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Title: Goody Two Shoes

Author: Anonymous

Illustrator: Anonymous

Release Date: March 31, 2014 [EBook #45278]

Language: English

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By Anonymous




T will be readily understood by our young readers, that the real name of the little girl who is the heroine of this story was not Goody Two Shoes, but Margery Meanwell. Her father, Mr. Meanwell, was for many years a very respectable farmer in the parish of Mouldwell, where Margery was born; but misfortunes, and the cruel persecutions of Sir Timothy Gripe, his landlord, and the rich Farmer Graspall, ruined this worthy man, and was the source of all poor Margery's troubles.


Farmer Meanwell died soon after of a broken heart, and his poor wife, unable to struggle with misfortunes, only survived him a few days, leaving their unfortunate offspring, Margery and Tommy, friendless orphans in an unpitying world.

The loss of their parents seemed to endear these orphans more to each other, and they were continually seen strolling hand in hand about the village, as if they were afraid of being separated.

They had relations—but as they were rich, they took no notice of these poor children; being ashamed to own such a little ragged girl as Margery, and such a dirty curly-headed boy as Tommy.

Mr Smith, the clergyman of the parish where Margery and Tommy were born, was a very worthy man, and being at this time visited by a rich and charitable friend, he told him the story of the poor orphans. The stranger gave Mr. Smith money to buy some clothes for Margery, and said that he would make Tommy a little sailor. Tommy was happy to hear this, and next day the gentleman bought him a jacket and trowsers, of which he was very proud. Margery could never give over admiring Tommy in his new dress; but her happiness met with a severe check, for the gentleman was to return to London in a few days, and to take Tommy along with him.

The parting of these children was very affecting; poor Margery's eyes were red with crying, and her cheeks pale with grief, while little Tommy, by way of consolation, said he would never forget his dear sister, and kissed her a hundred times over. As Tommy left his sister, he wiped her eyes with the corner of his jacket, and promised to return, and bring her fine things from abroad.

When Margery found that Tommy did not come back, she cried all day until she went to bed, and next morning she went round every one in the village, weeping and lamenting that her brother Tommy was gone. Fortunately, while she was in this distress, the shoemaker came with a pair of new shoes, which the gentleman had ordered for her, and it being so long since little Margery wore a pair of shoes, her attention was so engaged as to give a new turn to her thoughts. Nothing but the pleasure of examining her two shoes could have put a stop to the violence of her grief. She immediately put on the shoes, and then went to let Mrs. Smith see them. It was with delight that little Margery exhibited them to her benefactress, saying, "Two shoes, ma'am! see, two shoes!" She then went through the whole village to show her new shoes, addressing them in the same way, until she got the name of "Little Two Shoes," but, being a very good child, they usually called her "Little Goody Two Shoes," and she never entirely lost that name.

Poor Margery was destitute of friends; but, although very young, she contrived to meet the children as they returned from school, and prevailed on one of them to learn her the alphabet. She used to borrow their books, and sit down and read till they came from dinner. It was by these means that she soon acquired more learning than her playmates at school, and in a short time she formed a little plan for instructing children who had not yet learned to read.

She found that there were twenty-six letters in the alphabet, and every word spelled with them; but as these letters might be either large or small, she cut, out of little pieces of wood, ten sets of the alphabet in small letters, and ten of the large, or capitals. With the assistance of an old spelling-book, she made her companions arrange the words they wanted to spell out of her wooden alphabets, and then showed them how to make sentences. When they wished to play at this game, she placed the children around her, and gave them a word to spell. If the word was plum-pudding, the first brought the letter p, the second i, the third u, the fourth m, and so on, till the whole was completed.

By this method, in a short time Margery gained such great credit among the parents of the children that they were all happy when she appeared with the basket of letters in her hand, which proved a source of amusement as well as instruction, and she at last had a regular set of scholars.


Margery usually left home at seven o clock in the morning, and the first house she called at was Farmer Wilson's.

Mrs. Wilson always received her with pleasure, saying, "O Little Goody, I am glad to see you—Billy has learned his lesson." The little boy was equally happy to see her; and after giving him his lesson, she went to Farmer Simpson's. A dog used to bark at her when she first went to that house, but he soon learned to know her, "Come in Margery," said Mrs Simpson, "Sally wants you very much, for she has learned her lesson." Little Sally began her lesson by placing the syllables of two letters, which she did very correctly, and pronounced them as Goody Two Shoes had taught her.


Some time after, as Little Goody was returning from her pupils rather later than usual, she was overtaken by a violent storm of thunder and lightning; but she took refuge in a farmer's barn, and lay down among some straw at the farther end. She had not remained long, before four robbers also sought shelter from the storm in the same place, and not observing Little Goody, who was at some distance, they began to arrange their future plans of depredation.

Among other schemes of villany, they formed the resolution of breaking into the houses of Sir William Dove and Sir Timothy Gripe on the night following, and to plunder them of all their money, plate, and jewels.

During their conversation, Little Goody listened with great attention; but the tempest being over, the robbers left the barn without discovering that they had been overheard, When she thought they were fairly gone, Goody made the best of her way home; and, rising early next morning, went to Sir William Dove, and told him all she had heard. The knight asked her name, and then giving her some money, desired her to call on him next day. Goody next proceeded to Sir Timothy Gripe's, and sent in her name by the servant; but, as he refused to see her, she, with some difficulty, got admittance to Lady Gripe, and related what she had heard in the barn. This lady was a very sensible woman, and did not despise the information; but secretly engaged people to guard the house; and when the robbers came in two parties to attack both houses, they were all taken and sent to jail.

Sir William Dove, who was grateful for the service Little Goody had done him, said she should no longer sleep in a barn, as he would try to get some proper situation for her; but the wicked Sir Timothy was vexed that his life had been saved by her means, and never rewarded or thanked her.

The most respectable school in that neighbourhood was conducted by a Mrs. Williams, a very good lady; but old age induced her to resign the situation, when Sir William Dove getting notice of, sent for her, and recommended Little Goody as a person worthy to succeed her. As Mrs. Williams already knew that Margery had a good heart, she found on examination, her head to be equally so; and being every way qualified for the place, Margery was, at the old lady's request, appointed to succeed her.

She was now no longer called Margery or Goody Two Shoes, but only known by the name of Mrs. Margery.


Margery had a very feeling heart, and could not endure to see even a dumb animal used with cruelty, without trying to prevent it. As she was one day walking through the village, her attention was drawn to some boys, who were tying a poor raven, which they had caught, to a post, on purpose to amuse themselves with the cruel diversion of shying, or throwing a stick at it. Margery, to get the raven, gave them a penny, and brought it home with her. She called the raven Ralph; taught him to speak and spell; and as he was fond of playing with the capital letters, the children called them Ralph's alphabet.

Shortly after, when rambling in the fields, she saw two boys torturing a beautiful dove by allowing it to fly a little way, and then pulling it back again, with a string which was tied to its foot. Margery rescued this bird for a mere trifle, and carried it with her. She also learned the dove to spell with her letters, besides many other curious things; and being very useful in carrying letters, she called him Tom. It is a curious fact, that Tom showed as great a liking to the small letters as Ralph had for the large, and the scholars used to give them the appellation of "Tom's alphabet."


Another useful assistant of Mrs. Margery's was a fine skylark, which some of the neighbours made her a present of. As some children are very fond of lying in bed too long in the morning, she sent this pretty bird, which sung sweetly at their window, and taught them when to rise.

A poor little lamb, which had lost its dam, was about to be killed by the butcher, when Margery making a bargain with him for it, took it home and called it Will. He taught the children when to go to bed, and being very gentle, was a great favourite; but he only carried home the satchel of those who behaved best and brought it again in the morning. She also got a present of a little dog, called Jumper, which was very sagacious, and might have been termed Porter of the School, for he never allowed any unknown person to enter.


Shortly after, little Jumper gave a wonderful proof of his sagacity. The children had just finished their lessons, when the dog ran in, and seizing Margery's apron, tried to pull her out of the schoolroom.

She allowed the dog to drag her out to the garden, and he returned and brought out one of the children in the same manner; upon which Mrs Margery called them all into the garden. This saved all their lives, for in less than five minutes after, the roof of the house fell in.

This was a great loss to Mrs. Margery, who had no place to teach in; but Sir William Dove caused another school to be built at his own expense, and she got the use of Farmer Grove's hall till it was ready, which was in the centre of the village. While there she learned the farmer's servants and neighbours to read and write, and by degrees became so esteemed in the parish, that almost every one consulted her, and many serious disputes where settled by her advice.

Mrs. Margery, who was always doing good, contrived an instrument to tell when the weather was to continue favourable or unfavourable; by which means she told the farmers when to mow the arrass and gather in the hay with safety. Several persons, who suffered in their crops by not consulting Margery, were so angry at their losses, that they accused her of being a witch and sent Gaffer Goosecap, a silly old meddling fool, to obtain evidence against her.

This old fellow entered the school as Margery was walking about, having the raven on one shoulder, the pigeon on the other, the lark on her hand, and the lamb and dog at her side, and he was so frightened, that he cried. "A witch! a witch!"

Margery exclaimed, smiling, "A conjurer! a conjurer!" and he ran off; but soon after a warrant was issued against her, and she was carried before a meeting of the justices, followed by all the neighbours.


Although this accusation met with the contempt it deserved, yet one of the magistrates was silly enough to believe the slander, and asked, who could give her a character. Margery inquired if any one there could speak against it, and told them, that she had many friends both able and willing to defend her; but she could not think of troubling them on such a silly business, for if she was a witch, she would show them her charm. She then took out her weather-glass, and placed it upon the table.

Sir Charles Jones, who was present on this occasion, was so delighted with her conduct, that he offered her a handsome annuity to superintend his family and the education of his daughter. This she refused at first, but Sir Charles being seized with a severe illness, and again entreating her, she at last consented. In this situation, she conducted herself with so much propriety, and behaved so tenderly to his daughter, that on his recovery, when she proposed to leave him, he made her an offer of his hand. Margery knew the real value of the worthy baronet, and esteemed him as he deserved: therefore, after he had amply provided for his daughter she consented to become Lady Jones.

When this circumstance was understood in the neighbourhood, it diffused a general joy throughout the village, where Margery was greatly beloved, and brought crowds to witness the marriage. The clergyman was proceeding with the ceremony, when a young gentleman, handsomely dressed, came running into the church, and requested that the ceremony, might, be stopped until he had a conversation with the bride. The whole assembly were astonished at his request, particularly the bride and bridegroom, who stood motionless, without having power to return an answer to the stranger. However, the gentleman coming forward, discovered himself to be Tommy, her brother, and she fainted away in his arms.


Tommy Meanwell had just landed from abroad, where he had made a great fortune, which he intended to share with his dear sister, when he heard of her intended marriage, and posted to be present on the occasion. After mutual congratulations, this happy pair were united, and lived happily together many years, doing all the good in their power.

In the course of time, both Sir Timothy and Farmer Graspall were so reduced as to be supported by the charity of Lady Jones, who delighted in relieving the indigent, rewarding the industrious, and instructing the children in the neighbourhood.

Having lived to an advanced age in the constant practice of virtue, and having made some liberal bequests in favour of her fellow-creatures, her spirit returned to God who gave it, leaving all who knew her to mourn her departure.


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