But we were going to speak of some further reward that her amiable behavior, in this instance, procured her. As her father opened a package which he had brought on his return, he silently placed in her hands a beautiful copy of a newly-published work, upon the fly-leaf of which she found written—“Maria Wilton—a reward for her kind and obliging manners towards her brothers and sisters.”
When they had finished the story, Lucy shut the book, saying, “Maria was a good girl, was not she, Rollo?”
“Yes,” said Rollo, “she was an excellent girl. I would have done just so; would not you, Lucy?”
“I ought to, I know,” said Lucy, “but perhaps I should not.”
“I should, I am sure,” said Rollo.
Lucy was a polite girl, and she did not contradict Rollo, though she recollected how much selfishness he had shown that morning, and it did not seem to her very likely that he would have been willing to make any very great sacrifice to oblige others.
“My father says we cannot tell what we should do until we are tried,” said Lucy.
“Well, I know I should have been willing to stay at home, if I had been Maria,” replied Rollo.
“But, only think, that would be preferring another person’s pleasure rather than your own.”
“Well, I should prefer another person’s pleasure rather than my own.”
Rollo was beginning to get a little excited and vexed. People who boast of excellences which they do not possess, are very apt to be unreasonable and angry when any body seems to doubt whether their boastings are true. He was thus going on, insisting upon it that he should have acted as Maria had done, and was just saying that he should prefer another person’s pleasure rather than his own, when Jonas came into the entry from the kitchen, with an armful of wood, which he was carrying into the parlor.
“When is it, Rollo,” said Jonas, “that you prefer another person’s pleasure to your own?”
“Always,” said Rollo, with an air of self-conceit and consequence.
Jonas smiled, and went on with his wood.
It is always better for boys to be modest and humble-minded. They appear ridiculous to others when they are boasting what great things they can do; and when they boast what good things they do they are very likely to be just on the eve of doing exactly the opposite.
In a moment Jonas came back out of the parlor, and said, as he passed through,
Goes but little ways;”
a short piece of versification which all boys and girls would do well to remember.
Now it happened that, all this time, Rollo’s mother was sitting in a little bedroom, which had a door opening into the entry where Lucy and Rollo had been reading, and she heard all the conversation. She knew that though Rollo was generally a good boy, and was willing to know his faults, and often endeavored to correct them, still that he was, like all other boys, prone to selfishness and to vanity, and she thought that she must take some way to show him clearly what the truth really was, about his disinterestedness.