Part 2 out of 3
There was something so interesting in the two little sisters, the one
eleven, and the other eighteen months younger, agreeing to attend school
by turns, that the teacher noticed them very closely.
They were pretty faced children, of delicate forms, the elder with dark
eyes and chestnut curls, the other with eyes like the sky of June, her
white neck covered by a wealth of golden ringlets. The teacher noticed
in both, the same close attention to their studies, and as Mary stayed
indoors during recess, so did Nelly; and upon speaking to her as she had
to her sister, she received the same answer, "I might tear my dress."
The reply caused Miss M---- to notice the dress of her sister. She saw
at once that it was of the same piece as Mary's, in fact, she became
certain that it was the same dress. It did not fit quite so nicely on
Nelly, and was too long for her, and she was evidently ill at ease when
she noticed her teacher looking at the bright pink flowers that were so
thickly set on the white ground.
The discovery was one that could not but interest the teacher. Though
short of means herself, that same night she purchased a dress of the
same material for little Nelly, and made arrangements with the merchant
to send it to her in such a way that the donor need never be known.
Very bright and happy looked Mary Gray on Friday morning, as she entered
the school at an early hour. She waited only to place her books in neat
order in her desk, ere she approached the teacher, and whispering in a
voice that laughed in spite of her efforts to make it low and
"After this week sister Nelly is coming to school every day, and oh, I
am so glad!"
"That is very good news," replied the teacher kindly. "Nelly is fond of
her books, I see, and I am happy to know that she can have an
opportunity to study them every day."
Then she continued, a little good-natured mischief in her eyes,--"But
can your mother spare you both conveniently?"
"Oh, yes, ma'am, yes ma'am, she can now. Something happened that she
didn't expect, and she is as glad to have us come as we are to do so."
She hesitated a moment, but her young heart was filled to the brim with
joy, and when a child is happy, it is as natural to tell the cause as it
is for a bird to warble when the sun shines. So out of the fullness of
her heart she spoke and told her teacher this little story:--
She and her sister were the only children of a poor widow, whose health
was so delicate that it was almost impossible to support herself and
daughters. She was obliged to keep them out of school all winter, as
they had no suitable clothes to wear, but she told them that if they
could earn enough to buy each of them a new dress, by doing odd chores
for the neighbors, they might go in the spring.
Very earnestly had the little girls improved their stray chances, and
very carefully hoarded the copper coins which usually repaid them. They
had nearly saved enough to buy a dress, when Nelly was taken sick, and
as the mother had no money beforehand, poor Nelly's money had to be used
"Oh, I did feel so bad when school opened and Nelly could not go,
because she had no dress," said Mary. "I told mother I wouldn't go
either, but she said I would better, for I could teach sister some, and
it would be better than no schooling.
"I stood it for a fortnight, but Nelly's little face seemed all the time
looking at me on the way to school, and I couldn't be happy a bit, so I
finally thought of a way by which we could both go. I told mother I
would come one day, and the next I would lend Nelly my dress and she
might come; that's the way we have done, this week. But last night,
don't you think, somebody sent sister a dress just like mine, and now
she can come too.
"Oh, if I only knew who it was, I would get down on my knees and thank
them, and so would Nelly. But we don't know, and so we've done all we
could for them,--we've prayed for them,--and Oh, Miss M----, we are all
so glad now. Aren't you too?"
"Indeed I am," was the emphatic answer.
The following Monday, little Nelly, in the new pink dress, entered the
schoolroom with her sister. Her face was as radiant as a rose in
sunshine, and approaching the teacher's table, she exclaimed:--
"I am coming to school every day, and oh, I am so glad!"
The teacher felt as she had never done before, that it is "more blessed
to give than to receive." No millionaire, when he saw his name in public
prints, lauded for his thousand dollar charities, was ever so happy as
the poor school-teacher who wore her gloves half a summer longer than
she ought, and thereby saved enough to buy that little fatherless girl a
[Illustration: _"Nellie entered the schoolroom with her sister."_]
* * * * *
A VALUABLE SECRET
Sarah, I wish you would lend me your thimble. I can never find mine when
I want it."
"Why can not you find it, Mary?"
"If you do not choose to lend me yours, I can borrow of somebody else."
"I am willing to lend it to you, Mary. Here it is."
"I knew you would let me have it."
"Why do you always come to me to borrow when you have lost anything,
"Because you never lose your things, and always know where to find
"How do you suppose I always know where to find my things?"
"I am sure I cannot tell. If I knew, I might, perhaps, sometimes
contrive to find my own."
"This is the secret. I have a place for everything, and after I have
done using anything, it is my rule to put it away in its proper place."
"Yes, just as though your life depended upon it."
"My life does not depend upon it, Mary, but my convenience does very
"Well, I never can find time to put my things away."
"How much more time will it take to put a thing away in its proper
place, than it will be to hunt after it, when it is lost?"
"Well, I'll never borrow of you again, you may depend on it."
"Why? you are not offended, Mary, I hope!"
"Oh no, Sarah. But I am ashamed that I have been so careless and
disorderly, and now resolve to do as you do, to have a place for
everything, and everything in its place."
"Well, Mary, this is a good resolution and will be easily carried out,
if you bear in mind that, 'Heaven's first law is order.'"
* * * * *
TRUE worth is in _being_, not _seeming_--
In doing each day that goes by
Some little good--not in the dreaming
Of great things to do by-and-by.
We cannot make bargains for blisses,
Nor catch them, like fishes, in nets;
And sometimes the thing our life misses
Helps more than the good that it gets.
[Illustration: "_What I can't tell mother, is not fit
for me to know_."]
* * * * *
A group of young girls stood about the door of the schoolroom one
afternoon, whispering together, when a little girl joined them, and
asked what they were doing.
"I am telling the girls a secret, Kate, and we will let you know, if you
will promise not to tell any one as long as you live," was the reply.
"I won't tell any one but my mother," replied Kate. "I tell her
everything, for she is my best friend."
"No, not even your mother, no one in the world."
"Well, then I can't hear it; for what I can't tell mother, is not fit
for me to know."
After speaking these words, Kate walked away slowly, and perhaps sadly,
yet with a quiet conscience, while her companions went on with their
I am sure that if Kate continued to act on that principle, she became a
virtuous, useful woman. No child of a Christian mother will be likely to
take a sinful course, if Kate's reply is taken for a rule of conduct.
As soon as a boy listens to conversations at school or on the
playground, which he would fear or blush to repeat to his mother, he is
in the way of temptation, and no one can tell where he will stop. Many a
man dying in disgrace, in prison, or on the scaffold, has looked back
with bitter remorse to the time when he first listened to a sinful
companion who came between him and a pious mother.
Girls, if you would be respected and honored in this life and form
characters for heaven, make Kate's reply your rule:--
"_What I cannot tell my mother is unfit for me to know."_ No other
person can have as great an interest in your welfare and prosperity as a
true, Christian mother.
Every girl should always remember that a Christian mother is her best
earthly friend, from whom no secret should be kept.
HIGHEST aim and true endeavor; Earnest work, with patient might; Hoping,
trusting, singing ever; Battling bravely for the right; Loving God, all
men forgiving; Helping weaker feet to stand,--These will make a life
worth living, Make it noble, make it grand.
A STORY OF SCHOOL LIFE
* * * * *
"Oh, girls! I shall just die, I know I shall!" exclaimed Belle Burnette,
going off into a hysterical fit of laughter, which she vainly pretended
to smother behind an elegant lace edged handkerchief.
"What is it, you provoking thing! Why don't you tell us, so we can laugh
"Well--you--see," she gasped out at last, "we've got a new pupil--the
queerest looking thing you ever saw. I happened to be in madam's room
when she came. She came in the stage, and had a mite of an old-fashioned
hair trunk, not much bigger than a band-box, and she came into madam's
room with a funny little basket in her hand, and sat down as if she had
come to stay forever.
"'Are you Madam Gazin?' she asked.
"'Yes,' replied the teacher, 'that is my name.'
"'Well, I've come to stay a year at your school.'
[Illustration: "_That is just the amount, I believe_.']
"And then she pulled a handkerchief out of her basket, and unrolled it
till she found an old leather wallet, and actually took out $250 and
laid it in madam's hand, as she said:--
"That is just the amount, I believe; will you please give me a receipt
"You never saw madam look so surprised. She actually didn't know what to
say for a minute, but she gave her the receipt, asked a few more
questions, and had her taken to No. 10, and there she is now, this very
"Well, what was there so funny about all that?"
"Why, this: she has red hair, tucked into a black net, and looks just
like a fright, every way. She had on a brown delaine dress, without a
sign of a ruffle, or trimming of any kind, and the shabbiest hat and
shawl you ever saw. You'll laugh, too, when you see her."
Belle Burnette was an only child, and her wealthy father was pleased to
gratify her every whim. So, besides being far too elegantly dressed for
a schoolgirl, she was supplied with plenty of pocket money, and being
very generous and full of life and fun, she was the acknowledged leader
among madam's pupils.
When the tea bell rang, the new-comer was escorted to the dining-room,
and introduced to her schoolmates as Miss Fannie Comstock. She had
exchanged her brown delaine for a plain, calico dress, with a bit of
white edging about the neck.
She did look rather queer, with her small, thin, freckled face, and her
red hair brushed straight back from her face, and hidden as much as
possible under a large, black net, and but for the presence of madam,
her first reception would have been exceedingly unpleasant. She was shy
and awkward, and evidently ill at ease among so many strangers.
As soon as possible, she hastened back to the seclusion of her own room.
The next day she was examined, and assigned to her place in the
different classes, and to the surprise of all, she was far in advance of
those of her age.
But this did not awaken the respect of her schoolmates as it should have
done. On the contrary, Belle Burnette and her special friends were
highly indignant about it, and at once began a series of petty
annoyances, whenever it was safe to do so. This kept poor Fannie
miserable, indeed, although she seemed to take no notice of it.
A few weeks passed by. Her lessons were always perfectly recited. She
made no complaint of the slights and sneers of her companions, but kept
out of their way as much as possible. Her thin face grew paler, however,
and there were dark rings about her eyes. A watchful friend would have
seen that all these things were wearing cruelly upon her young life.
One day the very spirit of wickedness seemed let loose among the girls.
Madam was away, and the other teachers were busy in their rooms. Fannie
had been out for a walk and was near the door of her room, when a dozen
or more of the girls surrounded her, clasping hands together so she was
a prisoner in their midst.
For a moment she begged piteously to be released, but they only laughed
the more, and began walking around and around, singing something which
Belle had composed,--cruel, miserable, insulting words.
She stood for an instant, pale and still, then, with a piercing cry, she
burst through the ring, rushed into her own room, closed and locked the
door. Through their wild peals of laughter, the girls heard a strange
moan and a heavy fall.
[Illustration: "_She begged piteously to be released_."]
"I believe she has fainted," said Belle.
"What shall we do?" questioned another.
For a moment they stood there sober enough; then one of them ran for the
matron, and told her that Fanny Comstock had fainted in her room, and
that the door was locked.
The matron ordered a long ladder put to the window, and sent the janitor
to see if it was true. Fortunately the window was open, and in a few
moments he had unlocked the door from the inside. The girls were huddled
together in a frightened group, while madam lifted the poor girl and
laid her upon her bed. She was in violent spasms.
The doctor was sent for, but when the spasms ceased, alarming symptoms
set in, and he pronounced it a serious case of brain fever. It is
impossible to tell the shame and remorse of the conscience-stricken
They were not brave enough to confess their guilt, but hung around the
sick room offering their services, vainly wishing that they might atone
for it in some way. But their presence only excited the poor sufferer,
so that they were all sent away.
Day after day passed, and still the young sufferer raved in violent
But amid all her wild ravings not a word of complaint at the ill
treatment she had received ever escaped her lips.
The little hair trunk was searched to find some clue to her friends, but
there was nothing found in it but the plainest, scantiest supply of
Day after day the doctor came, looking grave and anxious, and at last
the crisis came. For many hours she lay as if dead, and not a sound was
permitted to disturb the silence, while anxious watchers waited to see
whether she would live or die.
At last she opened her eyes; and the suspense was relieved by an
assuring word from the doctor, that with careful nursing she would soon
be well again. But her convalescence was slow and tedious.
Her former tormentors dared not even yet show the true courage to
confess what they had done, but they daily sent little bouquets of
fragrant flowers and many delicacies to tempt her returning appetite.
Her eyes would light up with surprise and pleasure at the little gifts.
[Illustration: _In the Sick Room_]
One day madam was sitting by her side, and as Fanny seemed to be much
stronger, she ventured to ask after her friends.
"I have no friends, madam, only cousin John who has a large family of
his own, and has never cared for me. Mother died when I was born. I had
a step-mother, but father died five years after, and I've taken care of
myself ever since."
"And you are only fifteen now?"
"How did you get money enough to pay for a year's board and tuition
[Illustration: "_I used to fix a book open on my loom_."]
"I earned it all madam, every cent of it. As soon as I was big enough I
went into a factory, and earned two dollars a week at first, and finally
three dollars and a half; and I worked for my board nights and
"Oh no, ma'am, I was very glad to do it."
"But how did you keep along so well with your studies?"
"I used to fix a book open on my loom, where I could catch a sentence
now and then, and the overseer did not object, because I always did my
work well. You see, madam, I wanted to be a teacher sometime, and I'd
have a better chance to learn here than anywhere else, so I determined
to do it."
"What are your plans for the long vacation?"
"I must go back to the factory and earn enough to get some warmer
clothes for the winter. You see, madam, why I can't afford to dress
Madam's heart was full. She bent over the white, thin, little face, and
kissed it reverently.
That evening, when the girls gathered in the chapel for worship, she
told Fannie's story. There was not a dry eye in the room. The moment
madam finished, Belle Burnette sprang up with the tears coursing down
her cheeks, and said:--
"Oh, madam! We have been awfully cruel and wicked to that poor girl. We
have made fun of her from the first, and she would not have been sick as
she was if we had not tormented her almost to death. I was the most to
"It was I that led on the rest, and we have suffered terribly all these
weeks, fearing she might die. You may expel me, or punish me in any way
you please; for I deserve it; and I shall go down on my knees to ask her
pardon, as soon as you will let me see her."
"My child, I am shocked to hear this. I can scarcely believe that any of
my pupils would ill-treat a companion because she was so unfortunate as
to be plain and poor. But you have made a noble confession, and I
forgive you as freely as I believe she will, when she knows how truly
you have repented of your unkindness."
By degrees, as she was able to bear it, one after another went to Fannie
and begged her forgiveness, which was freely granted. She said:--
"I don't wonder you made fun of me. I know I was poorly dressed, and
awful homely. I would have pulled every hair out of my head long ago
only I knew it would grow out as red as ever. But, oh! if I could have
felt that I had just one friend among you all I could have borne it; but
somehow it just broke my heart to have you all turn against me."
After this she gained rapidly, and one fine morning the doctor said she
might join the girls in the drawing room for an hour before tea. There
had been a vast deal of whispering and hurrying to and fro of late,
among the girls, of which Fannie had been totally unconscious.
At the appointed time, madam herself came to assist her, and leaning
upon her strong arm, the young girl walked feebly through the long hall
and down the stairs.
"My dear, the girls have planned a little surprise for you, to make the
hour as pleasant as possible."
She opened the door and seated Fannie in an easy chair, as the girls
came gliding in, with smiling faces, singing a sweet song of welcome. At
its close Belle Burnette approached and placed a beautiful wreath of
flowers upon her head, saying:--
"Dear Fannie, we crown you our queen to-day, knowing well how far above
us all you are in His sight, who looketh upon the heart instead of the
outward appearance. You have taught us a lesson we shall never forget,
and we beg you to accept a token of sincere love and repentance for our
treatment of you in the past, which you will find in your room on your
Fannie's eyes were full of tears, and she tried to say a word in reply,
but madam spoke for her, and after another song, they followed their
newly crowned queen to the dining-room, where a most tempting feast was
laid in honor of the occasion.
Fannie was quietly, tearfully happy through it all, yet so wearied with
the unusual excitement that madam said she must not see the girl's
"peace offering" that night.
The first thing she saw the next morning was a fine large trunk, and
lying upon it a card: "For Miss Fannie Comstock, from her teacher and
schoolmates." Opening it, she saw that it was packed full of newly
folded garments, but she had no time to examine the contents until after
breakfast, when they left her alone with her wonderful gifts.
There were pretty dresses and sacques, a fine new parasol, gloves and
ribbons, cuffs and collars in abundance--indeed, everything that a young
schoolgirl could possibly need. Every one of madam's two hundred and ten
pupils had contributed from their choicest and best, to furnish a
complete outfit for their less favored mate.
[Illustration: _"On the floor, crying like a baby."_]
At the bottom was a well-filled writing desk, an album containing all
their pictures, and a pretty purse containing $5, and the following note
"MY DEAR CHILD: This shall be a receipt in full for all expenses, during
whatever time you may choose to remain in the seminary. This I present
you as a sincere token of my love and respect.
They found her at dinner time on the floor, surrounded by her new
treasures, crying-like a baby; but it did her good. She was soon able to
begin her studies once more, and was ever afterward treated with
kindness and consideration, even though all her hair came out and left
her head bald as her face, so that she had to wear a queer cap-like wig
for many weeks.
When the long vacation arrived, Belle carried her off to her beautiful
home on the Hudson, where for the first time in her life she was
surrounded with beauty and luxury on every side, and was treated as a
loved and honored guest.
It was not long before the hateful wig was cast aside, and Fannie's head
was covered with a profusion of dark auburn curls, which were indeed a
crown of glory that made her face almost beautiful.
Gentle, loving, and beloved by all, she remained in the seminary until
she graduated with honor, after which madam offered her the position of
head teacher, with a most liberal salary, which she gratefully accepted.
HOW BESS MANAGED TOM
* * * * *
Tom's sister Nell was a pretty girl, and being a year older than Tom,
wanted to show her authority over him.
The boy was rough and awkward, and just at that age when a boy refuses
all meddling with "his rights." He would put his hands in his pockets,
his chair on Nell's dress, and his feet on the window-sill.
Of course, they often quarreled: "For pity sake, Tom, do take your hands
out of your pockets," Nell would say in her most vexing manner.
"What are pockets for? I'd like to know, if not to put one's hands in,"
and Tom would whistle and march off.
"Tom, I don't believe you've combed your hair for a week!"
"Well, what's the use? it would be all roughed up again in less than an
"I do wish, Tom, you would take your great boots off the window-sill!"
"O don't bother me; I'm reading;" Tom would say: and the boots refused
to stir an inch,--which of course was very bad of Tom. And so it would
go on from morning till night.
But Sister Bess had a different way of managing her big brother. She
seemed to understand that coaxing was better than driving. Sometimes
when he sat with both hands plunged into his pockets, Bess would nestle
down close beside him, with a book or a picture, and almost before he
knew it, one hand would be patting her curls, while the other turned the
leaves or held the pictures.
If she chanced to see his feet on the window-sill, she would say, "Just
try my ottoman, Tom dear, and see how comfortable it is;" and though Tom
occasionally growled in a good natured way about its being too low, the
boots always came down to its level.
Whenever his hair looked very rough, she would steal behind him and
brush it for him herself, in a way that Tom liked so well that it was a
temptation to let it go rough, just for the pleasure of having her do
Yet for the next three days at least, he would take special pains to
keep every hair in its place, simply to please little sister.
As they grew older, Bess, in the same quiet, loving way, helped him to
grow wise and manly. If she had an interesting book, she always wanted
Tom to enjoy it with her. If she was going to call on any of her young
friends, Tom was always invited to go with her.
"I can't understand," said Sister Nell, "why you should always want that
boy at your elbow; he's rough and awkward as a bear."
"Some bears are as gentle as kittens," declared Bess, slipping her arm
through his with a loving hug, while "the bear" felt a warm glow at his
heart as he walked away with Bess, and determined to be "gentle as a
kitten" for her sake.
* * * * *
A LITTLE GIRL'S THOUGHTS
Why does the wind lie down at night
When all the sky is red,
Why does the moon begin to shine
When I am put to bed,
And all the little stars come out
And twinkle overhead?
I see the sun shine all the day,
I gather daisies in my play,
But oh, I truly wish that I
Could see the stars bloom in the sky!
I'd love to see the moon shine down
And silver all the roofs in town,
But always off to sleep I go
Just as the sun is getting low.
ALICE VAN LEER CARRICK.
[Illustration: _Gracie's Disorderly Room_]
CARELESS GRACIE'S LESSON
Gracie and Norma Wilson were sisters, aged respectively, fourteen and
twelve. But I think that two sisters were never more unlike than were
Gracie and Norma. Norma, who was the younger, was as orderly a little
lady as one could wish to see, while Gracie was just the reverse.
Often their mother would say, in a despairing tone, "Gracie, I do wish
you would care for your room and frocks as Norma cares for hers. Why,
you go out with buttons loose, or entirely off your dress, or your
frocks unmended, not to speak of the untidiness of your room. If only
you would take an interest in such things it would gratify me so much.
Without an orderly mind no girl can aspire to become a useful member of
Then Gracie would try to make excuses for her shortcomings, pleading
this thing or that as the real cause of her negligence. But her poor
mother, at her wits' end to devise some way by which Gracie might be
aroused to a sense of her duty, would shake her head and say: "Dearest
child, there is no excuse for your slighting your work, either on your
clothes or in your room. You have plenty of time for both and should
force yourself to perform your share of the labor that falls to you to
And while Mrs. Wilson was thus advising and entreating her eldest
daughter to do her duty in such small household matters, Norma was busy
tidying up her dainty room or sewing on her summer frocks, mending lace,
ribbons, or putting on buttons and hooks and eyes. She was such a
cheerfully busy little miss that Gracie's laziness was the more
pronounced by contrast with her industry.
* * * * *
One afternoon, while Gracie was sitting idly in the hammock which swung
in the broad, awning-covered porch, the phone bell rang and Norma
answered it. The message which reached her ear made her smile very
happily, and she answered, "Oh, yes, indeed, we shall be delighted to
go, and thank you for both of us ever and ever so much. What time shall
we be ready--at four o'clock this afternoon? All right. And we shall
prepare some luncheon? Yes, all right, we'll be most happy to do so.
Then to the porch ran Norma, crying to Gracie, excitedly: "Oh, sister,
Mrs. Jackson has invited us--you and me--to go with her and Flora and
Tommy for a long automobile ride. We are to stop on the beach--down at
Blake Island--and have a picnic supper by moonlight. We'll return home
about nine o'clock. Won't that be splendid? I know mamma will be so
happy to have us go, so I accepted for both of us. Mamma won't be home
for over an hour. And we are to start at four. It is now two o'clock.
We'll have to be stirring if we are ready when Mrs. Jackson calls. And
she must not be kept waiting."
[Illustration: "_We are invited for a long automobile ride_."]
"Are we to carry luncheon?" asked Gracie, lazily, not making any sign of
getting out of the hammock.
"Yes. Mrs. Jackson said we'd carry luncheon. She said she would take
sandwiches, cookies, and jelly. We can supply something else. Suppose we
have some boiled eggs. And I'll run to our favorite baker's and get a
nice cake--one of those delicious white ones, you know. Won't it be
"What shall you wear?" asked Gracie, now bestirring herself a bit.
"My pink lawn, I guess," replied Norma. "But I shall have to hurry, for
the eggs must be boiled at once, so as to give them time to get cold and
solid in the ice box. Otherwise, they wouldn't be fit for the lunch
And away ran busy Norma to the kitchen to put the eggs to boil.
Within a short time Norma had the eggs nicely boiled and cooling in the
ice box while she was getting her frock, shoes, hat, and other
accessories to her afternoon attire, laid out all ready to wear.
But Gracie was not quite so energetic. She had left the hammock and gone
to her own room to look over her frocks to see which one might be fit to
wear. A blue dimity was selected as being in the best wearing condition,
but in looking it over she found a rent in the skirt and two buttons
gone. "Oh, just my luck," she declared petulantly. "I never have a frock
in shape to put right on. I do believe I'll ask mamma--if she has
returned--to sew on the buttons and mend the rent. Let me see--the lace
is all torn in places on my white lawn. The buttons are off my checked
batiste. Yes, this blue dimity will be the best." So taking it in her
arms, she went down stairs to the sitting room.
Mrs. Wilson had just returned from making some calls and was listening
to Norma's explanation of the good time in store for Gracie and herself
that afternoon and evening. "I knew you would not mind our going mamma,"
Norma was saying, "so I just accepted at the moment."
"No, indeed, I shall not object," said Mrs. Wilson. "On the other hand,
I am delighted that Mrs. Jackson has invited you to go with her and her
lovely children. You will have a splendid time, I know. And how about
your luncheon? Have you everything ready?"
"I am just going to prepare some eggs this very minute," explained
Norma. "And," turning to Gracie, "won't you go after some cake and some
Gracie frowned. "I'll not have the time." she complained. "And,"
appealing to her mother, "mamma, will you be good enough to fix this
frock for me to wear? I've got to wash and comb and do ever so many
Mrs. Wilson shook her head. "Gracie, you must have your lesson first or
last. Now is a very good time for it. You must fix your own frock, my
child. I have urged you, time and again, to keep your clothes neatly
mended. If you let your things go--well, you must suffer the
consequences. And, you must assist Norma in preparing the luncheon. It
is not fair that she should have the bulk of the work of preparation to
do. You must shoulder your share of it."
Gracie, her face aflame with shame, went upstairs and began to fix her
frock. But hardly had she begun when her mother's voice called to her:
"You would better go for the cake, daughter, before sitting down to
mend. If by any chance you should not be ready to go when Mrs. Jackson
calls for you, Norma must not be disappointed and shall have her basket
of luncheon ready."
Gracie began to beg off, but her mother was firm. "Do as I say,
daughter, and start at once to the baker's for the cake. Stop on the way
back and buy a bag of nice fruit."
Gracie had to obey, but did it reluctantly. She feared she would not be
ready to go when four o'clock arrived, for there was so much to be done
in preparation. She hurried to the baker's and got the cake; stopped on
the way back home and bought a bag of fruit. But she saw by the town
clock that it wanted only forty-five minutes till time to start on their
For a moment she felt very much out of sorts over the fact that she had
been obliged to go after the cake and fruit, but the longer she thought
of it the clearer became her own fault. Yes, she had been very
indifferent about her work. And if she missed getting the trip--well, it
would be her lesson.
As soon as Gracie gave the cake and fruit into Norma's hands she ran up
stairs to fix her frock. Norma was all ready, looking as sweet in her
fresh lawn frock as could be. The basket was prepared for the luncheon,
lined with a soft white napkin.
Into the basket Norma put a dozen nicely prepared eggs, wrapped about
with white paper. Then came the cake, also appetizingly fixed in dainty
fashion; then the yellow oranges, luscious, pink peaches and golden
At precisely ten minutes before four Norma was waiting on the porch. At
exactly four Mrs. Jackson's automobile came dashing round the corner,
Flora and Tommy in the rear seat and their mother in front beside the
chauffeur. Room for Norma and Gracie was in the big back seat beside
Flora and Tommy.
[Illustration: _The Automobile Ride_]
"All ready?" called out Mrs. Jackson.
Just as Norma was about to offer some excuse for her tardy sister, her
mother came upon the porch, and, after chatting in a cordial manner for
a few moments with Mrs. Jackson, she told Norma to take her basket and
go to the automobile. "It is Gracie's own fault that she is delayed this
way, and she'll have a lesson to-day that she will profit by. I am
quite sure she'll never miss another picnic through her own idleness."
Then, while Norma was getting into the automobile, Mrs. Wilson spoke in
low tones to Mrs. Jackson, explaining why Gracie would not be able to go
on the outing that day. Although all expressed regrets that Gracie was
to be left behind, they knew it was for the best that she be taught a
lesson through disappointment.
As the big auto rolled off down the road toward Blake Island, carrying
the happy picnic party, Gracie, with tears in her eyes, stood looking
from the window after them. And in her heart she knew that her
disappointment was due to her own shortcomings. And she vowed to turn
over a new leaf from that day.
[Illustration: "_Are you going to whip Eunice_, sir?"]
This is the term applied to such punishment as that which Christ bore
when he suffered on the cross, the just for the unjust. You do not quite
know what it means, do you? I think I hear you say, "Oh, we do not want
to know what such long words mean."
But stop a moment, I have a story to tell.
It was a warm summer afternoon; a lazy breeze stole through the windows
of a little district schoolhouse, lifting the curtains, and rustling the
leaves of the copy-books that lay open on all the desks.
Thirty or forty scholars of all ages were bending over their writing,
quiet and busy; the voice of the master, as he passed about among the
writers, was the only sound.
Perhaps you might not have thought it possible, but I assure you, that
this hot little schoolroom has its heroes and heroines as certainly as
many another place which might have seemed far more pretending.
The bell rang for the writing to be laid by; and now came the last
exercise of the day, the spelling, in which nearly all the school
joined. At the head of the class was a delicate little girl, whose
bright eyes and attentive air showed that she prized her place, and
meant to keep it.
Presently a word which had passed all the lower end of the class, came
to Eunice. The word was _privilege_. "P-r-i-v, priv--i, privi--l-e-g-e,
lege, privilege," spelt Eunice. But the teacher, vexed with the mistakes
of the other end of the class, misunderstood and passed it. The little
girl looked amazed, the bright color came into her cheeks, and she
listened eagerly to the next person, who spelt it again as she had done.
"Right," said the teacher; "take your place."
"I spelt it so," whispered Eunice partly to herself; the tears springing
to her eyes as she passed down. But too timid to speak to the master,
she remained in her place, determining soon to get up again. But her
trials were not yet over.
Many expedients had been tried in the school to keep out that arch-enemy
of all teachers--whispering. At length the following plan was adopted:--
The first whisperer was stood upon the floor in front of the teacher's
desk. Here he acted as a monitor; as soon as he detected another
whispering, he took his seat, and the next offender kept a sharp lookout
to find some one to take _his_ place; for, at the close of school, the
scholar who had the whisperer's place was punished very severely.
This plan appeared to operate very well; every one dreaded to be found
last on the floor; but, though it secured an orderly school, many of the
parents and scholars doubted its justice.
The boy who was on the floor when Eunice lost her place, was an unruly,
surly fellow, who had often before smarted for his faults; and as school
drew near its close, he began to tremble. The instant Eunice's whispered
complaint reached his ear, his face brightened up; he was safe now. And
when the class was dismissed, he said, "Eunice whispered, sir."
Eunice rose, and in a trembling voice related what she had said; but the
teacher saw no excuse in it, and she was called to take the place of the
ungenerous boy who had told of her.
The books were put away, and the waiting school looked on in sorrow as
Eunice left her seat to take the dreaded punishment. She was one of the
best scholars; bright, faithful, sweet-tempered, and a general favorite.
Every one felt that it was unjust; and many angry glances were cast at
the boy who was mean enough to get a little girl whipped. Overcome with
shame and fear, she stood by the side of the desk crying bitterly, while
the teacher was preparing to inflict the punishment.
At this moment a tall boy stepped out of his seat, and going to the
"Are you going to whip Eunice, sir?"
"Yes; I never break my rules!" the teacher answered.
"We will not see her whipped!" said the boy in an excited voice; "there
is not a boy here but _that_ one, who would see her whipped! Whip me,
sir, and keep your rule, if you must, but don't touch this little girl!"
The master paused; the school looked on tearfully.
"Do you mean to say you will take her punishment?" asked the teacher.
"I do sir," was the bold reply.
The sobbing little girl was sent to her seat, and without flinching, her
friend stood and received the punishment that was to have fallen upon
her. The school was dismissed, and the boys paid him in admiration and
praise for all he had suffered.
This was vicarious punishment,--one suffering from his own free will the
punishment that was to have been borne by another.
You see, do you not, that this is just what He did who bore our sins in
His own body upon the tree--the Saviour of men? What He suffered we
cannot know in this life; but God laid on Him the iniquity of us all;
and this He willingly bore to save us from death. With His stripes we
are healed. How great the gratitude each of us owes such a Friend.
"Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all."
[Illustration: "_I'm awake, mother, come in_."]
Mrs. Lomax softly opened the nursery door and peeped in. "I'm awake,
mother," said a voice from the white cot; "come in."
The lady quickly poked the smoldering fire into a blaze and opened the
blinds. It was a bitter cold day, and Jack Frost had decorated the
windowpanes with silver pictures of forests and castles.
"What wakened you so early, Patty, dear?" asked her mother, coming over
to sit on the edge of the bed. To her surprise the young face was
wreathed in bright smiles.
"I had such a strange, sweet dream," said Patty, her eyes shining. "I
think it must have been my dream that waked me."
"What was it, love?" But Patty was silent. "You don't want to tell me
your dream, little daughter?"
"I think I'd rather not, mother, if you don't mind."
"No, I don't mind."
"Well, then, I won't tell it."
Patty's mother had no dream of her own to tell, for she had hardly
slept a single one of the many hours between dark and dawn. Many of them
she had spent on her knees beside her bed, pouring out her heart in
prayer for her darling who was, with the returning day, to undergo a
painful and dangerous surgical operation.
For days Patty herself had been in a sad state of nervousness and
depression; it had been necessary, for certain reasons, that she should
know what was before her, and though she bore up bravely for her years,
it could not but be to her like entering a dark cloud.
And yet there was the smile on her lips and the light in her eye, though
the hour of trial had come!
The weeks slipped away, each one leaving little Patty stronger than it
found her, and nearer to the end of her prison-life behind window panes.
For the great trial was safely passed, and the surgeon said one reason
that the little girl came so safely through it, without fever or
inflammation of any sort, was that she was so quiet and brave, and
didn't excite or fret herself.
When Patty heard these praises she only smiled and said, "That's my
secret." Though she did not ask, Patty's mother sometimes wondered what
she meant and why she would not tell her secret.
But one day Patty overheard a visitor speaking of another child who was
to undergo an operation. This visitor was one of the managers of St.
Luke's Hospital, and the child she spoke of was a charity patient, a
poor, little deformed girl in the public ward. She was an orphan, and
had no friends except the kind people at the orphanage where she had
been put when only a few months old.
Patty was very quiet until the visitor left; but when her mother turned
to her sofa, she found her little daughter eager to tell her something.
"Oh, mother!" she cried, "I must see that little girl; I have something
to tell her."
"I'll see her for you, dear," said Mrs. Lomax, "and tell her anything
But Patty, who had been so reasonable and obedient, did not seem able to
listen to reason. She wept, and entreated to be carried to the hospital,
until at last her mother consented to let her go in a closed carriage
with her father to lift her in and out, and carry her every step up and
down the halls and stairway. "Only father," she said: "I'd rather have
After all, the drive did not seem to hurt Patty at all; when she had
taken off her wraps in the waiting room, and was being carried up to the
ward, she whispered a little nervously: "Can I see the little girl all
by myself, father?"
Mr. Lomax felt troubled at this almost stubborn secrecy. "I think not,
daughter," he said gravely; "the nurse would hardly leave her patient in
the hands of such a little girl as you. Why is it that you can't trust
me to hear what you have to say?"
Patty hesitated a minute, and then said, "I'm so afraid that you might
laugh at it, or say it was just a fancy; and, oh, I couldn't stand
anybody's laughing, because it helped me so."
"Dear little girl," he said to himself. Then he answered Patty in a very
gentle voice: "You need have no fear of that, darling. Now that I know
how you feel about it, whatever you have to say will be very precious to
[Illustration: "_Will you ask for me? I don't know Him very well._"]
Nothing more was said, but the little arms tightened about his neck, and
he heard a little sigh of content.
Laugh at her! No listener could have smiled at Patty's secret, except as
one might smile in glad surprise if an angel spoke.
In very simple speech, as one child uses to another, Patty told this
little hospital patient of her long time of suffering and disease; how
she had felt that she could not stand the surgeon's table, the knife,
the stitches and all the horrors of an operation.
"But the night before it was to happen," said Patty, "after I had prayed
with all my might to our Saviour to help me bear the pain I fell asleep,
and dreamed that I saw Him.
"Oh, I wish you could know how He looked! Just as if He was all our
mothers and fathers in one person. I did not hear Him speak, but I knew
from His smile that He was going to be with me. And then I waked up and
remembered what He said when He was going back to heaven, 'Lo, I am with
you alway,' and I wasn't afraid any more after that."
"And did it hurt very much?" eagerly asked the child in the cot.
"I don't know," said Patty, looking rather puzzled, "maybe it did. The
doctor couldn't give me as much of the go-to-sleep stuff as he will you;
and part of the time I knew what he was doing, and felt the pain. But I
did not mind it; I said to myself, 'Why, I can easily stand it; just as
long as I must.' You see Jesus had answered my prayer, and He will
answer yours, too. Don't forget, what He said about 'Lo, I am with
"Will you ask for me?" said the little stranger; "I don't know Him very
And Patty promised.
[Illustration: "_I don't believe sugar-sticks are good for little girls._"]
Uncle came in one cold evening, looking for all the world like a bear,
Louie thought, in his big overcoat. He caught Louie up and gave her a
real bear-hug, too.
"Hello, Mopsey! where's Popsey?" he asked.
Popsey was Louie's baby sister, two years old, and her name wasn't
Popsey any more than Louie's name was Mopsey, but Uncle Jack was all the
time calling folks funny names, Louie thought.
"Her's gone to bed," she said.
Then Uncle Jack put his hand in his pocket and made a great rustling
with paper for a minute before he pulled out two red-and-white
sugar-sticks and gave them to Louie. "It's too bad that Popsey's
asleep," said he. But I'm afraid Louie was rather glad of it.
"Aren't you going to save one stick for Grace?" asked mama. Popsey's
real name was Grace.
"No," said Louie, speaking low. "I don't believe sugar-sticks are good
for little girls. 'Sides, I want it myself."
Just as she swallowed the last bit there came a little call from her
"Hello!" said Uncle Jack, "Popsey's awake!"
And in a minute, out she came in mama's arms, rosy, and smiling, and
Then there was another great rustling in Uncle Jack's pocket, and pretty
"This is for Popsey!" said Uncle Jack.
She took her two sugar-sticks in her dimpled hands and looked at them a
second--dear little Popsey!--and then she held out the larger one to
[Illustration: _"Dis for 'ou."_]
"Dis for 'ou," she cooed, "and dis for me!"
Poor Louie! She hung her head and blushed. Somehow she didn't want to
look at Uncle Jack or mama. Can you guess why?
"Dis for 'ou!" repeated Popsey, cheerfully, pushing the long sugar-stick
into her hand.
"Take it, Louie," said mama.
And Louie took it. But a little afterward mama overheard her tell
"I won't never be such a greedy thing any more, Popsey, dear. And I's
always going to divide with you, all the time after this, long's I
[Illustration: "_Suddenly, with a great effort, she began to sing._"]
A GIRL'S SONG
At the time of the terrible accident a year or two ago at the coal mines
near Scranton, Penn., several men were buried for three days, and all
efforts to rescue them proved unsuccessful.
The majority of the miners were Germans. They were in a state of intense
excitement. Sympathy for the wives and children of the buried men, and
despair at their own fruitless efforts, had rendered them almost
A great mob of ignorant men and women assembled at the mouth of the mine
on the evening of the third day, in a condition of high nervous tension
which fitted them for any mad act. A sullen murmur arose that it was
folly to dig farther--that the men were dead. And this was followed by
cries of rage at the rich mine owners.
A hasty word or gesture might have produced an outbreak of fury.
Standing near me was a little German girl, perhaps eleven years old. Her
pale face and frightened glances from side to side showed that she fully
understood the danger of the moment.
Suddenly, with a great effort, she began to sing in a hoarse whisper
which could not be heard. Then she gained courage, and her sweet,
childish voice rang out in Luther's grand old hymn, familiar to every
German from his cradle, "A mighty fortress is out God."
There was silence like death. Then one voice joined the girl's, and
presently another and another, until from the whole great multitude rose
the solemn cry:--
With force of arms we nothing can,
Full soon are we o'erridden.
But for us fights the godly Man,
Whom God Himself hath bidden.
Ask ye His name?
Christ Jesus is His name.
A great quiet seemed to fall upon their hearts. They resumed their work
with fresh zeal, and before morning, the joyful cry came up from the pit
that the men were found--alive. Never was a word more in season than
that child's hymn.
[Illustration: "_Here, that's mine._"]
"For I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus,'" repeated Miss
Evans, slowly. "My dear girls," she said, "have you these marks? It used
to be the custom in India to brand the master's name upon the arms of
his servants, so that all who met them would know to whom they belonged.
Do your lives show the name of the Lord Jesus to all whom you meet?"
"O Belle!" cried Jennie Day, on the way home. "Did you see Sarah Brooks
in that new silk dress? Didn't she feel grand?"
"New!" returned Belle White, "I almost know it was made out of one of
her mother's old ones."
"How spiteful they are," thought Carrie Maynard; "I am glad I know
better than to talk that way. Girls," she said aloud, "I think you are
forgetting very quickly what Miss Evans read about the marks. The Bible
says, 'Charity envieth not.'"
"Yes," answered Belle angrily, "and it says, too, 'Vaunteth not itself,
is not puffed up.'"
"I wonder if I am conceited, and quote only the verses that don't mean
me," said Carrie to herself. "I am sure humility must be one of the
marks;" and she went up stairs and asked God to show her how bad she
was, little dreaming how soon the prayer would be answered.
After dinner she washed and wiped the dishes and put them carefully
away. "There," thought she, "if 'cleanliness is next to godliness,' I am
sure of one mark, for mother says I am an uncommonly neat little girl."
Meantime, Charlie, finding his own library book rather dull, had
commenced reading Carrie's. "Here! that's mine," she cried, trying to
"Wait till I finish this page," he said, holding it up out of her reach.
"No, I will have it now," she insisted; and by frantic efforts finally
seized it, but not till she had left a scratch on his hand, and received
several pinches on her arm.
She opened the book, and the first thing she saw was the verse, "Ye have
need of patience."
"Oh, dear," she sighed, "there is another mark. Now, I suppose, I must
carry this book back to Charlie, and ask his forgiveness."
"I am sorry I behaved so bad, and you may take the book all the
afternoon," she whispered.
Charlie stopped whistling. "Upon my word, I believe you are a Christian,
Carrie," he said, and then he fell to whistling again. But Carrie went
softly up stairs.
[Illustration: _"Never mind her! Her father drinks."_]
It was a half holiday. The children were gathered on the green, and a
right merry time they were having.
"Come, girls and boys," called out Ned Graham, "let's play hunt the
They were all eager for the game, and a large circle was formed with Ned
Graham for leader because he was the largest.
"Come, Susie," said one of the boys, to a little girl who stood on one
side, and seemed to shrink from joining them.
"Oh, never mind _her!_" said Ned, with a little toss of his head, "she's
nobody, anyhow. Her father drinks."
A quick flush crept over the child's pale face as she heard the cruel,
She was very sensitive, and the arrow had touched her heart in its
Her father _was_ a drunkard, she knew, but to be taunted with it before
so many was more than she could bear; and with great sobs heaving her
bosom, and hot tears filling her eyes, she turned and ran away from the
Her mother was sitting by the window when she reached home, and the
tearful face of the little girl told that something had happened to
"What is the matter, Susie?" she asked, kindly.
[Illustration: "_He said that father drinks._"]
"Oh, mother," said Susie, with the tears dropping down her cheeks, as
she hid her face in her mother's lap, "Ned Graham said such a cruel
thing about me," and here the sobs choked her voice so that she could
hardly speak; "He said that I wasn't anybody, and that father drinks."
"My poor little girl," Mrs. Ellet said, very sadly. There were tears in
her eyes, too. Such taunts as this were nothing new in that family.
"Oh, mother," Susie said, as she lifted her face, wet with tears, from
her mother's lap, "I can't bear to have them say so, and act just as if
_I_ had done something wicked. I wish father wouldn't drink! Do you
suppose he'll ever leave it off?"
"I hope so," Mrs. Ellet answered, as she kissed Susie's face where the
tears clung like drops of dew on a rose. "I pray that he may break off
the habit, and I can do nothing but pray, and leave the rest to God."
That night Mr. Ellet came home to supper, as usual. He was a
hard-working man, and a good neighbor. So everybody said, but he had the
habit of intemperance so firmly fixed upon him that everybody thought he
would end his days in the drunkard's grave. Susie kissed him when he
came through the gate, as she always did, but there was something in her
face that went to his heart. A look so sad, and full of touching sorrow
for one so young as she!
"What ails my little girl?" he asked as he patted her curly head.
"I can't tell you, father," she answered, slowly.
"Why?" he asked.
"Because it would make you feel bad," Susie replied.
"I guess not," he said, as they walked up to the door together. "What is
"Oh, father," and Susie burst into tears again as the memory of Ned
Graham's words came up freshly in her mind, "I wish you wouldn't drink
any more for the boys and girls don't like to play with me, 'cause you
Mr. Ellet made no reply. But something stirred in his heart that made
him ashamed of himself; ashamed that he was the cause of so much sorrow.
After supper he took his hat, and Mrs. Ellet knew only too well where
he was going.
At first he had resolved to stay at home that evening, but the force of
habit was so strong that he could not resist; so he yielded, promising
himself that he would not drink more than once or twice.
Susie had left the table before he finished his supper, and as he passed
the great clump of lilacs by the path, on his way to the gate, he heard
a voice and stopped to listen to what she was saying.
"Oh, good Jesus, please don't let father drink any more. Make him just
as he used to be when I was a baby, and then the boys and girls can't
call me a drunkard's child, or say such bad things about me. Please,
dear Jesus, for mother's sake and mine."
[Illustration: _Susie's Prayer_]
Susie's father listened to her simple prayer, with a great lump swelling
in his throat. When her prayer was ended, he went up to her, knelt down
by her side, and put his arm around her.
"God in heaven," he said very solemnly, "I promise to-night, never to
touch another drop of liquor as long as I live. Give me strength to keep
my pledge, and help me to be a better man."
"Oh, father," Susie cried, her arms about his neck, and her head upon
his breast, "I'm _so_ glad! I shan't care about anything they say to me
now, for I know you won't be a drunkard any more."
"God helping me, I will be a _man!_" he answered, as taking Susie by the
hand he went back into the house where his wife was sitting with the old
patient look of sorrow on her face,--the look that so often rested
I cannot tell you of the joy and thanksgiving that went up from that
hearthstone that night. I wish I could, but it was too deep a joy which
filled the hearts of Susie and her mother to be described.
Was not Susie's prayer answered?
THE STOLEN ORANGE
"Mamma will never know," thought Flora Marshall to herself, as she took
a large orange from the piled-up dish on the table, and, putting it in
her pocket, went hastily up stairs.
She was expecting two or three little friends to spend the day with her,
and had been busily arranging the doll her kind mother had given her;
but while lingering about, waiting for them to come, she was tempted to
take one of the oranges which had been placed on the table ready for
dinner. She hurried from the room, but had not reached the top of the
stairs before her brother's voice stopped her, calling, "Flora, Flora,
make haste, I see some of your visitors coming in at the gate;" and
directly after there was a knock at the door, and she could hear the
voices of Kate and Effie Somers.
Flora ran quickly down stairs, but her face was flushed, and she felt
miserable and ashamed as she met her young friends, and took them to the
parlor to speak to her mamma.
[Illustration: _"Blindman's Buff"_]
Flora tried to laugh and talk as merrily as any of them, but she could
not forget how wrong she had been; and the dish of oranges setting right
before her on the table kept her fault ever in her mind. Besides this,
not having been able to eat the orange she had taken, she was in
constant fear lest she might draw it from her pocket with her
handkerchief, and thus be covered with shame in the sight of her young
Poor Flora! she had sinned against God, and against her kind mother, and
had spoiled all her afternoon's pleasure for the sake of an orange. At
dinner time she could not raise her head to meet her mother's glance,
who saw that something was wrong with her, and who said very kindly,
"Flora, dear, you are scarcely eating anything--are you not well?" This
made Flora ready to cry with shame and repentance. Her conscience was
too tender to allow her to be happy while her fault remained
All the afternoon they had merry games, in which everybody joined. They
played "Lady's Toilet," "Hunt the Slipper," and many more such games,
winding up with "Blindman's Buff." After this the little girls went
home, and Flora was left alone with her papa and mama while the younger
children were getting ready for bed.
Several times she had fancied she had dropped the orange in some of the
rough movements of the games, and had gone more than once quietly into a
corner of the room to feel in her pocket if it was still there. Yes, it
was quite safe enough. "How could I be so wicked and so greedy?" thought
Flora; "mama always gives me as much fruit as is best for me, and yet I
have made myself a thief, and after all have not eaten the orange, or
been able to put it back, and it has spoiled all my pleasure." She sat
still, miserable and unhappy for a little longer, and then her
resolution was made--she would tell her mama before she lay down to
sleep that night. With a slow step and a beating heart she went toward
the window where her mother was sitting. "Well, Flora," said Mrs.
Marshall kindly, "you seem tired and out of spirits to-night; have you
come to wish me good-night?"
[Illustration: _"Here it is, Mama."_]
"O mama!" sobbed Flora, "I have come to tell you how wicked I have been,
and how very sorry and miserable I am;" and hiding her face in the folds
of her mama's dress, she told the story.
"Here it is, mama," she said, drawing the orange from her pocket, "and
I think I shall never see an orange again without remembering this bad
Very gravely, but gently, her mother spoke to her about her sin, and the
consequences it had brought upon her. "I shall not punish you, Flora,"
she said; "your own conscience has been a sufficient punishment. I have
watched your pale, troubled face all the afternoon, and should have
wondered what was wrong with you had I not seen you take the orange as I
passed the door, which was slightly open. Knowing what you had done, I
was not surprised that you seemed unhappy."
"But can you forgive me mama, and believe that I will never do such a
"I will forgive you, Flora, because you have told me of your fault; but
remember there is One above whose forgiveness you must seek as well as
mine, whose eye is always upon you, and who is grieved when you do
wrong. Go now, and before you sleep to-night ask God to pardon you, and
cleanse you from this and every other sin for the sake of his Son, our
Saviour Jesus Christ."
With a sorrowful, repentant heart Flora went to her room, and kneeling
there asked God to forgive all her sins, and to help her for the future
to resist temptation; but it was a long time before she forgot the
stolen orange and how miserable she had been that afternoon.
[Illustration: "_He used to chase them and threaten to cut off their
WEE JANET'S PROBLEM
Everything small and helpless was once afraid of a certain ragged,
barefooted little boy who had recently come to live in the country. His
home was the old Perkins' house, in which no one had lived for years; at
least no one but wild-wood folks, like birds and squirrels. They didn't
stay long after the arrival of Pete and his family, because Pete threw
stones even at the bluebirds.
Wee Janet was afraid of Pete. All the Primer Class children who attended
the country school were afraid of the boy. He used to chase them and
threaten to cut off their ears; once he whispered across the aisle to
Bessie Saunders that he would like to eat little girls, and she believed
The teacher said that Pete was a bad boy. There was never a school day
when the child wasn't justly punished for something. It did seem as if
no one ever said a kind word about Pete. Wee Janet thought that even his
mother was discouraged, because he cruelly teased his own brothers and
sisters until they were in tears half the time.
No one in the country knew where Pete and his family lived before they
came to the Perkins' farm. In reply to that question Pete said "None of
yer business!" to the Sabbath school superintendent.
Wee Janet was much troubled about Pete. "He'll be a dreadfully bad man,"
she said to her mother, "unless someone can make him into a good little
boy. The teacher says she can't do it--she's tried. She says it's a
"I'll tell you what to do, little daughter," said Wee Janet's mother.
"Try to think Pete is the lovely boy he might have been if he had been
born in the Perkins' house, and dear old Grandma Perkins was his own
"But--but my thinker isn't strong enough," objected Wee Janet. "Besides,
that wouldn't make Pete into a different kind of a boy."
"No," agreed Wee Janet's mother; "but if you could imagine Pete is
lovely, you must treat him in a different way, and it might make him
The following day Wee Janet tried her best to do as her mother
suggested. The day after she begged all the little girls in the Primer
Class to treat Pete as if he were a good boy. At last Wee Janet and the
Primer Class gave it up.
"He just gets worse and worse," Wee Janet told her mother. "He says he
'don't care for nuthin' nor nobody,'--that's just what he said."
"Well," replied Janet's mother, "there is one thing you can do, and that
is, always be polite and kind to him. 'Overcome evil with good.'"
Days passed. Every night when she said her prayers Wee Janet remembered
Pete. Each day she tried to be kind to him in every way known to a
little girl eight years old and extremely small for her age. He threw
the flowers she gave him into the dusty road and danced on them. He
accepted her gifts only to destroy them, every one, and then called her
At last the Sabbath-school superintendent learned that Pete was born and
had lived all his life in a tenement house in a great city. His father
died in State's Prison. After that it seemed to Wee Janet that there was
almost no hope for Pete.
One Thursday morning the little girl's mother asked her to carry a pail
of buttermilk to Aunt Nancy. "You needn't be afraid to go by the
Perkins' house this morning," she said, "because your father was told
that Pete went fishing to-day."
Wee Janet was half way to Aunt Nancy's when not far up the road she
beheld Mr. Mason's red cow eating grass outside instead of inside the
"Oh, the hooking cow!" exclaimed the child, almost dropping her pail of
At that moment the red cow lifted her head. It is possible she thought
that Janet was a big clover blossom. Anyway, on came the cow lowing
gently. Mr. Mason always said the cow was harmless.
Janet, too frightened to stir, screamed in terror. That scream brought a
barefooted boy running over the fields. That boy was Pete.
"What's the matter, Weejan?" he called.
At that moment Pete looked beautiful to Wee Janet. It seemed to her
that she never saw a finer looking boy than Pete, the ragged, when he
picked up a stick and made the cow turn around and go the other way.
[Illustration: "_Janet screamed in terror._"]
"Come on, Weejan," called Pete. "I won't let her hurt yez. I'll drive
her back in her pasture and lock the gate. Yez see if I don't!"
After the cow was in her pasture Pete insisted upon going to Aunt
Nancy's with Wee Janet. "Yer might see a rattler," he explained, as if
such a thing were probable.
"Now I'll take yer home," the boy observed when Wee Janet found him
waiting at the gate. "Yer too little to be out alone."
Janet's mother thanked Pete for taking care of her small daughter. Then
she gave him a piece of gingerbread. After that she showed him Wee
Janet's robin's nest and told him all about how the mother robin worked
to build the nest, and how long she sat upon the eggs before the little
nestlings were hatched. Father Robin scolded the boy so vigorously Wee
Janet was afraid Pete's feelings might be hurt. "You see," she
explained, "he knows that you're a stranger. Now, Father Robin, don't
make such a fuss. If Pete took care of me, he'd take care of your
babies, too. Wouldn't you, Pete.
"Sure!" Pete replied with a broad grin.
From that hour there was a change in Pete. He told Wee Janet's mother
that he never knew anything about birds before; whereupon he was invited
to come every day to visit all of Wee Janet's birds' nests and to read
her bird books.
[Illustration: _The Robin's Nest_]
Before the end of the year even the little girls in the Primer Class
forgot, or appeared to forget, that Pete was ever a bad boy. He is in
high school now, in town, and his mother never looks discouraged when
she speaks of her eldest son, Peter.
As for Wee Janet, to this day she sometimes wonders how it all came
Bertha Gilbert was fourteen years of age, and had just come home from
boarding school, where she had finished her first year--a very nice,
pleasant school, of about thirty girls, besides the day-scholars; and
Mrs. Howard made it, as she promised, a kind of social family, giving
each one her personal attention and care. Bertha had improved a great
deal in her studies and deportment, and was a very lady-like, agreeable
But as no little boys and girls are perfect, or large ones either, for
that matter, I am going to tell you what a mistake Bertha made, and how
she was cured of a feeling that might have settled into a very
disagreeable habit. Indeed, I have met some grown people who have fallen
into the way of treating elderly members of the family with a disregard
that bordered on contempt.
[Illustration: "_There was one handsome house which Bertha had often
Bertha was delighted to be at home once more, to be clasped to her dear
mother's heart, to find her father quite improved in health, and her two
little brothers as merry as ever; and to meet her dear old
grandmother, an old lady who was nearly eighty years of age, yet bright
and active, with a fair, sweet face, and silvery hair, which was nearly
all covered with a fine muslin cap, the border being crimped in the
daintiest fashion you ever saw.
I used to think she looked just like a picture, of a summer afternoon,
when she put on a fresh cap and kerchief,--as she used to call the white
half square of lawn that she wore round her shoulders,--and her clean,
checked apron. In spite of her years, she did a great deal of work
around the house, and I do not believe George and Willie would have
known how to live without her.
The Gilberts were in very moderate circumstances, for Mr. Gilbert had
been compelled to leave his business and retire to the country on
account of ill health. This little village of Hillside was a very pretty
place. A river ran on one side, and on the opposite side ran a railroad
that led directly to New York. Consequently a great many rich and
fashionable people lived here, as well as a poorer class.
There was one handsome house which Bertha had often admired. It was the
home of very wealthy people--Mr. and Mrs. Bell. The lawn and gardens
were very beautiful, and they had an elegant greenhouse and a grapery,
indeed, everything that heart could wish. Then Mrs. Bell had traveled
nearly all over Europe, and had visited China.
Bertha had met two of Mrs. Bell's nieces at school; one was a young
lady, and the other a little girl not quite as old as herself; but
somehow she and Ada Wilson became great friends. The two girls were to
visit Mrs. Bell during their vacation, and Ada had promised to spend a
day with Bertha--indeed, to come to see her often.
"For Aunt Bell is such a great lady," Ada had said, "and there are no
children; so I'm afraid I shall be lonesome; and you must return my
The idea of going to the grand house quite elated Bertha. She told it
over to her mother with a great deal of pleasure.
But nothing ever happens just as one wants it. The Gilberts' parlor had
been repapered, and there was some delay in getting down the new carpet.
They would surely be in order by the time the Wilsons arrived, Bertha
thought to herself one afternoon, as she brought her tiny workbasket to
the sitting room and took out a piece of braiding to finish.
There was a long piazza across the front of the house. In the center was
the hall door--the parlor being on one side, the sitting room on the
other. As Bertha's eyes roved idly out of the window, she saw Mrs.
Bell's beautiful grays coming down the road, and a carriage full of
ladies. Why, they were actually stopping; the man handed out two ladies
and a little girl, and opened the gate for them.
Indeed, the Wilsons had reached Hillside a week earlier than they had
expected. When Ada spoke of her friend, Mrs. Bell proposed that they
should call as early as possible, so that Ada and Bertha might see the
more of each other.
[Illustration: "_O mother! here they are,_"]
"O, mother!" Bertha exclaimed, in astonishment, "here they are--Ada and
Miss Frances, and their aunt."
"Go and receive them, my dear," said her mother rising.
Mrs. Bell was very gracious, and with a certain unassuming sweetness
that immediately set at ease every one with whom she met. She and Mrs.
Gilbert exchanged very pleasant greetings. Then they were all led into
the sitting room, and Bertha flushed a little. She seemed to see all its
shabbiness at a glance--the worn spot of carpet by her father's desk,
and another in front of the sofa, the old-fashioned furniture, and
grandmother sitting there in her corner, knitting a blue yarn stocking.
Grandma Gilbert rose and courtesied to the ladies. Her dress had no
fashionable trail, but showed her low prunella shoes and white,
home-knit stockings. She was a prim little body, looking as neat as a
pin, but very old-fashioned.
Mrs. Bell presently crossed over to her. "It looks quite like old times
to see any one knitting," she said, in her low, pleasant voice. "I think
there ought to be a grandmother in every house; they always give a place
such a comfortable, homelike look. I remember how my great-grandmother
used to knit when I was a little girl."
"It isn't of much account," returned grandmother. "Stockings are so
cheap nowadays; but I do think hum-knit wears better for boys. Willie
and George do scour out stockings 'mazin' fast. And then it serves to
keep an old woman like me busy."
[Illustration: _"It looks quite like old times to see anyone
Ada Wilson glanced up with a peculiar look, and Bertha flushed. The
young ladies at Mrs. Howard's were taught to pronounce their words
correctly, and were not allowed to use any careless phrases.
Mrs. Bell continued the conversation, however, and grandmother did her
best to be entertaining. But she was old-fashioned, and confused her
grammar in various ways. Ada, in the meantime, showed a strong
disposition to laugh, and finally begged Bertha to take her out to look
at the flowers.
"O dear!" she exclaimed, as they went around the walk at the side of the
house; "O dear! Isn't your grandmother a funny old woman! I couldn't
keep my face sober." Ada laughed as if she considered it very amusing.
Bertha ought to have understood that this was very ill-bred, and
espoused her grandmother's cause at once; but instead of that she was
ashamed of her, and felt like crying. If she could only have taken her
guests into the parlor, where they would not have seen grandma!
[Illustration: "_Isn't your grandmother a funny old woman?_"]
"Such a funny old woman, with that immense check apron! Bertha, she
looks like some of the little old lady pincushions that I've seen, and
she makes such a queer mouth when she talks. She hasn't a tooth in her
head, has she? and I guess they didn't teach grammar when she went to
school. Why do you let her wear that white cap? all the old ladies that
I know wear black lace caps, with ribbons. I thought I should laugh
outright when she made that little dip of curtsy."
"But she is real old," said Bertha, deprecatingly, "and she has lived in
the country most of her life."
"I should think she had come from the backwoods! I wonder she doesn't
make you wear 'hum-knit' stockings; or don't you 'scour yours out?' O
"It is not right to laugh at old persons," Bertha said, summoning all
her courage; yet she was mortified and humiliated in the extreme.
"Oh! I don't mean anything, you know--only it's so funny! You ought to
see _my_ grandmother. She is nearly eighty, I believe, but she only owns
Bertha was too deeply hurt to make any comment. Then Ada kissed her and
coaxed her into good humor, telling her of the enjoyments Aunt Bell had
When they returned to the room, Mrs. Bell was preparing to leave, and
the carriage stood at the gate.
"We have decided on Thursday, Ada," Mrs. Bell said to her niece; "and,
Miss Bertha, I have coaxed your grandmother to pay _me_ a visit. I think
a pleasant old lady, in possession of all her faculties, is rare good
company--quite a treat for me. Now, Mrs. Gilbert, I shall send the
carriage, and you will be sure not to disappoint me, if you are well."
"You are very kind, indeed;" and grandmother gave another little "dip
of a curtsy."
Bertha looked amazed.
She was very quiet after her visitors had gone. Her mother appeared to
admire Miss Frances Wilson, and grandma said of Mrs. Bell: "She's a
tender, true-hearted Christian lady."
"Mother," said Bertha, the next day, when they were alone; "couldn't you
fix grandma up a little to go to Mrs. Bell's?"
"Why, she has a nice brown silk dress to wear, and a clean cap and
"But she looks so--so--old-fashioned, mother."
"My dear, she is an old-fashioned lady. I think she looks a great deal
prettier than to be dressed like people thirty or forty years younger
than she is."
[Illustration: "_I am disappointed._"]
"O Bertha! you are not ashamed of dear old grandmother?" and Mrs.
Gilbert looked at her daughter in amazement. Bertha's cheeks flushed,
and tears came to her eyes.
"My little daughter, I am deeply pained!"
Some way the story came out, and Bertha sobbed away her mortified
[Illustration: _Grandma's Early Home in the Wilderness._]
"My dear Bertha!" her mother said, "I am disappointed to see you show so
little true courage and warmth of heart. Ada Wilson has certainly shown
herself very ill-bred and heartless in thus criticising so old a person
to one of her own relatives. I am not sure but it would be better to
decline the invitation altogether."
"O mother! I do not think Ada meant any real harm. She laughs at the
girls, and mimics everybody; but she's real good and generous, for all
that. And grandma does make mistakes."
"But even if she does, Bertha, when you are tempted to despise your dear
old grandmother, I want you to think of her life. When she was a little
girl, twelve years old, she went to work in a mill, to help her mother
take care of her younger brothers and sisters, and then afterward she
took the whole charge of the family upon herself.
"Fifty-three years ago she married a plain farmer, and went West, into
what was a wilderness at that time. In her turn, she was left a widow,
with a large family, and I shall always honor her for the wisdom she
displayed. It would be hard to find four better men than your uncles and
"Aunt Bessy was poor and had a great deal of trouble, but grandma staid
with her to the very last, and now she has come to me. I really don't
know what I should do without her, and her life has been most
praiseworthy in every respect. She would give her life for any of us.
Suppose she were cross and fretful, and thought, as some old ladies do,
that we ought to work every moment, and never take a bit of pleasant
"Instead of this, she is a genial, tender-hearted woman, serving God and
doing good every day of her life, and I am sure Mrs. Bell honors her.
"Suppose, Bertha, that I began to fret at her old-fashioned ways, the
caps she loves to wear, and the manner in which she expresses herself?
It would make her nervous and timid, and if she thought we were growing
ashamed of her, I really believe her heart would break. Would you be
willing to give her such a wound?"
"Oh, no," returned Bertha, sobbing. "Dear grandmother."
"I think the commandment to honor one's father and mother takes in
one's grandparents equally. And, most of all, I want to see my little
daughter brave enough to respect true worth, even if it is not clad in
fashionable garments, and fresh from school."
[Illustration: _The Carriage Came for Grandma._]
Bertha began to think she had been very weak and foolish, and after a
long talk with her mother, she resolved that Ada should never speak so
disrespectfully in her presence again.
And so, when Mrs. Bell's carriage came, they started on their visit,
grandma looking as fresh and sweet as a rose. In spite of the fact that
she was wrinkled, her skin was white and clear, and her soft brown eyes
were overflowing with love.
Mrs. Bell welcomed them warmly; but she took possession of grandma,
while the young folks amused themselves.
Such a lovely home as it was; full of curiosities, beautiful pictures,
handsome statues and elegant furniture!
Some unexpected visitors came in the afternoon, and Bertha found her
grandma quite the center of attraction. She overheard one lady say:
"What a charming old lady! I feel like envying her relatives."
As for Ada, she made no further remarks. Her sister had been shocked at
her thoughtless levity, and had threatened to inform Aunt Bell, of whom
she stood in awe; and so Bertha had a very pleasant visit.
She grew up with a sense of respect for old age; and Bertha Gilbert's
pretty manners were often remarked upon. If she met with people less
refined than herself, or poorly educated, instead of ridiculing them,
she tried to think of their hard lives and few advantages, and was most
tender and gracious.
Let us all try to be kind to the poor and aged, for some of them are
God's choicest jewels.
* * * * *
PUTTING OFF TILL TO-MORROW
"What made you stop right in the middle of your sentence, and then start
talking about something entirely different?" The questioner laughed, and
her friend joined as she replied to the puzzled query.
"If I think in time, I make it a rule never to say to-day the mean thing
that can be put off until to-morrow," she explained. "So to-morrow it is
out of date, and does not get said at all."
I once had the curiosity to look into a little girl's work-box. And what
do you suppose I found?
Well, in the first place, I found a bead-purse, about half done; there
was, however, no prospect of finishing it, for the needles were out, and
the silk upon the spools all tangled and drawn into a complete wisp.
Laying this aside, I took up a piece of perforated paper, upon which was
wrought one lid of a Bible, and beneath it the words, "I love"--but what
she loved was left for me to imagine.
Beneath the Bible lid I found a stocking, evidently intended for some
baby foot; but it had come to a stand just upon the little heel, and
there it seemed doomed to remain.
Near to the stocking was a needle-book, one cover of which was neatly
made, and upon the other, partly finished, was marked, "To my dear--."
I need not, however, tell you all that I found there; but this much I
can say, that during my travels through that workbox, I found not a
single article complete; and silent and dumb as they were, these
half-finished, forsaken things told me a sad story about that little
They told me that, with a heart full of generous affection, with a head
full of useful and pretty projects, all of which she had both the means
and the skill to carry into effect, she was still a useless
child,--always doing but never accomplishing her work. It was not a lack
of industry, but a lack of perseverance.
Remember, my dear little friends, that it matters but little what great
thing we undertake. Our glory is not in that, but in what we accomplish.
Nobody in the world cares for what we _mean_ to do; but people will open
their eyes to see what men and women and little children _have_ done.
* * * * *
WHAT'S THE USE
"How much did you ever make by complaining?" asked a man of his
"disgruntled" granddaughter. "Come, now, be honest with yourself, and
think it all out and see if you do not lose by grumbling."
Finding fault is indeed an unprofitable occupation. It "snarls you up
inside," as the little boy said of his hot temper, and so puts you out
of joint with the world that you are sure to find something more to
grumble about, and so it goes from bad to worse all the while.
[Illustration: "_Get away!_"]
SUSY DILLER'S CHRISTMAS FEAST
"Please'm, only a penny. I'm most froze and starved!"
The carriage stood at the edge of the sidewalk, and Mrs. Linley was just
going out with her two children to buy some Christmas gifts. Nellie was
all scarlet and ermine, her sweet, happy face framed in with golden
curls, and Master Frank not a whit behind in elegance, though a trifle
more haughty, as you could tell by the wide distance he gave the
miserable little beggar.
"Get away!" said Mrs. Linley, with a disdainful sweep of the hand.
The woman and the child looked at each other--one of those glances that
stamp a face upon one's memory. Mrs. Linley was always afraid of street
trash. They might have fever, or small pox, or some other infection,
lurking in their rags.
The carriage drove on. The children were happy, generous, well-behaved,
and belonged to a Christian family. They were going to prove all this
now. Besides gifts for mama and papa, and some little cousins, half a
dozen poor children were to be remembered.
They spent all the pleasant, sunshiny middle of the day going from shop
to shop. What hosts of tempting things! A perfect Santa Clause revel
everywhere. It was like a glimpse of fairy-land.
Frank and Nellie laughed and talked, ran to mama with a hundred pretty
things, but did not tease.
They had quite a load in the carriage. And oh! wouldn't lame Johnny
Ashton be delighted with his books, and the wheel-chair mama had bought
him, and Susy Dorr would be the happiest of the happy in her new plaid