Jessie’s Parrot

Jessie’s Parrot

Joanna H. Mathews
Joanna H. Mathews

Author: Mathews, Joanna H. (Joanna Hooe), 1849-1901
Christian life — Juvenile fiction
Friendship — Juvenile fiction
Brothers and sisters — Juvenile fiction
Students — Juvenile fiction
Parrots — Juvenile fiction
Grandparents — Juvenile fiction
Pride and vanity — Juvenile fiction
Intergenerational relations — Juvenile fiction
Jessie’s Parrot




By the author of this Volume.

By Joanna H. Mathews, Author of the “Bessie Books.”

I. Belle Powers’ Locket.   16mo $1.00
II. Dora’s Motto.   16mo 1.00
III. Lily Norris’ Enemy 1.00
IV. Jessie’s Parrot 1.00
V. Mamie’s Watchword 1.00


A series of Stories on the Commandments.   6 vols.   In a box $3.60

“It is not easy to say too good a word for this admirable series. Interesting, graphic, impressive, they teach with great distinctness the cardinal lessons which they would have the youthful reader learn.”—S. S. Times.


6 vols.   In a box $7.50

“Bessie is a very charming specimen of little girlhood. It is a lovely story of home and nursery life among a family of bright, merry little children.”—Presbyterian.

New York.

Jessie’s Parrot.


“He that is down need fear no fall,
He that is low no pride,
He that is humble ever shall
Have God to be his guide.”
530 Broadway.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
In the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.


I. The New Scholar 9
II. An Excursion 31
III. Jessie and her Grandfather 52
IV. The Parrot 69
V. Grandmamma Howard 90
VI. Jealousy 110
VII. A Misfortune 129
VIII. The Spider and the Fly 148
IX. A Guilty Conscience 168
X. A Game of Characters 189
XI. Confession 205
XII. The Fair 223




“FANNY LEROY is going away from our school,” said Carrie Ransom one morning to Belle Powers and two or three more of her young schoolmates.
“Oh, dear! I’m sorry,” said Belle.
“So am I,” said Dora Johnson. “Why is she going?”
“Has she finished her education, and is she never going to school any more?” asked Mabel Walton.
“Why, no,” said Belle; “she’s nothing but a little girl; and you don’t finish your education till you’re quite grown up and have long dresses.”
“Why is she going away?” asked Lily. “I don’t want her to go. I like Fanny.”
“So do I. She’s real nice,” said Carrie; “but she is going, for all, ’cause her father and mother and all her family are going to Europe and she is going with them.”
“I wish she wouldn’t,” said Belle; and one and another echoed their sorrow at the loss of their schoolmate.
Fanny had always been well liked in the school; but now that they were about to lose her the little girls found that they were even more fond of her than they had supposed, and many regrets were expressed when, a moment later, she came in accompanied by Gracie Howard.
Fanny herself was very melancholy and low, for this was to be the last day at school, as she informed the other children; the journey to Europe having been decided upon rather suddenly, and the departure was to take place within a few days. Nevertheless, although she was sorry to part with her teacher and classmates, and in mortal dread of the voyage, she felt herself rather of a heroine, and entitled to be made much of.
“We’ll have an empty place in our school then,” said Belle.
“No,” said Fanny, “for my cousin Hattie is coming to take my place; it is all arranged, and Miss Ashton says she can come.”
“Is she nice?” asked Lily.
“Well—yes,” answered Fanny, half doubtfully.
“You don’t seem to think she’s so very,” said Belle.
No, Fanny evidently had her own opinion on this subject; but as she was not a child who was ready to speak ill of the absent, she would not say more than she could help. But the interest and curiosity of her schoolmates were aroused, and they could not be satisfied without hearing more.

“I know Hattie,” said Gracie Howard, who was more intimate with Fanny and her family than any of the other children,—”I know Hattie, and I like her. She thinks I am very nice. She told me so.”
This was plainly the highest of recommendations in Gracie’s eyes. Any one who admired her was sure of her favor; but this fact did not have quite as much weight with her companions as it did with herself, and they turned once more to Fanny.
“But tell us, Fanny,” said Lily Norris, “why don’t you like her so very much?”
Fanny looked, as she felt, uncomfortable at this close question.
“Why,” she answered reluctantly, “I do like her; she’s my cousin, you know, so I have to; but then—but then—I think I’ll let you wait till she comes to find out the kind of girl she is. Maybe you’ll like her very much. Gracie does.”
Fanny had her own doubts whether Gracie or any of the others would always continue to like Hattie as well as they might do upon a first acquaintance; but she very properly and generously resolved not to tell tales and prejudice the minds of the other children against the new comer. Better to give Hattie all the chance she could and let it be her own fault if she were not popular with her classmates.
I cannot say that Fanny reasoned this out in just such words; but the kind thought was in her mind, and she resolved to hold her peace and say nothing unkind about her cousin. Would Hattie have done as much for her or for any one else? You shall judge for yourself by and by.
The parting with Fanny was rather a sad one, for the children were all fond of her, and she took it so very hardly herself, declaring that she never expected to see any one of them again. For Fanny, though a very good and amiable little girl, was one who was apt to “borrow trouble,” as the saying is; that is, she was always worrying herself about misfortunes which would, could, or might happen to herself or her friends.

Therefore she now expressed her expectation of never seeing any of her young friends again, and when Lily very naturally inquired if the family meant to stay “for ever an’ ever an’ ever,” said, “No, but people were very often drowned when they went to Europe in a steamer, and very likely she would be.”
Nor was she to be persuaded to take a more cheerful view of the future, even when Dora Johnson suggested that many more people crossed the ocean and returned in safety than were lost upon it. She was determined to dwell upon the possibilities, and even probabilities of her being shipwrecked, and took leave of her schoolmates with a view to such a fate.
“Fanny did not act as if she thought we’d like her cousin Hattie very much, did she?” questioned Nellie Ransom as she walked homeward with Gracie Howard, Dora Johnson, and Laura Middleton.
“No, she did not,” said Laura. “Fanny don’t tell tales or say unkind things about people, but it was quite plain she does not think so very much of Hattie Leroy.”
“I know the reason why,” said Gracie.
“What is it?” asked Laura.
“Fanny said something very hateful about me,” answered Gracie, “and Hattie told me of it; and just for that Fanny was mad at Hattie.”
“Well, I should think Fanny might be mad,” said Laura. “Hattie had no right to tell you if Fanny didn’t mean her to, and I don’t believe she did.”
“No,” said Gracie, “I don’t suppose Fanny did want me to know it; but then she had no business to say it.”
“Hattie had no business to repeat it,” said Dora indignantly; “if she is that kind of a girl I don’t wonder Fanny don’t like her, and I wish she was not coming to our school.”
“What did Fanny say?” asked Laura, who had her full share of curiosity.
“She said—she-er—she-er—I’m not going to tell you what she said,” answered Gracie, who was really ashamed to confess what slight cause for offence Fanny had given, and that it was her own wounded self-love which made it appear so “hateful.”
But although Gracie would not tell her schoolmates, I shall tell you, for I know all about it.
The mighty trouble was just this.
Hattie Leroy had but lately come to live in the city, and just when her parents were looking around for a good school to send her to, Fanny’s papa and mamma made up their minds to take her abroad. This left her place vacant in Miss Ashton’s class, and, as you have heard, it was at once secured for her little cousin.
Meanwhile Gracie and Hattie, who had met at Fanny’s house, had struck up a violent intimate friendship and were now much together.
As may be supposed, Hattie was very curious respecting her future teacher and classmates, and asked both Fanny and Gracie many questions about them.
But, although the accounts given by the two children agreed in most points, yet, in some way, the story told by Gracie left a very different impression from that of Fanny. The latter thought her teacher and classmates very nearly, if not quite, perfect, and bestowed her praise freely and without stint. Well, and if you had heard Gracie’s report you might have said that she did the same; but whenever Gracie said one good word for another she said a dozen for herself. One girl was a very bright scholar, but she stood second to Gracie; another was always punctual and steady, but Gracie had still a higher number of marks for these two virtues—or at least if she did not have them, she deserved them, and it was the fault of some one else that they had not fallen to her share. Nellie Ransom wrote such fine compositions; but then, they were by no means to be compared to Gracie’s own,—oh, dear, no! So it was with each and every one; whatever merit any child in the class possessed, Gracie’s went beyond it.
So at last Hattie quite naturally asked Fanny if Gracie were really the best child, the finest scholar, and the most admired and praised of all her classmates.
“Why, no,” answered Fanny; “Gracie is a very good scholar, and ‘most always knows her lessons perfectly; but Nellie is even better than she is, and has kept the head of the spelling and history classes ever so long. And she generally writes the best compositions; but Gracie don’t think so, and always says Miss Ashton is unjust if she gives Nellie the highest marks. But Gracie is very smart, and can learn quicker than any of the rest of us; and she ‘most always behaves well in school too.”
“Better than any one else?” asked Hattie.
“No,” said Fanny, rather indignantly; “there’s lots of the children that are just as good as she is. She’s not the best one in the school at all. She’s good enough, but not so wonderful.”

“She thinks she is,” said Hattie.
“That’s nothing,” answered Fanny; “people’s thinking they are a thing don’t make them that thing, you know.”
“Then you think Gracie is conceited and thinks a great deal of herself, do you?” asked Hattie.
“Why, yes,” answered Fanny, though half reluctantly; “no one could help thinking that, you know.”
Fanny expressed herself in this manner more as a way of excusing her own opinion of Gracie than as accusing her little playmate.
“Who do you think is the best child in all the school?” asked Hattie.
“Well,” answered Fanny, after a moment’s reflection, “I b’lieve Belle Powers is. At least I think it is the best in her to be as good as she is, for she has to try pretty hard sometimes.”
“Why?” asked inquisitive Hattie again.
“Because she has no mother, and she has always been a good deal spoiled by her papa and her old nurse. But I never saw any child who wanted to be good more than Belle, and she tries very much; and we are all very fond of her, and Miss Ashton excuses her things sometimes because she is sorry for her.”
“Don’t that make you mad?” said Hattie.
“No,” answered Fanny with much energy; “we’d be real mean if we were mad when Belle has no mother. No, indeed; no one could bear to have Belle scolded; we all love her too much.”
Now this was seemingly a most innocent conversation; was it not? and one could hardly have supposed that it would have made trouble for poor Fanny as it did.
Gracie and Fanny lived within a few doors of one another, the latter a little nearer to Miss Ashton’s house than the former; and Gracie was in the habit of stopping for Fanny on her way to school that they might walk there together.
But one morning a day or two after this, Fanny, standing by the window and watching for her young friend as usual, saw her go by with her maid without so much as turning her head or casting her eye up at the window where she must know Fanny awaited her.
“It is the queerest thing I ever knew,” said Fanny to her father as she walked along by his side a few moments later; “it ‘most seems as if Gracie was offended with me to do so; but then she can’t be, for I have not done a thing to her. I shall ask her right away, as soon as I am at school.”
But Fanny was only just in time to take off her hat and cloak and go to her seat before the bell rang, and so had no opportunity before school to inquire into the cause of Gracie’s strange behavior.
There was no need of words, however, to show that Gracie was indeed offended with her, for averted looks and scornful tossings of the head showed that plainly enough. Poor Fanny was hurt and uncomfortable, and vainly tried to imagine what she could have done that offended Gracie so much.

She ran to her as soon as recess gave her liberty to speak.
“Why, Gracie! what is the matter?” she asked. “Why did you not stop for me this morning?”
“‘Cause I did not choose to,” answered Gracie shortly.
“Are you mad with me?” asked Fanny, putting a very unnecessary question, for it was quite plain to all beholders that this was Gracie’s state of mind.
“Yes, I am; and I have a good right to be too,” answered Gracie, her eyes flashing at Fanny.
“What have I done?” asked the innocent Fanny.
“You need not pretend you don’t know, Miss Hateful,” replied Gracie, “nor pretend you haven’t a guilty conscience. I’ve found you out! I’ll never be friends with you again.”
“You ought to tell Fanny what it is, and let her make it up,” said Belle.

“She can’t make it up. I’ve found her out before it was too late. She is a false, treacherous friend,” said Gracie, waxing magnificent and severe in her reproaches, as she imagined.
Poor Fanny, a tender-hearted, sensitive little thing, was overwhelmed by these upbraidings, which she was not conscious of deserving; but neither her entreaties nor those of the other children could draw more than this from Gracie, who turned away from them with an air of great offence, and holding her head very high with insulted dignity.
“Augh!” said Lily Norris, who generally took up the cudgels in defence of any one whom she considered oppressed or injured, and who generally contrived to be quite as cutting and severe in her remarks as the offender had been; “you had better take care, Gracie; some day that nose of yours won’t come down again, it is growing so used to sticking itself up at people. If when you’re grown up people call you ‘stuck-up-nose Miss Howard,’ you won’t feel very complimented; but you can just remember it is the consequence of your being such a proudy when you was young.”
Gracie made no reply, except by raising both nose and head higher still, which expressive motion Lily answered by saying,—
“Oh, don’t I feel like giving you a good slap!” with which she walked away, fearing perhaps that she might be too strongly tempted to put her desire into execution.
Fanny was a good deal distressed, and the other children all felt much sympathy for her, for, as you will doubtless do, they thought Gracie’s behavior not only unkind but also unjust.
For, although such scenes as this were becoming quite too frequent in consequence of Gracie’s ever increasing vanity and conceit, she generally was ready enough to proclaim the cause of offence; but now she was not only “hateful,” as Lily called it, but “mysterious” also, and would give Fanny no opportunity of explaining the supposed grievance.

Fanny went home both unhappy and vexed,—Gracie still carrying matters with a high hand and refusing even to walk on the same side of the street with her—and finding her cousin there, as was quite natural, she told her of the trouble with Gracie.
Had Fanny not been too much disturbed to pay much attention to Hattie’s manner, she might have seen that she looked uncomfortable when she told her story, fidgeting and coloring and having so little to say that Fanny thought her wanting in sympathy. But it was not until the next day that she discovered that Hattie was really the cause of the difficulty with Gracie. By that time she had heard that she was to sail for Europe in a few days, and this made her more unwilling than ever to be on bad terms with her young friend.
Meeting Gracie in the street, the poor little grieved heart overflowed, and rushing up to her, Fanny exclaimed, “Oh, Gracie! don’t be cross with me any more, for I’m going to Europe, and I expect I’ll be drowned in the steamer, and then you’ll be sorry you did not make up with me.”
This affecting prospect somewhat mollified Gracie’s vexation; but still she answered in a tone of strong resentment,—
“Well, then; and why did you say hateful things about me to Hattie?”
“I didn’t,” said Fanny, who had so little intention of making unkind remarks about Gracie that she had really forgotten her conversation with Hattie. “I didn’t. I never said a thing about you.”
“Hattie said you did,” answered Gracie; “she says you told her I thought myself very wonderful, but I was not; and that ‘most all the girls were better scholars than me.”
“I didn’t,” said Fanny indignantly.
“And she says,” continued Gracie, “that you said ’cause I thought myself good did not make me good, and that Nellie wrote better compositions than I did. And she says”—this was plainly the first and worst count in Gracie’s eyes—”s

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