Now there was in Rollo’s house a small back garret, over a part of the kitchen chamber, which had one small window in it, looking out into the garden. This garret was not used, and Rollo’s father had put a little rocking-chair there, and a small table with a Bible on it, and hung some old maps about it, so as to make it as pleasant a little place as he could; and there he used to send Rollo when he had done any thing very wrong, or when he was sullen and ill natured, that he might reflect in solitude, and either return a good boy, or else stay where his bad feelings would not trouble or injure others. His father had put in marks, too, at several places in the Bible, where he thought it would be well for him to read at such times; as he said that reading suitable passages in the Bible would be more likely to bring him to repentance, than any other book.
Rollo knew that when his father told him to go away by himself, he meant for him to go into this back garret. So he turned round and walked out of the room. As he passed up the back stairs, the kitten came frisking around him, but he had no heart to play with her, and walked on. He then turned and went up the narrow, steep stairs that led to the garret; they were rather more like a ladder than like stairs. Rollo ascended them, and then sat down in the little rocking-chair. The rain was beating against the windows, and pattering on the roof which was just over his head.
It is sometimes but a little thing which turns the whole current of the thoughts and feelings. In Rollo’s case, at this time, it was but a drop of water. For after having sat some time in his chair, his heart remaining pretty nearly the same, a drop of water, which, somehow or other, contrived to get through some crevice in the boards and shingles over his head, fell exactly into the back of his neck. The first feeling it occasioned was an additional emotion of impatience and fretfulness. But he next began to think how unreasonable and wicked it was to make all that difficulty, just because his father was preventing his going out to stay all day in the rain, when a single drop falling upon him vexed and irritated him.
He also looked out of the window towards the garden, and the dry ground, and all the trees and garden vegetables seemed to be drinking in the rain with delight. That made him think of the vast amount of good the rain was doing, and he saw his own selfishness in a striking point of view. In a word Rollo was now beginning to be really penitent. The tears came into his eyes; but they were tears of real sorrow for sin, not of vexation and anger.
He took up his little Bible, to read one of the passages, as his father had advised him. He happened to open at a mark which his father had put in at the parable of the prodigal son. The first verse which his eye fell upon, was the verse, “I will arise and go to my father.” Rollo thought that that was exactly the thing for him to do—to go and confess his fault to his father.