GLEN MORRIS STORIES.
JESSIE CARLTON; The Story of a Girl who fought with little Impulse, the Wizard, AND CONQUERED HIM.
BY FRANCIS FORRESTER, ESQ.,
Author Of "Guy Carlton," "Dick Duncan," "My Uncle Toby's Library," Etc.
BOSTON: BROWN & TAGGARD. NEW YORK: HOWE & FERRY.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860, By HOWE & FERRY,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
RENNIE, SHEA & LINDSAY, Stereotypers and Electrotypers, 81, 83 & 85 Centre-street, New York.
R. CRAIGHEAD, Printer, 81, 83 & 85 Centre-st.
TO PARENTS, GUARDIANS, AND TEACHERS.
The purpose of the "Glen Morris Stories" is to sow the seed of pure, noble, manly character in the mind of our great nation's childhood. They exhibit the virtues and vices of childhood, not in prosy, unreadable precepts, but in a series of characters which move before the imagination as living beings do before the senses. Thus access to the heart is won by way of the imagination. While the story charms, the truth sows itself in the conscience and in the affections. The child is thereby led to abhor the false and the vile, and to sympathize with the right, the beautiful, and the true. To every parent, teacher, and guardian, who has affinity with these high purposes, the "Glen Morris Stories" are most respectfully inscribed by their fellow-laborer in the field of childhood.
ORDER OF THE GLEN MORRIS STORIES.
I. Guy Carlton, the Story of a Boy who belonged to the "Try Company." II. Dick Duncan, the Story of a Boy who loved Mischief. III. Jessie Carlton, the Story of a Girl who fought with little Impulse, the Wizard, and conquered him. IV. Walter Sherwood, the Story of an easy, good-natured Boy. V. Kate Carlton, the Story of a vain Girl.
CHAPTER PAGE I. Jessie And Impulse The Wizard. 11 II. Jessie's Two Cousins. 27 III. A Nutting-Party. 43 IV. Jessie's Great Sorrow. 59 V. The Broken Mirror. 76 VI. The First Slide of the Season. 92 VII. Jessie's First Great Victory. 108 VIII. Farewell to the Cousins. 122 IX. The Wizard in the Field Again. 136 X. Madge Clifton. 151 XI. Madge Clifton's Mother. 166 XII. Little Impulse beaten again. 180 XIII. The Skating-Party. 194 XIV. The Watch-Pocket finished. 209 XV. Thanksgiving Day. 222
PAGE Jessie and Emily Sailing Boats in the Quarry. 50 Jessie and Carrie Enjoying a Slide. 102 Mrs. Moneypenny Reading Jack's Letter. 148 Walter Sliding With Carrie and Jessie. 220
PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS IN THIS STORY.
Jessie Carlton, only daughter of a New York merchant residing at Glen Morris Cottage, Duncanville, a village near New York.
Emily and Charlie Morris, Jessie's two cousins, visiting at Glen Morris Cottage.
Madge Clifton, Jessie's protege.
Carrie Sherwood, one of Jessie's companions.
Mrs. Moneypenny, a poor widow, and her son Jack.
Jessie and the Wizard.
On a bright afternoon of a warm day in October, Jessie Carlton sat in the parlor of Glen Morris Cottage. Her elbows rested on the table, her face was held between her two plump little hands, and her eyes were feasting on some charming pictures which were spread out before her. A pretty little work-basket stood on a chair at her side. It contained several yards of rumpled patchwork, two pieces of broadcloth with figures partially worked on them as if they were intended for a pair of slippers, a watch-pocket half finished, and a small piece of silk composed of very little squares. On the table close to her left elbow was a cambric handkerchief with some embroidery just begun in one of its corners. A needle carelessly stuck into it showed that Jessie had been working on it when her eyes were attracted by the pictures she was now studying with such close attention.
After a few minutes the little girl moved her right arm for the purpose of looking at another picture, when her thimble dropped from her finger to the table with a loud ringing sound. She started to pick it up, and in so doing pushed her scissors to the floor. The noise they made in falling led Jessie to glance towards the sofa, and to say in a very soft whisper—
"Oh dear! I'm afraid those naughty scissors have waked Uncle Morris out of his nap!"
Jessie was right. The noise had started Uncle Morris from a cozy little nap into which he had fallen after dinner. It was not often that the active old gentleman indulged himself in this way; but a long walk in the morning had made him weary, and he had quietly roamed into dreamland as he sat reading. He now opened his eyes, looked round the room, and seeing his niece looking askance at him, said—
"What's the matter, Jessie? I heard something fall with a great crash, what was it?"
Jessie laughed outright. It was not very polite, but she could not very well keep the fun out of her face. It seemed so queer that her uncle should call the noise made by the fall of a pair of scissors a great crash. At last she said—
"There was no great crash, Uncle. Only my scissors fell from the table."
"Was that all? Why it sounded to me just like the crash of a tray full of crockery ware. That was because I was half asleep, I suppose. Well, never mind, I'm not the first old gentleman who has magnified a little noise into a great one in his sleep—but what are you so busy about this afternoon, little puss!"
As Uncle Morris put this question he arose, walked up to the table and began to look at Jessie's work, for by this time she had begun stitching on the cambric handkerchief again. Blushing deeply, she said—
"I am embroidering a pocket-handkerchief, Uncle."
"Indeed! how fond you little ladies are of finery!" said Uncle Morris, smiling and patting Jessie's head.
"I'm not doing it for myself, Uncle," replied the child.
"Not for yourself, eh? Is it for papa, then?"
"For your brother Guy, perhaps?"
"No, Sir. Not for Guy," and looking slyly at her uncle, she added. "I guess that you are not Yankee enough to guess whom it is for."
"For your brother Hugh, maybe?"
"You must guess again, Uncle."
"Well, maybe it is for your hero, Richard Duncan."
"O Uncle! Do you think I would embroider a handkerchief for a young gentleman!" and Jessie pursed up her lips as though she was going to be very angry.
"Don't be angry with your old uncle, my little puss," said Mr. Morris with an air of mock penitence, "I had an idea that young ladies did such things for young gentlemen sometimes. But who is it for? I give it up."
"You give it up! Why, I thought you belonged to the 'never give up company.' Oh, fy! Uncle Morris, I'll get you turned out of the try company if you don't mind. So you had better guess again," and Jessie held up her fat finger and looked so funnily at Mr. Morris that the old gentleman's heart warmed towards her, and giving her a kiss of fond affection, he said—
"Then I guess it is for your poor old uncle."
"Beans are hot!" cried Jessie, clapping her hands. "You've guessed it at last. But see my work, Uncle! Isn't it beautiful?"
"Very pretty, indeed, my dear," replied the old man, who now put on a comical look, and added, "but I'm afraid I shall not live until it is finished."
"Not live——!" Jessie was going to be alarmed, but her uncle's laughing eyes checked her alarm, and catching his meaning from his expression, she pouted and was silent.
"Don't put on that frightful pout, my little puss, for, really, I should have to live as long a life as an ancient patriarch if I do not die before you are likely to finish the handkerchief. There are the quilt, the slippers, the watch-pocket, the chair-cushion, and the handkerchief all begun for me, but nothing finished. That little wizard—his name is Impulse, you know—which led you to drop the quilt that you might begin the slippers, and the slippers that you might begin the chair-cushion, will soon tempt you to drop the handkerchief for something else. I wish I could catch the jolly little imp. I'd cane him smartly, and then I would lead him to Parson Resolution's church, and marry him to that sweet little fairy, Miss Perseverance, who is breaking her heart for the love of him. Were he once thus married, I think his bride would teach him to help you finish all the little gifts you have begun for me, and there would be some hope that I should live long enough to sleep under your quilt, sit on your cushion, walk in your slippers, put my watch in your pocket at night, and blow my venerable nose in your embroidered pocket-handkerchief."
The reproof so pleasantly given in these quaint words found its way to Jessie's heart. Her face became sober, she bit her lips, a stray tear or two hung, like dew-drops in the web of a gossamer, on her long eyelashes, she sighed and after a few moments of silent thought rose, planted her right foot firmly on the floor, and said—
"Uncle Morris, I will conquer that little wizard! I will finish your quilt right away, and then all the other things in their turn—see if I don't."
Jessie had made just such a promise at least ten times, since Glen Morris Cottage had become her home. She had tried to keep it too, but, somehow, her habit of yielding to every new impulse which came over her, had hitherto led her to break it as often as it had been made. The little wizard, as Uncle Morris facetiously called her changeful impulses, was her tyrant. The jolly little rogue did, indeed, sadly stand in need of matrimony with the forlorn Miss Perseverance. For poor Jessie's sake, Uncle Morris was very anxious to see the wedding come off speedily. Whether his wish was met or not, will appear hereafter.
To prove her sincerity Jessie put the cambric handkerchief in the bottom of her work-basket. The other articles she placed, in the order in which she had begun them, above it, and then sat resolutely down to her patchwork quilt. As her bright little needle began to fly with the swiftness of a weaver's shuttle, she said to herself—
"Now I will finish Uncle Morris's quilt right off."
Uncle Morris had left the parlor, and Jessie had sewed steadily for at least fifteen minutes, when her brother Hugh bounded into the room, holding two letters in his hand, and said—
"Letters for Jessie Carlton and her mother. Postage one dollar, to be paid to the bearer on delivery. Give me your half-dollar, Miss Carlton, and I will give you your letter!"
"A letter for me!" cried Jessie, dropping her work and running to her brother, capsizing her work-basket as she ran. "Give it to me! Give it to me."
"Pay me the postage first," said Hugh, holding the letter over her head.
"There is no postage, you know there isn't, you naughty Hugh! Give me my letter," and Jessie pulled Hugh's arm in the vain attempt to bring the letter within her reach.
"No postage, indeed! Do you think Uncle Sam can afford to carry letters for all the Yankee girls who may choose to write to each other, without pay? Not he. Uncle Sam knows how to care for number one too well for that. So hand over your half-dollar, Miss Jessie, and I will give you your letter."
Jessie coaxed and scolded at her brother for nearly ten minutes, in vain. Hugh loved to tease her, and so he kept on, now offering the letter, and then holding it beyond her reach, until the poor child's patience being all gone, she sat down and cried with vexation. This was certainly carrying his fun too far. A little pleasant bantering at first, though not amiable, might have been pardonable; but now that her feelings were hurt he was very unkind to carry his nonsense any further. But this was one of Hugh's faults. He was a great tease. Seeing his sister in tears, he said, in a whining tone—
"Pretty little cry-baby! How beautiful you are, all melted into tears!" Then dropping the whine from his tone, he added, "Here, Jessie, take your letter!"
Jessie stretched out her arm to take the offered letter. Hugh drew it back again and said—
"Bah! Don't you wish you may get it!"
"You unamiable boy! is that the affection which is due from a brother to his sister? O Hugh! Hugh! I wish you had more love and less selfishness in that idle soul of yours."
This just rebuke from the lips of Uncle Morris, who had been standing unperceived for the last few minutes behind the half-open door, put an end to all Master Hugh's idle, not to say wicked, teasing. He dropped the letters into Jessie's lap, and with an angry scowl on his face left the room.
The sunshine came back into Jessie's face in a moment. She looked her thanks to Uncle Morris, while she nervously opened the envelope of her letter. Having unfolded it, she read as follows:
Morristown, New Jersey, October 10th, 18—
Dear Cousin Jessie,
Pa and Ma have just given their consent to have me and my brother Charlie visit you at Glen Morris Cottage. I am so glad I can hardly hold my pen to write you about it. Charlie is jumping about the room, and shouting hurrah, for joy. We are to start Thursday, in the afternoon train, and shall get to your house to tea. With ten thousand kisses for you, I remain,
Your affectionate cousin, Emily Morris. Miss Jessie Carlton.
"Oh, won't it be nice, Uncle Morris!" cried Jessie, after reading this note. "What good times I shall have with my cousins! I'm so glad I don't know what to do with myself."
"You are a happy little puss generally, and I am glad to see you made happier than usual by this pleasant letter from your cousin. But are you sure, my dear Jessie, that you will enjoy your cousins' visit?"
"Why, Uncle!" cried Jessie, with an air of surprise. "How can you ask me such a question? I am sure I shall love my cousins very much, and we shall enjoy ourselves very finely together."
"Well! Well! I hope it may be so," said Uncle Morris, with a sigh which made Jessie think that the good old man's hope was not a very strong one. She said nothing, however, and Uncle Morris asked—
"When are your cousins coming?"
Jessie looked at her letter and read, "'We are to start Thursday,'"—pausing, and looking up, she exclaimed—
"Why, that's this very day! I declare they will be here this afternoon. Won't it be nice!"
"Yes, to-day is Thursday. Your letter has been delayed. Perhaps you had better take your mamma's letter to her room. She may require time to make preparations for her young guests. They will be here—let me see (looking at his watch), in two hours. Run Jessie and tell your mother!"
Jessie hurried to her mother's apartment with the unopened letter and the news. Mrs. Carlton's letter was from Emily's mother and contained the same information.
Jessie was in ecstasies during the next two hours. To be sure, there was that question and that sigh of Uncle Morris to cast a slight shadow on her joy. But shadows never tarried long on Jessie's spirit, which was so bright and joyous that it seemed as if it was made of sunshine. Happy little Jessie Carlton!
Emily's letter had put all thought of her work out of Jessie's head. Her patchwork lay on the floor beside the overturned work-basket, until her mother going to prepare the parlor for company, picked both up and put them away. In fact, Jessie's little wizard had her in his chains again. She was once more the simple-hearted child of impulse.
Having fixed her hair and changed her dress, Jessie ran out on to the piazza to watch for the coming of her cousins. First she seated herself on the settee, which stood there, and made the air ring again with her joyous song. After a few minutes, she sprang from her seat and seizing old Rover by the head, began to tell him that her cousins were coming, and, therefore, he must be the very best behaved dog in the world.[A] Then seating herself lightly on old Rover's back, she patted his neck, and said—
"Noble old Rover, won't you give your mistress a ride?"
Rover was a grand old dog, large and strong enough to carry a much heavier miss than Jessie. He was good-natured too. Still he had no notion of being used for a pony. So, after standing quite still for a moment or two, he suddenly started and sent Jessie sprawling on the piazza, while he trotted down the steps and made a bed for himself in the greensward, on the lawn, as quietly as if nothing had happened. A knowing old dog was Rover.
Jessie picked herself up and began singing again. Scarcely had she trilled out two lines before she saw Guy coming towards the house. With the light spring of a fairy she bounded across the lawn, and meeting him at the gate exclaimed—
"O Guy, cousin Emily and cousin Charlie are coming here to-night. Aren't you glad?"
"To be sure I am. I'm glad of any thing that pleases my sister."
Jessie kissed him, and taking his hand, walked with him back to the piazza, where she resumed her watching, beguiling the time by humming her songs and by an occasional frolic with old Rover.
At last, the sound of wheels told her that the carriage was coming up from the railroad station. A few minutes later it rolled along the road which ran through the lawn and in front of the piazza. Four bright eyes peeped over the door, which the coachman speedily opened. Mr. Carlton stepped out first and then came Emily and Charlie. Never did cousins meet with warmer greetings than they received from Jessie and Guy, and Mrs. Carlton, and Uncle Morris. Never was little girl happier than Jessie, when, a few minutes later, she had Emily all to herself, in her own sweet little chamber, showing her the contents of drawer and trunk and doll-house, and whatever else might be included in the term "playthings." When Emily and Charlie went to bed that night, they were in ecstasies over the pleasant things they had seen and felt on the first evening of their visit to Glen Morris Cottage.
[A] See Frontispiece.
Jessie's Two Cousins.
The first few days of her cousins' visit were like a pleasant dream to Jessie. She had so much to say, and so many things to show to her visitors, that they could scarcely help sharing the joy which welled up within her like a crystal stream from a mountain spring. Seeing them so cheerful and happy, Jessie wondered more and more at the question her uncle had asked her about enjoying their visit.
"I don't see what Uncle Morris meant," said she to herself one afternoon, while her cousins were on the lawn laughing and playing with Guy, and she was washing her hands by way of preparation for tea. "He looked and sighed," she went on to say, "as if he thought I should be disappointed in them. But I am not. They are the kindest, merriest cousins in the world. I declare I'll ask Uncle Morris what he meant, the next time I see him alone."
That next time came very soon, for as Jessie skipped down stairs, with laughter twinkling in her eyes, and a song tripping from her tongue, she met her uncle in the hall. Running right to him, she seized his arm, peered curiously into his face, and said—
"Well, little puss, what now?" replied the old gentleman, as he kissed her rosy cheeks.
"I want you to tell me what you sighed and shook your head for, last week, when I told you what good times I was going to have with my cousins?" said Jessie, closely watching the expression of the old gentleman's face.
There was a merry twinkle in Uncle Morris's eyes, as he replied, "You have a good memory for a laughing little puss. Well, I'm glad you have not yet found out why I sighed. I hope you won't make the discovery, though I fear you will before another week passes. There is a proverb which says, It's only the shoe that knows whether the stocking has holes in it or not. Now, Jessie, if you can find out the meaning of this proverb, you will know why I sighed. If you don't find it out in a week, I'll explain it to you."
"How funny!" exclaimed the little girl; and then, putting on a thoughtful air, she repeated the proverb slowly, in an undertone; after which, she added aloud, "I don't see what shoes and stockings have to do with my cousins and me. What a funny man you are, Uncle Morris!"
Uncle Morris had, by this time, reached the door leading to the back piazza. He heard this exclamation, however, and turning round, with the door-knob in his hand, he peeped through the opening, shook his forefinger at her, and said—
"When Jessie knows her cousins as the shoe knows the stocking, she will be able to tell why I sighed. Ha! ha! ha! Uncle Morris is a funny man, is he?"
Just then a loud voice was heard ringing through the hall, and saying—
"Cousin Jessie! Cousin Jessie! come here quick! Your ugly old dog is killing my sister!"
"Not quite so bad as that, I guess," said Jessie, when she reached the front door, where she saw Emily sitting on the greensward, rubbing the back of her head. Old Rover was standing on the piazza, uttering a low growl at Charlie, by way of warning him not to throw any more stones at his dogship.
"He's an ugly monster, that he is," said the boy, hurling another stone at Rover, as he moved toward his mistress, and began to rub his nose against her hands.
"Down, Rover!" said Jessie, patting the dog's head, and thus quieting his temper, which was somewhat ruffled by the last stone, which Charlie had sent right against his ribs.
"I will stone him, if I want to," growled Charlie, pouting his lips, puffing out his cheeks, and stamping his foot, as Guy laid his hand on his right arm.
"No, no, Charlie, you must not stone old Rover. It is not kind to hurt a poor, harmless dog, nor is it quite safe, either, for, you see, Rover has big teeth, and he may bite you if you hurt him," said Guy, still holding the angry boy.
"I don't care! He hurt my sister. I'll kick you if you don't let me stone him as much as I like. Let me go, you ugly fellow!" and with these words, Charlie kicked and struggled with such violence, that Guy could scarcely hold him.
Meanwhile, Jessie, having sent old Rover to his kennel, was trying to comfort Emily. The whole difficulty had grown out of her attempt to mount the dog's back, in defiance of Guy's advice. He told her that Rover did not like to do service as a pony, and that he would certainly throw her off if she tried to ride him. But, urged on by Charlie, she had seated herself on the dog, and had been thrown down just as Jessie had been, a few days before. She was not much hurt, a slight bruise on the back of her head being the only damage she had sustained. Jessie would have laughed over such a trifle. But Emily was not like Jessie. She had been pleasant thus far, since her coming to Glen Morris. But now, her good-nature being played out, she began to show the selfish and ugly side of her character.
"Never mind that little hurt, dear Emily," said Jessie, as she passed her hand lightly over the bruise. "If you will go into the house with me, I'll get mother to rub a little arnica upon it, and that will make it well very soon."
"I won't go in; and if your father don't have that ugly dog killed, I'll go home to-morrow, that I will!"
"What! have Rover killed? Oh, no! Pa won't do that, I'm sure," said Jessie, a little startled at the idea of dear old Rover's death.
"I'll kill him!" screamed Charlie, who was still a sulky prisoner in Guy's hands.
"You are a little fellow to play the part of a butcher!" said Mr. Morris, who had now come to the front of the house, and had been quietly surveying the scene, for a few moments past, from behind a large evergreen, unperceived by all but Guy.
"I'm glad you are come, Uncle," said Guy, "for I did not know what to do with this little lump of spunk. I guess that Jessie is glad, too, for she seems puzzled to know what to do with Emily, who is as sulky as Charlie here is spunky."
The presence of Uncle Morris quieted Charlie, and made Emily rise from the grass. But nothing that he could say, after hearing the whole story, could restore them to good humor. Charlie bit his thumb, and scowled; while Emily, pushing Jessie from her side, kept rolling her pocket-handkerchief into a ball, pouted, and refused to say a word, either to her uncle or cousin.
In this wretched mood they went in to tea, sitting at the table like two dark shadows falling across a room full of sunshine. Everybody was kind to them. Jessie did her utmost to restore them to good humor. Uncle Morris said funny things, hoping to make them smile. But it was no use. Smile they would not; and when tea was over, they both slunk away to a distant part of the room, and kept up their sulks until bedtime. Even then, when Jessie tried to kiss Emily, she was rudely pushed aside.
"I don't want to kiss anybody in this house," muttered the ugly child; and poor Jessie, shrinking from her, went to her uncle, laid her head upon his shoulder, and wept.
"The shoe has begun to find holes in the stocking," said Uncle Morris, passing his hand over Jessie's head, with great tenderness; "but never mind, my little puss—cheer up. Your cousins will leave their bad tempers in the land of dreams, I hope, and their good-nature will return with the sun to-morrow morning. Dry your eyes, my sweet Jessie, and be thankful to the Father above, that your cousins cannot rob you of your own sunny temper."
Jessie did dry her eyes, and looking into her uncle's face, said, with a nod of her pretty head, "Now I know why you sighed; and I know, too, what your proverb meant."
"What did I sigh for, puss?"
"Because you knew my cousins had ugly tempers."
"That's so! But the proverb?"
"Meant that when I became better acquainted with my cousins, I should find out their faults."
"Well done, my little puzzle-cracker. You are good at guessing. But, Jessie, what are you going to do? How will you treat your cousins to-morrow?"
Jessie held down her head awhile, as if she was thinking her way through a difficult idea. At last she looked up, with eyes full of tenderness, and with a voice made musical by deep feeling, said:—
"I will be just as kind to them as I possibly can!"
"That's right, my Jessie," said her uncle, folding her to his bosom and kissing her forehead, "that's right. There is nothing like kindness for curing ugly children. It's the best medicine in the world to give them. Give it to them, Jessie, in big doses. Maybe they will like it so well that they will get cured of their ugliness; for, as the proverb says,—Flies are caught with syrup; not with vinegar."
"Wouldn't it be nice, Uncle Morris, if we could make my cousins good-natured while they are here? Wouldn't Uncle Albert and Aunt Hannah be glad if we could send them home kind, and gentle, and good? Oh, I wish I could get them to be good, as our Guy did Richard Duncan. Wouldn't it be nice?"
"Try to do it, my dear. We will all help you, and so will the Great Father above," said Mrs. Carlton, beckoning Jessie to her side and giving her a kiss so full of a mother's holy love that it sent a thrill of bliss through the happy heart of her child. Thus like a sunbeam did Jessie brighten the life of her parents and her uncle. As she left the room to go to bed, Uncle Morris followed her with his eyes, and when her light form had glided up-stairs, he turned to his sister and said:—
"That child of yours is a treasure, my sister. I can't tell you how much her loving little heart gladdens mine. Why, I have grown at least fifteen years younger in my feelings since she came to Glen Morris. Like a glorious little sun, she shines into the depths of my heart, melting all the ice of age and chasing away the gloom of my past sorrows."
"Yes, Jessie is a lovely child," replied Mrs. Carlton. A big tear which dropped upon her needle-work at that moment showed that the words of her brother had stirred the deep fountains of love which were within her heart.
But the two ugly cousins—what were they? Were they not like two black clouds freighted with storms, and come to darken the light and disturb the pleasure of that happy household? No wonder their sleep was troubled that night. No wonder Emily awoke in a fright, caused by the terrible nightmare. But Jessie's sleep was sweet and sound, and when her mother stood over her bed, as she always did before retiring for the night, Jessie smiled so sweetly in her slumber that her mother said:—
"Bless her! the smile of a seraph is on her lips."
As Uncle Morris foretold, Emily and Charlie left their sulks in dreamland. It would have been well if they had left the selfishness, from which their conduct of the evening before sprung, in the same place. But that still clung to them like the leprosy, and though they wore bright faces, they still carried fireworks in their bosom, ready to explode whenever a spark might happen to touch them.
Jessie greeted her cousins with gentle words and loving kisses, just as if she had never seen them in a fit of bad temper. Indeed, she made no allusion whatever to the affair of the day before. This silence puzzled the cousins, who expected, at least, a lecture from Uncle Morris and a little coldness from Jessie. I think it also made them feel ashamed, for they could not help saying to themselves,—
"It was rather mean in us to make such a fuss as we did yesterday."
Just after breakfast, while Jessie was showing Emily her six dolls, neither of which had a perfect dress, for Jessie never finished any thing, and Charlie was playing with Guy's india-rubber ball in the hall, Hugh plunged in at the front door, and, rushing into the sitting-room, said:—
"Jessie, what will you give me if I tell you a secret?"
"A kiss," replied Jessie, gathering her lips into the form of a rose-bud.
"Pooh! what's a kiss. I wouldn't give you a red cent for a thousand kisses. Won't you offer me something better for my secret?" said Hugh, turning up his nose as if in scorn of the proffered kiss.
"I don't believe you have any secret that we care about knowing," said Jessie. Then holding up her best wax doll, she said to Emily, "Isn't this a beauty?"
"Yes, but why don't you coax Hugh to tell us his wonderful secret?" said Emily, who felt quite curious to know what Hugh had to tell.
"Oh, he is only teasing us. You don't know what a tease he is," replied Jessie, with an air of indifference.
"No, honor bright, I'm not teasing. I have a secret that would make you girls pitch your dolls into next week, if you knew it," retorted Hugh.
"Well, what is it? Do tell us," said Jessie, beginning to believe that he had something to tell worth knowing.
"What will you give me?" asked Hugh, still bent on tantalizing the girls.
"I've got nothing to give that you want," said Jessie, and then in a coaxing tone she added, "come, Hugh, do tell us, there's a good, dear Hugh."
"No, you don't come it over me with soft soap like that," replied the boy; "I'm not a fly to be caught with maple molasses."
"If you was my brother I'd make you tell me," said Emily, her eyes sparkling with rising passion as she spoke.
"You are a spunky little lady, I declare," said Hugh, laughing; "but here, Jessie, suppose you try to guess my secret. It is something you would give ever so much to know."
"Really, Hugh, have you a secret, truly?"
"Yes, truly. Honor bright, I tell you. It is a glorious secret. It will make you ever so happy to know it."
"What is it about? Is somebody coming here? Do tell me, Hugh."
"Catch a weasel asleep and you'll catch me answering questions. But I see you won't buy, and you can't guess my secret, so I'll be off," and in spite of all the entreaties of Jessie and the biting speeches which Emily made, master Hugh left the room, carrying his secret with him.
Jessie, sighed, and turning to her dolls, said, "Hugh is a great tease, isn't he Emily?"
"He's a great ugly monster!" retorted Emily, who was in the habit of using strong words, without much regard to their meaning. "If he was my brother he shouldn't tease me so."
"Oh, Hugh only does it for fun. He is a dear good brother, after all, only," and here Jessie lowered her voice almost to a whisper, "only I wish he was as good as Guy."
"For fun, eh? I'd fun him: I'd pull his hair, and hide away his books, and steal his playthings, and call that fun, if he was my brother," cried Emily.
"Oh, fy! cousin Emily. That would be wicked fun, and would make both you and your brother unhappy," said Guy, who had just entered the room.
The girls looked on the speaker, who, before Emily had time to reply, went on to say,—
"Girls, Carrie Sherwood invites you to go nutting with her this afternoon. Richard Duncan, Norman Butler, Adolphus Harding, Walter, Hugh, Charlie, you two young ladies, Carrie, and a young lady or two of her acquaintance, are to make up the party. Carriages will call for you at one o'clock. You must get ma to give you an early dinner, and be ready in time."
"That is what Hugh meant by his secret. Oh, I'm so glad," said Jessie, clapping her hands. "Won't it be nice, Emily?"
Emily thought it would. The girls thanked Guy for his good news, and, springing from the sofa, started to inform Charlie and Mrs. Carlton of the proposed party. Charlie was delighted. Mrs. Carlton knew all about it, because the whole matter had been quietly arranged a day or two before by her and Mrs. Sherwood. Carried away by the idea of this delightful excursion, Jessie left her six dolls, with their incompleted dresses, on the sofa, on the chairs, and on the floor. Impulse, the merry little wizard, had seized her, and she thought of nothing but the nutting-party the remainder of the morning.
A few minutes before one o'clock, a long, spring market-wagon, drawn by two noble horses, stopped before the gate of Glen Morris Cottage. It contained Carrie Sherwood and her party, all but the Carltons and their visitors. Mr. Sherwood sat on the driver's seat. He went with the young folks to drive, and, as he quaintly said, "to see that the hawks did not pounce on his chickens;" by which figure of speech, I suppose, he meant that he went to keep the young folks out of danger.
Jessie and her guests, together with Hugh and Guy, were all waiting when the carriage drove up. Shouts of welcome greeted them from the wagon. They gave back cheer for cheer as they sprang to their places, all but Charlie, who stood near the front wheel pouting, and looking very sulky. Mr. Sherwood, who had turned half round to watch the seating of his guests, did not notice the boy, but supposing the party to be now complete, faced his team, drew the reins tight, flourished his whip, and shouted—
"Charlie is not aboard yet," cried Emily.
"Come, Charlie! Jump up here!" shouted half a dozen voices.
"I don't want to," said Charlie, in a drawling tone.
"Don't you wish to go, my little fellow?" asked Mr. Sherwood.
"I want to sit on the coachman's seat," simpered the boy, as he stuffed his finger into his mouth.
The driver's seat was not meant for two persons, and Mr. Sherwood was in doubt whether to crowd Charlie into it or not. But seeing from the boy's manner that he would spoil the pleasure of the party if he did not, and being a very indulgent man, he at last consented. So pulling him up to the footboard, he stowed him away by his side, and cracking his long whip, drove off amidst a volley of cheers from the boys, the laughter of the girls, and the waving of handkerchiefs by Mrs. Carlton and Uncle Morris, from the piazza.
"I want to drive!" muttered Charlie, as soon as they were fairly started.
"You must eat a little more beefsteak, and grow a little taller, my boy, before you undertake to drive such a span as this," replied Mr. Sherwood, smiling at the boy's presumption.
"I will drive!" growled Charlie, grasping the reins, and giving them a jerk, which startled the spirited creatures into an uneasy gallop.
"Whoa there, steady Kate, steady!" said Mr. Sherwood, removing the boy's hands and reining up his team.
After soothing his horses, and bringing them to a gentle trot again, Mr. Sherwood took his reins in his right hand, and, grasping Charlie with his left, suddenly jerked him over the driver's seat, into the bed of the wagon, saying,
"Boys! take care of this little coachman!"
This was not so easily done. Charlie's ugly temper was up. He tried to scramble back to Mr. Sherwood's side, but the larger boys held him firmly in spite of kicks and blows which he dispensed without ceremony, until, fairly tired out, he sat down on the floor of the wagon, biting his thumbs and looking like a lump of ill-nature. This display of ugliness spoiled the pleasure of the drive. It was worse than a shower of rain, for it threw a black cloud over the spirits of the party, and made them all unhappy.
They had not fully recovered their cheerfulness, when they came to Duncan's pond, and in sight of old Joe Bunker's flagstaff, from the top of which the stars and stripes proudly floated in the fine breeze of that October afternoon.
"There's the bunting you gave old Mr. Bunker!" observed Guy to his friend Richard.
"Yes, there it is, sure enough, and old Timbertoe is as proud of it as a little boy is of his first pair of pantaloons," said Richard, laughing at the oddity of his own comparison.
"Or, as Richard Duncan was, of that famous shot from his pea-shooter, which hit Professor Nailer's long nose," said Norman Butler, chuckling and rubbing his hands, at the recollection of that exciting scene at the Academy, a few months before.
"Or, as my sister Jessie is of her Uncle Morris," said Guy.
Mr. Sherwood's loud whoa! whoa! and the stopping of the horses in front of Joe Bunker's barn, put an end to this series of comparisons. This was the place where they were to leave the horses; for butternut—trees were quite numerous in some extensive pastures which were situated round the shores of Duncan's pond. "Old Joe" welcomed the party, and put up the horses, while the boys pulled out the baskets from beneath the wagon-seats, and made ready for the nutting.
But Master Charlie was not yet rid of his sulks, and would not stir from the wagon. He wanted to go home, he said; he didn't care for nuts, and would not go with his companions. In vain did his sister entreat, Mr. Sherwood command, and Jessie try her coaxing powers. Little Will, the celebrated child-conqueror, was playing the tyrant over him; and the unhappy boy gave himself up, hand and foot, to his enemy. He would not quit the wagon.
"Never mind! leave him where he is, until his good-nature comes back, if he has any," said Mr. Sherwood.
"I am afraid he will get into mischief after we are gone, if we do that," said Guy. "Perhaps I had better stay here and mind him."
"You shall do no such thing with my consent, Guy. Go with the rest, and I'll put this cross urchin in charge of Mr. Bunker," replied Mr. Sherwood. Then turning to the old sailor, he added:
"Look here, Mr. Bunker! We have a little bear in our wagon, that don't seem to like nuts. Will you keep your eye on him while we go into the pastures?"
"Ay, ay, Sir," said Old Joe, giving his waistband a hitch. "I'll keep a bright lookout for him."
Leaving Charlie under the old sailor's care, the party now set out in search of nuts. Laughter and pleasant words beguiled both time and distance, and for the next two hours they wandered over the pastures, and picked up an abundance of butternuts, which several pretty hard frosts, followed by strong breezes, had scattered plentifully on the ground, or prepared to fall quite readily from the trees.
In the course of the afternoon, the party separated into little groups, and when it was nearly time to return to the wagon, it happened that Jessie and her cousin, lured by the sight of a large butternut-tree in the distance, found themselves apart from all the rest. Near the tree was an old stone-quarry, with numerous lakelets in the hollows from which the stone had been removed. Emily stepped into the quarry, and looked all around. The lakelets, swept by the light breeze, charmed her eye, and turning to her cousin, she cried:
"Jessie, come here! Here are some tiny ponds. Come look at them!"
Jessie joined Emily, and together the little girls stepped over the uneven rocks until they reached one of the lakelets. There they launched small pieces of wood, called them ships, and stood watching their mimic fleet in great glee.
After spending some time in this way, they heard the voice of Guy calling:
"Halloo! Halloo! Jessie! Emily! Halloo! Halloo!"
"We must go," said Jessie, "I guess they are going back to the wagon."
"No, don't go," replied Emily. "Let us frighten them a little—just a little, by making them think we are lost."
"Wouldn't it be funny!" said Jessie, clapping her hands, and feeling charmed with the idea of getting up an excitement among her companions. Impulse, the little wizard, had followed her, even into that old quarry!
"It will be first-rate fun," said Emily. "How they will search for us! It will be as good as a game of hide and seek."
"Halloo! Halloo! Jessie! Emily! It's time to go home! Halloo-o!" shouted Guy again from the pasture. The wind being fair, his words were heard quite distinctly by the two girls.
"There is a little cave just big enough to hide in," said Emily pointing to an excavation in the highest wall of the quarry. "Let us go into it!"
Still yielding to the voice of the little wizard, and thinking only of the excitement which was to follow the supposition she was lost, Jessie followed her cousin into what she called "a cave." There was water at the bottom, but a flat piece of rock rising above the water enabled them to get to the back part of their "cave," where they were pretty well concealed from view.
Again the voice of Guy shouted Jessie's name. This was now followed by a chorus of voices, all calling—
The voices drew nearer and nearer, until the callers stood on the edge of the quarry.
"Where can they be! I'm afraid they are lost! Oh, dear, what will mother say, if we have to go home without them!" said Guy, distinctly enough for Jessie to hear.
"Perhaps they have fallen into some old well," suggested Norman.
"I think not," said Mr. Sherwood. "I doubt if there is an old well in all these pastures. They have most likely wandered back towards the pond."
"I don't see how that can be," rejoined Guy, "for I saw them running in this direction half an hour ago. Besides, we found their basket under that tree, and they would not have gone to the pond without telling some of us to bring their basket."
"There's no telling what silly things girls will do. I guess they are gone to the pond. Suppose we go and see."
This was Hugh's voice, and as no one proposed any thing else, the party left the quarry, and, hallooing as they went, directed their steps towards the pond.
"Let us run after them!" said Jessie, who now began to feel as if she had carried the joke far enough.
"Hush! you little coward," said Emily, placing her hand over Jessie's mouth. "They aren't half frightened enough about us yet."
Jessie tried to get her mouth away from her cousin's hand. In doing so she stepped backwards, and, losing her balance, fell with a splash into the water.
"Oh!" cried she, in a great fright. But the water was not deep, and the side of the "cave" kept her from falling entirely down. Hence, a thorough fright and wet feet and dress were the only evil results of her misstep.
"Pooh! what a silly little goose you are," said Emily, in a taunting tone of voice. "If you had done as I told you, you wouldn't have got that wetting."
"I'm afraid I have done too much as you told me already," replied Jessie, crying, "and now I'm going right after our party, as fast as I can."
With these words Jessie stepped out of the cave, tripped across the quarry, and ran out into the open pasture; Emily, not liking to play "lost child" all alone, followed her. But their party was no longer either in sight or within hearing, for an elevation in the ground rose between them and the two girls.
"Guy! Hugh! Richard! here we are!" screamed Jessie, at the top of her voice.
Vainly did she scream, however. The wind blew the sounds back upon herself, and she began to run in the direction of the pond.
"Don't be in such a hurry," said Emily, hanging back.
"We must hurry," replied Jessie, "or we shall be really lost. See, it's almost sundown! And it is so damp and chilly that I am shivering with cold. Come, Emily, do make haste, there's a dear, good cousin."
"If I am your dear, good cousin, you won't drive off and leave me," retorted Emily, still lingering and moving only at a snail's pace.
"Oh dear! what shall I do!" exclaimed Jessie, looking very wretched, and she certainly felt as unhappy as she looked.
"Wait for me!" said Emily, "that's what you ought to do!"
Thus urging her stubborn cousin, Jessie pressed forward as fast as she could get her companion along.
Meanwhile the rest of the party had hastened towards Joe Bunker's stand. On their arrival they found the old sailor at tea in his little cottage. Rushing somewhat wildly into the room, Guy said,—
"Mr. Bunker, have you seen my sister since we left?"
"Your sister, skipper?" said the old salt. "Shiver my topsails if I've seen any thing in the shape of a gal, except this old craft of mine here, since you all left your wagon early this afternoon."
"Then she and her cousin are lost," said Guy, driving his hands deep down into his pockets, casting his eyes to the ground, knitting his brows, and walking out into the open air again.
"Are they there?" "Has the old cove seen them?" "What does old Timbertoe say?" with half a dozen other questions, greeted Guy as he crossed the threshold.
"Hasn't seen their shadow. They must be lost," replied Guy, doggedly.
"Is that spunky little Canada thistle you call Charlie in the house?" inquired Mr. Sherwood.
"I didn't see him. Isn't he in the wagon?"
"No sign of him that I can see," replied Mr. Sherwood; "but here's Mr. Bunker—Mr. Bunker, where is the little boy we left in your care?"
"I left him making sand-cakes down on the beach a few minutes ago," said old Joe.
All eyes were now turned to the beach, but no Charlie was to be seen. Old Joe looked uneasy as his eye swept the shore. Very soon he gave his waistband an unusual hitch, brought down his wooden leg with great force, and said:—
"As sure as my name's Joe Bunker, the little fellow is gone on a cruise in the Little Susan!"
"Gone on a cruise? What, alone?" asked Mr. Sherwood, looking a little pale.
"Yes, alone, or I'm no sailor."
Down to the shore of the pond they hurried. Sure enough, the Little Susan was gone. Charlie, in opposition to Mr. Bunker's command, had gone aboard and, sitting amidships, had rocked her to and fro until her painter had got loose, and the wind, which blew off shore, had drifted the boat out on to the pond, where she was now visible, with Charlie's head just above the bulwarks, steadily setting down towards a a point about a mile distant.
"To the Point! Make for 'Long Point!'" shouted old Joe.
Away ran the boys, with old Joe hobbling after them, Guy only remaining behind with the girls and Mr. Sherwood. Charlie's danger had for the moment driven all thought of Jessie and Emily from their minds. Now, however, they began to consider what was to be done to recover the lost cousins.
"I see them!" shouted Guy, pointing to the hill-top in the distance, and starting to meet them. They were just visible in the distance. He soon reached them, very much to Jessie's relief. Tenderly kissing her he said—
"Where have you been, Jessie?"
"We missed our way, and got lost in the woods behind that horrid quarry!" said Emily. "It's a wonder we ever found the way back again."
"Oh, fy—" cried Jessie. She would have said more, and have contradicted this wretched lie, but Emily put her hand before her mouth while she poured a long story of pretended adventures into Guy's ears. Jessie was shocked. She thought of her uncle's sigh, and of his quaint proverb, and was silent.
It was fairly dark when the Little Susan, steered by Joe Bunker, with Charlie and the other boys on board, touched her dock. The horses being by this time harnessed to the wagon, the party with their freight of nuts, were soon rolling homewards. Very little was said, after Emily, interrupted by frequent "ohs!" from Jessie, had repeated her lie about losing their way. All felt that the pleasure of the occasion had been greatly marred by Charlie's conduct; and in spite of Emily's lie and Jessie's silence, they also felt that if Jessie should speak she would make it appear that Emily's story was not exactly true. But the reader knows that all the shadows which fell upon that excursion came from the selfishness of the two visitors from Morristown.
Jessie's Great Sorrow.
At the tea-table Emily told a long story about herself and Jessie wandering away into the woods, and getting sadly frightened. She was very animated, and, but for Jessie's sad face, and her occasional look of surprise, might have made herself believed. But that grave face, so unusual to his darling Jessie, told Uncle Morris that Emily was palming off a falsehood upon them. Guy also was sure she was telling a lie. When she had finished her story, he said,
"But did you not hear us shout and halloo?"
"No, indeed. If we had, we could have easily answered back," said the lying child.
"O Emily!" groaned Jessie.
"We shouted like one o'clock!" said Hugh.
"Pray tell us, Master Hugh, what shouting like one o'clock means?" asked Uncle Morris, who had a very great dislike to unmeaning phrases.
"Well, very loud, then," replied Hugh, blushing.
"But you didn't shout loud enough for us to hear," said Emily, secretly pinching Jessie, by way of imposing silence upon her.
"It's very strange," said Guy. "It was certainly not more than ten minutes from the time we left the quarry, before we saw you coming over the top of the hill in the pasture, so that you could not have been very far in the woods when we were shouting like—like—"
"Like boys in search of two young ladies supposed to be lost or hidden," said Uncle Morris, helping Guy to a comparison, and at the same time hinting his suspicions of the truth in the case.
Jessie blushed deeply and was about to speak, when Emily, growing fiery red with anger, said:
"Well, if you don't choose to believe me, you needn't, but I don't think it's very polite to talk to me as if you thought I was telling you a lie."
Seeing that her young guest was fast losing her temper, and that Master Charlie was nodding over his empty plate and tea-cup, Mrs. Carlton rose from the tea-table, and addressing the two girls, said:
"Perhaps, as you are wearied with your excursion, my dears, you had better retire now, and finish your talk about it to-morrow, when you are rested. Come, Charlie, open your eyes and go to bed!"
"Let me alone!" growled the drowsy boy, as his aunt took his hand to lift him from his chair, and lead him from the room.
Jessie sighed, and looked as if she too had a story to tell when she kissed her Uncle Morris good-night. The old gentleman returned her kiss very affectionately, and whispered,
"Jessie, you make me think of the proverb which says, The day that the little chicken is pleased, is the very day that the hawk takes hold of him. Good night, dear!"
Jessie was puzzled, and all the way up-stairs kept saying to herself, "What can Uncle Morris mean? what can Uncle Morris mean?" And while undressing she said still to herself, "I can't be the chicken, because I'm not pleased—but stop—Yes, I was pleased this morning. Perhaps, then, I'm the chicken. And the hawk—must—be—well—it must be Emily! Ah! I see now. He thinks Emily has made me do some wrong to-day. And he is right too. It was wrong to hide away in the quarry. It was worse to pretend not to hear when the boys called us. That was acting a lie. And it was wrong for me to keep still when Emily made up that wicked story about our getting lost. Oh dear! Oh dear! How sorry I am! I wish I hadn't hid away in the quarry!"
"What makes you look so glum, Miss Solemn Face?" asked Emily, who, without kneeling down to say her evening prayer, was getting ready for bed as fast as her nimble fingers could move.
"I am thinking that I did wrong to-day," replied Jessie, sighing deeply and standing motionless in the middle of the chamber.
"Fig's end! I never knew such a girl as you are. Wrong indeed! Just as if it was wrong to have a little fun," replied Emily, sneering.
"Fun is not wrong; but it was wrong to alarm Mr. Sherwood and the boys, about our safety. I know they felt very bad when they thought we were lost. It was wrong, too, for us to pretend not to hear when they called us. That was acting a lie. And oh, Emily! how could you make up that wicked story, about our getting lost in the woods!"
Jessie spoke with such deep and solemn feeling, that Emily's conscience was touched. A slight shudder passed over her as she buried her head in the pillow, and drew the bed-cover close to her face. Her voice was a little husky, too, when she replied:
"You are too fussy, by half, Jessie. Good-night!"
"Good-night!" said Jessie; and then dropping to her knees, beside the big arm-chair, the well-taught child began to think over the events of the afternoon. The longer she thought, the more guilty she felt. She could not say her prayers, because her sin rose before her mind like a great, black cloud. At last, she began to weep and sob, saying in half-audible whispers:
"I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry! I wish I hadn't made believe I didn't hear! Oh dear! oh dear! what shall I do?"
Emily got up a mock snore, by way of saying, "I'm asleep, and don't know but that you are asleep too." But she was not asleep, nor did she feel like sleeping in the least. In fact, she kept peeping over her pillow at Jessie, and wondering why she felt so bad, until a voice within her, whispered:
"If Jessie feels bad for yielding to your wishes, how ought you to feel, who led her astray, and who told such a shocking lie to hide your fault? Emily Morris! Emily Morris! You are a wicked girl!"
Jessie now rose from her knees, bathed in tears. Wrapping herself in a dressing-gown, she took the lamp in her hand, left the room, and went, with slow and heavy steps, down-stairs. Leaving her lamp on the hall-table, she went into the parlor. Every eye was lifted towards her, with inquiring glances. She went directly to that sweetest of all earthly nestling-places for a child in sorrow, her mother's arms, and whispered:
"O mother! I've been a naughty girl to-day!"
Mrs. Carlton drew her closer to her heart, kissed her with great tenderness, and said:
"What has my child done?"
Jessie wept violently, and was silent, for her heart was too full of emotion, to coin its thoughts into words. Mrs. Carlton, like a sensible mother, said nothing until the floods of Jessie's grief passed away. Then smoothing her head with her hand, she spoke in tones, so soft and lute-like, that they sounded like sweet music in Jessie's ears, and said:
"Tell me, my dear, what troubles you so much?"
Thus soothed, Jessie raised her head, and said:
"I want Pa and Uncle Morris to hear, too."
Mr. Carlton laid aside his book, smiled, and said:
"I'm all attention, Jessie."
Uncle Morris drew his chair close to Jessie, patted her head, and said:
"That's right, my little puss, make a clean breast of it. Confession is the pipe through which the great Father conducts the guilt of his little ones, when, for his Son's sake, he buries it in the fountain of forgetfulness."
Thus encouraged, Jessie gave a full account of how she came to hide in the little cave with Emily. When she had finished her story, Uncle Morris said—
"Ah, I see, the little wizard has been busy again. I'm sure it was he who helped Emily to tempt my little puss. An impulse acted upon you, Jessie, and, without thinking, you hid in the cave, which was not a very grave fault in itself; but, as most little faults will do, it led you to commit a really serious evil; as you say, by pretending not to hear yourself called, you acted a lie, which was a sin against God. You also filled your party with alarm about you, which gave them great pain of mind. That was an offence against them, because it was your duty to do all in your power to afford them pleasure. The hawk did, indeed, catch my chicken on the day that she was pleased. Do you understand my proverb, now, Jessie?"
"Yes, Uncle, but what shall I do?"
"Do, my child? There is only one way by which any of us can escape from the chains of evil. Confess your sin to God, ask his forgiveness for the Great Shepherd's sake, and apologize to your friends for giving them pain."
Jessie said she would do both of these things. Then her heart turned to her cousin, and she said—
"But what shall I say to Emily?"
"Just tell her your own thoughts and feelings about the matter, my child. Maybe, she will be led to see the wrong of her own conduct, and you may yet be to her what your brother Guy has been to Richard Duncan."
After making this remark Uncle Morris took the old Family Bible and read a psalm of penitence. Then he and the family kneeled down to pray. The dear old man seemed to speak right to the Good Father in behalf of his sorrowful little niece. And while he pleaded the love of the great Shepherd for his precious lambs, Jessie felt as if a heavy burden rolled away from her heart, the big black cloud passed from before her eyes, and the sweet springs of joy and gladness once more poured their streams over her happy spirit.
With a light step, Jessie tripped back to her chamber. Emily was still awake. Thoughts such as she had never cherished before were rushing through her brain and burning in her heart. She was strongly inclined to speak to Jessie. But pride set a seal upon her lips, and she kept her eyes closed in simulated sleep. As for Jessie, after whispering a prayer for Emily and a song of praise for herself, she laid down beside her cousin and slept as sweetly as a fairy in a blue-bell, or as a weary angel might slumber in one of the bright bowers of Paradise. You may be sure her dreamland was filled with images of love and beauty.
The next morning Jessie awoke wondering how Emily would feel about the events of the day before. Finding her cousin was also awake, she said—
"Good morning, Jessie," replied Emily, sitting up in the bed and looking full in Jessie's face. "I hope you feel more cheery than you did last night."
"I am very happy this morning," replied Jessie, her eyes sparkling with delight as she spoke. "Shall I tell you how I came to be so?"
"As you please!" said Emily, shrinking from Jessie's proposal as if she feared her story might bring back the guilty feeling of the night previous.
Jessie told her cousin just what she had felt, and how she had confessed her wrong, and how her sorrow had been rolled away. She did this so simply, so sweetly, and so kindly, that Emily blushed, and the big tears stood like dew-drops on her eyelashes. Jessie had found the way to her cousin's heart.
But when she urged her to confess her faults and to join her in a note of apology to the Sherwoods, the pride of Emily's heart rose within her, and dashing away her tears, she said—
"Apologize, indeed! I won't do it!"
Just then the ringing of the first breakfast-bell warned them that it was time to rise. They did so; and Jessie, seeing that her cousin did not wish to talk any more, dressed herself in silence.
After breakfast Jessie went to her writing-desk, and wrote notes to the members of the nutting-party. These notes were all alike except in their different addresses. Here is a copy of the one for Mr. Sherman.
Glen Morris Cottage, October 25, 18—
When you thought I was lost yesterday, I was hiding with my cousin in a little cave in the stone quarry. I only did it for fun. If I had thought my hiding there would make you feel bad and spoil the pleasure of our nutting-party, I would not have done it. I am sorry I did it. Will you, and Walter, and Carrie, please excuse my fault?
Truly Yours, Jessie Carlton. Mr. Walter Sherwood, Sen.
When Jessie read one of her notes to Uncle Morris, the good old man patted her head, and said—
"Nobly and sweetly written, my little puss. Never forget that next to avoiding a fault, the noblest and most honorable thing you can do, is to confess it and apologize for it. Still, I hope you may never have need to write such a note again."
Having finished and sealed her notes, Jessie placed them carefully in the bottom of her work-basket, intending to ask Hugh to deliver them for her on his way to school in the afternoon.
It was Mrs. Carlton's wish that during her cousin's visit, her daughter should spend part of every morning, sewing and reading. Hence, after the notes were nicely put away, Jessie took out her famous piece of patchwork, and began sewing. She laughed heartily as she did so this morning, because she found pieces of paper pinned to the articles intended for Uncle Morris with these words written on them in large letters—
"Beware of the devices of the little wizard!"
"Ha! Ha! Ha!" laughed she. "Won't I beware? I'll sew, let me see; well, I'll sew a strip long enough to go once around my quilt before I stir, let the little wizard say what he will."
Stitch, stitch, stitch, went Jessie's bright, swift, little needle for the next half-hour. Then her two cousins bounced into the room, shouting—
"O Jessie, come and see! There is one of the funniest little men out here you ever did see. He's got no neck, and he wears the queerest sort of a hat! He's playing on the bagpipe. Come, just a minute."
"Beware of the devices of the little wizard!" said the writing on the patchwork. It caught Jessie's eye just as she was going to drop her work and run out to see the funny little man. She felt as if something was twinging her heart, but remembering her purpose, she brought her work to her side, and said—
"I thank you, cousins, but you must excuse me until I've finished my sewing."
"What a cross thing she is!" said Charlie, bouncing out of the room.
"Do come, just for a minute, that's all, cousin Jessie," said Emily in her most coaxing tones.
Charlie's words wounded Jessie more than Emily's soothed her. Unwilling to be thought cross, she dropped her work "just for a minute," and went out. The queer little man excited her mirth greatly, and she soon forgot all about her patchwork. When the little pipe-player moved off, Emily said—
"Let us follow him up to Carrie Sherwood's. Won't she be tickled to see him?"
"Yes, do," said Charlie, "and I won't call you cross, Jessie, any more."
"We mustn't stay long, then," replied Jessie reluctantly, for a thought of her sewing flashed across her brain.
"Of course, we won't," said Emily, as she took her cousin by the hand and led her away. "We will only stay long enough to see Carrie laugh at the queer little man."
They went to Carrie Sherwood's, and there they stayed until Walter's return from school warned Jessie that it was nearly dinner-time. As she re-entered the parlor she saw Uncle Morris point to her work lying as she left it on the floor, and heard him say—
"The little wizard has been here again, I see, this morning. How fond he is of Glen Morris Cottage."
Jessie blushed, ran to her Uncle's side, hid her face in his bosom, and whispered—
"O Uncle, I never shall conquer that little wizard. He is too strong for me."
"Never despair! my little puss. Try and try again. Make a new resolve, and I'll warrant you that the wizard will find Glen Morris Cottage too hot to hold him one of these days, and then he'll be off to the North Pole to keep cool, and perhaps to marry Miss Perseverance!"
Jessie laughed at this conceit of her uncle's, and said—
"Uncle, I will try again, and I'll try real hard next time."
"Nobly spoken, my little lady," rejoined Mr. Morris. "Perseverance conquers all things. It has won victories for warriors; freedom for oppressed nations; and self-conquest for millions of men, women, and children. Hold on to your purpose then, my Jessie, and you will yet be crowned as the conqueror of your troublesome little enemy!"
Jessie sighed, and looked as if she wished the last battle had been fought, and the crown already placed on her brow.
Poor Jessie! she is not the first miss who has found it hard work to overcome Little Impulse, the wizard.
The Broken Mirror.
When Jessie saw Hugh getting ready to go to school, after dinner, she thought of her notes which were still lying very snugly in her work-basket. There were four of them: one for Mr. Sherwood, one for Richard Duncan, one for Adolphus Harding, and one for Norman Butler. Taking them from beneath her working materials, she held them up, and turning to Hugh, who was on his way to the door, said—
"Hugh, I want you to do me a little favor!"
"I dare say. You girls are always asking favors. But what now?"
"Not much, Hugh, I only want you to take these notes for me."
"Notes, eh?" said Hugh, taking the neatly folded letters in his hand, and reading the addresses. After reading them all aloud, he placed them in a pack and added. "Pretty business, I think, for a young lady like you to be writing to the boys? Oh, for shame, Jessie Carlton! I thought you were too modest to do that!"
"There's nothing improper in my notes, master Hugh! Uncle Morris read one of them, and he says they are very sweet and proper. Will you please take them for me?"
"Yes, if you will pay me the postage on them. You know that Uncle Sam gets his pay beforehand, and I must have mine. So hand me over twelve cents, and I'll carry your notes. Come, be quick! Hand over your money! It is time I was gone."
"O Hugh, don't tease so," said Jessie.
"Do you call it teasing to ask for your pay when you are going to work for anybody!" asked Hugh, with a very tantalizing air.
Just then Guy passed through the parlor, and seeing that Jessie was getting tired with her vexatious brother, he asked what was the matter. She told him. He took the notes from Hugh, who was only too glad to give them up, and said—
"I'll take them for you, Jessie."
"You are a dear, good brother, and I love you ever so much," said Jessie, holding up her lips for a kiss.
Guy kissed his sister and hurried away to school, happy in the thought that he was contributing to her pleasure, while Hugh went out with a cold, uneasy heart, and murmuring to himself—
"I don't see why I should wait all the time on Miss Jessie; she's big enough to carry her own letters."
Could Hugh have exchanged feelings with Guy, he would have learned that little acts of love and kindness bring rich returns into the hearts of those who perform them; and then, perhaps, he would have seen at least one reason why he should "wait all the time on Miss Jessie."
It happened that afternoon to blow up cold and rainy, so that Jessie and her young guests could not play out of doors. The bright fire in the grate tempted them into the parlor, where they amused themselves in various ways. At last, wearied with quiet games, master Charlie said—
"Let us play blind-man's-buff?"
"Oh yes, do, Jessie! It's such good fun," said Emily.
"I like it first rate," said Jessie. "Who will be blind-man first?"
"I will," said Emily, in a very positive tone of voice.
"No, you won't, either, I shall be blind-man first," said Charlie.
"Well, I say you shan't. There now!" cried Emily, stamping the floor with her little foot.
"But I tell you I will!" retorted Charlie with anger.
"Hush! Charlie dear," said Jessie, in soothing tones. "Let Emily be blind-man first, for, you know, polite boys always give way to young ladies."
"Well, I won't, I don't want to be polite, I want to be blind-man first, and I WILL," rejoined Charlie, as the fire flashed from his eyes.
"Then I won't play at all," said Emily, going to an ottoman and seating herself in a very sulky mood.
Thus did these unamiable cousins spoil their own pleasure, and give pain to Jessie by their selfish quarrel. In vain did she try to soothe and coax them into good-nature for some time. At last, tired of the attempt, she rose up, and said—
"Well, if you won't play, I'll go into the library and have a good talk with my Uncle Morris."
This movement made Emily feel slightly ashamed of herself. She was unwilling, too, to be left alone with her brother. So she jumped up, and with a forced smile, said—
"Don't go, Jessie, I'll let Charlie be blind-man."
"I've a great mind not to play with you at all now," growled Charlie.
"Oh yes, do, there's a dear, good Charlie," said Jessie, as she approached him, "See! here is the handkerchief, let me tie it over your eyes so that you won't be able to see the least bit of a mite! I don't think you will be able to catch me before tea-time."
This challenge did more to drive the sulks out of Charlie than the coaxing. Charles held his head forward to be bound, while he replied—
"Can't I catch you! I'll bet a dollar I catch you in less than five minutes!"
"Young ladies don't bet, and Uncle Morris says that boys shouldn't, because it's wicked," said Jessie, while she busied herself tying the handkerchief. When the knot was fast, she said—
"Now let us see how skilful my cousin Charlie can be!"
Up jumped Charlie, spreading out his arms, and darting now this way and then that, as the steps and voices of the girls led him round the room. Merrily rang out the laugh of Jessie, and the ohs and ahs of her cousin, as they bounded past Charlie, ran round him, or darted out of the reach of his nimble fingers. So spry were they, that ten minutes elapsed and the blinded boy had not caught either of them. At last, he followed them close to one end of the parlor until he found himself clasping the large mirror which reached almost to the floor. Stepping back he tripped over a low ottoman, fell backwards, and bumped his head. Half in vexation, and half in sport he threw up his heels, and just as Jessie cried, "Mind the glass, Charlie!" brought down his legs with a crash on the surface of the mirror.
"Oh dear! He has broken the big mirror!" cried Jessie, in great distress. "What will my father say!"
"Keep still, you stupid, mischievous boy!" said Emily as she tried to pull the bandage from Charlie's eyes.
"I couldn't help it!" said he, as rising to his feet, and rubbing his eyes, he stood staring on the ruin his feet had wrought on the lower half of the mirror.
"My pa paid a good deal of money for that mirror," said Jessie, "and he will be very angry with us, when he comes home to-night. I'm so sorry."
"That's just like you, you stupid little monkey," said Emily, shaking Charlie somewhat rudely by the shoulder. "You are always doing some outrageous thing or another!"
"I couldn't help it! Let me alone!" muttered Charlie, shaking his sister's hand from his shoulder.
"You could help it," replied Emily.
"There, take that!" said Charlie, striking his sister a heavy blow on the shoulder with his fist.
Emily was about to strike back, but Jessie stepped between them, and separating them, said:
"O Emily! don't strike your brother! It's so wicked, you know, for brothers and sisters to fight." Then turning to Charlie, she added, "Don't you know how mean it is for a boy to strike a girl? Boys should protect girls, and not beat them. If you hit Emily again, I shall not be able to love you any more."
Charlie turned away, and seating himself in a chair, began to suck his thumb, while he gazed on the broken glass which was spread over the carpet. Just then, old Rover, finding the parlor door ajar, pushed it open, and walked up to his young mistress, wagging his tail, and rubbing her hand with his nose, which was his way of saying, "I hope you are glad to see me, this afternoon."
Jessie patted his head, and sat down wearing a very grave face. Rover thought something was amiss, but not knowing how to inquire into the matter, after a few more rubs of his nose upon his little lady's hand, laid down, and looked wistfully into her eyes.
Rover's presence put a new idea into the evil mind of Emily. She turned it over silently a few moments, and then said:
"Jessie! I have just thought of a capital way of getting out of this scrape about the mirror."
"Have you?" replied her cousin. "I don't see how you can do that, unless you can get some fairy to mend it for us, and I guess there are no good fairies, to do such things for unlucky girls and boys, now-a-days."
"Fairies indeed!" retorted Emily with a sneer. "I don't believe in fairies. My plan is to tell your mother, that while Rover was playing with us, he bounced against the mirror, and broke it to smash."
"O Emily! I would not tell such a wicked story to save my life!" rejoined Jessie.
"Well, I would; I've got out of many a bad scrape, by fixing up some such story as that. And it is so natural, you see, for a big dog to bounce against a glass which is so near the floor as this one, that your folks will easily believe it."
"O Emily! Emily! How can you talk so?" said Jessie, gazing at her cousin with an expression of pity and surprise.
"She talks just right," said Charlie. "It's a first-rate story, and will get us out of the scrape nicely. Bravo, Emily! I won't hit you again for ever so long."
Jessie was horror-struck to hear her cousins talk in this cool and hardened manner. To her mind a lie was of all things the most mean and wicked. She had just shown her hatred of it, by her penitence for merely acting a lie in fun. But this proposal to tell a downright lie, for the purpose of escaping the consequences of an unlucky accident, looked like asking her to commit a very shocking crime. She felt a shudder creep over her, and shrinking from her cousins, as if they had been deadly serpents, she pushed her chair back a yard or two, and said:
"Emily, I would die before I would tell such a lie. I hope you won't think of doing it. It's so wicked, Emily. If you could deceive my pa and ma, you couldn't deceive God, who saw Charlie break the mirror. Don't do it, Emily, please don't?"
"We will do it too, and if you peach on us, we'll say it was your fault that Rover did it. How will you like that, Miss Jessie!" said Charlie.
"I will tell my father the exact truth about it," said Jessie, rising to her feet.
"Very well, Miss Tell Tale," retorted Emily. "We'll fix you then. Charlie and I will say that you threw the ottoman against the mirror, and broke it yourself, won't we, Charlie?"
"Yes, and they will believe both of us, because they will think you are lying to escape being whipped for your fault. Ah! ah! Miss Jessie, we'll fix you, see if we don't!" and Charlie held up his finger, and grinned in his cousin's face.
"My father knows I wouldn't tell a lie," replied Jessie firmly; "and I do hope you won't, for oh! it is so wicked, and so mean. Nobody loves, trusts, or believes a liar. Please Charlie, please Emily, let me tell pa just how it happened. He won't be very angry. I know he won't. But if he is, I will tell him to whip me, instead of scolding Charlie."
Charlie winced under this noble speech of Jessie's, and for a moment was inclined to yield. But his sister's temper was roused, and she urged him to stick to her, and to say that Jessie threw the ottoman, "and now," said she, "I will go and tell my aunt directly."
Jessie turned pale; not with fear for herself, but because she shrank from a conflict with her cousins, in her mother's presence. Fortunately, a happy thought came into her mind, and rising, she whispered to herself, "Yes, I will go and ask Uncle Morris to come in." And Jessie glided into the library.
Her uncle was not there. He had left it an hour before, and feeling slightly dozy had gone into the back parlor to catch a little nap on the sofa. This parlor was separated from the one in which the children had been playing only by folding-doors. Their noise at blind-man's-buff, had roused him from his nap, and he had heard all that afterwards passed between them. When, therefore, Emily went to tell Mrs. Carlton her great lie, he thought it was time for him to interfere. So he passed round by the hall into the front parlor, just as Jessie with her sad face was returning from the library.
"Oh, I'm so glad you are here, Uncle Morris!" exclaimed Jessie, her face brightening and growing much shorter. "Please come into the parlor."
The good old man kissed his niece with even unusual tenderness, and led her into the parlor.
"Hoity toity!" cried he, as he looked on the fragments of the broken mirror. "Somebody's been playing the mischief here. What's been the matter?"
"Jessie did it!" said Charlie, with a dogged air.
"Yes, sir! Jessie threw an ottoman at me, and it struck the mirror. Didn't she, Charlie?" said Emily, coming up to Uncle Morris, with Mrs. Carlton behind her.
"Yes, Jessie did it, and no mistake!" said Charlie, boldly.
"O Jessie! how could you be so careless! That mirror cost a hundred dollars, a few months ago. Your father will feel very angry," said Mrs. Carlton with a grieved look.
"I did not break it, Ma!" said Jessie calmly.
"She did!" "She did!" said Charlie and his sister in the same moment.
"Ma, I did not break the mirror," rejoined Jessie, calmly. "If I had done it, I would confess it. You know I wouldn't lie, Mother, don't you?"
"I certainly have great faith in your truthfulness, my child," replied Mrs. Carlton; "but why are your cousins so positive in charging you with it?"
Jessie stated the facts just as they had taken place. Her cousins repeated their story. Mrs. Carlton was perplexed. Turning to Uncle Morris, she said:
"Brother, what do you think? On which side is the truth?"
"On Jessie's, of course, sister. Could you question the truth of that pure face! It would break my heart if Jessie could tell such a lie as these wicked ones here have told! But she couldn't do it. It's not in her nature to do it. Heaven bless her!"
He then stated what he had overheard from the sofa in the back parlor, and closed by saying, "These children had better go home to-morrow. They are wicked enough to corrupt an angel, almost. The proverb says, eggs ought not to dance with stones, and I cannot endure to see Jessie in their society any longer."
"I agree with you, brother, and will send them home to-morrow," replied Mrs. Carlton.
Charlie and Emily were dumb with confusion and shame. I think a little sorrow gushed up in Emily's heart, when through her fingers she saw Jessie look with appealing and tearful eyes into Uncle Morris's face, and heard her say in pleading tones:
"O Uncle! O Mamma! please let them stay another week; please do, for my sake! Please let them stay! They will be good after this, I know they will."
This plea won both Mrs. Carlton's and the old man's consent, and Jessie kissing her cousins, said:
"There, you can stay. Aren't you glad?"
The First Slide of the Season.
After Uncle Morris and Mrs. Carlton had consented to permit the self-willed cousins to remain a week longer at Glen Morris, the good old man led Emily into the library and talked with her for over half an hour, about the meanness and wickedness of lying. I cannot tell you exactly what he said to her, because I don't know. That his words were weighty and solemn, I have no doubt; for when Emily left the library her eyes were red with weeping, and she went directly to her room and staid there alone until the bell called her to tea.
Before Emily slept that night, she did what she had not done before during her stay at Glen Morris. She kneeled at the bedside to say her prayers. When she arose, Jessie threw an arm around her waist and kissed her. This was done with so much tenderness, that Emily felt it to be a sign of her cousin's sympathy with the new feelings and thoughts which were springing up within her heart. Returning the kiss, she said:
"I'm sorry I told that lie about you to-day, Jessie."
"So am I," replied the simple-hearted girl; "it is always best to tell the truth, and I hope you will never tell another story as long as you live."
"I won't, I'm resolved I won't; I told Uncle Morris so this afternoon, and (here she lowered her voice to a whisper) I've been asking God to help me keep my promise."
"That's the way! That's the way!" replied Jessie. "Uncle Morris says if we mean to be good we must go to school to the Great Teacher who will both teach us, and help us do the lesson."
With such words as these did Jessie encourage her cousin to enter that beautiful path in which all the pure, noble, and good children in the world are found.
The next day Emily was very quiet. She spent the morning helping Jessie work on her famous quilt. Charlie was as rude and as ugly as ever; having teased his sister for a long time in vain, to play out of doors with him, the spoiled boy hissed at her, and said, "You are an ugly old cat!" Then slamming the door after him, he went into the barn-yard, where the screaming of the pigs, the gabble of the geese, and the clucking of the hens, soon proclaimed that he was venting his ill-temper on the dumb creatures who had their home there. Poor Charlie! the indulgence of his mother, and the almost constant absence of his father from home, had made him a very unhappy, mischievous boy, if, indeed, it had not wholly spoiled him. If Charlie had known what was best for him he would have said to his friends,
"Please don't let me have my own way."
Emily needed to make the same request, for she too, had long done pretty much as she pleased; and, as we have seen, she was pleased to do some very bad things.
Two days before the time set for the cousins to return home, they went to spend the day with Carrie Sherwood. Jessie, who was to join them after her morning's sewing was done, sat down to her work in high spirits. The quilt had grown large within a few days, and as she took it up this morning, she said:
"The little Wizard hasn't been able to catch me for ever so many days. I guess he won't trouble me much more now. See my quilt! (here she stood up, and drawing the quilt from the basket, spread it out.) Two more rows of patchwork will finish it. Ha! ha! only two more; I'm so glad. And won't Uncle Morris be pleased when he sees it spread over his bed some night! ha! ha!"
Here Jessie sat down and began to make her bright little needle fly almost as swiftly as if it had been in a sewing-machine. While she sewed she hummed the following words, which, as Uncle Morris said, had more truth in them than poetry:
"I love to do right, And I love the truth, And I'll always love them, While in my youth.
"And when I grow old, And when I grow gray, I will love them still, Do wrong who may."
Having finished her song, Jessie rested her hands on her lap a moment, and said:
"I love those words, I do. When I grow gray! ha! ha! Jessie Carlton a little old woman with gray hair! Won't it be funny? I wonder if everybody will love me then as everybody loves Uncle Morris now. Why not? Everybody?—no, not everybody, for Charlie don't love him, and our Hugh don't love him much. That's because they are naughty, though. Well, every good person loves Uncle Morris, because he is so good and kind; and so, if I am good and kind, when I am a little, gray old woman, everybody will love me. Ha! ha! Won't it be nice to be called Aunt Jessie, and to be loved, oh, so well!—but I must go on with my sewing."
Tap, tap, tap, said somebody's knuckles on the door.
"Come in," cried Jessie.
The door opened. Carrie Sherwood's little, red, round, laughing face peeped in.
"O Carrie! is that you? Come in."
Carrie tripped in, and while her eyes flashed with excitement, she said:
"O Jessie, we have found a nice slide out on the edge of the brook. It is the first time the ice has frozen hard enough to bear this fall, and we are having such a nice time. Come and see it, just for a moment."
"A slide!" exclaimed Jessie, who dearly loved sliding. "Oh, I'm so glad. I'll go with you just to look at it. I can't stay, you know, because I must come back and sew until twelve o'clock."
Dropping her sewing, Jessie ran to a closet, equipped herself in cloak and hood and, taking Carrie's hand, trotted out to see this first slide of the season.
A short distance from Glen Morris Cottage a broad, shallow brook crossed the public highway. A bridge led over the brook. Along the sides of the buttresses of this bridge, the water had flowed back for several yards over the bottom of a ditch or hollow, and being only an inch or two in depth, the sharp frosts of the early days of November had frozen it solid, though the brook itself was still babbling as if in proud defiance of the frost-king.
To this ditch Carrie led Jessie. Emily and Charlie were already there enjoying themselves finely.
"Isn't it nice?" said Carrie when they had fairly reached the spot.
"You shan't come on to my slide," growled selfish Charlie.
"Nor on to mine," cried his sister.
"You will let us slide after you, won't you, Emily?" asked Jessie.
"No, I want this slide all to myself," replied Emily.
"You can go down the brook and find slides for yourselves. You shan't use ours," cried Charlie, as shaking his fist at the two girls, he added, "I'll lick you both if you don't keep off."
"Well, I never saw any thing so selfish as that before, I declare," said Carrie Sherwood, striking the ground with her foot, and looking very angry as she spoke. "The next time I invite them to spend the day at my house they shall certainly know it."
"Oh, never mind, never mind," said Jessie. "We can look at them, and that will be almost as good as sliding ourselves. Perhaps they will get tired presently, and then we can slide while they rest."
"No, we shan't get tired either, Miss Jessie," retorted Charlie. "We mean to slide until dinner-time."
"And then you expect to eat dinner at my house, I suppose. Really, you are a very generous boy!" replied Carrie, in a bitter tone of voice.
"'Taint your house. It's your father's. He!" said the ugly boy, grinning at his young hostess.
"Well, if you were not Jessie's cousins, you should never step inside of my house again—but here comes my brother. He'll make you let me slide."
Walter Sherwood now came up to the spot where his sister and Jessie stood. Carrie told him the story of the selfishness of the two cousins, and ended by saying:
"Won't you compel them to let us slide too, Walter?"
"If he touches me, I'll throw this big stone at him," growled Charlie, looking very ugly and holding up a large stone, which he had just taken up from the side of the ditch. Wasn't he a selfish little fellow?
"Please don't touch him," entreated Jessie. "I don't care much about sliding, and Carrie won't mind waiting until to-morrow. Will you, Carrie dear. The weather is so cold, there will soon be plenty of ice. Please don't hurt Charlie, Walter."
"Don't be alarmed, my sweet Jessie," replied Walter, laughing. "I don't want to touch your sting-nettle of a cousin. I'd about as lief grapple a hedgehog. Let him and his selfish sister have their slides all to themselves. You come with me. I know where there is far better sliding than this, and I came on purpose to tell you so. Come, let us go, and leave them to enjoy their slides, if such selfish creatures can enjoy any thing."