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About this book

Maria Edgeworth was a pioneer of realist children's literature. This critical edition reveals the range of her writing for children, ranging from stories for very young children to tales for young adults, and includes The Purple Jar, The Good Aunt and The Grateful Negro. Annotated with a comprehensive introduction based on original research.

Table of Contents

‘The Little Dog Trusty; or, The Liar and the Boy of Truth’

Abstract
Very, very little children must not read this story, for they cannot understand it; they will not know what is meant by a liar, and a boy of truth.
Maria Edgeworth, Susan Manly

‘The Purple Jar’

Abstract
Rosamond, a little girl of about seven years old, was walking with her mother in the streets of London. As she passed along, she looked in at the windows of several shops, and she saw a great variety of different sorts of things, of which she did not know the use, or even the names. She wished to stop to look at them, but there were a great number of people in the streets, and a great many carts, and carriages, and wheelbarrows, and she was afraid to let go her mother’s hand.
Maria Edgeworth, Susan Manly

‘Rosamond’s Day of Misfortunes’

Abstract
“Are you getting up so soon?” said Rosamond to her sister; “it seems to be a cold morning; it is very disagreeable to get up from one’s warm bed, in cold weather; I will not get up yet.”
Maria Edgeworth, Susan Manly

‘The Bracelets’

Abstract
In a beautiful and retired part of England lived Mrs. Villars; a lady whose accurate understanding, benevolent heart, and steady temper peculiarly fitted her for the most difficult, as well as most important, of all occupations—the education of youth. This task she had undertaken; and twenty young persons were put under her care, with the perfect confidence of their parents. No young people could be happier; they were good and gay, emulous, but not envious of each other; for Mrs. Villars was impartially just; her praise they felt to be the reward of merit, and her blame they knew to be the necessary consequence of ill-conduct: to the one, therefore, they patiently submitted, and in the other consciously rejoiced. They rose with fresh cheerfulness in the morning, eager to pursue their various occupations; they returned in the evening with renewed ardour to their amusements, and retired to rest satisfied with themselves, and pleased with each other.
Maria Edgeworth, Susan Manly

‘Lazy Lawrence’

Abstract
In the pleasant valley of Ashton there lived an elderly woman of the name of Preston; she had a small neat cottage, and there was not a weed to be seen in her garden. It was upon her garden that she chiefly depended for support: it consisted of strawberry beds, and one small border for flowers. The pinks and roses she tied up in nice nosegays, and sent either to Clifton or Bristol to be sold; as to her strawberries, she did not send them to market, because it was the custom for numbers of people to come from Clifton, in the summer time, to eat strawberries and cream at the gardens in Ashton.10
Maria Edgeworth, Susan Manly

‘Waste Not, Want Not; or, Two Strings to Your Bow’

Abstract
Mr. Gresham, a Bristol merchant, who had, by honourable industry and economy, accumulated a considerable fortune, retired from business to a new house, which he had built upon the Downs, near Clifton.19 Mr. Gresham, however, did not imagine, that a new house, alone, could make him happy: he did not propose, to live in idleness and extravagance; for such a life would have been equally incompatible with his habits and his principles. He was fond of children, and as he had no sons, he determined to adopt one of his relations. He had two nephews, and he invited both of them to his house, that he might have an opportunity of judging of their dispositions, and of the habits which they had acquired.
Maria Edgeworth, Susan Manly

‘The Good Aunt’

Abstract
Charles Howard was left an orphan when he was very young: his father had dissipated a large fortune, and lost his life in a duel, about some debt of honour, which had been contracted at the gaming-table. Without fortune, and without friends, this poor boy would probably have lived and died in wretchedness, but for the humanity of his good aunt, Mrs. Frances Howard. This lady possessed a considerable fortune, which, in the opinion of some of her acquaintance, was her highest merit: others respected her as the branch of an ancient family: some courted her acquaintance because she was visited by the best company in town: and many were ambitious of being introduced to her because they were sure of meeting at her house several of those distinguished literary characters, who throw a radiance upon all who can contrive to get within the circle of their glories. Some few, some very few of Mrs. Howard’s acquaintance, admired her for her real worth, and merited the name of friends.
Maria Edgeworth, Susan Manly

‘The Grateful Negro’

Abstract
In the island of Jamaica there lived two planters, whose methods of managing their slaves were as different as possible. Mr. Jefferies considered the negroes as an inferior species, incapable of gratitude, disposed to treachery, and to be roused from their natural indolence only by force;82 he treated his slaves, or rather suffered his overseer to treat them, with the greatest severity.
Maria Edgeworth, Susan Manly
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