He called the servants names, pinched and beat his little sister Clara, and took away her playthings, and was not kind and good to her, as a brother should be. “Oh, what a sad boy Charles is!” was his mother’s daily bitter exclamation.
His father was a proud, bad man, who let Charles have his own way, because he was his only son, and he thought him handsome. But how could anyone be handsome that was so naughty? I am sure that when he was froward, and put out his lip, and frowned, he looked quite ugly. Mother told him so, and said that no one was pretty that was not good; but Charles did not mind his mother, and was so vain he would stand before the looking-glass half the day, instead of learning his lessons; and was so silly he would say, “What a pretty little boy I am! I am glad I am not a shabby boy, like Giles Bloomfield, our cowboy.” At such times his mother would say to him: “I wish, Charles, you were only half as good as Giles; he is not much older than you, yet he can read in the Bible quite well; he works hard for his poor mother, and never vexes her, as you do me; and when he comes home of an evening, he nurses the baby, and is kind to all his sisters. I dare say he never pinched nor beat any of them in his life.”
“Oh!” said that wicked Charles, “I hate him for all that, for he wears ragged clothes, and has no toys to play with.”
“Oh fie, Charles!” said his mother; “you are a wicked boy: have not I often told you that God made the poor as well as the rich, and He will hate those who despise them? Now, Charles, if God, to punish you for your pride, were to take away your father and me, and you had no money to buy food, and your clothes became old and ragged, you would then be a poor, shabby boy, and worse off than Giles; for you could not earn your own living, as he does; and you would consequently be starved to death if God did not take care of you. And if, while you were rich, you hated the poor, how could you expect God to care for you when you grew poor, like those you had scorned?”
But Charles, however, was so naughty he would not stay to hear what his mother said, but ran away into the fields.
Then Charles’s mother was so vexed that she could not help crying at his being such a wicked, proud boy; and she could not sleep all that night for the grief his conduct had occasioned her. The next day she was forced to take a long journey to visit a friend who was very ill, and who lived in London. She was very sorry to leave her children, for she knew if Charles behaved naughty when she was with him, he would be a sad boy indeed when he was left to himself, and had none to correct him and tell him of his faults.
When the carriage that was to take Mrs. Grant to London drove to the door, she kissed her children a great many times, and begged that they would be very good while she was away from them.
“You, my dear Clara, I know, will mind what nurse says to you, and will try to be good while I am gone; for you know that God will see everything you do amiss, if I do not; and I hope you will never forget to say your prayers to Him night and morning.”