HERE once lived a gentleman and his wife, who were the parents of a lovely little daughter.When this child was only nine years of age, her mother fell sick. Finding her death coming on, she called her child to her and said to her, "My child, always be good; bear every thing that happens to you with patience, and whatever evil and troubles you may suffer, you will be happy in the end if you are so." Then the poor lady died, and her daughter was full of great grief at the loss of a mother so good and kind.The father too was unhappy, but he sought to get rid of his sorrow by marrying another wife, and he looked out for some prudent lady who might be a second mother to his child, and a companion to himself. His choice fell on a widow lady, of a proud and tyrannical temper, who had two daughters by a former marriage, both as haughty and bad-tempered as their mother. No sooner was the wedding over, than the step-mother began to show her bad temper. She could not bear her step-daughter's good qualities, that only showed up her daughters' unamiable ones still more obviously, and she accordingly compelled the poor girl to do all the drudgery of the household. It was she who washed the dishes, and scrubbed down the stairs, and polished the floors in my lady's chamber and in those of the two pert misses, her daughters; and while the latter slept on good feather beds in elegant rooms, furnished with full-length looking-glasses, their sister lay in a wretched garret on an old straw mattress. Yet the poor thing bore this ill treatment very meekly, and did not dare complain to her father, who thought so much of his wife that he would only have scolded her.
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