Many authors of nineteenth-century series books, such as Harriette Baker and Harriet McKeever, published didactic fare. Sometimes such works formed the core of a series (like Baker's Bible Pearls); other times, they were written for various Sabbath-School publications. Although not a series book, Bessie, The Little Girl Who Learned from Everything, an anonymous work by an unidentified author, provides an example of the inexpensive pamphlets distributed by Sunday Schools and reformers. This copy lacks its original paper cover and has no publication date, but, based on the street address (805 Broadway), was probably issued by the Methodist Book Concern or Nelson & Phillips ca1870-75.
Cover: Bessie, the little girl who learned from everything.  Sunday-School Department, 805 Broadway, NY
Bessie and her mother Scenic view: mother and child on bridge Illuminated B 
Leslie's little
came skipping into
the parlor one morn-
ing rather before the
time for the daily lessons.
She ran up to her mamma,
who was sitting at work,
and having kissed her, said:
"O mamma, I came down
sooner this morning, because I want to
ask you something. May I talk to you
a little before I begin my lessons?"

"What have you got to talk about
that is so very interesting that you can-

not wait till after lessons ?" asked Mrs.
Leslie, smiling.

"Why, you know, mamma, that old
Mrs. Bell came to tea with nurse last
night. You said she might ask her.
And, do you know, she said, while she
sat at tea with us, 'It does me so much
good to see all the little dears,' (she
always calls us little dears,) 'they behave
so pretty, and are so good.' For though
nurse often finds fault with us, Mrs.
Bell always admires our behavior."

" And is that all you have to tell me ?
there is nothing very wonderful in that."

"O no," said Bessie.; "I shall soon
come to it, if you will let me go on.
She said: 'Nurse, I always learn so
much from seeing these children. I
shall think about them when I am sit-
ting alone at home, and feel quite the
better for it.' I laughed when she said
so, and I said: ' O Mrs. Bell, how can
you learn anything from us? you are
such a very, very old lady, and we are
only very, very silly little children!'
Then she smiled and said: 'Ah! Miss
Bessie, I can learn something from every-
thing I see, and so may you if you will
try.' I told nurse, when Mrs. Bell was
gone, I was sure what she said was not
true, and she told me I had better ask
you. Now, mamma, is it true ? Can I
learn from everything?"

"Well, dear, I think Mrs. Bell was
right. I am sure, if we were to try, we
might gain some useful lesson from
everything we see. But I hardly can
expect a little girl like you to enter into
the meaning of such a thought."

" I want to understand it very much
indeed," said Bessie. Don't you think,
dear mamma, you could make it plain
to me? Why, if I could learn from
everything, I might be always learning,
because, you know, I am always seeing
something, except when I am asleep."

" I will try, dear," said mamma; " but,
first, you had better do your lessons."

" Do talk about it first, mamma,"
said the child. " I shall be thinking of
it all the while I am reading, and I can-
not do anything well if I am thinking
of something else. You know you said
so yourself yesterday."

" No, my dear, the lessons must come

Still Bessie pleaded for her own way;
whereupon her mamma, looking toward
the window, called to her to come and
see what was passing.

Just then a man threw a stick he
had in his hand to some distance, and
ordered his dog to fetch it; the animal
obeyed. This was repeated several
times. At last the man walked out of
sight, followed by his faithful dog.

" There is nothing wonderful in that,"
said Bessie. " Our Tray will do the same
thing when Richard sets him to do it."

" I did not tell you to look at that dog
because it was doing anything wonder-
ful," said mamma, " but because it was
an opportunity of learning something.

" Why, mamma!" said Bessie, laugh-
ing " how could I learn from a dog ? I
cannot carry a stick in my month."

" True, my dear. But there was
something the dog did which you can
do. Try and find it out."

" Do tell me what you mean, mamma;
it is so tiresome to try to guess it."

" The dog obeyed and obeyed instant-
said Mrs. Leslie. " That was the les-
son you might have learned from him."
Bessie colored up to her ears; then
she said: " Well, I will learn it, mamma."
And she ran and got her books, and
went to her lessons at once.

She applied very closely, and did
them all very nicely, so that her mother
was able to praise her. When they were
finished she ran to the nursery, to be
dressed for a walk with her mother.

" Now, mamma," said she, as they
walked along, "will you let me try
to see whether I can find out what I
may learn from everything we see as we
walk along?"

" That will be a good plan," said

Their way led them through the high-
road, across fields, and down a charm-
ing lane. They also had to cross the
river by a rustic bridge. Then they
were to go into the village.
As they walked, Bessie chatted away.
" There are some birds sitting on a tree;
well, I cannot learn anything from them.
And these sheep, I cannot see what
they can teach me, poor silly things!
O look how they are running! What
can be the matter ? Ah, I see ; there is
a dog worrying them. I am afraid I
shall not see anything I can learn there.
O there is old Master Sutton! Well, I
am sure I cannot learn from him, he is
so stupid and ignorant. I wish I had
got a cent to give him, poor fellow!
Can you lend me one, mamma ? I will
pay you the very minute we get home."

The mother gave her a cent, and she
ran with great kindness to give it to the
poor man, who was half an idiot, but
very harmless. When she returned,
Mrs. Leslie said, " So you cannot learn
anything from poor Master Sutton ?"
" Why no, mamma," said Bessie, with
very great surprise; " he knows noth-
ing ; how could he teach me anything ?"

" Well, my child," said Mrs. Leslie,
"he teaches me to he thankful to God,
that I am not a poor half idiot, like that
poor man. Now you may learn the
same lesson."

Bessie looked very serious. "Dear
mamma, I never thought of that. I
never thought how good God was to
me, in making me able to know better
than poor Sutton. I will try and re-
member what you have said every time
I see him."

" I hope you will, my dear. God has
been very good to you."

By this time they had come to a field,
which a man was plowing with a yoke
of oxen.

"How stupid," said Bessie, "these
man with oxen
poor oxen look. Horses are much pret-
tier than oxen. Can I learn anything
from them ?"

" I want you to find out for yourself,"
said her mother.

"They look very dull," said Bessie.
" You do not wish me to learn to be sad.
But they are also very industrious. All!
that is the thing: I can learn from them
to be industrious. That will be a very
good lesson. And I have thought of an-
other thing; they are very patient. I
may learn to be patient. You know
that is a very good thing. You some-
times say I want patience very much."

"You do indeed," said mamma, laugh-

As they were now in the high-road,
they were rather annoyed by the dust,
of which Bessie complained.

" This is a good time to put in prac-
tice the lesson you learned just now
from the poor oxen," said mamma.

Bessie, being in a very happy temper,
laughed and said it would be, and said
no more of the dust.

When they came to the entrance of
the village, they met a poor boy walking
on crutches, he having lost one leg. As
soon as Bessie saw him, she said to her
mamma: " Look at poor James Hill; is
it not a shocking thing that he was
obliged to have his leg cut off? O , I
could never, never have borne it."

"Do you know how it was that he
was obliged to lose it?" said mamma.

" O yes, nurse told me all about it. He
would ride after the hounds, though his
papa had told him not to do so; and the
pony fell, and hurt him so much that
the doctors were obliged to cut off his
leg, or he would have died. How sorry
he must be now that he did not mind
what his papa said. I must not learn
from him, because it was so wicked. O
yes, I see what you are thinking, mam-
ma," said she, as she looked up in her
mother's face; " I can learn from him,
too; I can learn what a dangerous thing
it is to be disobedient."

" Yes, my love; and I pray God that
the lesson may sink deep in your heart."

They had now come to the cottage
they were to call at; and on going in
Bessie felt very much disgusted at its
untidy, dirty appearance. Her mother
did not make her visit long, and they
were both glad to get oat of the
wretched place. As they walked to
the next house they were going to,
Bessie said:

"How very poor these people must
be whom you have just been to see.
Why did you not give them some money,
mamma ?"

" What makes you think them so very
poor, my dear ?"

" Why, it was such a very dirty place,
and the woman and children were all in
rags," said Bessie.

" They are not so poor as many very
clean and tidy people. The man earns
good wages: I did not give them mon-
ey, as they would only waste it. I car-
ried the tart for the sick child, because
its appetite is bad, and it longs for such
things. It would be no charity else."

On coming out of the next cottage
Bessie expressed her delight at its clean,
neat appearance, and said how beautiful
old Mrs. Carter looked in her white cap
and apron, which looked as if they had
just been put on. " I cannot think she
is so poor as the others, mamma."

" But she is a great deal poorer, I can
assure you, my dear," said Mrs Leslie.
" What makes her look so comfortable
is her neatness and industry."

"Well," said Bessie, "I will learn
from her to be very neat and careful of
my things. I cannot learn anything
from those other dirty people."

"Yes, you can, my child," said her
mother. "You may see in them the
evil effects of untidy, wasteful habits,.
and so be taught to avoid them. Yon
sometimes grumble when nurse insists
upon your putting your things away
carefully; or when I reprove you for
spoiling your clothes. When you are
tempted to be vexed again at these
things, think of Atkins's cottage, and be
afraid of becoming like them."

"I should like to be good, always
good," said Bessie; " but I can't. It is
so hard, so very hard, never to do any-
thing naughty.

"True, dear; but the Bible tells us
how we may become good. It tells us
that our kind Saviour will give us his
Holy Spirit to help us to be good."

Bessie did ask the Saviour, and he
gave her power to be good.

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