But what, says the reader, can occasion all this? do you intend this for children? Permit me to inform you, that this is not the book, sir, mentioned in the title, but an introduction to that book; and it is intended, sir, not for that sort of children, but for children of six feet high, of which, as my friend has justly observed, there are many millions in the kingdom; and these reflections, sir, have been rendered necessary by the unaccountable and diabolical scheme which many gentlemen now give in to, of laying a number of farms into one, and very often a whole parish into one farm; which in the end must reduce the common people to a stage of vassalage, worse than that under the barons of old, or of the clans in Scotland, and will in time depopulate the kingdom. But as you are tired of the subject, I shall take myself away, and you may visit Little Margery.
HOW AND ABOUT LITTLE MARGERY AND HER BROTHER
Care and discontent shortened the days of Little Margery’s father. He was forced from his family, and seized with a violent fever in a place where Dr. James’s powder was not to be had, and where he died miserably. Margery’s poor mother survived the loss of her husband but a few days, and died of a broken heart, leaving Margery and her little brother to the wide world; but, poor woman, it would have melted your heart to have seen how frequently she heaved her head, while she lay speechless, to survey with languishing looks her little orphans, as much as to say, “Do, Tommy, do, Margery, come with me.” They cried, poor things, and she sighed away her soul; and I hope is happy.
It would both have excited your pity, and have done your heart good, to have seen how these two little ones were so fond of each other, and how hand in hand they trotted about.
They were both very ragged, and Tommy had no shoes, and Margery had but one. They had nothing, poor things, to support them (not being in their own parish) but what they picked from the hedges, or got from the poor people, and they lay every night in a barn. Their relations took no notice of them; no, they were rich, and ashamed to own such a poor little ragged girl as Margery, and such a dirty little curly-pated boy as Tommy. Our relations and friends seldom take notice of us when we are poor; but as we grow rich they grow fond. And this will always be the case, while people love money better than they do God Almighty. But such wicked folks who love nothing but money, and are proud and despise the poor, never come to any good in the end, as we shall see by and by.
HOW AND ABOUT MR. SMITH
Mr. Smith was a very worthy clergyman, who lived in the parish where Little Margery and Tommy were born; and having a relation come to see him, who was a charitable, good man, he sent for these children to come to him. The gentleman ordered Little Margery a new pair of shoes, gave Mr. Smith some money to buy her clothes, and said he would take Tommy and make him a little sailor.