Read THE LITTLE DAUBER of Sugar and Spice, free online book, by James Johnson, on

Mr Frampton was a fashionable portrait painter; and, one day when he was out with his wife, young Richard, his son, who was quite a spoiled boy, fetched in some of his little acquaintances two young gentlemen and one lady.

“Now,” said he, trying to look wise, “Miss Fanny, just stand with flowers in your hand while I paint you like a grand lady; and one of you quiz the work as it goes on, and the other pretend to be in raptures with the portrait.”

“Will you write her name under it, when it’s done?” asked Bobby Butt, who was always ready with his fun.

“No,” answered Richard, laughingly; “I shall make it a speaking likeness.”

“Well, I’m glad of that,” returned the lady; “for I shouldn’t like to be taken with my mouth shut.”

So they went to work.

Richard looked at the lady very sharp, particularly with his right eye, you can see him; and Bob took a penny out of his pocket and held it in front of him as if it were an eye-glass; and Frank put his right leg out, and bent forward and said every now and then, “To a T!” “Charming!” “Nature improved!” and other such flatteries.

It was very well to say all this; but the truth must be told: when Richard had painted the lady’s head and neck, he had no more room on the canvas; and what was done was so ugly, that the subject threw her bouquet at it. Then Richard sent it back again, at which she boxed his ears.

“It certainly is like nothing in the world,” said Bob, putting his hands before his eyes as he looked at the smudges.

“Of course not,” retorted Richard; “it’s in the high school of art, and is not therefore meant to be natural!”

“Oh! that alters the case,” said Frank. After a bit they began to throw the things about, and a terrible mess and rout they made.

When they were quite tired, Richard said, “Now I’ll show you all my toys!” and he was about to go out of the studio to fetch them,

“Stay where you are!” cried his father, slyly entering. “You have been spoiling my things, and romping where you have no business; I must set you a task as a punishment, and your friends must go home at once.”

All the boys turned red enough without being painted; and Richard’s father said, quite sternly, “Next time, before you, children, play with, and destroy property, just ask yourselves how you would like your playthings meddled with and broken?”