Introductory Note: “Lucky Jack” is a didactic tale for children. It tells the story of a young boy, Jack, who teaches his younger brother, and young readers, about the importance of honesty.
THIS is Jack, saying good-bye to his grandmother as he starts off with his basket on his arm to go to market.
“Now, Jack,” says his grandmother, “be sure you don’t forget to bring me all the things I want to-day. Remember the flour, and the cheese, and the couple of pounds of mutton, and the candles, and the flannel for my new petticoat, and the hammer and nails, and a few balls of string, and the tape: and mind you don’t forget the buttons, and hooks and eyes. And now, Jack, my dear, don’t forget the peppermint drops, for I want ’em sadly. And be sure you bring the bird-seed; and as young people are thoughtless, I must warn you, my dear boy, not to forget my large-eyed needles, and the fingering for the stockings. And—let me see, my dear, if there’s another little thing or two I want. Let me think a moment. Perhaps I’d better go over them again lest your memory should fail you. I know mine is often apt to do so.”
“All right, grandmother,” cries Jack, “I remember everything, but I must be off; never mind saying it over again.”
“But stay a bit, Jack,” answers grandmother. “Let me see,—be sure you go into the chemist’s, and ask for a bottle of that stuff to rub off the rheumatism; it did me a powerful deal o’ good last time. And then, Jack—here, stay a bit!—you know there’s the flour and the cheese, and a couple—why, bless the boy, if he isn’t off!” cries grandmother, as she looks round and finds Jack gone.
Little Bob, who has been standing open-mouthed listening to his grandmother, puts on his cap and cries, “Let me go too, granny,” and is off after his brother.
The child trots away as hard as he can go, and soon overtakes Jack: then the two boys go jogging along together towards the market town. It was spring-time, and the roads were very pleasant. It was delightful to scamper along, looking at a nest here, and picking a wild flower there, and then taking a good run to make up for lost time.
They were getting near the town, and as they felt rather hot and tired, were walking steadily along side by side, when Bob struck his foot against something hard. He stooped down, and picked up a little dark leather case.
“Hullo!” cried Jack. “What’s this?”
“Let’s open it,” said Bob, “and see.”
Jack was puzzled at first to find out how to open it; at last he pressed a little projecting knob of metal, and the case flew open at once, when the boys saw, lying on a lining of white satin, a splendid gold bracelet set with jewels. As the sun shone upon it, it gleamed and glittered until their eyes were quite dazzled.
“What shall we do about it?” said Jack.
“Keep it to look at, to be sure,” answered little Bob, who did not quite consider the meaning of what he said.
“What, steal it?” shouted Jack. “You’re a nice child to have been respectably brought up, you are.”
Bob looked ashamed of himself, while Jack shut up the case, and they went on in silence. They had no sooner entered the town than Jack saw, in the window of one of the principal shops, an advertisement of a lost bracelet, evidently the very one they had found; and a reward of two pounds was offered for its recovery. Jack went into the shop, and was directed to the house of the lady to whom the bracelet belonged. The house was situated about a mile from the town, but Jack thought it better to go to it at once.
On reaching it, they passed through a large gate, which they found open, walked up the drive, and rang the bell under a pretty ivy-covered porch. The door was opened by an old butler, and when the boys told their errand, he went into the house, and presently the lady herself appeared.
She was delighted to get back her bracelet, which she had dropped the day before as she brought it home from the jeweller. She thanked Jack for bringing it, and praised his honesty, and not only gave him the two pounds but ordered that the boys should have a good dinner before they went away.
Jack not only took home to his grandmother all the articles she bade him bring, but also a beautiful new Sunday gown, which he bought for her with part of the money given as a reward for restoring the bracelet.
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How To Cite (MLA Format)
“Lucky Jack.” Little Wide-Awake: A Story Book for Little Children, vol. 1, 1875, pp. 146-50. Edited by Juliet Cardon. Victorian Short Fiction Project, 10 December 2023, https://vsfp.byu.edu/index.php/title/lucky-jack/.
8 October 2016
9 December 2023