Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

6

touch it till she came again ; surely you won't break your promise ?' said Susan.

* But who's to know? Nurse won't be here for ever so long, and we can easily slip it back before she comes,' Rachel answered.

* But it's wrong to break your word, Rachel. It's as bad as telling a story; and if no one knows, God will know, and He will be very angry, for He hates deceivers. Mamma says that even little sins are marked down in the big book, and none too small that He cannot see them,' answered Susan.

“Oh, I am sure there is not so much harm in telling a story. Would you rather be punished than tell a little fib? I'm sure I wouldn't. I hate being punished, and I would rather tell a story. I'm never found out.'

• But mamma is very particular about us speaking the truth. I don't think she would ever forgive us if we told a lie, ever so small a one. She never punishes us for doing anything wrong, if we speak the truth about it,—I mean if we should break anything, or do something of that kind. Of course she punishes us if we are disobedient, but never for speaking the truth. But isn't it strange that mamma's last words, before the train left, were about speaking the truth always?'

“What did she say?' asked Rachel, with her hand on the keys still.

'I remember them quite distinctly,' said Susan. 'I have said them over every night since I came. Mamma said, I was never to forget my prayers or my Bible; but above everything I was to be careful to speak the truth, whatever the temptation. I was always to speak the truth, and I was to ask God to help me; and if I asked properly, He would be sure to do it.'

At the time when Mrs Baird had spoken to Susan, and when the train was carrying her swiftly along, she had wondered why her mother had said those words; but her mother knew well that her little girl was going to breathe in a different atmosphere, where truth was not looked

6

6

upon in the same light. She knew that Rachel was not truthful, and she thought it right to give Susan a word of advice, for she knew that parting words were always remembered, especially a mother's last words.

For some time Susan's argument had the effect of stopping Rachel ; but in the end the temptation was too strong, for poor Rachel did not ask help to withstand it, and so she opened the drawer just to have a peep. But the doll looked so lovely, with its new pink muslin dress on, that she must have it in her arms just for a minute. Susan sat with downcast eyes, her beads lying neglected

[graphic]

in her lap, showing to Rachel how naughty she really thought her; and somehow she felt more miserable than ever she had been before, for her cousin's example was beginning to make her think. Still she sat with the doil on her knee, minute after minute, trying to persuade herself that, the doll being hers, she had a right to do with it

6

6

[ocr errors]

what she pleased. She was startled at last by hearing nurse coming up the stairs, and she had just time to fly towards the drawer and stuff it in; but, alas ! in doing so, the pretty pink muslin caught in the old-fashioned brass handle, and gave it a great tear. She had no time to look at it further, and was scarcely seated when nurse came in and began searching for her keys. Great was her astonishment to find them out of her basket; for nurse was very careful, and always remembered where she put anything.

It's most extraordinary!' said nurse, when she had at length discovered them hanging from the drawer. “Miss Rachel, have you been touching with them?'

“No, I haven't,' said Rachel, boldly. "You're always blaming me for everything.'

"Well, well, I suppose I must have left them there myself. I was in the drawer getting out some frilling this morning. And nurse turned to leave the room, but stopped half-way to say, 'I've got some news for ye, and ye'll no guess what it is.'

‘Oh, tell us at once, nurse,' said Rachel, for she saw by her face it was something very nice indeed.

*Well, your Aunt Kate is coming to-morrow; she is to stay for a week;' and nurse went away smiling, thinking she had given the children a pleasant surprise.

At any other time it would have been the case ; for Aunt Kate was a great favourite with all her nieces, and there was a general rejoicing in every house where she visited. But the doll lying locked up with its torn frock, drove all pleasant thoughts away. Susan could not persuade her cousin that the best way would be to speak to Aunt Kate at once, and ask forgiveness; but Rachel would not promise to do it, for she knew that Aunt Kate did not look upon her faults in the same light as her grandmamma, and was the only person who could persuade Mrs Baird to see them.

• The only thing to be done, is to say I know nothing about it, and nurse will get the blame,' said Rachel.

[ocr errors]

6

* But, Rachel, you mustn't have nurse blamed for a thing she did not do. It would be very cruel, pleaded Susan.

'Oh! but I can't have Aunt Kate angry with me. She won't say anything to nurse, for she will fancy it was an accident. You must say just as I do.'

‘No, Rachel, I will tell the truth. I must not have nurse blamed, and I dare not tell a lie,' said Susan firmly.

You are a nasty, unkind thing, and a tale-bearer. Aunt Kate hates all tale-bearers. She will be very angry with you if you tell against me—I know she will.'

That night nurse noticed that little Susan was longer at her prayers than usual. She was asking for guidance; for she knew that Aunt Kate. despised tale-bearers, and she was in distress. She was afraid to offend her aunt; but she was more afraid to offend God. When nurse looked at her before going to her own bed, she found her still awake, with her eyes red with weeping.

My bonny bairn, what ails you ? Tell Jean what's vexing ye. Is it because ye're hame-sick and want yer mother?' said nurse, bending over her.

'No, no, nurse, it's not that. I can't tell anybody. There's nobody can help me but God,' said little Susan, bursting into fresh sobs.

‘Aweel, my bonny lamb, dinna greet. There's no a better Friend to look to. I'll just leave ye and yer trouble, whatever it is, to Him. There's no a doubt but He will put it all right for ye.'

Susan was greatly comforted by nurse's words, and was soon sleeping peacefully, feeling that, though she was but a little child, God's banner of love was over and around her. Rachel's sleep was not so peaceful; for the doll with its torn frock was in her dreams, with Aunt Kate having an angry face in the background. Towards morning she woke up; and, having turned it well over in hier mind, she formed a plan which would enable her to escape

from all blame. What that plan was, you shall hear in another chapter.

(To be continued.)

EUGENE; THE LITTLE RAG BOY.

[graphic]

W

[ocr errors]

HY am I what I am ?' said Eugene, a

little boy about eight or ten years old, while looking at a beautiful carriage, which was driving slowly up the narrow street in Paris where he lived. Why am I what I am ?

The little boy who was at the door of that carriage, and looked so kindly at me as he passed, seemed so happy. I never was happy. When he was stooping over the door, his mother drew him back,

and kissed him. Perhaps she was afraid he might fall out. Nobody cares whether I

fall or not. Sometimes I almost wish I were dead. Oh! if I were sure where I would go to then; but I don't know anything about it. Something tells me I am not like that dog lying there. If he was badly treated, he would be glad to die; but I am afraid to die. He cannot think about that little boy's happiness as I do. What can be the difference between me and the dog? He eats and lives like me; but he cannot think like me. Why am I so unhappy?—the little boy is not unhappy. If I knew how to read, perhaps I could understand these things.'

He took a little piece of newspaper out of his pocket, and was looking at it, when a woman, in a loud angry voice, called out, “What are you doing there, you lazy child? Always idle or dreaming. You are good for nothing. Get out of this, or'- An expressive gesture followed these words. Poor Eugene got up and thought sorrowfully, “The lady in the carriage kissed her child; my mother only beats me,' and he began to cry:

His mother, still more angry, said, “Since you are crying for nothing, I will give you something to cry for,' and she pushed him out of the house so roughly.

Poor boy,' he said, where shall I go? What shall

[ocr errors]

6

« AnteriorContinuar »