by Mary Martha Sherwood
This is one of Mrs. Sherwood's Moral and family tales, fervently religious and moral short stories written for children, in which their own innate sinfulness is emphasised, as well as the dire consequences which will befall them if they slip from the path of rigorous Christian virtue. The Tales sold in large numbers, and were extremely popular (among well-meaning adults) as Sunday school prizes and Sunday reading in God-fearing households.
The full text can be read online or downloaded free of charge. It is in XHTML format, like this page. Please note the file size is 93kb and it may take some time to open-up if you choose to read it online. Downloading for reading later may be the preferred option and this can be typically achieved by calling up an option box. If you have a mouse and it is configured for left click to select, right clicking the link may give you this option. Link to the full text of Waste not, want not from Moral and family tales.
Mary Fairfield has been raised by a virtuous and careful mother, one of those who
while they are going about their household work, will have an eye upon their children, taking care that they learn and practise the holy lessons contained in the books which are given to them; and pious fathers, who, when they return from their work at night, will take their little ones upon their knees and speak to them of heaven and hell, of their God and Saviour, and other holy things.
She then goes into service with Mrs. Shirley, a virtuous and plain-living mistress, who helps Mary to stay on the path of virtue when she is tempted off it and made discontented by Hannah Brown.
She and Hannah, though eventually working in the same household, take divergent paths, and, unsurprisingly, Hannah comes to a tragic end, while Mary reaps the reward of virtue.
Page created 26 November 2002 and last
updated 26 November 2002
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