, who was sitting on the
other pair in the adjoining hole, resent such
an impertinent piece of curiosity by sundry
angry sounds and vehement pecks directed
at Helen's blue muslin cape.
The poor girl only half enjoyed it. Her
alarm lest the mother pigeon above should
fly out at her, and her certainty that her
sister below was ready to do so the moment
she could, made her glad enough to be
placed on the ground again, where the thick
boots would be less noticed than standing
on the farmer's shoulder. They were not
destined to pass unobserved, however, for
he, as he brushed off the marks they had
left on his coat, said,-
You've got on famous boots, Miss
Helen. Now, they are what I call a sen-
sible and useful pair. Your mamma knows
better than to let you wear thin gimcracks,
"They are Mary's; she lent them to
me," said Helen, blushing, from the con-
sciousness she had had to borrow them
because hers were gimcracks.
A Place for Every One.
"We are going directly, Helen," said
Miss Parker ; you had better come in with
me, and get yourself fit to be seen." And
she was carrying off her sister, when the
latter, dreading the private rebukes which
she knew would ensue, said to Mary,-
"Will you come with us, please ? My
boots are in your room, and I am not sure
that I know the way to it."
Her presence was a relief to Helen,
though a restraint to Sophy, who, in con-
sequence, expressed her disapprobation of
her tom-boy feat, as she called it, in much
milder terms than she would otherwise have
The rest of the party followed them to
the house, where the fly was waiting at the
door, and, in the slight confusion that
occurred in the passage, Helen contrived to
escape from Sophy, and run alone with
Mary to her room, to pin on her flounces,
and put on the despised gimcracks."
I hope we shall see each other again
before we go to school," said Helen, "but I
don't think we shall; and being together
there, will not be the same as here."
64 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
An impatient call to Helen to be quick,
stopped further conversation. There was
only time for the little girl to pull off the
button of her boot in her haste to make it
go into its hole, to kiss Mary affectionately,
and say, as they ran off,-
"Be sure, Mary, and do not forget to
collect me a peacock's tail!"
A Place for Every One.
As the farmer closed the door of the fly on
his guests, and Helen and Mary exchanged
nods and smiles through the window, Mrs.
Parker, putting out her head, said, in rather
a confidential tone, to Mrs. Elwood,-
Should you like to have any of Helen's
things as patterns for Mary's ? I shall be
very glad to lend them to you."
What was that Mrs. Parker was say-
ing about 'patterns?'" asked Mr. Elwood
of his wife, as they stood for an instant on
the step of the door, watching the fly roll
away. I hope you are not going to dress up
Mary in such frippery as those girls have on.
Why, I shouldn't know my own child !"
"Mrs. Parker has been advising me to
get a few things for her different to what
she has had," replied Mrs. Elwood. "She
says that at school the young ladies are
Ashgrove Farm; or,
expected to be very fashionably dressed.
There are a good many seminaries at
Clapham, and the Misses Stanley consider
theirs takes the lead in that respect. Mrs.
Parker saw I was rather puzzled as to
what she must have, so she good-naturedly
offered me patterns."
The farmer mused for an instant, then,
laying his hand on his wife's shoulder, said,
" Take my advice, Susan, don't go filling
Mary's head with love of dress, and rigging
her out like a merry andrew. Give her
plenty of good useful clothes, and then
never fear what Miss Stanley or Miss any-
body else says. She goes to school to learn
her lessons, I take it, not to be looked at
and called fashionable."
So saying lie walked off to the farmyard,
leaving Mrs. Elwood rather uncomfortably
perplexed between the opposite advices of her
husband and Mrs. Parker. She felt there was
plain sterling sense in what the former had
just said, but then he could not of course
understand much about young ladies' dress
at a fashionable London school. Something
seemed, to tell her too there was a good
A Place for Every One.
deal of folly and absurdity in the way in
which Mrs. Parker dressed her girls; but,
again, that lady must know much more of
:what was required in such a new scene as
that to which she was sending Mary than
she could do. In fact, poor Mrs. Elwood
was experiencing some of the difficulties all
must feel who place themselves or those be-
longing to them in a false position. She
decided at last to go the next day to Dale-
moor, and put the affair into the hands of
a dressmaker whom Mrs. Parker had re-
commended; for there was no time to be
lost, as Mary must be ready to start in a
So the following day she and her daugh-
ter made their appearance at the door of a
red-brick house, having a brass plate upon
it, inscribed with the words Miss Styles,
Milliner and Dressmaker." They were
shown into a room upstairs, which had a
large table in the centre, on which was
arranged a variety of bonnets, hats, and
caps. She was reminded by them of her
own experiment before the looking-glass
long ago! There were also several dresses
68 Ashgrove Farmn; or,
lying on chairs about the room, flounced and
trimmed. Miss Styles evidently under-
stood her business. She entered almost
immediately, and Mary was quite awe-struck
by her appearance, so entirely different to
that of the quiet unpretending person who
had hitherto always made her own and her
mother's things. Mrs. Elwood herself was
doubtful whether the gaily dressed cour-
tesying lady before her could really conde-
scend to interest herself in the attire of her
little Mary. But she need not have feared.
Mrs. Parker had had business that morning
in Dalemoor, and as part of it lay with
Miss Styles, she had taken the opportu-
nity of informing her she had recommended
her a new customer ; hinting that she
would find it necessary to metamorphose
Miss Elwood entirely in order to do herself
credit with her. A further hint was added,
that expense was no great object in that
quarter. Miss Styles liked nothing better
than to feel superior in her own particular
province to those who sought her opinion.
One glance at Mrs. Elwood's gentle coun-
tenance, and at her daughter's simple dress,
A Place for Every One. 69
showed her that here was a field for her
skill, her authority, and her aggrandize-
Most condescendingly, therefore, did she
express her pleasure at seeing her visitor
and her desire to serve her.
"I must ask you, Miss Styles," said Mrs.
Elwood, to be so good as to get one or two
dresses made for my daughter immediately.
She is going to school in London, and
although she has plenty of everyday frocks,
I think she will require some better ones."
"Certainly, ma'am. Would you like to
look at materials ? I can send for silks and
The proposal was a relief to Mrs. Elwood,
who rather dreaded going to the linendraper
to choose for herself, unaided by greater
experience than her own. The interval was
employed in discussing the necessity of,
snd selecting, a new hat.
Miss Styles assured Mrs. Elwood that
one with a feather was indispensable, and
succeeded in persuading her to make a pur-
chase, in which she declared Mary looked
quite charming. Then came the dresses,
70 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
not at all alarming as to gaiety in them-
selves, but Mrs. Elwood was startled at the
idea of their being made with at least five
flounces. Mary had hitherto remained a
passive and indifferent spectator, and when
appealed to by Miss Styles for her opinion
had merely replied that she did not know,
or that she thought as her mother did ; but
when the flounces were discussed she be-
came suddenly interested and energetic.
Oh, mother do not let me have those
dreadful flounces like Helen's. They would
always be tearing and plaguing me. Be-
sides, I should look so odd in them, every-
body would laugh at me."
"You only think that, Miss Elwood,"
said the dressmaker, because you have not
been accustomed to them. Now, at school
you would probably be the only young lady
without them, and the laugh would be quite
the other way."
This seemed unanswerable. Both Mrs.
Elwood and Mary felt themselves conquered,
but not reconciled to the necessity.
The next affair was to take Mary's pat-
tern, an infliction she bore with patience;
A Place for Every One.
but when it came to measuring her length,
she touched her mother, and said, "She
is making a mistake, mother ; I never wore
a frock so short."
"Do you make girls' dresses no longer
than that?" asked Mrs. Elwood with
Never, ma'am, at her age. It would be
worse than having them without flounces
to make them any longer."
"Then none of her underclothes can
be worn with them," said Mrs. Elwood;
visions of fresh work arising before her
in the shape of tucks to garments which
had been put aside as finished.
"None of them," replied Miss Styles,
decidedly. "Everything must be altered,
assuredly. It would be utterly impossible
for your daughter to appear in London as
she is at present."
Then, as if afraid she might have
offended by this last speech, she added,
"When dressed fashionably, I am sure no
young lady will be able to compare with
Miss Elwood; she may be sure of that."
The flattery was lost on Mary, who,
72 Ashgrove Farm; or,
weary of the whole thing, had gone to look
out of window. Her boots attracted Miss
"Do you want any French boots or
shoes, ma'am? We keep an assortment
now for our customers' convenience."
These were undoubtedly necessary, for
with muslins and flounces those she at
present wore would scarcely accord. Mary
remembered Helen's almost with a feeling
of despair, but quietly submitted to what
seemed inevitable, and inwardly hoping
that neither Miss Styles' dresses, hat, nor
boots, would ever be seen in the vicinity of
A good long ramble with her father
over the fields in the evening, in her print
dress and double soles, made her almost,
however, forget there were such disagree-
ables in existence as thin kid boots, muslin
dresses, and Miss Styles. But she was
reminded of them when, about eight or nine
days later, a large straw. basket lined with
oil silk arrived, directed to Mrs. Elwood,
and ticketed With great care." It was the
first time old Bailey-the carrier for years
A Place for Every One. 73
between Dalemoor and the surrounding
villages-had had to convey such a peculiar-
looking affair to Ashgrove, and he told the
maid to whom he delivered it that "he
supposed there must be some rare kind of
pigeons or fowls within, though as he
hadn't heard no noise they'd better open
the cage quick and see how they were."
Mrs. Elwood and Mary were in the
parlour, working and waiting tea for the
farmer, when the door opened, and to their
amazement there entered, not Mr. Elwood,
but a short, highly flounced muslin dress,
suspended in the air by its sleeves, which
were passed through a stout walking-stick !
The next moment the farmer's laughing
face and portly figure appeared with a
small white straw hat and feather stuck on
the top of his head, a pair of rosettes and
long strings dangling on either side of his
"What sort of a bird do you call this,
Mary ?" said he. "Sally stopped me as I
was coming in, to say there was a great
cage arrived with live stock in it, which old
Bailey was afraid were dead When we
74 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
opened it, what should I find under a lot
of paper but this toggery-and there's a
quantity more beneath. I tell you what,
Miss Mary; I mean to part with the pea-
cock now; one's enough about a place."
Mary laughed heartily as she lifted the
hat from his head, and was about to carry
that and the frock away, when the farmer
insisted on her returning dressed in the
latter, that he might see how she looked in
it. It was no use arguing the matter; he
wanted his joke, and he would have it, so
Mrs. Elwood dressed her in the muslin, and
she returned to the parlour to be well
laughed at. But the length The farmer
stared in amazement.
Why, Mary he exclaimed; you've
outgrown the dress already "
My dear John, it's the fashion," said
"Do you mean to tell me petticoats are
no longer to cover the legs ? Then I sup-
pose, wife, you'll be showing yours when
you get your next new dress made-for
fashion seems to carry the day at present.
Trot away, Mary, and get on your other frock
A Place for Every One. 75
again. I like you best as I have always
known you. Keep your grand things for
Miss Stanley; she'll like to see you in them
perhaps, legs and all."
With this Mr. Elwood seated himself to
his tea : his wife thought him rather graver
than usual, but attributed it to the pros-
pect of so soon losing their child.
76 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
THE Misses Stanley's seminary was situated
in the middle of a high-walled square
garden, at the end of a row of elm-trees;
from whence it derived its name of Elm
House. Although the garden was kept
always neat, and the grass well mown, no
attention was given to the cultivation of
flowers ; it had, therefore, rather a gloomy
appearance on first entering the high gates
that separated it from the road, which
was the general thoroughfare for carriages,
omnibuses, &c. The house was built of
red brick, with stone facings. Like the
garden, it was perfectly square, and its array
of windows on either side the door had
rather a prison-like appearance, owing to
the high wire blinds which were placed in
each. So effectually was the house con-
cealed by the walls around the garden, that
any one would have supposed this pre-
A Place for Every One.
caution against prying eyes to be unneces-
sary. But a casual observer would not
be aware that the heads of the outside
passengers of the numerous omnibuses
rose superior to that obstruction, and were
apt to be directed, with some degree of
curiosity, in the direction of the windows
every morning and night. Much, there-
fore, to the disgust of the young ladies, to
whom this succession of swiftly moving heads
was the sole representative of the outside
world, they were suddenly and effectually
excluded by the introduction of the above-
It was on a bright July morning that
Mr. Elwood and Mary left Ashgrove Farm
to start for London. Mrs. Elwood had not
been well for a week, and had consequently
abandoned the thoughts of accompanying
them; greatly to Mary's disappointment,
who had looked forward to keeping both
her parents with her till the last moment.
With a heavy heart she passed by the farm-
yard and all its objects of interest. Now
that she was going away from them, she
wondered it had never before struck her so
78 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
strongly what a very happy girl she had
been all her life.
All that had hitherto appeared matters
of course, now suddenly became precious.
The schoolmistress was waiting at her
door to bid her good-bye, and the tears
Mary had managed to keep back after the
first burst on taking leave of her mother
now poured forth anew.
Her father kept saying kind things to
her, but he was himself out of spirits, and
not inclined for talk; so but few words
were spoken between them till they arrived
at the station, and found themselves in the
midst of the bustle attendant on a train
starting for London.
They had a long journey before them-
all the way from Shropshire to Middlesex.
It was not till quite evening they reached
Clapham, and Mary was beginning to feel
tired, both from travelling and the effects
of her astonishment at the sight of London,
which, in spite of all she had heard and
read about it, she had pictured to herself
as being a sort of Dalemoor on a very large
scale. If any of my young country readers
A Place for Every One.
are inclined to smile at her, let them try
and carry back their thoughts to the time
when they had never been to London, and
see whether they too used not to picture it
as resembling the largest town with which
they were acquainted. The travellers took
cab from the railway station, which set
them down at Elm House. The gate was not
opened immediately, and the driver rang
impatiently a second time. Poor Mary
wished he had not done so; she thought
she would willingly have sat there with
her father all night-anything rather than
be left inside those dreadful high walls !
The servant came hastily at the renewed
summons, and throwing open the gates they
drove to the bottom of the high flight of
steps leading up to the door of the house.
A head looked over the blind of a window
on one side, but retreated so hastily that
Mary had only'time to have an impression
left of a bunch of flowers mixed with white
lace, which, she thought, was most likely
Miss Stanley's cap.
The next instant, with her hand fast
locked within her father's, she was ushered
80 Ashgrove Farm; or,
into the presence of those very flowers, and
found her surmise was correct. Nothing
could be kinder than the manner in which
Miss Stanley received her, or politer than
the greeting given to her father. Yet,
when the first commonplace remarks were
over as to health, journey, weather, &c.,
Mr. Elwood, usually loquacious and com-
pletely at his ease, felt as though words,
sentences, and ideas, had taken flight from
him, so entirely was Miss Stanley unlike
anybody he had ever found himself in com-
pany with before. Certainly it would have
been difficult to find any two human beings
more dissimilar than the blunt open-hearted
farmer and the smiling bowing schoolmis-
tress. Her sister, who at this moment en-
tered the room, seemed the fac-simile of
herself, with the exception of her being
some few years younger, and on the strength
of that privilege wearing no cap, but
only a very broad piece of black velvet
across her head, which, in after days, Mary
discovered was for use, not ornament, the
hair having quitted the parting in a most
unceremonious manner. Instead of her
A Place for Every One.
presence being a relief, it seemed. to Mr.
Elwood as if his feeling of constraint was
instantly doubled by this duplicate of what
caused it. It was more than he could bear,
and he rose to go, seeing that as far as
Mary was concerned he could be of no fur-
ther use ; and the parting must come, so the
sooner the better, he thought. Miss Stanley
pressed him to take tea, but he declined,
and, turning to his daughter, said,-
"I must be off, Mary. You'll write and
tell us how you get on, and if- "
The remembrance that the Misses Stanley
were present checked his finishing the sen-
tence which was about to escape him, viz.
that "if she didn't like school she should
Whether it was the awe Mary felt of
her future governesses, or that her misery
had reached that extent which forbade any
outward demonstration of it, true it is that
she shed no tear, as she had done in the
morning. Yet her clasp round her father's
neck was almost convulsive in its warmth,
whilst he pressed her again and again to
his heart. The next moment, and Mary
82 Ashgrove Farm; or,
heard the slam of the cab door and the roll
of the wheels, and she knew she was alone
with the Misses Stanley, in a strange room,
strange house, and, as it seemed to her,
strange world altogether.
There are many kinds of desolate feeling.
A very acute one is that of a girl brought
up with parental love and care, who has
never before left home, and finds herself
suddenly thrown amongst strangers, who,
besides being such, are, she is conscious,
placed over her to instruct, admonish, and
reprove. The few words of kindly meant
but formal-sounding sympathy she receives
from her future governess fall coldly on her
ear. Without knowing they are hackneyed,
and used in succession to new comers, she
feels they are so. Then follows the ordeal
of the introduction to her twenty or thirty
future companions, who consider her for
the time fair game for such scrutiny and
remarks as the novelty of a new arrival is
sure to call forth.
And all this our young heroine had now
to pass through. It seemed to her as if
she never could swallow the tea which was
A Place for Every One.
immediately brought in for her, and was
relieved by the proposal to take her to the
schoolroom, for she thought anything must
be better than sitting quite alone with the
two ladies, and answering their innumer.
able questions. But she wished herself bach
in the drawing-room again when, after
ascending a wide uncarpeted staircase, Miss
Stanley threw open a door in a passage,
displaying a large, rather bare-looking room,
half filled with girls of every age and size.
No regular lessons had yet begun, and
they were all in groups, either working,
talking, or reading. The English teacher
was engaged in conversation with some of
the elder girls, and a French governess was
sitting at a small table by herself, engaged
in trimming a cap similar to the Parisian-
looking affair then upon her head. Mary
would have been thankful to have taken
hold even of Miss Stanley's hand at that
moment, so greatly did she feel the need of
the semblance of a friend. But it was not
offered; so, unaided, except by her own
inward resolve to be brave, she followed
Miss Stanley whither she led.
84 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
This was across the room to Miss Saxon,
the English teacher. Every one had ceased
speaking as they entered, and all eyes were
turned on Mary. Miss Stanley first intro-
duced her to Miss Saxon, and then said she
would leave her to make her acquainted
with the young ladies. She left the room, and
again Mary was feeling the horrors of being
turned adrift on strangers, when a young
lady in very deep mourning advanced
towards Miss Saxon, saying,-
"Do you wish me to take Miss Elwood
upstairs, ma'am, and show her where to put
"Do so," replied the teacher. "You
will be more comfortable when you have
got rid of your dusty travelling things,
my dear," she said to Mary; and Miss
Duncan will go with you, and show you
where you are to sleep."
However Miss Stanley's young ladies
might pride themselves on their politeness
in company, they did not seem to practise
it in their own schoolroom, for not one
came forward to bid her welcome or speak
a word of kindness. Miss Saxon herself
A Place for Every One. 85
seemed more intent on scanning her dress
and general appearance than thinking how
she could make the young girl feel less shy
and ill at ease. As for Madame, she was
contented with taking one long scrutinizing
look at her from above her spectacles, and
then continued working away at her cap
without again raising her eyes.
Miss Duncan took Mary up a second flight
of stairs to a room furnished with several
beds, two large chests of drawers, wash-
stands, and looking-glasses. She showed
her which was to be hers, and proposed
assisting-her to unpack her clothes, as her
box was already brought up and standing
in the room.
"Miss Stanley likes every girl to get her
things put away as soon as she arrives,"
she said, "as it saves much confusion; but
if you are very tired I will do it for you
whilst you rest."
Oh, I can unpack them myself, without
giving you the trouble," said Mary, pro-
ducing her key, and feeling very grateful
for the kindness of her manner.
"It is no trouble to me, I am used
86 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
to it," replied Margaret Duncan; "it is
my duty to look after the clothes of the
Mary gave a look of surprise, to which
Margaret replied by saying, with rather a
I am not here exactly like the others,
nor yet as a teacher. I am what is called
a half-boarder; I mend all the little ones'
things, and see to the older girls keeping
their drawers tidy, and I help with the
"Then you do not learn yourself?"
"Yes, I take lessons of the masters, and
improve myself as much as possible. I
have not been here very long, and when I
first came I felt as uncomfortable and shy
as I know you are doing. You will soon,
however, get to know the girls, and then
you won't care." She shook out the
flounces of Miss Styles' muslin dresses
as she spoke, and laid them carefully in
a deep drawer.
"I have had all those frocks made to
come here with," said Mary, but I can't
A Place for Every One.
bear them. I like my print ones best.
I am sure I shall never wear these at
home; father says he shouldn't know me
Where is your home, Miss Elwood ?"
"At Acton, in Shropshire. Our house
is called Ashgrove Farm."
"Do you mean that your father is a
farmer ?" asked Miss Duncan.
Yes, he has one of Squire Wentworth's
largest farms," replied Mary, with a slight
feeling of pride and dignity; "I forget
how many acres he has, but a great many."
Miss Duncan was silent a minute or two,
and seemed busy in arranging gloves and
collars in a small drawer. Then, suddenly
turning to her, she said with much sweet-
hess of manner,-
The girls will be sure to ask you almost
first thing what your father is. You must
not mind if they say rather rude things
about your being a farmer's daughter."
Why, what will they say? asked
Mary, in extreme astonishment, "what
harm is there in it ? "
"None at all," replied Miss Duncan,
88 Ashgrove Farm; or,
" only some of the young ladies here hold
themselves very high, because they say
they are the daughters of gentlemen; and
though I dare say your father is as much a
gentleman as any of them, they would not
No, my father does not call himself a
gentleman," said Mary. "I have heard
him say that he would rather be what he
is than the highest gentleman in the land.
But everybody who knows him likes him,
and Mr. Wentworth is always coming to
talk to him of things that he says father
knows about better than he does."
Mary had got rather excited as she spoke.
Miss Duncan took her hand kindly.
"My dear Miss Elwood," said she, "I
hope I have not vexed you; indeed I did
not mean to, but I know so well that you
will hear some remarks made, that I
thought it better just to prepare you. They
do not like me much, because I am poor,
and have no friends." Tears filled her
eyes as she spoke.
"I should have thought that would have
made them all the kinder," exclaimed Mary,
A Place for Every One.
indignantly. "They must be very dis-
"I should be sorry if I made you think
that before you even know them," said
Miss Duncan. It would be wrong of me;
and indeed some of them are very good-
May I be with you a great deal ?"
asked Mary. I should like it so much.
And will you give up calling me Miss
Elwood? It sounds strange and disagree-
able. I feel all alone here, but I am sure
I shall soon love you, if you will let me."
It seemed as if the little girl's warm-hearted
speech had touched a chord in Miss Duncan's
heart, for again her tears sprang forth as
she put her arm round her, and kissed her
"I sleep in your room, and shall often
have to teach you, I dare say; but you
will know better in a few weeks whom you
will like best to be much with."
A great bell rang at this moment, and
she told Mary they must hasten down to
supper. This was a light repast, at which
the Misses Stanley did not make their ap-
90 Askigrove Farm; or,
pearance, but was presided over by Miss
Saxon and the French governess. Soon
afterwards Miss Stanley read a prayer in
the schoolroom, and then bidding them all
collectively good night, the younger ones
retired to bed. Mary, who had kept very
close to Miss Duncan at supper, was
delighted to find that not only she, but
Helen Parker, who had not yet arrived,
were to sleep in the room with her. It
reconciled her to the presence of two other
girls who were also to share the apartment,
and, wearied with the journey and the
strangeness of all things around her, she fell
asleep almost as soon as she laid her head
upon her pillow.
A Place fogr Evrcy One.
THE ringing of a bell aroused the young
ladies from their slumbers, and caused
Mary to spend a few seconds in considering
where she was. Margaret Duncan's re-
minder that she must get up quickly and
be ready to go downstairs in half an hour,
recalled her recollections, and made her
hasten to dress herself. There was no time
for conversation, and she was scarcely ready
when a second bell rang to summon them
to the schoolroom, where Miss Saxon was
waiting to read prayers. These were
followed by breakfast, and immediately
afterwards the business of the day com-
menced ; for although there were still some
girls who had not arrived, no more time
was to be lost by those already assembled.
Miss Stanley examined Mary, and found
that her acquirements, as far as they went,
were anything but despicable. Her atten-
92 Ashgrove Farm; or,
tion must, however, she said, be immediately
given to music, French, and dancing. She
was forthwith handed over to Madame,
and found it extremely difficult to under-
stand the mixture of French and broken
English in which she addressed her. The
following hour was given to music, and
then master arrived, who divided two
hours between arithmetic and writing. By
the time he left, poor Mary's head ached,
and she was wholly unable to eat any
dinner. Then came half an hour when they
could amuse themselves as they pleased,
and after that they all prepared for a walk,
as the afternoon was not wet. Mary was
put with a girl named Lucy Norton, a little
older than herself, who plied her with ques-
tions about her home, and in answer to
her straightforward replies said,-
Then it's true what the elder girls were
saying, that your father's only a farmer?
I would not tell them, if I were you."
"I am not ashamed of it," said poor
Mary, indignantly, "and I shall say the
truth when I am asked."
Lucy said no more on the subject. She
A Place for Every One.
was provoked rather that, Mary would not
take her advice, and lost no time on their
return home in seeking some of the big
girls, and telling them that she had found
out from Miss Elwood herself that she was
not a real born lady. This led to a dis-
cussion as to whether Miss Stanley was
justified in receiving girls beneath what
they considered their own rank.
More lessons, and then fancy-work sue
ceeded; after which, just as they were going
to tea, the Misses Parker arrived. Helen's
delight at meeting Mary was open and un-
disguised, but the two elder sisters scarcely
noticed her beyond a cool "How do you
do, Mary ?" They took an early opportu-
nity of confiding to their friends that they
knew very little of her at home, although
Helen had taken it into her head to like her,
because she was naturally a great romp and
had found out that Mary was the same.
One day of a girl's school life is much the
same as another. The young ladies at the
Misses Stanley's seminary were not allowed
to be idle; and Mary's bright roses began
to fade away from the effects of close study
94 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
and so much less air and exercise than
She was a quick and painstaking girl,
and soon stood well in the estimation of
her teachers. In the girls' favour she made
little progress. The fact of her being only
a farmer's daughter" made many stand
aloof from her; so exclusive was the system
on which these young ladies formed their
society amongst themselves.
Mary's great friend, besides Helen, was
Margaret Duncan. She was an orphan,
and a very distant relation of the Misses
Stanley, who had offered to take her with-
out pay, on condition of her giving such
help as they required with the pupils. This,
as far as it went, was an advantage to Mar-
garet, who was anxious to fit herself for a
situation as governess. But the poor girl
had soon found that she was looked upon
as a mere dependent by the Misses Stanley,
and was pretty constantly reminded of it,
both by them and the girls, who were quick
enough in perceiving how she stood as to
her position in the establishment. She had
won Mary's heart from the first, and a warm
A Place for Every One.
friendship soon sprang up between them,
notwithstanding the difference of their
MVargaret was the daughter of a Scotch
minister. She had been tenderly brought
up, though in extreme simplicity of habits.
Her mother had been a delicate woman, and
Margaret had early learnt habits of useful-
ness and self-denial in her attendance on
her. She died when her daughter was
about fifteen, who, from that time, was her
father's comfort and helper in every way.
But, four years later, he, too, was suddenly
carried off by disease of the heart, and
Margaret found herself without fortune and
almost without friends; for the secluded
village in which they had lived had cut
them off from the society of any who could
befriend her. The education she had re-
ceived from her father had been solid rather
than ornamental, and this was a consider-
able drawback to the likelihood of her
obtaining her living as a governess.
A worthy farmer, who had been one of
the deceased minister's most honoured elders,
had given her a cordial invitation to his
96 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
house, which was accepted by the orphan
girl with relief and gratitude, for a month
or six weeks, whilst her little property at
the manse was being disposed of and her
own future discussed.
But she was most anxious for indepen-
dence. Her native delicacy made her shrink
from intruding long on the hospitality of
her warm-hearted friends, and she wrote to
the Misses Stanley, as connections of her
father's, asking their advice how to fit her-
self to gain her own livelihood. Her letter
arrived exactly at a time when they were in
some perplexity as to a successor to the
young person who had hitherto acted in the
capacity of half-boarder. This was, a lady
to overlook the younger children's lessons
and clothes, in return for such advantages
in the way of education and accomplish-
ments as they could spare her. It seemed
to them that Margaret might exactly suit
them, whilst they would appear to be doing
a kind act to a needy relation. The result
was, that they wrote and made her the
offer, giving her clearly to understand they
considered they were acting generously by
A Place for Every One. 97
her, though in a disadvantageous manner to
themselves by doing so, but that they were
willing to make some sacrifice, on the
ground of their connection with her.
Margaret did not hesitate a moment. She
wrote a grateful reply, thanking them for
their kindness, and promising to do all in
her power to show them it was not mis-
placed. Her simple affairs had been wound
up by the friendly farmer; and, about six
weeks after the death of her father, with
very little money in her pocket and a heavy
heart, she bade adieu to the happy home
of her childhood and her kind-hearted host
and hostess, and started on her journey to
Clapham. She clung to the hope that
she should find in the Misses Stanley those
who would be to her as relatives, but in
this light they did not choose to be re-
garded. Her sensitive spirit at once saw
that her position in their house was to be
that of, not even a hireling, but one who
was taken from charity, and from whom
much gratitude was expected. She could
not give it. One word of kindness, of sym-
pathy, or of interest in her welfare, would
98 Ashgrove Farm ; or,
have filled the orphan's heart to overflowing:
but there was none. Cold, distantly given
information of what her duties were to be,
and what advantages she might expect in
return, fell like ice upon the heart that was
pining and yearning for something like the
love she had lost. She turned to those
duties with a high conscientious resolve they
should be fulfilled; but gratitude had no
place in their discharge.
By the teachers she was regarded as one
having no right to consider herself on
an equality with themselves, whose services
were of sufficient value to'be compensated
by payment. The elder girls treated her
with distant civility, intended to prevent
any approaches to familiarity; and although
she was a favourite with the younger ones,
owing to her sweetness of temper and ready
attention to their comforts, her services
were regarded as their due, and taken as a
matter of course. But perhaps her greatest
trial lay with the servants, who, quickly
Sperceiving that Miss Duncan was subordi-
Snate to the other teachers, and therefore, as
they ignorantly supposed, nearer to their