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Title: Plain Jane

Author: G. M. George

Illustrator: G. M. C. Fry

Release Date: November 12, 2007 [EBook #23455]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


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27. Plain Jane


The Dumpy Books for Children


A Cloth Case to contain Twelve Volumes can be had, price 2s. net; or the First Twelve Volumes in Case, price £1 net.

, Leicester Square.


publisher's device: Sir Joseph Causton & Sons Ltd. / London



Plain Jane

Text by G. M. George






That model Miss, Jemima Jane

Was very good, and very plain;

Her parents noticed with delight

How neat she was, and how polite.

Sometimes her young companions came

And begged she’d join them in a game.

But it was never any use;

She’d make some civil, quiet excuse,

And, “Dear Mama,” she’d whisp’ring say,

“I love plain sewing more than play;

I hope you’ll always think of me

As your own gentle, busy Bee!”

Jane rose at five. “What for?” you ask;

And I reply, “To con her task.”

She breakfasted on milk and bread,

Nor ever asked for aught instead;

“I like it best, because,” said she,

“’Tis wholesome for a child like me.”

She used to think it quite a treat,

To put her bed and chamber neat;

But she enjoyed—oh, better far!

Saying her tasks to her Mama.


She took the air when these were done,

But she would never romp and run;

Prim and sedate she walked about,

Her back quite straight, her toes turned out:

And all the people, seeing this,

Exclaimed, “Oh, what a model Miss!”

see caption

Jane’s Uncle

Jane’s Uncle, who lived far away,

Sent her Mama a note one day,

Explaining that he found he had

To spend a fortnight in Bagdad.

He had a daughter, and ’twas plain

He hoped that she might stay with Jane.

“She’s a sad puss,” he said, “I own;

But I can’t leave the child alone.”

“I think,” Mama said, in a fuss,

“We can’t have her to stay with us:

I do not like my Jane to mix

With children who have naughty tricks.”

But Jane said, with a gentle smile,

Plying her needle all the while,

“Pray, let her come here, dear Mama,

With the permission of Papa;

I have a hope that she might be

Influenced for her good by me:

For I could show her that she would

Be happier if she were good.”

see caption

She bought a rod that afternoon


At this her kind Mama relented,

And, as her good Papa consented,

That very day her mother wrote

Her uncle quite a cordial note,

Saying, “I think that it is clear

Your Ann should spend your absence here”

As she expected Ann quite soon,

She bought a rod that afternoon.

And sure enough, next Tuesday, Ann

Was brought there by a serving-man.

see caption

Ann was brought there by a serving man

Alas! alas! it soon was plain

She was not in the least like Jane!

She ran and laughed and romped about,

And raised a hubbub and a shout.

“Oh, fie!” said Jane, “Pray, cousin Ann,

Do be more tranquil if you can.”

But Ann just laughed, and did not care,

And tweaked her cousin by the hair.


When they were out she climbed a tree,

Which quite annoyed the “busy Bee.”

“Fie, fie!” she cried. Ann said “Here goes:”

And aimed an acorn at her nose!

So Jane replied, “My good Mama

Shall know how rude and rough you are.”

“Your good Mama!” said little Ann;

“Well, if you want to tell, you can.”

She went away—went whistling too,

Such a rude, boyish thing to do!

see caption

Aimed an acorn at her nose


They went home shortly after, so

Jane told Mama her tale of woe.

“I do not tell this tale from choice,”

She said, in her most gentle voice;

“I thought you ought to know, you see,

How cousin Ann climbed up a tree;

And when I chid in gentle fashion,

She flew into a dreadful passion,

And—dear Mama, indeed, indeed,

I would much rather not proceed.”

But since her mother thought it best,

She dutifully told the rest.

—“She threw things at me, tore my hair,

And whistled as she left me there!”

see caption

‘Indeed, indeed, I would much rather not proceed’


At this Mama looked grim and stern,

And said that Ann had much to learn;

And that she really felt unable

To have such naughty girls at table.

So when the others supped that day

(Their stew smelt sav’ry by the way),

Ann had to stand upon a seat,

And did not get a thing to eat;

While Jane kept slyly peeping round,

And swallowed with a sucking sound.

And there poor Ann was forced to stay

When supper was all cleared away.

Jane’s good Papa began to read

A very solid book indeed;

Jane took her work, and sat near by,

And pricked Ann’s ankles on the sly.

see caption

Pricked Ann’s ankles on the sly


And there in fact Ann had to wait

Until the clock was striking eight,

When Jane’s Mama believed it time

To say that ladies never climb,

But that to fall into a pet,

And fight, is more disgraceful yet!

Her little loving, gentle Jane

Should not be treated so again.

She added more. At last she said

Ann might come down, and go to bed.

Jane gently whispered, “Dear, you would

Be happier if you were good.”

Ann mutter’d “Pig!”—but no one heard

Her use that most improper word.

see caption

Laughed at her look of pained surprise

It chanced that nearly every day

The cousins quarrelled at their play.

Good little Janie always ran

And told Mama of naughty Ann;

—Of how she tied Jane’s flaxen hair

To the back portion of her chair,

And when her cousin tried to rise,

Laughed at her look of pained surprise.


How she had torn Jane’s Sunday skirt,

And squirted at her with a squirt!

—And how another evening, she

Slipped salt into Jane’s dish of tea;

And many another naughty feat

Did Ann perform and Jane repeat.

see caption

Slipped salt into Jane’s dish of tea

When Ann called Jane a “Tell-tale-tit,”

She went and told Mama of it.

She sighed, “I wondered how she could!

I long to help her to be good.”

Jane’s kind Mama, I need not say,

Behaved in the most prudent way;

Correcting Ann in various ways

And giving Jane much well-earned praise.

see caption

Off she started at a run


Now in that village, every year

The people held a cattle fair;

And stalls and tents and swings were seen

Set up upon the village green.

Now when the fair came round that spring

Ann longed to go like anything.

“Oh, Aunt,” she cried, “do let us go!”

And pouted when her Aunt said “No.”

Next morning when out walking, Ann

Concocted such a naughty plan!

She had some money of her own,

And she would see the fair alone!

(I hope no other little miss

Has ever made a scheme like this.)

When she believed that no one saw,

She slipped out at the big front door,

And off she started at a run,

To see the shows and all the fun.

see caption

Watching a big performing bear

Now little Jane sat prim and neat

Upon the parlour window seat;


And so she saw her cousin go,

And guessed she meant to see the show.

“Mama!” she murmured, with a sigh,

“My cousin Ann has just run by;

I sadly fear—but no! oh, no!

It could not be to see the show.”

Mama at once sent Betsy out

To see what Ann could be about:

And Betsy found her at the fair

Watching a big performing bear;

And Betsy brought her to her Aunt,

Altho’ she fought and cried “I shan’t!

I shan’t go back! I won’t go in!”

—And kicked poor Betsy on the shin.

see caption

Jane fetched the rod


Her Aunt, on hearing all, looked grave,

And said, “Is this how you behave?

You disobeyed me, and you fought!

—Go, Jane, and fetch the rod I bought.”

Jane joyfully laid down her book,

And ran off with a merry look;

While Ann stood looking pale and queer,

And wishing that “Papa were here.”


“Miss, to your room!” Mama said; so

Away poor Ann was forced to go.

Jane fetched the rod, and said, “Oh, why

Will my poor cousin be so sly?

I cannot bear,” the child confessed,

“To see my dear Mama distressed.”

see caption

Jane’s gentle smile grew quite sublime

Mama then took the rod, and went,

Leaving her daughter well content:

Jane’s gentle smile grew quite sublime,

For her Mama was gone some time.


When twenty minutes had expired

She came in looking hot and tired;

And very shortly after, she

Went out to drink a dish of tea

With several friends she long had known,

Leaving her little girl alone.

see caption

Hot and tired

Jane found it rather dull to read;

She soon felt very dull indeed.

How interesting Ann’s tales had been

About that circus she had seen.

Jane wished Mama had let them go

And see this cattle fair and show.

She almost thought it would be fun

To go alone, as Ann had done.


“’Twill be her fault, if I do go;

She made me want to see the show.

Mama will not suspect the plan

Because I told her about Ann,”

She said, as she decided on it,

And went to fetch her beaver bonnet.

Betsy the maid was busy, so

Nobody saw Miss Janie go.

Prim and particular and neat

She minced along the village street,

And safely reached the village green

Unnoticed, and in fact unseen.

see caption

With propriety

Once there, Miss Jane, I grieve to say,

Behaved in quite a naughty way!

—She even rode a wooden horse,

Though with propriety, of course;

She bought some sweetmeats at a stall

And then sat down and ate them all;

She saw the clowns and acrobats,

And the performing dogs and cats.

She thought them very clever, yet

The pig-faced lady was her pet!

see caption

A woman saw her tears


Soon it grew dark, and little Jane

Began to feel some drops of rain;

Her gown would spot, if it got wet;

And what a whipping she would get

If kind Mama could ferret out

What her dear child had been about.

If she got wet, they’d ask her “Why?”—

And here poor Jane began to cry.

A woman saw her tears—and saw

The pretty necklace which she wore.

“Come, come!” she said, “my little Miss,

Don’t spoil your pretty eyes like this;

If you’re afraid of getting wet

Come to my caravan, my pet,

And I’ll be proud if Miss will take

A dish of tea and slice of cake.”

Jane thought the woman kind and nice,

And so she followed her advice:

But after she had drunk her tea

She felt as drowsy as could be,

And so, although she tried to keep

Awake, she soon was fast asleep.

see caption

‘Pray, sirs,’ she asked, ‘can this be right?’


When she awoke, her head felt fit

To fall to pieces, and to split;

Her necklace and her clothes were gone,

And she had next to nothing on.

Her hair was short, and was—alack!

No longer fair, but bluish black!

And she herself was—only think!

Spotted all over brown and pink!

Too scared to cry, she rose and saw

A giant, dwarf, and several more.

In fact, it soon was pretty plain

These wicked men had stolen Jane,

And meant to use her as a show,

Dressed as a “spotted child,” you know.

She struggled hard to be polite;

“Pray, sirs,” she asked, “can this be right?”

“You ’old your bloomin’ row!” they said,

And rudely cuffed her on the head.

see caption

Quite fond of Ann


When Jane’s Mama at length returned,

How dreadful was the news she learned!

Her child was gone!—And it was vain

To seek and search and call for Jane!

They hunted for her everywhere—

They even sought her at the fair;

But days went by, and then a week,

So that it seemed no use to seek.

Oddly enough—Mama began

Really to feel quite fond of Ann,

Now that there was no virtuous Jane

To carry tales and to complain.

And Ann felt sorry for her Aunt

Altho’ she said: “I really can’t

Conceive why it should cause her pain

To lose a little pig like Jane!”

Now that Ann’s Aunt was left in peace

She made excuses for her niece;

If she were noisy at her play,

She said, “I like to see her gay.”

And if she grew a trifle wild,

She only shook her head and smiled.

see caption

Proffered her a guinea-piece


When Ann’s Papa returned, one day,

And came to fetch his child away,

Mama was grieved to lose her niece,

And proffered her a guinea-piece,

Saying: “You must stay longer, when

You come to visit me again.”

Now all this time, poor Jane, we know,

Was made a laughing-stock and show.

They told her, did she dare explain

That she was only little Jane,

And not a spotted girl at all,

They’d beat her till she couldn’t crawl.

She had to wait on all the rest,

And had to do her very best;


So that, she sometimes quite forgot

Whether her back was straight or not!

And even, so the story goes,

Sometimes forgot to point her toes!

see caption

She had to wait on all the rest

Jane found the children in the van

Were infinitely worse than Ann;

They punched her head and tore her hair,

And pinched and nipped her everywhere,

And when she said, “A little child

Ought to be tractable and mild!”

They only made an ugly face,

And pinched her in another place.

After a time this seemed to teach

Jane it was better not to preach:

And even now and then, she would

Forget that she was very good.

She wished it had not been her plan

Always to tell Mama of Ann.

After two months had passed away,

She even might be heard to say

That she had been a spiteful cat

To treat her Cousin Ann like that!

see caption

Gravely passed from tent to tent


Now Jane’s good parents went to stay

With Ann’s Papa one autumn day;

And while they both were staying there,

The people held a kind of fair.

“Pray, brother,” Jane’s Mama began,

“Do let me take your little Ann;

For she would like to see the show.”

And he replied, “We all might go.”

And so that afternoon they went,

And gravely passed from tent to tent;

And finally, the party stept

Into the tent where freaks where kept.


“Look at that child,” said one, “I’m sure

Her spots are paint and nothing more.”

Cried Ann: “I do not care a fig

For looking at that spotted pig!”

But at her voice, Jane shrieked and ran,

And threw her arms round little Ann.

“Save me! oh, save me!” she did plead;

“I’m not a spotted pig, indeed!”

see caption

And threw her arms round little Ann


While her Mama screamed out, “You’re not

My Jane!”—and fainted on the spot.

And her Papa desired to know

Who was the master of the show?

But he, as afterwards transpired,

Had very modestly retired.

Then everyone had much ado

To bring Jane’s fainting mother to:

At last she sat up with a start,

And pressed her darling to her heart.

“My Jane!” she cried, “my Jane!! my Jane!!!”

And seemed inclined to faint again.

see caption

Fainted on the spot


When Jane regained her native hearth

She had a very thorough bath:

But tho’ she used all soaps then known,

And soda too, and pumice-stone,

She sadly saw she still had got

More than one noticeable spot!

And so poor Miss Jemima Jane

Tho’ still more good, is still more plain.

see caption


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