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and went down stairs with their brother, without praying, washing themselves, combing their hair, making their bed, or doing any one thing they ought to have done.
John had indeed made a large quantity of toastand-butter: but the children were not satistied with what John had made ; for when they had ate all which he had provided, yet they would toast more themselves, and put butter on it before the fire, as they had seen Betty do: so the hearth was covered with crumbs and grease, and they wasted almost as much as they ate.
After breakfast, they took out their books to learn their lessons; but they had eaten so much that they could not learn with any pleasure: and Lucy, who thought she would be very clever, began to scold Henry and Emily for their idleness; and Henry and Emily, in their turn, found fault with her : so that they began to dispute, and would soon, I fear, have proceeded to something worse, if Henry had not spied a little pig in the garden Sisters," said he, “ there is a pig in the garden, in the flower-bed! Look! look ! and what mischief it will do! Papa will be very angry. Come, Sisters, let us hunt it out."
So saying, down went Henry's book, and away he ran into the garden, followed by Emily and Lucy running as fast as they could. They soon drove the pig out of the garden: and it would have been well if they had stopped there ; but, instead of that, they followed it down into the lane. Now there was a place where a spring ran across the lane; over which was a narrow bridge, for the use of people walking that way. Now the pig did not stand to look for the bridge, but went, splash splash, through the midst of the water : and after him went Henry, Lucy, and Emily, though they were up to their knees in mud and dirt.
In this dirty condition they ran on till they came close to a house where a farmer and his wife lived, whose names were Freeman. These people were not such as lived in the fear of God; neither did they bring up their children well : on which account, Mr. Fairchild had often forbidden Lucy, and Emily, and Henry, to go to their house. However, when the children were opposite this house, Mrs. Freeman saw them through the kitchen window; and seeing they were covered with mud, she came out and brought them in, and dried their clothes by the fire: which was, so far, very kind of her; only the children should not have gone into the house, as they had been so often forbidden by their parents.
Mrs. Freeman would have had them stay all day, and play with their children; and Henry and his sisters would have been very glad to have accepted her invitation, but they were afraid :' so Mrs. Freeman let them go; but, before they went, she gave them each a large piece of cake, and something sweet to drink, which, she said, would do them good. Now this sweet stuff was cider; and as they were never used to drink any thing but water, it made them quite tipsey for a little while: so that, when they got back into the lane, first one tumbled down and then another; and their faces became flushed, and their heads began to ache : so that they were forced to sit down for a time under a tree, on the side of the lane : and there they were when Jobn came to find them; for John, who was in the stable wben they ran out of the garden, was much frightened when he returned to the house and could not find them there.
“ Ah! you naughty children !” said he, when he found them, “ you have almost frightened me out of my life! Where have
been ?” • We have been in the lane,” said Lucy, blushing.
This was not all the truth; but one fault always leads to another.
So John brought them home, and locked them up in their play-room, whilst he got their dinner ready.
When the children found themselves shut up in their play-room, and could not get out, they sat themselves down, and began to think how naughty they had been. They were silent for a few minutes : at last Lucy spoke :
“Oh, Henry! oh, Emily ! how naughty we have been ! And yet I thought I would be so good when papa and mamma when out; so very good! What shall we say when papa and mamma come home ?”
Then all the children began to cry. At length Henry said,
“I'll tell you what we will do, Lucy: we will be good all the erening; we will not do one naughty thing."
“ So we will, Henry,” said Emily. “ When John lets us out, how good we will be ! and then we can tell the truth, that we were naughty in the morning, but we were good all the evening.'
John made some nice apple-dumplings for the children ; and when they were ready, and he had put some butter and sugar upon them, (for John was a good-natured man), he fetched the children down; and after they had each ate as much appledumpling as he thought proper, he told them they might play in the barn, bidding them not to stir out of it till supper-time.
Henry and Lucy and Emily were delighted with this permission; and as Lucy ran along to the barn with her brother and sister, she said, “ Now let us be very good. We are not to do any thing naughty all this evening."
“We will be very good, indeed," answered Emily. “ Better than we ever were in all our lives," added Henry.
So they all went into the barn; and when John fastened them in, he said to himself, “ Sure they will be safe now, till I have looked to the pigs and milked the cow ; for there is nothing in the barn but straw and hay, and they cannot hurt themselves with that, sure.” But John was mistaken. As soon as he was gone, Henry spied a swing, which Mr. Fairchild had made in the barn for the chil.. dren, but which he never allowed them to use when he was not with them, because swings are very dangerous things unless there are very careful persons to use them. The seat of the swing was tied úp to the side of the barn, above the children's reach, as Mr. Fairchild thought.
“Oh! Lucy," said Henry, “there is the swing. There can be no harm in our swinging a little. If papa were here, I am sure he would let us swing. If you
and Emily will help to lift me up, I will untie it and let it down; and then we will swing so nicely!”
So Emily and Lucy lifted Henry up; and he untied the swing, and let it down into its right place: but as he was getting down, his coat caught upon a bit of wood on the side of the barn, and was much torn. However, the children did not trouble themselves very much about this accident: they got one by one into the swing, and amused themselves for some time without any mischance. First Emily got into the swing; then Henry, then Lucy; and then Emily would get in again. “Now, Lucy,” she said, “ swing me high, and I will shut my eyes: you can't think how pleasant it is to swing with one's eyes shut. Swing me higher! swing me higher !"
So she went on calling to Lucy, and Lucy trying to swing her higher and higher; til at last the
swing turned, and down came Emily on the foor! There happened, providentially, to be some straw on the floor, or she would have been killed. As it was, however, she was sadly hurt: she lay for some minutes without speaking, and her mouth and nose poured out blood.
Henry and Lucy thought she was dead; and, oh! how frightened they were! They screamed so violently, that John came running to see what was the matter : and, poor man! he was sadly frightened when he saw Emily lying on the floor covered with blood. He lifted her up, and brought her into the house: he saw she was not dead, but he did not know how much she might be hurt. When he had washed ber face from the blood, and given her a little water to drink, she recovered a little ; but her nose, and one eye, and her lip, were terribly swelled, and two of her teeth were out. well they were her first teeth, and that she had others to come, or else she would have been without her front tooth all her life.
When Emily was a little recovered, John placed her in a little chair by the kitchen fire ; and he took his blue pocket-handkerchief, and tied Lucy and Henry to the kitchen table, saying, “ You unlucky rogues ! you have given me trouble enough to-day--that you have. I will not let you go out of my sight again, till master and mistress come home. Thank God, you have not killed your sister! Who would have thought of your loosing the swing?"
In this manner Henry and Lucy and Emily remained till it was nearly dark; and then they heard the sound of the horse's feet coming up to the kitchen door, for Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild were come. John hastened to untie the children, who trembled from head to foot.
“ Oh! John, John! what shall we do? What shall we say?" said Lucy.