Part 1 out of 3
THE KING'S DAUGHTER AND OTHER STORIES FOR GIRLS
[Illustration: "It is a prison, and the young girl is a king's
"WORDS FITLY SPOKEN"
Every Story Contains an Important Lesson
[Illustration: SABBATH READINGS FOR THE HOME CIRCLE]
The King's Daughter
The Old Brown House
A Story for School Girls
What One Lie Did
Two Ways of Reading the Bible
Courtesy to Strangers
Live for Something
Past and Future
Confide in Mother
They Took Me In
The Little Sisters
A Valuable Secret
A Story of School Life
How Bess Managed Tom
A Little Girl's Thoughts
Careless Gracie's Lesson
A Girl's Song
The Stolen Orange
Wee Janet's Problem
Putting Off Till To-morrow
What's The Use
Susy Diller's Christmas Feast
The Barn That Blossomed
I Shall Not Want
How Dorothy Helped the Angel
One Girl's Influence
Two Kinds of Service
Duty and Pleasure
The Dangerous Door
The Golden Windows
Trust Always: Never Fret
The New Life
The Impossible Yesterday
A Child's Puzzle
How She Showed She Was Sorry
I WISH I WERE A PRINCESS
In the Temple Prison
Execution of Louis XVI
Queen Marie Antoinette Led to the Tribunal
THE OLD BROWN HOUSE
Driven in for Shelter
I Will Keep Your Rose
It Never Looked so Dirty Before
Aunt Ruth Must Have Moved
Bessie Meets Aunt Ruth
A STORY FOR SCHOOL GIRLS
WHAT ONE LIE DID
The Spelling Class
I Did Not Tell a Lie
Will You Go With Me To-night
At the Grave
TWO WAYS OF READING THE BIBLE
Whom I Shall See for Myself
COURTESY TO STRANGERS
Saved Her Sister's Life
He Pulled Jennie's Hair
The Flame in the Rug
Smothering the Fire
Coming to a Conclusion
A Glass of Water
CONFIDE IN MOTHER
THEY TOOK ME IN
Thank You, My Dear
THE LITTLE SISTERS
Explaining the Rule
Both Sisters at School
A VALUABLE SECRET
A STORY OF SCHOOL LIFE
Just the Amount, I Believe
Begged to be Released
In the Sick Room
The Book at the Loom
Crying Like a Baby
HOW BESS MANAGED TOM
CARELESS GRACIE'S LESSON
We Are Invited
In the Automobile
Will You Ask for Me?
Dis for 'ou
A GIRL'S SONG
He Said, Father Drinks
THE STOLEN ORANGE
Here It Is, Mama
WEE JANET'S PROBLEM
The Robin's Nest
A Handsome House
Here They Are
Mrs. Bell and Grandma
Isn't Your Grandmother Funny?
I Am Disappointed
Grandma's Early Home
The Carriage for Grandma
SUSY DILLER'S CHRISTMAS FEAST
They Shivered With the Cold
Before the Restaurant
On the Doorstep
In a Heap by the Fire
The Christmas Feast
O Mother! Mother!
THE BARN THAT BLOSSOMED
I Believe I've Hit It
In the Attic
Scrubbing the Floor
Your New House
HOW DOROTHY HELPED THE ANGEL
Broke the Crust
I Mean It
I'm Not Tired Now
The Twenty-seventh Psalm
ONE GIRL'S INFLUENCE
TWO KINDS OF SERVICE
What Is It, Aunt Sarah?
DUTY AND PLEASURE
Carried It Like a Baby
Confessing to Mama
THE DANGEROUS DOOR
THE GOLDEN WINDOWS
Truly Golden Windows
THE NEW LIFE
We Might Sign a Paper
THE IMPOSSIBLE YESTERDAY
Can't Make Yesterday Over Again
A CHILD'S PUZZLE
SHOWED THAT SHE WAS SORRY
THE KING'S DAUGHTER
"I wish I were a princess!"
Emma stood with the dust-brush in her hand, pausing on her way upstairs
to her own pretty little white room, which she was required to put in
order every day.
"Why, my child?" asked her mother.
"Because then I would never have to sweep and dust and make beds, but
would have plenty of servants to do these things for me."
"That is a very foolish wish, my daughter, but even if you were a
princess, I think you would find it best to learn how to do these
things, so that you could do them in case of necessity."
"But it is never necessary for princesses to work."
"There my little girl proves her ignorance. If she will come to me after
her work is done, I will show her a picture."
The little bedroom was at length put to rights, and Emma came to her
mother, reminding her of her promise about the picture.
"What do you see, my child?" her mother asked, as she laid the picture
before her daughter.
"I see a young girl with her dress fastened up, an apron on, and a broom
in her hand."
"Can you tell me what kind of place she is in?"
"I do not know. There are walls and arches of stone, and a bare stone
floor. I don't think it can be a pleasant place."
"No, it is not. It is a prison, and the young girl is a king's
"A king's daughter!"
"Yes; and her story is a very sad one."
"Please tell me about her."
"Many years ago the king of France was Louis XVI, and his wife was Marie
Antoinette. They were not a wicked king and queen, but they were
thoughtless and fond of pleasure.
"They forgot that it was their duty to look after the good of their
people; so they spent money extravagantly in their own pleasures, while
the whole nation was suffering.
"The people became dissatisfied; and when, finally, Louis and Marie
Antoinette saw the mistake they had been making, and tried to change
their conduct, it was too late.
"The people, urged on by their leaders, learned to hate their king and
queen. They were taken, with their two children, and shut up in a prison
called the Temple.
"There were dreadful times in France then, and every one who was
suspected of being friendly to the king and his family was sent to
prison and to the guillotine. The prisoners in the Temple passed the
time as best they could.
"The king gave lessons to his son and daughter every day, or read aloud
to them all, while Marie Antoinette, Madame Elizabeth, and the young
Marie Theresa sewed.
[Illustration: Louis XVI and Family in the Temple Prison]
"After awhile the angry people took away the king and beheaded him. And
shortly after the little son was separated from his mother, sister, and
aunt, and shut up by himself in the charge of a cruel jailor.
"Next it was Marie Antoinette's turn to ascend the scaffold, which she
did October 16, 1793. Her daughter, Marie Theresa, was then left alone
with her aunt, the Madame Elizabeth.
"But it was not long she was allowed this companionship. Madame
Elizabeth was taken away and beheaded, and then the poor young girl of
sixteen was left entirely by herself in a dismal prison, guarded and
waited on by brutal soldiers.
[Illustration: _Execution of Louis XVI_]
"For a year and a half she lived thus, leading the most wretched
existence, and not knowing whether her mother and aunt were alive or
dead. Years afterward, when she was free, she wrote about her life in
prison. In that we read:--"'I only asked for the simple necessities of
life, and these they often harshly refused me. I was, however, enabled
to keep myself clean. I had at least soap and water, and I swept out my
room every day.'
"So here in the picture you see a king's daughter, and the
granddaughter of an empress (Marie Theresa of Austria, one of the most
remarkable women in history), after having carefully made her toilet,
sweeping the bare stone floor of her cell.
"Which do you think caused her the most satisfaction in those dark days
of trial: the remembrance that she was the daughter of a king? or the
knowledge of domestic duties, which she had probably learned while she
was a happy, envied princess, living in a palace and surrounded by a
great many servants!"
"Is that a true story?"
"Yes, Emma, every word of it; and there is much, much more that I cannot
tell you now."
"What became of her at last?"
"She was finally released from prison, and sent to Austria to her
mother's friends; but it was a full year after she reached Vienna before
she smiled; and though she lived to be seventy years old, she never
forgot the terrible sufferings of her prison life.
"But, my child, what I wish to teach you is, that though it is sometimes
very pleasant to be a princess, it may be most unfortunate at other
times. But always remember, my dear girl, that a knowledge of
housekeeping never comes amiss, and every young woman, no matter what
the circumstances are, will be far happier and more useful for
possessing that knowledge."
Children do not always comprehend everything at once; so I will not say
that Emma soon learned to take delight in dusting and sweeping. But bear
in mind that that woman is the most queenly, who uses her wisdom and her
strength for the benefit of those around her, shrinking from no duty
that she should perform, but doing it cheerfully and well.
[Illustration: _Queen Marie Antoinette Led to the Tribunal_]
THE OLD BROWN HOUSE
It was very old, low-roofed, and weather-beaten, standing quite a little
stretch from the road, and you might have supposed it deserted but for
the thin column of smoke that wound slowly above the roof, so desolate
did it look.
But it was inhabited, and could you have pushed aside the creaking door,
you might have seen an old woman, wrinkled and gray, sitting by the
silent hearth, stirring the dull fire, or looking absently from the
It was Aunt Ruth Jones, as the neighbors called her, of whom little was
known, except that she was a queer old woman--a sort of hermit, living
all alone in the neglected old house. It had come into her possession,
with a small farm adjoining, by the death of her parents some thirty
At first the neighbors were curious to see the new occupant; they found
a tall, spare woman, then about thirty-four years of age, little given
to gossip, shy, and cold. Some affirmed that she was proud, and others
said that her life had been one of disappointment. But none had
succeeded in drawing out her story, and gradually the old brown house
and its occupant were left to themselves.
Years had wrought changes; the walls were now darkened with smoke, the
windows dingy, the floor sunken in; there was nothing cheery in the
ill-kept room, or in the face of Aunt Ruth. Some natures become
shriveled and cramped when left to themselves, and hers was such an one;
I am afraid it was also narrowed and hardened by being shut off from
humanity, with none to share her joys or grief, or to care indeed, if
she had any.
As the days came and went, they brought nothing to her but a little
round of chores, a bit of patchwork, or straw braiding, and occasionally
a walk to the village store to buy the few articles she required.
The gay dresses and pert stare of the village girls, the glimpses of
happy homes caught through the windows, and the noisy stir of life, only
made more striking the contrast of her own lonely lot. Gladly would she
hasten back to her own silent fireside, where the cats, at least, were
glad of her presence. Old Brindle knew her step, and tossed her head
impatiently for nubbins of corn, or the pail of slop with which she was
wont to be treated. The hens cackled merrily, and scarcely stirred from
their tracks, as her dress brushed their shining feathers.
The care of these creatures was a kind of company, and on frosty
mornings Aunt Ruth might be seen watching them eating so greedily,
while her own breakfast was yet untasted, and her feet and fingers
benumbed with cold.
Though none shared her heart or home, yet there was sometimes one bright
presence within those dim walls, a childish, questioning voice, and
It was Bessie Lane. One June day, on her way to school, a sudden dash of
rain had driven the child there for shelter. And ever since, the happy
little girl, with flaxen hair and clear eyes, would go to the forsaken
old house to chat with Aunt Ruth. As that springing step was heard, and
the latch lifted, there would come a gleam of brightness to the faded
eyes, and a smile to the thin mouth.
[Illustration: _"A sudden dash of rain had driven the child there for
The child found ready entrance to the lonely heart; children will, you
know, they are so "queer," as wise old heads sometimes affirm.
"What in the world makes you visit that old hermit?" said Eliza Ray,
her schoolmate, one morning. "Bridget, our hired girl, says she is sure
such a looking old hag must be a witch."
"Witch or not, I like her;" and Bessie Lane tossed up her hat, and
pranced off after a fox squirrel just down the road.
So Bessie kept up her visits, and the two would sit and talk together by
the hour, Aunt Ruth showing her long-treasured trinkets, relics of years
gone by, and detailing their history, till Bessie's eyes would dilate
On this wintry morning, in which we have introduced her to you, sitting
by the dull fire, and looking from the dingy window, the time of
Bessie's absence had been longer than usual. The sky was leaden, and the
wind whistled down the chimney and shook the casements.
Suddenly Aunt Ruth starts and peers through the window. There is a
bright little hood and blue cloak approaching; she sees that, but not
the carefully wrapped parcel Bessie is carrying, for she hurries to
brighten the fire and brush the hearth.
"Good morning, Aunt Ruth. It has been ever so long since I have been
here, hasn't it?"
"Yes, a long time for a lonesome old body like me; but this is no place
for the young and happy, I know."
"Oh, yes it is, dear Aunt Ruthie. You must not say so. I like to come
real well. But Uncle Jake has been so sick; he sent for pa and ma, and I
went with them. It is such a long way off, I thought we never would get
there. And Oh, Aunt Ruth, I have not told you yet"--and the chubby face
"What is it, child?" picking up bits of litterings from the floor.
Somehow she always did so when Bessie was around, the hands
involuntarily moved in little touches of order and neatness. The room
was good enough for her: for the child it seemed dismal and must be
brightened a little. But Aunt Ruth was unconscious that she was being
called to a better life, or that a love for light and beauty was
awakening in her weary heart.
"Well, I will tell you; we are going to move away. I declare, I think
it's too bad to leave all the girls just as I began to like them, and
you, too, Aunt Ruth. I don't want to go one bit;" tears rolling down her
"Going away, my little girl going off?" said Aunt Ruth seriously.
"Yes; and mamma said we couldn't move Chip, it would be such a bother,
so I have given poor birdie away to Allie Smith;" tears flowing afresh.
"I let Amy Wells have my kitten, but I haven't found a place for my poor
little rose. See," said Bessie, going to the table and removing the
wrapper from her parcel, "isn't it a beauty? You will keep it to
remember me by, and take care of it always, won't you, Aunt Ruth?"
The little blossoms were out in full, and seemed to smile a benediction
upon the old woman.
"Yes, yes, child, I will keep your rose; no harm shall come to it." The
little plant seemed to carry her thoughts away, for she began talking
absently to herself, then recalling her musings she said:--"So you are
going away; and you'll forget all about poor Aunt Ruth with so many new
friends. Well, well, it's natural."
[Illustration: "Yes, child, I will keep your rose."]
"No, no, indeed I shall not," said Bessie, giving her a hearty hug, "and
sometime I will come to see you." They talked a long time, but at last,
with a good-by kiss to Aunt Ruth, and to the pet rose, she was gone like
a flitting sunbeam.
Then the shadows seemed to come back to the inmate of the old house; but
as her glance fell upon the little flower, she began clearing a place
for it to stand in the warmest corner, musing to herself the while:--
"Just such roses I used to carry in my hand to the old stone church in
Amsden when no bigger than Bessie. It seems like yesterday, but ah! it
is a long time. Maybe if I could do like that again, it would not be so
dark and lonesome like. I think I'll put the rose here by the south
window, then if the child ever does come, she will see it from the
[Illustration: "It never looked quite so dirty before."]
Bringing a little pine stand, she carefully placed the plant upon it. In
doing so, she chanced to glance at the window. "Bless me! it never
looked quite so dirty before;" and Aunt Ruth moved with new life, as she
cleansed, rinsed, and polished the glass. But this being done, the old
muslin curtain seemed dingier than common, shading the clear glass; so
it was taken down, and another finer one unpacked from a drawer and put
in its place.
The next morning, as she ate her lonely breakfast, she placed her chair
to face the window and the rose. The sun was shining, and as the rays
streamed across the room to the opposite wall, she marked the cobwebs.
That day the cobwebs were swept down, the other window washed, and the
floor cleaned. The old house had not been so neat and cheery for many
Near the close of the week she went to the village, this time putting on
a dark delaine, instead of the snuff calico with a yellow flower.
Somehow the gay dresses and curious glances did not disturb her as much
as usual. A pleasant recognition was passed with a neighbor whom she had
not spoken to for a year.
A strange feeling had come over her,--a feeling that she was one of the
great human family after all, and the icy mountain of reserve began to
thaw just a little. Her purchases made, she concluded to take another
road home. This route lay past a church. It was lighted, though early,
and a few real worshipers had met to pray before the regular service.
They were singing now, and Aunt Ruth paused, as a clear, triumphant
voice bore up the strain,--
"Plunged in a gulf of dark despair."
Spell-bound, she listened to its close, never stirring from her tracks
till a group of people passed near, then slowly walking on, you might
have heard her talking again to herself:--
"O Ruth Jones, where are you? I used to sing that, too, in the same old
church where I carried the roses, only it was years after. I used to
pray, too. I wonder if God would hear me now."
That night, and many nights after, she could not sleep; the words of
song kept ringing in her ears, bringing up the old scenes and
associations, till the great deep of her soul was broken up.
In her darkness she felt gropingly, feebly, for the old paths, and the
good Spirit was all the time leading her back to the light. I can not
retrace for you all the way that she came. I only know that gradually,
surely, the night wore away, and the Sun of peace shone upon her soul.
She went to the church, where the song had that night staid her
footsteps, and listened to the words of life.
Her life became a blessing; for her nature was broadened, deepened and
purified. The sick and needy learned to be glad at her coming, and
little children ran to meet her.
And did Bessie Lane ever come again?
Yes, when June smiled upon the earth, the childish figure once more
paused at the gate, but the blue eyes gazed bewildered around. "This
isn't the place. Aunt Ruth must have moved away." Well might she think
so; the house was neatly painted, the yard fence repaired, and up and
down the path all sorts of flowers were blooming. Just then Bessie
descried a neatly dressed old lady tying up some vines.
[Illustration: "Aunt Ruth must have moved away."]
[Illustration: "Bessie sprang into the woman's arms."]
"Can you tell me where Aunt Ruth Jones has gone that used to"--Bessie
stopped, and with one bound sprang into the woman's arms, for it was
Aunt Ruth herself.
"It is so beautiful here! how did it all happen?" cried the delighted
Aunt Ruth smiled brightly, and, taking Bessie by the hand, passed into
the neat, cheerful room, and up to the south window, where the carefully
tended rose was putting forth beauty and fragrance.
Bessie fairly danced with delight at sight of the rose, but Aunt Ruth
seated the child gently by her side, and told how it had happened; how
the little flower had at first whispered to her heart of the long ago;
of the holy song that would not let her sleep; and, lastly, of God's
good Spirit that had so tenderly led her straying steps to the sun-gilt
path of peace.
A STORY FOR SCHOOL GIRLS
It was recess at Miss Capron's school. The girls stood together in one
large group, talking very earnestly.
"I think it was a shame," said Marcia Lewis, "for her to make me face
the corner for an hour, just because I spoke half a dozen words to
"I think so, too," chimed in a half a dozen other voices.
"She delights in showing her authority," said Lottie Barnes.
"So she does, or she wouldn't have kept Anna Mory and me on the
recitation seat, for missing one or two questions in arithmetic."
"Don't you think she is dreadfully cross? I guess if we should try to
keep account of all her cross words and looks, we would have to be
"Wouldn't that be a nice idea? Let us make a mark on our slates every
time she is cross, and see what a long string of marks we shall get."
"Oh yes! let's do it! Yes! yes!" chimed in a dozen voices in full
Poor Miss Capron! With a sinking at her heart she saw the unloving looks
in her scholars' faces as they entered the schoolroom after this stormy
consultation. She had a severe headache that afternoon, so that,
altogether, she did not wear nearly so smiling a face as usual; and the
girls, prejudiced as they were, found ample occasion for setting down
Pretty soon Lottie Barnes held up her slate to view, displaying a long
row of marks. Anna Mory imitated her example; then Lottie Jones; and in
less than two minutes the whole school followed suit. This, of course,
called for a reprimand from Miss Capron; and then there was a terrible
clicking of pencils. Soon Marcia Lewis dropped her slate on the floor,
and the next instant every slate was on the floor.
"Girls! girls!" said Miss Capron sternly; "you seem to have banded
yourselves together to trample on the rules of order. I shall proceed no
further with recitations until you have become quiet and orderly."
But even this seemed to fail of producing the desired result. The girls
were quiet only a few minutes. Nellie Jones remembered that she had in
her pocket a bottle of snuff for her grandmother, and in ten minutes the
schoolroom was resounding with sneezes. Next, little paper balls began
to fly mysteriously from all sides, and every girl appeared intent upon
her lesson. Presently, a half-suppressed titter from Marcia Lewis
awakened an answering one from Mattie Lee, and one after another joined,
until at length there was an almost deafening peal of laughter.
"The very spirit of mischief seems to have made headquarters here this
afternoon," said Miss Capron. "It is useless to try to proceed with
recitations, while my whole attention is needed to keep you in order. I
will give you another recess of fifteen minutes, and if you do not
succeed in getting rid of your excess of fun and frolic, I shall take
very prompt and decisive measures to help you."
The girls felt some little twinges of conscience, but, after all, were
quite delighted with the success of their experiment.
"I tell you what it is," said Marcia Lewis, "Miss Capron has no business
to be so awful cross. Only think what a sight of marks we got. Let's act
just as bad when we go into school again, and she will have to dismiss
us, and then we'll all go down to the falls and have a nice time."
"Would'nt it be grand," said Nellie Jones.
"Splendid," replied Mattie Lee.
"Why! what is the matter?" said Mary Paine, who had been absent from
school during the day until then and was surprised to find her usually
pleasant companions so excited. When she had heard the whole story, she
looked very sad:--
"Poor Miss Capron! How could you treat her so!"
"It is just what she deserves for being so cross," said Lottie Barnes.
"Oh, you have been looking at the wrong side, girls. I have heard a
story of a lady who began to find faults in her son's wife. The more she
looked for them, the more she found, until she began to think her
daughter-in-law the most disagreeable person in the world. She used to
talk of her failings to a very dear friend.
"Finally, her friend said to her one day, 'No doubt Jane has her faults,
and very disagreeable ones, but suppose for awhile you try to see what
good qualities you can discover in her character. Really, I am very
curious to know.'
"The good lady was a little offended at her friend's plain suggestion;
but finally concluded to try it; and long before she had discovered half
her good traits, she began to regard Jane as a perfect treasure. Now you
have been doing just as this lady did, in looking for faults. Let us be
like her the rest of the afternoon in looking for pleasant things. Let
us see how many smiles we can get from Miss Capron."
Mary Paine was one of the oldest girls in the school. She gave the girls
subjects for their compositions and helped them out of all their
troubles. So being a favorite they consented, half reluctantly, to do as
Miss Capron dreaded to ring the bell. The fifteen minutes passed, and
she felt compelled to call her scholars. They entered in perfect order.
[Illustration: "She felt compelled to call her scholars."]
Each took her seat quietly and began studying in real earnest.
Frequently, however, a pleasant smile would seek an answering one from
the teacher, and then one would be added to the rapidly increasing row
of smile-marks. The good order and close application to study, and the
winning looks, soon caused a continual smile to lighten Miss Capron's
face, till the girls finally rubbed out the marks, saying it was of no
use to try to keep account.
Marcia Lewis wrote on her slate, "It's smile all the time."
Before Miss Capron dismissed the school at night, she said:--
"My head ached sadly before recess, and I fear I was impatient with you.
Your good conduct since has convinced me that I must have been in fault.
I thank you, my dear girls, for your love and kindness, and hope you
will forgive my faults as freely as I do yours. School is dismissed."
Instantly she was surrounded by all the girls and showered with kisses.
"We have been very wicked," said Marcia Lewis, "and it is not your fault
Little Libbie Denny then related the whole story of the conspiracy, and
when she told the part that Mary Paine had taken, Miss Capron put her
arm about Mary, and kissing her, said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for
they shall be called the children of God."
"Well, my dears," she added, "which was best, looking for frowns or for
"O, the smiles," said they all together.
"I wish you might learn a lesson from this, to remember all through your
lives. Overlook the bad and seek for what is good in everybody; and so
you will help to make both yourselves and others happier and better.
What is the lesson, girls?"
And each voice responded, "We will overlook the bad, and seek only for
what is good in those around us."
WHAT ONE LIE DID
It was winter twilight. Shadows played about the room, while the ruddy
light flickered pleasantly between the ancient andirons.
A venerable old lady, whose hair time had silvered, but whose heart he
had left fresh and young, sat musing in an armchair, drawn up closely by
the fireside. Suddenly the door opened, and a little girl hurried to her
"Well, Bessie," said the old lady, laying her hand lovingly on the
child's sunny ringlets, "have you had a good slide?"
"Beautiful, Aunt Ruth; and now won't you tell me one of your nice
Bessie was an only child, whose mother had just died. The little girl
had come to visit her aunt, who had learned to love her dearly because
of her winning ways and affectionate disposition.
But Aunt Ruth's eyes were of the clear sort, and she soon discovered
that Bessie was not only careless about telling the truth, but that she
displayed little sensitiveness when detected in a falsehood.
[Illustration: _The Spelling Class_]
Now, if there was any one trait for which Aunt Ruth was particularly
distinguished, it was her unswerving truthfulness; and if there was
any one thing that annoyed her more than all others, it was anything
"A liar shall not stand in my sight," was the language of her heart, and
so she determined, with the help of God, to root out from her darling's
character the noxious weed, whatever effort it might cost her. Of this
she had been musing, and her resolve was formed.
"Get your rocking-chair, dear, and come close beside me;" and in a
moment the child's blue eyes were upturned to hers.
"I am old now, Bessie," and she tenderly stroked that fair brow, "and my
memory is failing. But I can recall the time when I was a little
dancing, sunny-haired girl, like you. You open your eyes wonderingly,
but, if your life is spared, before you know it, child, you will be an
old lady like Aunt Ruth.
"In those young days I was in a spelling-class, at school, with a little
girl named Amy, a sweet-tempered, sensitive child, and a very good
scholar. She seemed disposed to cling to me, and I could not well resist
her loving friendship. Yet I did not quite like her, because she often
went above me in the class, when, but for her, I should have stood at
"Poor Amy could not account for my occasional coolness, for I was too
proud to let her know the reason. I had been a truthful child, Bessie,
but envy tempted me, and I yielded. I sometimes tried to prejudice the
other girls against Amy, and this was the beginning of my deceit. She
was too timid to defend herself, and so I usually carried my point.
"One day our teacher gave out to us the word, _believe_. In her usual
low voice, Amy spelt _'b-e-l-i-e-v-e, believe.'_ Her teacher
misunderstanding her said, quickly, 'Wrong--the next;' but turning to
her again, asked, 'Did you not spell it _l-e-i-v-e?'_
"'No ma'am, I said _l-i-e-v-e_,'
"Miss R----, still in doubt, looking at me, inquired, 'You heard, Ruth;
how was it?'
"A wicked thought occurred to me,--to disgrace her, and raise myself.
Deliberately I uttered a gross falsehood, 'Amy said _l-e-i-v-e_,'
"The teacher turned toward Amy, who stood, silent, distressed and
confounded by my accusation. Her flushed face and streaming eyes gave
her the appearance of guilt.
"'Amy,' said her teacher sternly, 'I did not expect a lie from you. Go,
now, to the foot of the class, and remember to remain after school.'
"I had triumphed, Bessie; Amy was disgraced, and I stood proudly at the
head of my class, but I was not happy.
"When school was dismissed, I pretended to have lost something, and
lingered in the hall. I heard the teacher say,--
"'Amy, come here,' and then I caught the light footsteps of the gentle
"'How could you tell that lie?'
"'Miss R--- I did not tell a lie,' but even as she denied it, I could
see through the keyhole that in her grief at the charge, and her dread
of punishment, she stood trembling like a culprit.
"'Hold out your hand.'
"There I stood, as if spellbound. Stroke after stroke of the hard ferule
I heard fall upon the small white hand of the innocent child. You may
well hide your eyes from me, Bessie. Oh, why did I not speak? Every
stroke went to my heart, but I would not confess my sin, and so I stole
softly from the door.
[Illustration: _"Miss R--- I did not tell a lie."_]
"As I lingered on the way, Amy walked slowly along, with her books in
one hand, while with the other she kept wiping away the tears, which
would not yet cease to flow. Her sobs, seeming to come from a breaking
heart, sank deep into my own.
"As she walked on, weeping, her foot stumbled, and she fell, and her
books were scattered on the ground. I picked them up and handed them to
her. Turning toward me her soft blue eyes swimming in tears, in the
sweetest tones, she said,--
"'I thank you, Ruth.'
"It made my guilty heart beat faster, but I would not speak; so we went
on silently together.
"When I reached home, I said to myself, 'what is the use, nobody knows
it, and why should I be so miserable?' I resolved to throw off the hated
burden, and, going into the pleasant parlor, I talked and laughed as if
nothing were the matter. But the load on my poor heart only grew the
"I needed no one, Bessie, to reprove me for my cruel sin. The eye of God
seemed consuming me. But the worse I felt, the gayer I seemed; and more
than once I was checked for my boisterous mirth, while tears were
struggling to escape.
"At length I went to my room. I could not pray, and so hurrying to bed,
I resolutely shut my eyes. But sleep would not come to me. The ticking
of the old clock in the hall seemed every moment to grow louder, as if
reproaching me; and when it slowly told the hour of midnight, it smote
upon my ear like a knell.
"I turned and turned upon my little pillow, but it was filled with
thorns. Those sweet blue eyes, swimming in tears, were ever before me;
the repeated strokes of the hard ferule kept sounding in my ears. At
length, unable to endure it longer I left my bed, and sat down by the
window. The noble elms stood peacefully in the moonlight, the penciled
shadow of their spreading branches lying tremulously on the ground.
"The white fence, the graveled walks, the perfect quietness in which
everything was wrapped, seemed to mock my restlessness, while the solemn
midnight sky filled me with a sense of awe which I never felt before.
Ah! Bessie, God was displeased with me, my conscience was burdened and
uneasy, and I was wretched.
"As I turned from the window, my eyes rested on the snow-white coverlet
of my little bed, a birthday gift from my mother. All her patient
kindness, rushed upon my mind. I felt her dying hand upon my head. I
listened once more to her trembling voice, as she fervently besought the
blessing of heaven upon me:--
"'Oh, make her a truthful, holy child!'
"I tried to banish from my thoughts this last petition of my dying
mother; but the more resolute was my purpose, the more distinctly did
those pleading tones fall upon my heart, till, bowing upon the window, I
wept convulsively. But tears, Bessie, could give me no relief.
"My agony became every moment more intense, till at length, I rushed,
almost in terror, to my father's bedside.
"'Father! father!' but I could say no more. Tenderly putting his arm
around me, he laid my throbbing head upon his bosom; and there he
gently soothed me, till I could so far control my sobbing, as to explain
its cause. Then how fervently did he plead with, heaven, that his
sinning child might be forgiven!
"'Dear father,' said I, 'will you go with me to-night to see poor Amy?'
"He answered, 'To-morrow morning, my child.'
[Illustration: "Dear Father, will you go with me to-night to see poor
"Delay was torture; but striving to suppress my disappointment, I
received my father's kiss and went back to my room. But slumber still
fled from my weary eyelids.
"My longing to beg Amy's forgiveness amounted to frenzy; and after
watching for the morning, for what seemed to me hours, my anguish became
so intolerable that I fled once more to my father, and with tears
streaming down my cheeks, I knelt by his side, beseeching him to go with
me to Amy that moment; adding, in a whisper, 'She may die before she
has forgiven me.' He laid his hand upon my burning cheek, and after a
moment's thought, replied,
"'I will go with you, my child.'
"In a few moments we were on our way. As we approached Mrs. Sinclair's
cottage, we perceived lights hurrying from one room to another.
Shuddering with dread, I drew closer to my father. He softly opened the
gate, and silently we passed through it.
"The doctor, who was just leaving the door, seemed greatly surprised to
meet us there at that hour. Words cannot describe my feelings, when in
answer to my father's inquiries, he told us that Amy was sick with brain
"'Her mother tells me,' he continued, 'that she has not been well for
several days, but that she was unwilling to remain from school. She came
home yesterday afternoon, it seems, very unlike herself. She took no
supper, but sat at the table silently, as if stupefied with grief.
"'Her mother tried every way to find out the cause of her sorrow; but in
vain. She went to bed with the same heart-broken appearance, and in less
than an hour, I was summoned. In her delirium she has been calling upon
her dear Ruth, beseeching you with the most mournful earnestness to pity
and to save her.'
"Bessie, may you never know how his words pierced my heart!
"My earnest plea to see Amy just one minute, prevailed with her widowed
mother. Kindly taking my hand--the murderer's--she led me to the sick
chamber. As I looked on the sweet sufferer, all hope deserted me. The
shadows of death were already on her forehead and her large blue eyes.
"Kneeling by her bed, in whispered words my heart pleaded, oh, so
earnestly, for forgiveness. But, when I looked entreatingly toward her,
in her delirious gaze there was no recognition. No, Bessie, I was never
to be comforted by the assurance of her pardon.
"When I next saw Amy, she was asleep. The bright flush had faded from
her cheek, whose marble paleness was shaded by her long eyelashes.
Delirium had ceased, and the aching heart was still. That small, white
hand, which had been held out tremblingly, to receive the blows of the
harsh ferule, now lay lovingly folded within the other. Never again
would tears flow from those gentle eyes, nor that bosom heave with
sorrow. That sleep was the sleep of death!
"My grief was wilder, if not deeper, than that mother's of whose lost
treasure I had robbed her. She forgave me; but I could not forgive
myself. What a long, long winter followed. My sufferings threw me into a
fever, and in my delirium I called continually upon Amy.
"But God listened to the prayers of my dear father, and raised me from
this sickness. And when the light footsteps of spring were seen upon
the green earth, and early flowers were springing up around the grave of
Amy, for the first time, I was allowed to visit it.
"My head swam, as I read, lettered so carefully on the white tablet:--
"'AMY SINCLAIR, _Fell asleep September third.'_
"Beside that fresh turf I knelt down, and offered, as I trust, the
prayer of faith. I was there relieved, and strengthened too, Bessie,"
said Aunt Ruth, as she laid her hand tenderly upon that young head bowed
down upon her lap.
Poor Bessie's tears had long been flowing, and now her grief seemed
uncontrollable. Nor did her aunt attempt consolation; for she hoped
there was a healing in that sorrow.
"Pray for me!" whispered Bessie, as, at length, looking up through her
tears, she flung her arms about her aunt; and from a full heart Aunt
Ruth prayed for the weeping child.
That scene was never forgotten by Bessie; for in that twilight hour, a
light dawned upon her, brighter than the morning. And, although it had
cost Aunt Ruth not a little to call up this dark shadow from the past,
yet she felt repaid a thousandfold for her sacrifice. For that sweet
young face, lovely as a May morning, but whose beauty had been often
marred by the workings of deceit and falsehood, grew radiant in the
clear light of that truthful purpose which was then born in her soul.
TWO WAYS OF READING THE BIBLE.
"Would you like another chapter, Lilian dear?" asked Kate Everard of the
invalid cousin whom she had lately come from Hampshire to nurse.
"Not now, thanks; my head is tired," was the reply.
Kate closed her Bible with a feeling of slight disappointment. She knew
that Lilian was slowly sinking under incurable disease, and what could
be more suitable to the dying than constantly to be hearing the Bible
read? Lilian might surely listen, if she were too weak to read for
Kate was never easy in mind unless she perused at least two or three
chapters daily, besides a portion of the Psalms; and she had several
times gone through the whole Bible from beginning to end. And here was
Lilian, whose days on earth might be few, tired with one short chapter!
"There must be something wrong here," thought Kate, who had never during
her life kept her bed for one day through sickness. "It is a sad thing
when the dying do not prize the word of God."
"Lilian," said she, trying to soften her naturally quick, sharp tones
to gentleness, "I should think that now, when you are so ill, you would
find special comfort in the Scriptures."
Lilian's languid eyes had closed, but she opened them, and fixing her
soft, earnest gaze upon her cousin, replied, "I do--they are my support;
I have been feeding on one verse all the morning."
"And what is that verse?" asked Kate.
"'Whom I shall see for myself,'" began Lilian slowly; but Kate cut her
"I know that verse perfectly--it is in Job; it comes just after 'I know
that my Redeemer liveth;' the verse is, 'Whom I shall see for myself,
and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.'"
"What do you understand by the expression 'not another'?" asked Lilian.
"Really, I have never particularly considered those words," answered
Kate. "Have you found out any remarkable meaning in them?"
"They were a difficulty to me," replied the invalid, "till I happened to
read that in the German Bible they are rendered a little differently;
and then I searched in my own Bible, and found that the word in the
margin of it, is like that in the German translation."
"I never look at the marginal references," said Kate, "though mine is a
large Bible and has them."
"I find them such a help in comparing Scripture with Scripture,"
Kate was silent for several seconds. She had been careful to read daily
a large portion from the Bible; but to "mark, learn, and inwardly digest
it," she had never even thought of trying to do. In a more humble tone
she now asked her cousin, "What is the word which is put in the margin
of the Bible instead of 'another' in that difficult text?"
"_A stranger_" replied Lilian; and then, clasping her hands, she
repeated the whole passage on which her soul had been feeding with
"'Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and _not a
[Illustration: "Whom I shall see for myself."]
"O Kate," continued the dying girl, while unbidden tears rose to her
eyes, "if you only knew what sweetness I have found in that verse all
this morning while I have been in great bodily pain! I am in the Valley
of the Shadow--I shall soon cross the dark river; I know it: but He
will be with me, and 'not a stranger.' He is the Good Shepherd, and I
know His voice; a stranger would I not follow.
"Oh," continued Lilian, "in the glad resurrection morn, it is the Lord
Jesus whom I shall behold--my own Saviour, my own tried friend, and 'not
a stranger;' I shall at last see Him whom, not having seen, I have
Lilian closed her eyes again, and the large drops, overflowing, fell
down her pallid cheeks; she had spoken too long for her strength, but
her words had not been spoken in vain.
"Lilian has drawn more comfort and profit from one verse--nay, from
three words in the Bible, than I have drawn from the whole book,"
reflected Kate. "I have but read the Scriptures,--she has searched them.
I have been like one floating carelessly over the surface of waters
under which lie pearls; Lilian has dived deep and made the treasure her
COURTESY TO STRANGERS
"Who was that quiet appearing girl that came into church quite late,
last Sabbath?" I asked a friend of mine who was an active member in
the church which I had recently joined.
"Did she wear a striped shawl and a dark dress?" inquired my friend. "If
so, it was Annie Linton, a girl who is a seamstress in Mr. Brown's
"I did not notice her clothes in particular," I answered, "but her face
attracted me; I should know it among a thousand faces. How could you
pass by a stranger so indifferently, Mrs. Greyson? I expected that you
would ask her to remain at Sabbath school, and go into your Bible class,
but you did not once look at her."
"I did not once think of it, and if I had, probably she would not have
accepted the invitation, as she is a stranger in town, and undoubtedly
will not remain here long," my friend replied quickly, by way of
I said nothing more, for Mrs. G. was really an excellent Christian
woman, with this one fault--carelessness--which sometimes caused her to
make grave mistakes.
But I could not help thinking about the stranger girl. Her large, dark
eyes and finely formed face revealed more than ordinary intelligence,
and in some way I gained the impression that, if not a Christian
already, she desired to be. It seemed to me that she left the church
very reluctantly, and was half waiting an invitation to the Bible class.
The next Sabbath she came again and occupied the same seat,--just in
front of my own. She bowed her head very reverently during prayer, and
once during the sermon I saw her lip quiver with emotion, and a tear
came into her eye.
The services closed, and the stranger lingered as before. My friend,
good Mrs. G., again forgot to speak to the girl. She passed out of the
church slowly, and did not come again.
I thought she must have left town, as I had not seen her for several
days; but one Sabbath, as I attended another church, I saw her again.
She seemed a little more at ease, I thought, and there was a quiet smile
on her face. After the services were concluded, I saw many a pleasant
smile given to the stranger girl, and I understood the secret of the
changed look upon her face. I made some inquiries, and learned that she
had joined this church, and was earnest and active in all its work.
I also learned that she had made a profession of religion just before
coming to our village, and had an unusually happy experience. How much
the indifference of our own people had to do with her finding a home in
another church, I know not.
Several years have passed since this occurred, but I have never
forgotten it. Many a stranger's hand I have clasped, as I thought of
Anna Linton's sweet face.
I was young in Christian experience then, and that lesson was a
profitable one to me.
Speak to the stranger, Christian friend, with the assurance that God
will bless your efforts to throw sunshine and cheer and welcome into the
hearts of others--strangers though they be.
* * * * *
LIVE FOR SOMETHING
Live for something; be not idle--
Look about thee for employ;
Sit not down to useless dreaming--
Labor is the sweetest joy.
Folded hands are ever weary,
Selfish hearts are never gay,
Life for thee has many duties--
Live for something, while you may.
Scatter blessings in thy pathway!
Gentle words and cheering smiles
Better are than gold and silver,
With their grief-dispelling wiles.
As the pleasant sunshine falleth
Ever on the grateful earth,
So let sympathy and kindness
Gladden well the darkened hearth.
The light of a beautiful Sabbath was fast fading, and the last golden
gleams fell softly upon the form of a light-haired little girl who sat
by a cottage window, her head leaning upon her hand as if in deep
The sun had departed like a grand old monarch, leaving behind him a
glory of purple and gold more beautiful than his own full splendor. Yet
the little girl saw nothing of all this beauty. She was thinking of the
story in the Sabbath school book she had been reading,--the story of a
child's life; and she wondered if all that happened in the story could
be really true.
Jennie was pondering in her troubled brain a question which the reading
of the book had brought. What could it be? Evidently it was not to be
answered easily, for her face only grew more clouded, until at last she
resolved to ask the help of some wiser mind.
Fortunately, Jennie knew that she had but to make her perplexities
known to her mother and they would all be explained in the clearest way;
so, seating herself in her rocking-chair by her mother's side, she
"Mamma, I want you to tell me something."
"Well, dear, what is it?"
"I've just finished my Sabbath school book, you know, and it's just
perfectly lovely; all about the sweetest little girl; only she was
always doing so many kind things for everybody; and I've been trying to
think what's the reason little girls in books always have so many
chances for doing good, and little girls like me, who are out of books,
don't have any at all."
"Not any at all?" questioned the mother. "Is that really so?"
"Well, no, not quite, I suppose," said Jennie, "but then they are just
nothing but the tiniest little bits of things. There's never anything
big and splendid for real little girls like me to do.
"Now, Susy Chrystie, in the story, took her little sister May out for a
walk, and just while they were crossing a bridge, May pulled her hand
away from Susy's, and tried to walk on the edge, just as close as she
could; but in about one second her foot slipped, and she would have
fallen off into the water if her sister hadn't jumped right to her, and
caught hold of her dress, and pulled her back all safe.
"Now just think, mamma," said Jennie, her blue eyes opening widely as
she spoke, "Susy Chrystie saved her little sister's life; wasn't that a
splendid, big something to do?"
"Yes, my dear, that was a brave thing for a little girl to do, for even
an older person might have been too frightened by seeing the danger May
was in, to act quickly; but if my little Jennie will always try to keep
quite still, and never scream when any sudden fright comes to her, she
too may be able to think quickly of the best way in which to help
herself or others."
[Illustration: "_Susy Chrystie saved her little sister's life_."]
"But, mamma, you know that nothing ever does happen to me; and besides,
I haven't any little sister or brother."
"Never mind, my child, if you will do carefully everything you do
understand, and obey cheerfully even when you cannot see why you should,
you will please your heavenly Father and give me comfort and pleasure,
and perhaps some day you may have a chance to do something brave."
Jennie's face grew brighter, as it always did when she had confided her
griefs to mamma, and for many days she watched and waited anxiously,
thinking that at any time something might happen.
And so it did; for one day a letter came from Jennie's aunt, Mrs.
Graham, saying she would come and spend a few days with her sister, and
bring with her little Willie, a boy about two years old.
Of course they were very welcome, and Jennie greatly enjoyed playing
with her cousin. He was a charming fellow, but very fond of having his
own way; and one of his great enjoyments was to plunge two chubby hands
into Jennie's thick, light hair, and pull it with all his might.
[Illustration: "_He pulled Jennie's hair with all his might_."]
Of course this was a short-lived pleasure when any older person saw him,
but when they were alone, Jennie would endure the pain patiently until
she could coax the little fellow to let go.
She never gave him a cross word, and when the nurse would say
impatiently, "Indade, thin, Miss Jennie, it's a wonder ye don't just
shlap his hands!" she would answer gravely, "Oh, no, he's so much
littler than I am."
Yet Jennie was not perfect, and though she generally tried to do what
was right, sometimes, like the rest of the world, she wanted to do what
she knew was wrong.
One bright afternoon, when she was playing in the yard, her mother
"Your aunt and I must ride to the station directly, to meet uncle and
your father, and I would like to have you go quietly into the nursery
and sit there until Maggie returns from an errand; it will not be long."
"But Willie is sound asleep, mamma, he doesn't want me," said Jennie,
who was anxious to stay out of doors.
"Yes, dear, I know it, but we shall feel safer to have some one in the
room, even if he is asleep; something may happen if he is alone."
Jennie, however, was so unwilling to sit quietly in the house that even
these familiar words did not attract her, but with slow steps and a
sullen face, she obeyed her mother's wishes.
She knew quite well how slight a thing she had been asked to do, and
although at another time she would not have objected, just now, when she
wanted to do something else, it seemed very hard to give up her own
Her conscience was so disagreeable, too, for it would keep saying all
the time, "I am ashamed of you, Jennie Browning! Can't you do this for
your kind mamma, even if you do want to do something else?" How tiresome
it all was, and how she wished she could "just do as she liked!"
Thoughts like these were filling Jennie's mind as she stood looking out
of the nursery window; but all at once she was aroused by the strong
smell of burning woolen.
Turning quickly, the child grew almost rigid with fear as she saw, just
in front of her, a small flame burst out from the rug before the fire,
and not far from the crib where Willie lay sleeping. In an instant,
however, the thought "What shall I do?" was followed by the remembrance
of what her mother had often said, "If in any way your dress should ever
take fire, you must try to smother it at once; never run away, but throw
yourself down, or wrap yourself in anything to be found."
[Illustration: "_A small flame burst out from the rug_."]
Remembering this, she hastily caught up the other end of the rug, which
was large and heavy, and threw it over the flame. This quite
extinguished it, for it had only just started into life when Jennie saw
it; but in her zeal she tore off the bedspread and blankets, crowning
all with two large pillows upon which she seated herself, for by this
time the child was so confused that she hardly knew whether it was the
rug or her own dress which had taken fire.
Now she wanted to see somebody, and, not daring to move, she began to
scream. This wakened Willie, who added his voice to the uproar, and soon
brought the bewildered nurse to the rescue.
[Illustration: "_She piled on the blankets and sat on them_."]
In less than an hour the carriage returned, and Jennie was kissed and
praised more than she had ever been in all her happy life, by her
parents and her aunt and uncle; for they saw quickly what had happened,
and trembled to think what might have been.
That night as Mrs. Graham bent to give Jennie her good-night kiss, she
whispered, "May God bless you, my thoughtful little niece, for you have
saved your cousin's life to-day!"
"Why, did I really?" thought Jennie; "how glad, how glad I am; for if I
hadn't been there, the fire would have caught the crib, and oh, that
would have been awful!"
Then, as memory brought the scene more clearly before her, and she
recollected how her conscience had fairly pushed her into the room, her
little face grew red with shame, and she softly said, "I will never
fight with conscience again, for if I had had my own way, I could never
have saved poor Willie's life."
* * * * *
PAST AND FUTURE
The past is lost to us--the book is sealed,
By mortal ne'er to be unclosed again;
The past is gone--beyond all human power
To change the record of but one short hour,
Though since repented of in tears and pain.
The future lies before us--a fair page,
Whereon 'tis ours to write whate'er we will!
Then let us pause in case our careless hand
Shall make a stain which will forever stand,
Through endless time a silent witness still.
'Tis not enough to keep the pages pure,
And let them ever but a blank remain;
Each leaf in turn should on its surface bear
Some writing that shall stand out clear and fair,
To prove our lives have not been spent in vain.
Our friend Anna came home from school one day with her sunny face all in
a cloud, and looking as if it might presently get a sprinkling of tears.
There was one to whom she always went in trouble, besides that other One
whom she tried never to forget, and she sought her best earthly friend
"Mother, I do think it is really mean and rude in the Wilsons that they
pass me by when nearly all the class of girls are invited. I don't want
to feel bad about such a thing, but I can't help it. I don't know as
anybody likes to be slighted."
"Of course not, my daughter," said Mrs. Jones; "the feeling of having
been rudely treated is always uncomfortable. What do you suppose is the
reason you are not included in the party?"
"It is because the Wilsons feel above us, mother. The girls dress in
finer clothes than I do, and have more accomplishments; and then we work
for a living, and they do not. But, mother, I believe I am as
intelligent and well-bred as they. I can't bear it, mother."
"It is not pleasant, to be sure, Anna; but think again, darling, before
you say you _can not_ bear it."
"Well, mother, who could? Nobody but you, who seem to have a way of
getting round hard places, or walking through them."
"I have had many more years of experience in life than you. But I wish
you to think now whether there is not some way for you to bear this
"Oh, yes, mother, I know what you always say, and that, of course, is
right; but I don't see how feeling and acting like a Christian takes
away one's natural feeling about being slighted and ill-treated by
"Perhaps it does not. I sometimes think one's sensibilities are greatly
intensified by leading the better life. A Christian, in trying to bring
his own character up to the point of perfect love and honor, often
becomes exacting of such perfection in others, and failing to find it,
feels exquisite pain. Yet the pain will oftener be because God's great
principles of right are violated, than that his personal feelings are
hurt. Which is easier for you, child, to be wounded in personal feeling,
or to see what is wrong against God?"
"I never thought exactly; it is dreadful to see the wrong, but one feels
in the other a sense of shame--feels so wronged--it is quite different."
"My precious one," said Mrs. Jones, "when you have so learned the love
of God as to know no difference between the interests and the honor of
his law, and your own comfort and pleasure and good name, you will see
more clearly how this is, and feel, it is likely, the sense of shame and
wrong in a different way."
"But, mother, haven't we a right to feel hurt when we are wronged or
slighted--I mean personally hurt?"
"Yes; but may be if we looked a little deeper into the principles of
things, or our own principles, we should not suffer so much. What is the
secret of your feeling hurt by the Wilsons? Does the slight make your
real self in any respect less or worse? Does it injure you in the
estimation of others?"
"Why no, mother, I suppose not; but I am as good and as much respected
as they are; and I don't like to have it seem that I am beneath them
because I am not so rich, and all that."
"My dear, I believe we have talked this subject over before, and long
ago understood that we desire no position, no companionship which is not
ours by right of moral and intellectual character.
"It is the Christian principle to live in all things for the true and
the right; to be willing to take our own place in business and society,
and fill it well; to think less of what others think of us than of what
we in ourselves are; to appear to be only what we are, and be willing to
appear thus while we are always looking up to something wiser, and
lovelier, and better.
"I never could get the idea of a Christian's being above or beneath any
one in the sense you mean. His associations are, or should be, such as
Christ's were in His walk among men. Christ, infinitely endowed with all
excellence and beauty, was also infinitely humble. He neither sought nor
shunned any one for His own sake, but lived out the divine fullness of
His life of suffering and love without regard to His position or
popularity with men. I said He did not seek others, but I must except
the beloved John, and the household at Bethany, and a few others whom He
loved undoubtedly for their own sake, with a personal, human sort of
"You don't mean, mother, that we should never seek people for their own
sake or our own pleasure?"
"No, surely; but those only who are congenial in principles and life.
Treat others with courtesy and generosity, and after that, allow them to
be as indifferent to you as you are to those whom you do not prefer.
Every person has a right to select his companions, and every one should
possess enough personal dignity and generosity not to be offended if he
is not preferred.
"I suspect you are wrong about the Wilson's. If they do not prefer you
for your own sake, they have the right not to do so, and you should
accord it to them just as you take the privilege of not inviting certain
others who might feel the same about you as you do toward the Wilsons.
And more than this, Anna; if the Wilsons live for different principles,
making friends for other reasons than you do, why, indeed, should you
care for their especial regard? A friendship built upon the accidents of
fortune, distinction, or show, has but a sandy foundation at best.
"There is no security of happiness in any earthly advantage. Only take
care to be in yourself what in your circumstances is noble and beautiful
and good, and you will find the right position without any particular
seeking. The love and approval of the good and pure will come to you,
and that is what you want of any friendship, and nothing more.
"Half the personal ill-feeling in the world comes of people's aspiring
to what they have no fitness for; they have neither the dignity nor the
humility to take the place God in His providence assigns them; and
instead of reaching out of it by making themselves nobler and better,
they attempt to build up by some appearance which is not more than half
"The real Christian will not want a name or a reputation which he does
not by right of goodness or talent deserve; but by living well where he
may be, he makes any duty, any position, honorable and good. He has
nothing to do with the _false_; he can afford to seem in all things what
he is, and to depend for love and favor on his consciousness of worth."
"But, mother, I never thought of depending upon anything else. The
Wilsons know that I am their equal in the school room, and in all the
qualities which they ought to respect."
"You remember we spoke of a right of choice on their part; and now are
you, a Christian, going to be hurt because fashionable people do not
court you? Can you not yet think of a way to bear the vexation? Is it,
indeed, so much of a trial, as you think it all over?
"You know, little daughter, that Christians can look at these things
only in the light the Christ-life sheds on their souls, on all their
earthly relations, on the path that leads them up to the Source of
light, truth and right. Think of it, and tell me to-morrow if you can
bear to be slighted by the Wilsons."
[Illustration: _"Well, Anna, have you come to a conclusion?"_]
* * * * *
"Well, Anna," said Mrs. Jones the next day, "have you come to a
"Really, mother," said Anna, "you have a great way of taking the sting
out of uncomfortable things. I wonder if I shall ever get so as not to
care for my own sake."
"That will depend upon how closely you are united to God. If you live
the true Christ-life, nothing of the sort will hurt you much; the
consciousness of being right, the joy of His approval, will suffice you.
But what about the Wilsons?"
"Why, mother, nothing about them; I don't think I shall feel bad any
more. If they do not care for me, I shall not for them, only to be kind
and polite; and I am sure I want no one's favor who does not love me for
just what I am, and for trying to become better than I am. I shall go to
school very happy to-day."
"I am truly glad, Anna; but always remember this: Every soul is created
by the same God--purchased by the blood of the same Saviour, and has an
individual life as dear to God as any other life.
"The Christian is peculiarly precious to Him, and however humble in this
world's estimate, is an heir to His eternal glory and happiness; and so
the Christian should, whatever may be his gifts or calling, possess that
quietness and dignity of spirit, that, resting in the consciousness of
God's love and approval, he will not be greatly moved by the applause or
the displeasure of his fellows."
"And so, mother, it saves a great many uncomfortable feelings to be a
"It saves a great amount of disappointed pride and wounded vanity, gives
many a sweet night's sleep in thinking God will take care of our
reputation, being willing to be what and where He will have us to be.
"On the whole, Anna, it is a happier, more comfortable thing, for the
relations even of this life, to be a Christian; not a half-way disciple,
but a whole-heart-and-soul believer, who keeps no reserves to sting
conscience with. He will not feel a thousand things that sting others;
and the real troubles that he must bear are shared by Him who has
promised to carry our human sorrows.
"Be at peace with God, dear child, and let the love which that peace
brings, speak in the very tones of your voice, in your manners, and in
your ways. Then you need not be embarrassed if duty calls you either to
a palace or to a hovel."
"I shall get my lessons better to-day for that thought, mother. I shall
not feel half so vexed if I fail when I have done the best I can."
"That is the intention of religion always, my child, to keep the
possessor calm, assured, and quite aside from the little jostlings and
vexations of a self-seeking life."
* * * * *
"The past is written, the future is beyond our control, but to-day is
ours, and is an opportunity to bestow a gift which will be more welcome
than any that money can purchase. There should be no guesswork
concerning affection; 'make it plain,' 'write it large.' 'Silence is
golden' when it represses bitter words or ignorant comment, but it sinks
like lead into the heart which has a right to expect tender and trustful
* * * * *
"Well," said Bessie, very emphatically, "I think Russel Morton is the
best boy there is, anyhow."
"Why so, pet?" I asked, settling myself in the midst of the busy group
gathered around in the firelight.
"I can tell," interrupted Wilfred, "Bessie likes Russ because he is so
"I don't care, you may laugh," said frank little Bess; "that _is_ the
reason--at least, one of them. He's nice; he don't stamp and hoot in the
house, and he never says, 'Halloo Bess,' or laughs when I fall on the
"Bessie wants company manners all of the time," said Wilfred. And Bell
added: "We should all act grown up, if we wanted to suit her."
Dauntless Bessie made haste to retort. "Well, if growing up would make
some folks more agreeable, it's a pity we can't hurry about it."
"Wilfred, what are company manners?" I questioned from the depths of my
"Why--why--they're--it's _behaving_, you know, when folks are here, or
we go a visiting."
"Company manners are good manners;" said Horace.
"O yes," answered I, meditating on it. "I see; manners that are _too_
good--for mamma--but just right for Mrs. Jones."
"That's it," cried Bess.
"But let us talk it over a bit. Seriously, why should you be more polite
to Mrs. Jones than to mamma? Do you love her better?"
"O my! no indeed," chorused the voices.
"Well, then, I don't see why Mrs. Jones should have all that's
agreeable; why the hats should come off and the tones soften, and
'please,' and 'thank you,' and 'excuse me,' should abound in her house,
and not in mamma's."
"Oh! that's very different."
"And mamma knows we mean all right. Besides, you are not fair, cousin;
we were talking about boys and girls--not grown up people."
Thus my little audience assailed me, and I was forced to a change of
"Well, about boys and girls, then. Can not a boy be just as happy, if,
like our friend Russel, he is gentle to the little girls, doesn't pitch
his little brother in the snow, and respects the rights of his cousins
and intimate friends? It seems to me that politeness is just as suitable
to the playground as the parlor."
"Oh, of course; if you'd have a fellow give up all fun," said Wilfred.
"My dear boy," said I, "that isn't what I want. Run, and jump, and shout
as much as you please; skate, and slide, and snowball; but do it with
politeness to other boys and girls, and I'll agree you shall find just
as much fun in it.
[Illustration: _"It is Burke who brings a glass of water."_]
"You sometimes say I pet Burke Holland more than any of my
child-friends. Can I help it? For though he is lively and sometimes
frolicsome, his manners are always good. You never see him with his
chair tipped up, or his hat on in the house. He never pushes ahead of
you to get first out of the room. If you are going out, he holds open
the door; if weary, it is Burke who brings a glass of water, places a
chair, hands a fan, springs to pick up your handkerchief,--and all this
without being told to do so, or interfering with his own gayety in the
"This attention isn't only given to me as the guest, or to Mrs. Jones
when he visits her, but to mamma, Aunt Jenny, and little sister, just as
carefully; at home, in school, or at play, there is always just so much
guard against rudeness.
"His courtesy is not merely for state occasions, but it is like a
well-fitting garment worn constantly. His manliness is genuine loving
kindness. In fact, that is exactly what real politeness is; carefulness
for others, and watchfulness over ourselves, lest our angles shall
interfere with their comfort."
It is impossible for boys and girls to realize, until they have grown
too old, easily to adopt new ones, how important it is to guard against
contracting careless and awkward habits of speech and manners. Some very
unwisely think it is not necessary to be so very particular about these
things except when company is present. But this is a grave mistake, for
coarseness will betray itself in spite of the most watchful care.
It is impossible to indulge in one form of speech, or have one set of
manners at home, and another abroad, because in moments of confusion or
bashfulness, such as every young person feels sometimes who is sensitive
and modest, the every day mode of expression will discover itself.
It is not, however, merely because refinements of speech and grace of
manners are pleasing to the sense, that our young friends are
recommended to cultivate and practice them. Outward refinement of any
kind reacts as it were on the character and makes it more sweet and
gentle and lovable, and these are qualities that attract and draw about
the possessor a host of kind friends.
CONFIDE IN MOTHER
The moment a girl hides a secret from her mother, or has received a
letter she dare not let her mother read, or has a friend of whom her
mother does not know, she is in danger.
A secret is not a good thing for a girl to have. The fewer secrets that
lie in the hearts of women at any age, the better. It is almost a test
of purity. She who has none of her own is best and happiest.
In girlhood, hide nothing from your mother; do nothing that, if
discovered by your mother, would make you blush. When you are married,
never conceal anything from your husband. Never allow yourself to write
a letter that he may not know all about, or to receive one which you are
not quite willing that he should read.
Have no mysteries whatever. Tell those who are about you, where you go,
and what you do,--those who have the right to know, I mean, of course.
A little secretiveness has set many a scandal afloat; and much as is
said about women who tell too much, they are a great deal better off
than the woman who tells too little.
The girl who frankly says to her mother, "I have been there, I met
so-and-so. Such and such remarks were made, and this or that was done,"
will be sure to receive good advice and sympathy.
If all was right, no fault will be found. If the mother knows as the
result of her greater experience, that something was improper or
unsuitable, she will, if she is a Christian mother, kindly advise her
You may not always know, girls, just what is right or what is
wrong,--for you are yet young and inexperienced. You can not be blamed
for making little mistakes, but you will not be likely to go very far
wrong, if from the first, you have no secrets from your mother.
To thy father and thy mother Honor, love, and reverence pay; This
command, before all other, Must a Christian child obey.
Help me, Lord, in this sweet duty; Guide me in Thy steps divine; Show me
all the joy and beauty Of obedience such as thine.
Teach me how to please and gladden Those who toil and care for me; Many
a grief their heart must sadden, Let me still their comfort be.
THEY TOOK ME IN
* * * * *
"Who is she?"
"Couldn't say. She is a stranger here, I think."
"Yes, she lives in that little house down by the bridge, you know,
girls, that tiny bit of a house covered with that white rose."
"Where we always got such lots of flowers to decorate with because no
one ever lived there. Why, the house is almost tumbled down. How can
anyone live there?"
"No one would if they were not very poor. Of course you can tell by the
girl's clothes that she is poor."
"Come on, girls, never mind talking about her," said one of the number
impatiently. "What difference does it make to us who she is? We will be
late," and the troop of merry girls passed on down the street.
Meantime the subject of this conversation was hurrying in another
direction, her eyes blinded by the quick tears that had sprung unbidden
to them when the wistful glance she had cast at the girls had been met
with only those of cold curiosity.
"It is hard to be so alone," she murmured, "but I must not let mamma
The girls went on their way, unconscious of the wistful look, or
unthinking that they had been in any way unkind.
Nellie Ross had noticed, however, and she was thoughtful all the
afternoon. How must it feel, she wondered, to be alone among strangers.
As they were returning home toward night, she whispered to her
"Do you know, Mabel, I can not help thinking of that girl we met this
"What girl?" asked Mabel Willis, with a slightly puzzled air.
"Why, the one that Margaret said lived in the little cottage you know."
"O yes. What about her?"
"Why she looked at us so wistfully, and I never see her with anyone; she
must be lonely."
"You know what the Bible says," slowly: "'I was a stranger and ye took
Me not in.' This girl is a stranger and don't you think we might apply
"Just what are you thinking of, Nellie?"
"I was thinking that we might call on her and ask her to join our
Sabbath school class, and that might open the way."
Mabel laughed. "You always were a regular missionary, Nellie; but I
hardly believe I care to go with you," with a shrug of her shoulders.
Nellie was disappointed, but she said no more for she had learned the
uselessness of arguing with Mabel, so she determined to make her call
Nellie felt a little timid as she presented herself at the tiny home the
next afternoon. The girl herself answered her rap, and invited her into
the wee living room. In an easy chair at one side of the fireplace
reclined a delicate, sweet-faced woman.
[Illustration: "'_I thank you, my dear,' said the woman_."]
"My name is Nellie Ross, and I have noticed you and thought you were a
stranger here," began Nellie in the winning way that had always won her
many friends, "and so I thought I would call and ask you to join our
Sabbath school class. We have such good times, and Mrs. Allen, our
teacher, is so interesting."
"I would like to go," the girl faltered; "but they are all such
strangers to me, and"--
"That will not matter," declared Nellie. "I will come for you and will
introduce you to the rest of the girls."
"I thank you, my dear," said the woman, before the girl could answer
again. "I am sure Edna will be glad to go. It has been rather a trying
time for her, I fear, since we came here, although she has never
complained, for fear it might worry me.
"She was always in church and Sabbath school work at home. But my health
failed, and the physician said a winter here might save my life.
"My husband could not come with me, for he must work at home to get
money to pay our expenses, so Edna gave up her school and everything to
come with me. We are compelled to live very cheaply, you see, but I am
getting better, and I think I shall get quite well, if only Edna can be
contented here," with a fond glance at her daughter.
"Of course, I shall be contented mamma," replied Edna.
"I'm sure she will like the Sabbath school very much," said Nellie,
earnestly, "and I will come for her to-morrow."
She did so, and Edna went with her, although she felt a little shy, but
the warm welcome given her by Mrs. Allen, and the friendliness of the
girls, soon made her feel at home. It was not until the school joined in
singing the last song, that she so far forgot herself as to join in the
singing. Then the girls were astonished. She sang alto beautifully.
"Really," cried one of them as soon as they were dismissed, "you must
join our young people's choir, will you? We do need an alto so badly."
From that time on, Edna had no cause for loneliness, for she was one of
the girls, and her mother smiled and grew better.
* * * * *
You will see the pools of stagnant water frozen through the winter,
while the little running streams are bounding along between fringes of
icy gems. Why is this? The streams have something else to do than to
stand still and be frozen up. Be you like them. Keep your heart warm by
feeling for others, and your powers active by work done in earnest.
* * * * *
A house built on sand is in fair weather just as good as if built on a
rock. A cobweb is as good as the mightiest chain cable where there is no
strain on it. It is trial that proves one thing weak and another strong.
* * * * *
Little self-denials, little honesties, little passing words of sympathy,
little nameless acts of kindness, little silent victories over favorite
temptations--these are the silent threads of gold which, when woven
together, gleam out so brightly in the pattern of life that God
[Illustration: "_You were not here yesterday_."]
THE LITTLE SISTERS
* * * * *
"You were not here yesterday," said the gentle teacher of the little
village school, as she placed her hand kindly on the curly head of one
of her pupils. It was recess time, but the little girl had not gone to
frolic away the ten minutes, she had not even left her seat, but sat
absorbed in a seemingly vain attempt to make herself mistress of an
example in long division.
Her face and neck crimsoned at the remark of her teacher, but looking
up, she seemed somewhat reassured by the kind glance that met her, and
"No, ma'am, I was not, but sister Nelly was."
"I remember there was a little girl who called herself Nelly Gray, who
came in yesterday, but I did not know she was your sister. But why did
you not come? You seem to love to study very much."
"It was not because I didn't want to," was the earnest answer, and then
she paused and the deep flush again tinged her fair brow; "but," she
continued after a moment of painful embarrassment, "mother can not
spare both of us conveniently, and so we are going to take turns. I'm
going to school one day, and sister the next, and to-night I'm to teach
Nelly all I have learned to-day, and to-morrow night she will teach me
all that she learns while here. It's the only way we can think of
getting along, and we want to study very much, so that sometime we will
be able to teach school ourselves, and take care of mother, because she
has to work very hard to take care of us."
"The teacher asked no more questions, but sat down beside her, and in a
moment explained the rule over which she was puzzling her young brain,
so that the hard example was easily finished.
"You would better go out and take the air a few moments; you have
studied very hard to-day," said the teacher, as the little girl put
aside the slate.
[Illustration: _"The teacher sat down beside her and explained the
"I would rather not,--I might tear my dress,--I will stand by the window
and watch the rest." The dress was nothing but a cheap calico, but it
was neatly made and had never been washed. While looking at it, she
remembered that during the whole previous fortnight, she had never seen
her wear but that one dress. "She is a thoughtful little girl," said she
to herself, "and does not want to made her mother any trouble. I wish I
had more such scholars."
The next morning Mary was absent, but her sister occupied her seat,