CM 3 Audioblog #16 The Purple Jar From the Book 'Early Lesson' by Maria Edgeworth
CM EP 16
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The Parent's Review, a monthly magazine of home training and culture, edited by Charlotte Mason.
The Purple Jar
From the book, Early Lesson, by Maria Edgeworth
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.
"Oh, mother, how happy I should be," said she, as she passed the toy shop, "if I had all these pretty things."
"What, all? Do you wish for them all, Rosamond?"
"Yes, Mama, all."
As she spoke, they came to a milliner's shop. The windows were hung with rye bands and lace and festoons of artificial flowers. "Oh, Mama, what beautiful roses. Won't you buy some of them?"
"No, my dear."
"Because I don't want them, my dear."
They went on a litter farther and came to another shop which caught Rosamond's eye. It was a jeweler's shop, and there were a great many pretty bobbles arranged in drawers behind glass. "Mama, you'll buy some of these?"
"Which of them, Rosamond?"
"Which? I don't know which. But any of them, for they are all pretty."
"Yes, they are all pretty, but what use would they be to me?"
"Use? Oh, I'm sure you could find some use or other if you would only buy them first."
"But I would rather find out the use first."
"Well, then, Mama, there are buckles. You know buckles are useful things. Very useful things."
"I have a pair of buckles. I don't want another pair," said her mother, and walked on.
Rosamond was very sorry that her mother wanted nothing. Presently, however, they came to a shop which appeared to her far more beautiful than the rest. It was a chemist shop, but she did not know that. "Oh, mother, oh!" cried she, pulling her mother's hand, "Look, look! Built blue, green, red, yellow, and purple. Oh Mama, what beautiful things! Won't you buy some of these?"
Still, her mother answered as before. "What use would they be of to me, Rosamond?"
"You might put flowers in them, Mama. And they would look so pretty on the chimney-piece. I wish I had one of them."
"You have a flower pot," said her mother, "and that is not a flowerpot."
"But I could use it for a flowerpot, Mama, you know?"
"Perhaps if you were to see it nearer. If you were to examine, you might be disappointed."
"No, indeed, I'm sure I should not. I should like it exceedingly."
Rosamond kept her head turned to look at the purple vase till she could see it no longer. "Then mother," said she, after a pause, "perhaps you have no money?"
"Yes, I have."
"Dear, if I had money, I would buy roses and boxes and buckles and purple flowerpots and everything."
Rosamond was obliged to pause in the midst of her speech. "Oh, Mama, would you stop a minute for me? I've got a stone in my shoe. It hurts me very much."
"How came there to be a stone in your shoe?"
"Because of this great hole, Mama. It comes in there. My shoes are quite worn out. I wish you'd be very good as to give me another pair."
"Nay, Rosamond, but I have not money enough to buy shoes, and flowerpots, and buckles, and boxes, and everything."
Rosamond thought that was a great pity. But now, her foot, which had been hurt by the stone, began to give her so much pain that she was obliged to hop every other step, and she could think of nothing else. They came to a shoemaker shop soon afterwards.
"There. There, Mama, there's shoes. There are little shoes that would just fit me, and you know shoes would be really of use to me."
"Yes, so they would, Rosamond. Come in."
She followed her mother into the shop. Mr. Sole, the shoemaker, had a great many customers, and his shop was full. So they were obliged to wait. "Well, Rosamond," said her mother, "don't you think this shop so pretty as the rest?"
"No, not nearly. It's black and dark, and there are nothing but shoes all around. And besides, there's a very disagreeable smell."
"That smell is the smell of new leather."
"Is it? Oh," said Rosamond, looking round. "There is a pair of little shoes. They'll just fit me, I'm sure."
"Perhaps they might, but you cannot be sure till you've tried them on anymore than you can be quite sure that you should like the purple vase exceedingly, till you have examined it more attentively."
"Why, I don't know about the shoes certainly, till I've tried, but Mama, I'm quite sure I should like the flowerpot."
"Well, which would you rather have? That jar or a pair of shoes? I will buy either for you."
"Dear Mama, thank you, but, if you could buy both?"
"No, not both."
"Then the jar, if you please."
"But I should tell you that I shall not give you another pair of shoes this month."
"This month? That's a very long time indeed. You can't think how these shoes hurt me. I believe I'd better have the new shoes. But yet, that flowerpot. Oh, indeed Mama, these shoes are not so very very bad. I think I might wear them a little longer, and the month will soon be over. I can make them last till the end of the month, can't I? Don't you think so, Mama?"
"Nay, my dear. I want you to think for yourself. You will have time enough to consider about it while I speak to Mr. Sole about my clogs."
Mr. Sole was, by this time, at leisure. And whilst her mother was speaking to him, Rosamond stood in profound meditation, with one shoe on and the other in her hand. "Well, my dear, have you decided?"
"Mama, yes. I believe, if you please, I should like the flowerpot. That is, if you won't think me very silly, Mama."
"Why, as to that, I can't promise you, Rosamond, but when you are to judge for yourself, you should choose what would make you the happiest, and then it would not signify you, who thought you silly."
"Then, Mama, if that's all, I'm sure the flowerpot would make me the happiest," said she, putting on her old shoe again. "So, I choose the flowerpot."
"Very well, you shall have it. Clasp your shoe and come on."
Rosamond had clasped her shoe and ran after her mother. It was not long before the shoe came down at the heel and many times, she was obliged to stop to take the stones out of her shoe, and often was she obliged to hop with pain. But still, the thoughts of the purple flowerpot prevailed, and she persisted in her choice.
When they came to the shop with the large window, Rosamond felt her joy redouble upon hearing her mother desire the servant, who was with them, to buy the purple jar and bring it home. He had other commissions, so he did not return with them. Rosamond, as soon as she got in, ran to gather all her own flowers, which she had in a corner of her mother's garden.
"I'm afraid they'll be dead before the flowerpot comes, Rosamond," said her mother to her, when she was coming in with the flowers in her lap.
"No, indeed, Mama, it will come home very soon, I dare say. And shant I be very happy putting them into the purple flowerpot?"
"I hope so, my dear."
The servant was much longer returning home than Rosamond had expected, but at length, he came and brought with him the long wished for jar. The moment it was set down upon the table, Rosamond ran up with an exclamation of joy. "I may have it now, Mama?"
"Yes, my dear. It is yours."
Rosamond poured the flowers from her lap upon the carpet and seized the purple flower pot. "Oh dear, mother," cried she, as soon as she had taken off the top, "but there's something dark in it. It smells very disagreeably. What is it? I didn't want this black stuff."
"Nor I neither, my dear."
"But what shall I do with it, Mama?"
"That, I cannot tell."
"But it will be of no use to me, Mama."
"That I can't help."
"But I must pour it out, and fill the flowerpot with water."
"That's as you please, my dear."
"Will you lend me a bowl to pour it into, Mama?"
"That was more than I promised you, but I will lend you a bowl." The bowl was produced and Rosamond proceeded to empty the purple vase. But what was her surprise and disappointment, when it was entirely empty, to find that it was no longer a purple vase? It was a plain white glass jar, which had appeared to have that beautiful color merely from the liquid with which it had been filled.
Little Rosamond burst into tears. "Why should you cry, my dear?" said her mother. "It will be of as much use to now as forever for a flowerpot."
"But it won't look so pretty on the chimney-piece. I am sure, if I had known that it was not really purple, I should not have wished to have it so much."
"But didn't I tell you that you had not examined it, and that perhaps you would be disappointed?"
"And so, I am disappointed indeed. I wish I had believed you beforehand. Now, I had much rather have the shoes, for I shall not be able to walk all this month. Even walking home that little way hurt me exceedingly. Mama, I'll give you the flowerpot back again, and that purple stuff and all, if you'll only give me the shoes."
"No, Rosamond. You must abide by your own choice. And now the best thing you can possibly do is, to bear your disappointment with good humor."
"I will bear it as well as I can," said Rosamond, wiping her eyes. And she began slowly and sorrowfully to fill the vase with flowers.
But Rosamond's disappointment did not end there. Many were the difficulties and distresses into which her imprudent choice brought her before the end of the month. Every day, her shoes grew worse and worse, till at last, she could neither run, dance, jump, or walk in them. Whenever Rosamond was called to see anything, she was pulling her shoes up at the heels and was sure to be too late. Whenever her mother was going out to walk, she could not take Rosamond with her, for she had no soles to her shoes, and at length, on the very last day of the month, it happened that her father proposed to take her with her brother to a glasshouse which she had long wished to see.
She was very happy, but when she was quite ready, had her hat and gloves on, and was making haste downstairs to her brother and her father, who were waiting at the door for her, the shoe dropped off. She put it on again, in a great hurry, but as she was going across the fall, her father turned around. "Why are you walking slipshod? No one must walk slipshod with me. Why Rosamond," said he, looking at her shoes with some disgust. "I thought that you were always neat? I cannot take you with me now."
Rosamond colored and retired. "Oh, Mama," said she, as she took off her hat, "how I wish that I had chosen the shoes. They would have been so much more use to me than that jar. However, I am sure, no, not quite sure, but I hope I shall be wiser another time."
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