“I am sorry you are such a sad, naughty child,” said his mother. “I thought you would have been so pleased with all these nice things to eat.”
“They are not nice,” said the child, who was not at all grateful for all that his mother had done, but was now in such a passion that he took the piece of currant tart which his nurse again offered to him, and, squeezing, up as much as his two little hands could hold, he threw it at his nurse, and stained her nice white handkerchief and apron with the red juice.
Just at this moment his father came into the garden, and walked up to the table.
“What is all his?” said he. “Alfred, you seem to be a very naughty boy indeed; and I must tell you, sir, I shall allow this no longer. Get down from your chair, sir, and beg your nurse’s pardon.”
Alfred had hardly ever heard his father speak so before, and he felt so frightened that he left off crying and did as he was bid. Then his father took him by the hand and led him away.
His mother said she was sure he would now be good and eat the currant tart; but his father said:
“No, no, it is now too late; he must come with me.”
So he led him away, without saying another word.
He took him into the village, and he stopped at the door, of a poor cottage.
“May we come in?” said his father.
“Oh yes, and welcome,” said a poor woman, who was standing at a table with a saucepan in her hand.
“What are you doing, my good woman?”
“Only putting out the children’s supper, your honor.”
“And what have you got for their supper?”
“Only some potatoes, please you, sir; but they be nicely boiled, and here come the hungry boys! They are coming in from their work, and they will soon make an end of them, I warrant.”
As she said these words in came John, and William, and Thomas, all with rosy cheeks and smiling faces. They sat down—one on a wooden stool, one on a broken chair, and one on the corner of the table—and they all began to eat the potatoes very heartily.
But Alfred’s father said:
“Stop, my good boys; do not eat any more, but come with me.”
The boys stared, but their mother told them to do as they were bid, so they left off eating and followed the gentleman.
Alfred and his father walked on till they arrived once more under the cedar-tree in the garden, and there was the fine feast all standing just as they had left it, for Alfred’s cousins were gone away, and his mother would not have the dinner taken away, because she hoped that Alfred would come back to it.
“Now, boys,” said the gentleman, “you may all sit down to this table and eat whatever you like.”
John, William, and Thomas sat down as quickly as they could, and began to devour the chickens and tarts, and all the good things, at a great rate; and Alfred, who now began to be very hungry, would gladly have been one of the party; but when he was going to sit down, his father said: